INTERNATIONAL 505 YACHT RACING ASSOCIATION
Minutes of Annual General Meeting held at
Point Yacht Club
Tuesday 22 November, 12 noon
In Attendance:President - Pip Pearson (AUS)
Vice President - Ali Meller (USA)
Secretary - Chris Thorne (GBR)
Approximately sixty five members
Apologies Treasurer - Stephen Burwood (GBR)
Chairman of International Rules Committee - Rob Napier (GBR)
Tom Bojland (DEN)
1. Minutes of the 1999 AGM:
1.1 These had been circulated to National Associations and had been available on the web site since September 1999. Proposed by David Smithwhite (GBR) and Jim Berry (GBR) that the minutes be taken as read and approved. Approved nem con*.*
2. Presidentís Report:
2.1 The President presented the following report:-
"This is the completion of my third term and six years as President of the Class. After 40 years involvement I feel qualified to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the class and give my personal view of future threats and opportunities.
The 505 emerged on the scene in the 1950ís and almost immediately gained the respect of the worldwide dinghy fraternity of being the ultimate, challenging racing machine. This reputation was held for almost a generation of dinghy sailors but it is a reputation to which we can probably no longer lay claim. Whilst it is encouraging to see a sprinkling of younger sailors in the fleet, overall, I have a deep concern that as the average age of our membership increases, we face the potential of a decreasing membership in the future. In recent years the number of annual new boat registrations must surely be of major concern. We need to examine the options available to us that may assist in attracting the high performance dinghy sailor of the 21st century to the 505 without destroying what we already have.
The 505 was conceived by John Westell in the 1950ís as a "one design development" class and significant development occurred during the first 20 years, but how much "development" has the class really undergone in the last 20 years? It has long been recognised that the sail plan of the 505 is not necessarily optimum, particularly in regards to its downwind performance. We can certainly no longer claim that the sail plan of a 505 is that of a modern racing dinghy.
Following last yearís Annual General Meeting, the class sanctioned the use of a larger spinnaker for a one year trial period for the explicit purpose of encouraging experimentation with a view to improving downwind performance and looking to the future. I am very disappointed that so few have actually taken the trouble to get involved in extensive trials. I understand that several people have sailed with the larger spinnaker on a couple of occasions but I donít accept these brief experiences as worthwhile or qualified trials.
For those of us who have tried the experimental kite extensively, the results are clear cut and exciting. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind the proposal at todayís meeting by the IEC for the revised spinnaker dimensions is in the best interest of the class and I strongly encourage you to support it. From my own personal experience over last season and the commencement of our southern hemisphere season this year, I am totally convinced of the improvement and look forward to further refinements in sail design as we gain more experience with it. The particular surprise to me was the improvement in the way the boat handles in heavy air and heavy seas. With the revised spinnaker dimensions instead of tending to bury the bow in a big sea, the bow lifts and charges over big seas with aggression and spits white water out the back. Itís just great!
I have made a deliberate and extensive effort to interview a broad cross section of sailors who have experimented with the proposed larger spinnaker and it is only as a result of this survey that I have decided to put my support behind the recommendations.
Those of you who know me well, know that I have always been an advocate of preserving the status quo of the class and resist any proposed changes that will obsolete existing boats. I can assure you my attitude has not changed, but we seriously need to address some of the perceived shortcomings of the class. If we ignore these issues and cling too strongly to what we have always had, I suspect we will eventually lose our well deserved share in the niche market of high performance sailing.
I recognise that if this proposal proceeds to ballot and succeeds, that many people will feel disaffected by the decision with the prospect of having to replace existing spinnakers in order to remain competitive. As a class official I feel compelled to promote a change which will be a long term benefit to the class acknowledging that it may create some short term discomfort.
In closing, I wish to acknowledge the contribution to the 505 Class by my fellow members of the executive. Particularly I wish to recognise the time and effort put in by our secretary Chris Thorne and the endless energy and enthusiasm of our Vice President Ali Meller.
Finally I wish to thank all members of the class who have accepted me as the President with great friendship and who have shown respect for my 40 years experience with the class. I can assure you I feel very privileged to have been the President of such a wonderful group of people and look forward to many more years of active involvement in the 505 class."
The Vice President was invited to say a few words. He emphasised the need to keep up the marketing of the Class. Whilst we were better than many, there was no room for complacency. He reminded the meeting of the recent split of the World mailing list to create a US only list, and a separate announce list for people who just want to receive class information, not to join in general discussion.
