Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at Queen Mary Sailing Club on 20th October 2012.

Present: Andy McIvor, Nick Ripley, Christian Smart, Eden Hyland, Ben Pickering, Steven Pollard, Steve Wingrove, Rob Jones, David Entwistle, Ian Clark, Julian Owens, Bob Yates, Paul Taylor, Nick Miller, Peter Barlow, Ben Fullalove, Simon Beddows, Bob Cowan, Martin Saveker, Mike Lytons, Chris Holman, Nick Thorne, Kieron Holt, Peter Barton.

Apologies: Tim Heaton, Andy Williams, Paul Hemsley, David Angwin, Chris Bottomley, Gareth Hyland, Chris Spicer, John Wood, Roger Cerrato, Mark Fearnley, Andrew Taylor, Jonathon Saunders, David Hodgson, Ian Sanderson, Bob Williamson.

Secretary’s Report.

Paul Taylor welcomed everybody to the meeting. He expressed his thanks to the Committee for their efforts during the past year and gave particular mention to both Ben Fullalove and Nick Miller, who had expressed their intention to retire from the Committee. On behalf of the members, Paul also thanked Christian for planning the programme, Peter Barlow for managing the issue of Nationals Shirts and to Mike Lyons for his continued support of the Class and for the donation of the shirts for the Brightlingsea Nationals. Jonathon Saunders had continued to provide us with excellent event reports and these will be missed in 2013.

The Dinghy Show remains an important occasion and an opportunity to show off the Class. Cirrus Raceboats continued to support the Association by providing a new boat as well as contributing to the overall cost of our stand. This year, we shared space with Icon and the Devoti D1.

Treasurer’s Report.

Paul Taylor presented the Income & Expenditure Account to the meeting. Membership had fallen slightly and continued around the 70 mark. Membership represents virtually all our annual income. It is hoped that we can encourage more Blaze sailors to make a contribution to enable to do some of things to improve our image. The Class does receive a commission from Noble Marine Insurance. Paul asked the membership to help build our funds by insuring with Noble. There was a small excess of shirt money remaining in the funds.

The cost of the website had fallen dramatically following the change from Lilio and the upfront cost of the new website. The Cost of the Dinghy Show overall was higher than 2011 as the stand required walls this year. The Class has already paid a deposit for the 2013 show. Overall we have a healthy bank balance and some cash in a deposit account.

Christian Smart proposed acceptance of the accounts, it was seconded by Peter Barlow and carried by the meeting.

Events Co-ordinator’s Report

Christian Smart commented that attendance at events during 2012 had been generally poorly attended. This was due to a combination of inclement weather and the general economic climate. 7 Travellers Events had been organised attended by 56 competitors overall; this compared with 72 in 2011.

Moving onto 2013, a programme of 4 Travellers Events has been organised. In addition to the National Championships (Paignton SC 7/8/9 June) and Inland Championships (Bala SC 5/6 October), there will be 2 other qualifying events – Burghfield SC (6/7 April) and Warsash SC in July (date to be finalised).

In addition, there will be a range of Open Handicap events across the country. It is hoped that local Blaze sailors will get together and support events like the Sailjuice Series over the winter. In the South, Simon Beddows will be putting together a programme of events in and around the South Coast. CA members in other parts of the country can ‘club together’ and go along to events in their respective areas.

Bob Yates proposed acceptance of the report and was seconded by Mike Lyons and carried by the meeting.

Election of Committee.

Ben Fullalove and Nick Miller are retiring from the committee. The remaining committee members are not required to offer themselves for re-election at this time. The 2013 committee members are therefore, Paul Taylor, Peter Barlow, Christian Smart and Martin Saveker.

Amendments to the Constitution.

The amendments to the Constitution made by the Committee had been posted of the Notice board prior to the Meeting. Paul Taylor emphasised that the changes were minor and simply bought the Constitution (as written in 1997) up to the present. He proposed that the changes were accepted by the meeting and was carried unanimously.

Proposal in respect of removal of the mainsheet moulding on Mk1 and Mk2 boats.

Andy Whitcher proposed that the removal of the mainsheet tower moulding be opened up to anybody on provision of drawings from Cirrus Raceboats and no longer remain restricted to White Formula at Brightlingsea.

There was general agreement that this should be adopted. Mike Lyons did point out that drawings were not really required as the process was quite simple. He emphasised that the work should be carried out by a reputable boat builder/repairer and an invoice obtained in the event of any comeback at the time of the sale of the boat. He indicated that the cost was around the £300 mark.

The motion was carried.

Proposal to adopt a carbon mast into class racing.

Prior to the meeting, there had been a number of proposals as to a process to adopt a carbon mast into the class. However, these were withdrawn in order to simplify the vote into a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to early adoption.

The motion was proposed by Simon Beddows and seconded by Paul Taylor. It proposed that the Class Association adopts a carbon mast to be used alongside the current Superspars M7 mast for all types of racing from next month on a permanent basis.

Simon emphasised that the Blaze Dinghy has gone through a number of modifications during its lifetime. These included deck layout changes, a change of sail design and sail makers, and a change of builder along with the move from polyester construction to epoxy construction. The move to carbon, in Simon’s view was the logical next step. This would make the boat easier to sail in higher winds and improve the enjoyment of the Blaze.

Mike Lyons provided background from the Licence Holders perspective. Boats are being sold into Europe with carbon masts and a carbon alternative would be offered to UK customers from January 2013. He emphasised the commercial need to sell as many boats as possible commercial imperative that the Blaze continued to be an attractive proposition for the performance dinghy sailor. Replacement tooling is a very expensive necessity and without new boat sales, this cannot be achieved and consequently the whole operation becomes unviable.

A number of class members expressed their concerns. Andy McIvor felt that a new sail would be required to match the characteristics of the carbon mast. Mike Lyons pointed out that the new carbon mast had been designed around the current North Sail and new sails would not be required.

A number of the Warsash fleet expressed concern that the introduction of carbon would create a split class. Concerns we also expressed as to the high cost of the carbon mast. Members also made the point as to how a decision could be made to adopt the mast when the price was not known and only a few members had actually tried the mast. Christian Smart made the point that a number of test days are held and that masts be made available to clubs where there was a significant Blaze fleet.

Mike Lyons responded by offering a cost + deal to CA members only in the early part of next year. Full details to be notified following the vote.

Simon Beddows made the point strongly that it was time to vote as further discussion was not relevant.

Paul Taylor, therefore, appointed Ben Fullalove and Nick Miller to count the votes. There were 16 votes for the motion and 12 against with 4 members abstaining. The postal vote recorded 12 for the motion and 5 against. The motion was therefore carried by 28 votes to 17.

There bring no other business the meeting closed at 5:45 p.m.