The 51st Annual General meeting of the Association took place at the RNLI Lifeboat College, Poole. This has proved to be a popular venue with many of our members over the years and all sixty rooms in the hotel were reserved for the Association. Many members arrived on Friday to take advantage of the facilities, including an opportunity of a tour of the All -weather Lifeboat Centre and the talk given by Peter Lees of Crusader Sails. The Riggers Restaurant and Slipway Bar were both full in the evening with members from various Area Groups renewing old friendships or forming new ones.
Saturday morning started early with registration from 9am. There was the usual Boat Jumble run by Liz and Julian Roberts. After many years Liz and Julian now wish to stand down and we are looking for volunteers to take it over, if you think you could help please let us know. In addition to Crusader Sails the following companies all exhibited either in the entrance or in a room along with the jumble, Precision Paints, Harken, ASAP, Beta Marine, Comfort Afloat, Apollo Gas, Tek Tanks, Roger Nantais, XW Rigging and Barrus. From what I heard business was quite brisk and there was plenty of advice on hand.
The formal part of the weekend started promptly at 11am as we had an EGM in addition to the AGM. The EGM was for the membership to vote on a change to the Constitution that would allow Associate Members to serve on committees. A vote was taken, and the proposal was carried however the Commodore assured the meeting that the Committee would look at the question of limiting numbers of AM during the coming year.
The Annual General Meeting followed with the retiring Commodore, George Pickburn, welcoming members from seven of our eight Area Groups plus representatives from Westerly Club Nederland and Germany. We now have 3191 members, 216 of whom are from overseas. It is gratifying to see the membership growing whilst so many other owners’ associations struggle. The Commodore and Treasurer then presented their reports, these are published in full in the AGM minutes and are available on the web site. Finally, the new Committee and the Honorary Auditor were voted in.
Following the formal part of the meeting Jill Pickburn, retiring Magazine Editor, thanked all contributors to the 2017 Magazine. A brief resume of articles and logs submitted was then given before the winners of the various awards were announced.
Best Article – Patricia Stanton ‘A Crew Member’s Story’
Best Log – Stewart Gibb ‘The Scottish Island 3 Peaks Race (SIPR)
Jan Smallwood has agreed to take over as Editor.
Tim Harrison, Technical Editor, presented the award for the Best Technical Log to Les Cowan for his articles on ‘Ideas for Everyday Use onboard his Griffon’.
Presentation of Special Awards
Harken Trophy was awarded to Alan Rand for his article on the ‘Refurbishment of a Westerly Storm Pushpit.’ Matt Davis of Harken presented the trophy.
Navigator and General Photographic Trophy – Hefin Davies – ‘How Many Crew’
The Precision Prize Trophy, is awarded by Area Groups, this Year SW Group, was won by Barbara Pugh for her article ‘A Girl’s View of SW Cruise to Padstow’ or ‘Sorry Obby ‘Oss Another Time’
Commodore’s Clock – John Beattie, WOA Facebook moderator.
The Rayner Challenge Plate – Jeremy Spencer for ‘If You’re Going to San Francisco’
Jeremy and Cathy were unable to attend the meeting but were able to express their thanks for the award in a video they had sent via the internet from the USA.
Special Award – A presentation was made to Sapphire III in recognition of being used as the PBO Stage at London Boat Show. Her owner Aurora Allen received a radar reflector.
The Commodore thanked Aurora for the use of Sapphire III at the show and Crusader Sails for the mainsail they supplied.
Tim Harrison proposed a vote of thanks to David Jibb for his work at the show. The meeting was then opened to the floor for General Discussion. The Commodore reported that the Fulmar Nationals are expected to be at again New Quay. Robert Bull advised members to check their engine sound proofing. Dick Leedham – Westerly on Wheels are having their first event in February. The meeting then adjourned for a buffet lunch at 12.57hrs.
The afternoon session began with the handover to the new Flag Officers. There followed a short presentation and video, given by our new Commodore, on Glasgow, the planned venue for our 2019 AGM. It will be in the Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel. A newsletter will be available to keep members informed.
Mary then introduced our first speaker Dr Simon Boxall of the National Oceanographic Institute who gave a fascinating, thought provoking and often amusing talk on The Art of Climate Change in the Artic. Much of his time over the past 15 years has been spent in the Artic sailing on a schooner, Noorderlicht, as part of the Cape Farewell, an artist led organization that works to create an urgent cultural response to climate change. “The voyages bring together scientists, film makers, artists, musicians and writers to provide a commentary on how our planet is changing in one of its most fragile environments.”
From what he said it is not always idyllic, to quote Marcus Brigstocke during a particularly long spell of strong winds and heavy seas in the Greenland Sea “There are two stages of sea sickness, the first, thinking you’re going to die, the second is realising you’re not going to but wishing you could”. More seriously he shared how the lack of ice is changing the way of life of the Greenland people. His summary: Artic – a great place, magical. The Med -horrible.
Our second speaker for the afternoon was Dave Selby, the PBO columnist. Titled Marlin’s Mission he gave an account of his passage from the East Coast up the Thames to London, easier than crossing the estuary and then on to Southampton in Marlin, his Sailfish 18 (the Reliant Robin of the seas). The aim was to demonstrate that cost is no barrier to getting afloat, that today sailing has never been more affordable. Marlin’s Mission was also to raise money for charity. What Dave shared with us later was that during his trip he had to have regular stays in hospital for treatment for a rare viral condition Guillain-Barre Syndrome. So far, he has raised over £9000 for the charity (gaincharity.org.uk) that funds research into this rare illness and provides support for those with it. Dave left us with a final thought- Take someone sailing this year who hasn’t sailed before.
Following pre-dinner drinks in the Riggers Bar, the Waterfront Suite was full,120 members and guests, for the New Commodore’s Dinner, with Brian Easteal acting as Our Master of Ceremonies.
Our evening speaker was Johnny Ball, drummer, comedian, Strictly dancer and award-winning writer and presenter for over 50 years. Johnny, who has a half share (the bottom half) in a boat moored on the Thames, shared some of his boating experiences with us, some ‘near death’ in nature. Whilst also including tales of the ancient Greeks and how early navigators tackled, what was for them, the final frontier.
Thanks to our Secretary, Bob Godbold, Commercial Manager, Alan Rand and other members of the Association Committee and Area Groups for all their work in the organisation of a very successful weekend.
Gill Clare – Minutes Secretary