3. Secretaryís Report:
The International Secretary reported that the membership had increased from 1027 in 1998 to 1215 in 1999. This increase was due mainly to a large increase in the French, and to a lesser extent the British, fleet reflecting the large attendance by these countries at the Worlds in Quiberon. Returns for 2000 were just coming through and it is likely that numbers will fall back again as National Associations seem to have difficulty retaining membership when there is not a Worlds in their country. Some countries follow the lead of International and require both sailors in the boat to be members at their national championships, whilst others only require the boat owner to be a member. Whilst clearly one can not expect everyone who jumps into a five-o for one or two races to join the Association, if they are committed enough to sail in a major event then surely it is not too much to ask. The more people we have involved, the lower the cost is for everyone.
The highest membership in 1999 was GER with 230, closely followed by FRA (225), GBR (215) and USA (209). Fifth was AUS with only 63. The policy adopted by each National Association does effect the membership level and therefore direct comparison is not easy. At present we have fleets in 16 countries on five continents. Recent enquires had been received from Bermuda and Ireland, suggesting a renaissance of activity in those countries.
It was of concern to the Class that the detailed proposal from ISAF on revising the Advertising Code did not reflect the principles set out by Paul Henderson (ISAF President) when he met us last year. The principal problem is that although International Classes would decide whether they opt to allow advertising on boats and sails, the MNA's (eg South Africa Sailing, US Sailing, FFV, RYA etc) would have the right to charge sailors from their country a levy for advertising. We lobbied strongly for total class autonomy, but other classes seemed apathetic. The exact wording of the proposal approved by ISAF at its annual conference ten days before this meeting would not be known for a few weeks.
Since the last Worlds, thirty-four boats have been registered with numbers now at 8765. This equates to about thirty over a twelve month period, which is similar to the last three or four years.
We were going to reprint the rule book this year but decided to hold back until 2001, in view of changes likely in the ISAF Rules and the possible changes if the revised spinnaker dimensions are accepted by the class. Also we had hoped to resurrect the magazine. However, although we have identified a commercial publisher who would deal with production and advertising sails we need an editor to commission articles and put together the content.
4. Treasurerís Report:
In the absence of the Treasurer the President presented the accounts for 1999. He explained that although a copy had been sent to the auditor Jurgen Feurerhake (GER) some weeks ago, the Secretary had not had a reply and had learnt that he had moved. He was therefore asking for the accounts to be approved, subject to audit. Copies had been circulated at the start of the meeting.
In summary, the surplus for 1999 had increased from £4876, up some 30% from 1998. This was due to an increase in membership and also a reduction in operating costs. Total reserves were £24,905 as at 31 Dec 1999.
It was proposed that the accounts be approved subject to audit by Neil Fulcher (GBR) and seconded by Vernon Ralston (GBR). Approved nem con.
5. Appointment of Auditor:
In view of the difficulty in contacting Jurgen Feurerhake it had not been possible to ascertain whether he was willing to continue. The President asked if there were any other nominations. Harry Ellens (RSA) proposed Alan Franklin (RSA), seconded by John Wyles (KEN). His appointment was approved nem con.
6. International Rules Committee:
In the absence of the IRC Chairman, the Vice President read a brief report submitted by the IRC. They are happy that all boats, including older boats of any manufacturer, can be modified without undue difficulty to accept the proposed new spinnaker, and are supportive of the proposal. The sail measurement changes that were approved by ballot in 1998 finally came into affect on 1 Jan 2000 following approval by ISAF. It is recommended that all measurers should obtain a copy of the ISAF Equipment Rules of Sailing, which contained the definitions used in our new rules.
7. Election of Officers:
The positions of President and Vice President were due for re election. Having served three terms of two years, Pip Pearson had indicated that he would not be seeking re election. Jim Berry (President GB Association) proposed a vote of thanks to Pip for his term of office and for his enthusiasm and dedication to the Class. This was heartily endorsed by the meeting.
The Secretary announced that only one nomination had been received for each post. The US Association had proposed Ali Meller as President and the Danish and Swedish Associations had proposed Tom Bojland as Vice President. Both had indicated their willingness to serve and therefore were duly appointed. Although he could not be present, Tom Bojland had sent a message that was read to the meeting by the Secretary.
