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  Commodore's report, AGM 2017 New Page 1

For the fifth year running, our AGM was held at The New Inn, Rockland, who made us most welcome.  After a brief greeting and the formalities of accepting last year's minutes, Margaret spoke as follows:  

“This feels to have been quite a busy year and your committee have been working hard throughout to make our usual events a success and to trial some new venues and ideas.  In many ways, following on from the initiatives last year, we have consolidated our links with other clubs, but numbers racing at some of our regattas are beginning to be disappointing.  We are also struggling to find enough people to do things; particularly to be able to run our regattas in a professional manner.  This is a particular concern.

So, the positives first.  We have had some wonderful social events this year.  Surlingham Ferry was packed to capacity for the Turkey Race dinner and some people even drifted around the river beforehand.  We had a brilliant evening in the Lord Nelson at Reedham with EACC (or, the East Anglian Cruising Club, as Annie Whelpton tells me I should call them).  We had the place to ourselves, the beer was excellent and the bought-in fish and chips much enjoyed.  Thanks to Cally Smith for organising that.

Members also enjoyed a sail on the Orwell in May on a Thames Barge.  We were blessed with good weather, apart from the rain shower, but even that conveniently timed itself for when we were down below enjoying a fine meal.  Thanks to Mark Wells for organising that day out.

Many of you will have spotted that the club now has its own plastic marquee.  This made its first official appearance at our summer barbecue and members were able to enjoy the usual Sonia feast before dancing the night away.  I am told that the music was so good, that random strangers were joining in the fun.

We also had a first class barbecue at Beccles Amateur Sailing Club after the Ray Perryman race.  They tripled their real ale supplies this year, but we still drank them out before 9 o’clock .  I suspect this is going to become an annual event for a while - certainly they are more than willing to welcome us back again.

However, on the down side, I cannot say that the concept of reintroducing week-long club cruises was a success, with only one boat cruising after Breydon Regatta and two and a half in July.  Those of us who did make it to the EACC (sorry, East Anglian Crusing Club) summer regatta had a superb, fun day on the Saturday taking part in their roundabout race.  The weather was perfect and I gather it was a record-breaking entry.

In the absence of the Berney Arms and following feedback from last year, we trialled running a bar at Breydon Regatta, where our new tent really came into its own.  This was generally a success, although some visitors felt we should have provided portaloos, which would have raised the costs of the event considerably and others wanted us to provide a DIY barbecue, which might indeed be something for the committee to discuss for next year.  I do have to thank the many people who put in a lot of time to make this event the success it was, especially those who arrived early, left late and helped with the transport.  When everything has to come in by river, it means the logistics need careful consideration.

So much for the social side of the club.  I think we can say that has largely been a great success, but I am starting to have some slight concerns about the racing aspect.  This club was formed to race and we should not lose sight of that, even though the social aspects are a very necessary part of what we do.  We would be in dire straits indeed without our many non-racing members, who support the club financially and with their time.  I particularly have to thank Chris and Leonie, Betty, and Terry and Jean, who are always there and always helping.

We could not run this club on our small membership fees and race entry fees alone.  Typically, all of our events make a small profit and the social events help greatly, but, ultimately, we are here to sail.  We are losing yachts, for a variety of reasons.  I can name more than half a dozen, which used to race regularly at our regattas, but we are unlikely to see again in the near future, if ever.  Happily, we have been boosted by numbers from the northern rivers and, because of this, our events are still viable and competitive.

A bigger concern is the struggle we have to find people to run the races.  You may recall that I sent out an email requesting help in July, which had some limited success, but we need more people.  We are relying on a very small pool of people to run the line and crew the club boat.  Some of you will have been at Breydon and seen we simply ran out of bodies on Sunday and were unable to put our club boat on the water.  Similarly, we struggled at the Autumn Open and I have to thank Joe Farrow for bearing the brunt of the work at that event.

Some clubs have a rota, asking their members to each take a turn helping.  When this club was formed, that happened here too, with members being asked to take turns to officiate.    If you read our handbook, you will still find the line, “All full members may, from time to time, be asked to organise a club race.”  I’m not really in favour of pressed men.  I would prefer volunteers.  You do not need to be an expert.  We are very happy to train you, but we are reaching critical mass, where, if one person is absent, we are struggling to operate.

We are not asking for full time organisers, but if many of you offered a little help here and there, now and again, it could make all the difference.  Any volunteers (and please do all rush at once) go and talk to our Commodore elect, Joe Farrow.  I hope everything looked smooth on the surface this year, but there were a very small number of ducks, all paddling very hard.  This is not sustainable.”

Margaret then thanked the committee for all their hard work over the year and made presentations to retiring members, namely Roy Russell, Neil Johnson, Bob Soutar, Jan Nudd and Will Armour.  She concluded by thanking members for their support during her tenure as Commodore.

Commodore elect, Joe Farrow, thanked Margaret for all her hard work and presented her with some flowers.

Out-going Secretary, Will Armour gave a brief report before the accounts were presented and accepted.  With a little persuasion, Julia Kilner agreed to return as Secretary, prompting applause from the room.  There were no other nominations from the floor and the officers and committee were elected unanimously.

The meeting was concluded in under 40 minutes and members were then free to socialise in the bar before enjoying their meal and puzzling over a local knowledge quiz set by Jan Nudd.  This was eventually won by the "Starboard Tackers" under the leadership of Anthony Knights, with a creditable 34/40.



last edited on:  12/11/2017 at 12:35   by: The Editor