Notes of Open Forum Discussion
These are notes of the informal discussion that took place immediately following the AGM. The Class President, Vice President, Secretary and Chairman of the Rules Committee were present, along with about 90 members. The purpose of the forum is for open discussion to take place and new ideas discussed without the need for a formal AGM proposal or vote. Whilst not binding, the outcome of the decisions can helpful to the IGC.
Alexander Meller (USA) asked whether the class could explore a worldwide ranking system run along the same lines as the one ISAF runs for the Olympic classes. There was general agreement that this would be a good idea if details could be found of how it worked and whether it could be adapted to work fairly across the established 505 fixtures.
Alexander Meller asked if the IGC could consider bringing back a proposal to the next AGM to remove the restrictions the construction of booms and spinnaker poles. Rob Napier (Rules Committee) explained that the IGC had discussed this and decided that it was better to wait until the changes could be brought in as one “package”, as to change the boom changes would also be required to the sail attachment rule. However, a show of hands of those present indicated that a majority favoured a vote on poles and booms only within three years.
Rob Napier referred to the issue he had raised in his AGM report regarding the very long centreboard that did not fit inside the case with the mast in the boat. He asked if the members present were of the view that the Rule requiring the board to fit wholly within the case when raised should apply when the boat was sailing. On a show of hands, a substantial majority agreed. The IRC is to investigate further, and if necessary issue an interpretation or temporary ruling.
Jean Baptiste (Vice President) advised that the French Association had produced a marketing booklet that had proved successful in France. They were willing to allow this to be reproduced in other languages and suggested that this was something that the International Office might be prepared to fund. There was general discussion on marketing. No-one had come forward following the Fremantle AGM to offer assistance with marketing at an international level, although as the President had said in his AGM report, the most effective way of spreading awareness and getting people into the boat is at local level. The role of international is to provide material that can support the National Associations in this task, eg the DVD/Video.
It was agreed that the IGC should look at the French booklet and see if it should be translated.
Alexander Meller expressed concern that once again there did not seem to have been adequate arrangements made for writing and circulating reports of the Worlds racing to the international media. The efforts of the host club, MSS, seemed to be focussed solely on the local Swedish media, which although good for the sponsors and the club, did not really help the class. He suggested that organisers should obliged to appoint, if necessary employ someone like a journalism student, to make sure that this was done. It was noted that the Secretary had taken on the role in Sweden as he was not sailing but this might not always be the case.
Andy Zinn (USA) asked if the Worlds could be shortened. If the lay day was omitted and measurement confined to spot checks the whole event could be compressed to into a single week. Contrary views were expressed by others, including Albrecht Holm (RSA), that people preferred a longer event, and the chance of a couple of days to do something other than sail, especially since they had come a long way. The Secretary pointed out that we had debated the programme extensively during recent years and the lay day had been reintroduced this year after a strong vote in favour at Fremantle. Since the lay day followed the meeting it was a little premature to judge whether or not it was a success and whether it enhanced peoples enjoyment of the event.
The secretary also pointed out that the Championship Guidelines did not specify a minimum period for the pre worlds. In recent years these had ranged from two days in Cascais to five days in Hyannis. Even when we had the two day pre worlds, most people still turned up early to practice. However there would always be opportunity for people to register on the measurement day so no one was obliged to be at worlds event for more than 8 days. Howard Hamlin (USA) asked if consideration could be given to having the measurement/ registration day on a Saturday with the racing from Sunday to Saturday inclusive, as this could allow people to take just five days vacation if they did not have too far to travel and did not wish to do the pre worlds. He pointed out that this had been done at some venues.
Discussion turned to the length of time taken for measurement, and in particular whether it was necessary to have a day set aside for this. Andy Zinn and Holger Jess(GER) argued in favour of having more spot checks during the regatta and doing away with pre measurement. However, others pointed out the practical problems this would cause, especially as about 30% of boats presented for measurement at these Worlds had failed initially. There would be considerable controversy if a leading contender were spot checked at the end of a championship and failed on a technicality that would have been spotted by pre event checks. Don O’Donnell (Class International Measurer) pointed out that ISAF measurement guidelines indicated that it was good practice to have pre event checks, and although spot checks were encouraged, these could not be relied upon.
A show of hands indicated a large majority were in favour of pre event checks as at present. (Secretary’s note – this is just as well as we would probably not got sanction from ISAF to call an event a World Championship unless we had did have adequate measurement checks)
Paul Young (GBR) asked whether International had a marketing plan and budget. Although the vhs/dvd of Fremantle was welcome, it did not seem to fit into a coherent strategy. The officers noted his comments – if volunteers can be identified for a marketing sub committee then this would be their first task.
Meeting ended at 21.20.