8. Proposed Rule Changes:
These were detailed on the agenda, which had been circulated to all National Associations prior to the AGM and which was available to members attending the meeting.
Item 8a: Spinnaker - Proposed by IEC
The President confirmed that the rule change had the unanimous support of the IEC, and referred to the comments in his President's report based on his personal experience. Matt Hansen (AUS) seconded the proposal. No one wished to speak against the proposal. Approved nem con. The proposal now proceeds to a ballot of the membership
Howard Hamlin (USA) asked if the IEC had given thought to the date on which the new rule would become effective if the change was approved at Ballot. After discussion the meeting agreed on a show of hands that the IEC should be asked to implement any change with effect from 1 Oct 2001, ie immediately after the 2001 worlds but before the start of the Southern Hemisphere season
Item 8b: Advertising - Proposed by IEC
The Secretary explained that this was a repeat of the proposal last year authorising the IEC to make temporary changes to our rules to reflect the anticipated changes in the ISAF Advertising Code. This was necessary because the changes had been deferred for 12 months by ISAF. Seconded by David Smithwhite (GBR). Approved nem con. .
9. Other Rule Changes:
The Secretary reported that there had been no proposals made in accordance with Rule A11, A12 and A13.
10. World Championship 2001:
At the 1999 AGM it had been agreed in principle to award the championship to Clube Naval de Cascais, Estoril, Portugal, subject to the IEC satisfying itself as to its capabilities. The Secretary had visited the Clube in May 2000 and following his report to the IEC the venue was confirmed. The preliminary NoR has been circulated to all Associations and is on the Website. The dates are 19 - 28 September. One slight draw back is that the Club is undergoing significant redevelopment and the clubhouse is likely to be demolished next year, However, there is plenty of space adjoining the club for temporary buildings and tents for social events, and there is also a new marina adjoining which has many shops restaurants and bars. The Club has a long experience of running international events for major classes, and was comfortable with our usual championship requirements. For those unhappy at the apparent trend in entry fees, the good news was that the fee in Cascais would be 320 Euros, a similar level to Quiberon and about half the level of Durban.
The Secretary had spoken with Detrich Scheder-Bieschin who had indicated verbally that DB Macs would be offering container sponsorship. He will be following up this offer to get a firm commitment and details of the shipping arrangements. In view of the lack of a local fleet, the Secretary foresees a further visit to check on the detailed arrangements in a few months time.
Ian Barker (GBR) also spoke to the meeting, giving a positive report of the venue and the Clube following his experience at the 49er Europeans in autumn 1999.
11. 2002 World Championship:
This event had been awarded to Freemantle at last year's AGM. Matt Hansen gave an update on the arrangements. A preliminary notice had been prepared and enclosed with the competitors' pack at the current championships. The World Championships will be preceded by a four day pre Worlds/Australian Championship Series and the two events will be spread over the period 30 Nov to 14 Dec. Typically the sea breezes are in the range 15 -20 knots in December, about 5 knots lighter than in February. They have two event sponsors, Grolsch and Valley Wines. Sponsorship money will be used to subsidise container costs, although they are still actively looking for a container sponsor.
12. 2003 World Championship:
Following the expression of interest from Sweden last year, a firm proposal had now been received from Malmoe Segel Sällskap MSS at Malmoe. This is a town in southern Sweden right at the end of the recently completed bridge from Denmark. The nearest airport was Copenhagen. The event would probably be in late July or early August. The President asked for the meeting to confirm whether the proposal should be accepted. There was overwhelming support in favour.
13 Other Future Championships
Bruce Edwards (USA) indicated that the West Coast US fleet was interested in bidding for the 2004 Championship probably at San Francisco (St Francis, or as a second choice Santa Cruz). The meeting agreed to support this in principle.
Other possible future venues which had been mentioned at the IGC were Bermuda and UK, Mounts Bay
14. European Championships 2002:
Following the IGC meeting two days earlier, the Presidents of the European fleets had discussed the future of the European Championship. This event has not been well supported in recent years, partly because of the growth in popularity of the regular European Cup regattas and also the opening up of the World Championships. The view was that in 2002 we should seek to combine the Europeans with the European Cup regatta at Lake Garda, seeking a later date in July or August. The situation on future events would then be reviewed. This suggestion received wide support from the meeting.
The formal business of the meeting was concluded at 13.40hrs
C G Thorne