Minutes of the 2009 Winter Governing Board Meeting
March 19, 2009 – St Petersburg Yacht Club
Call to Order
The Governing Board Meeting was called to order by President Brian Hayes at 3:10pm in the Quarterdeck Room of the St Petersburg YC. Roll Call by Secretary Robert Ruhlman.
In Attendance: President Brian Hayes, Secretary Rob Ruhlman, Treasurer John Faus, Chief Measurer Bill Clausen.
Vice Presidents: James Taylor, Valerie Holly, Allan Terhune, Jim Carson, Steve Davis, Ian Edwards, Amy Smith Linton, George Koch.
Reading of the Minutes from the last meeting
James Taylor made a motion was made to dispense with reading of the minutes, seconded by Amy Smith Linton and unanimously approved.
Reports of Officers
President’s Report –Brian Hayes
President Brian Hayes thanked Steve Davis for 6 yrs service on the ILCA Executive Committee and especially for his two years as Class President. President Hayes reports that the Lightning is in the 2011 Pan American Games. Steve Davis volunteered to report in August on what the Class will be doing to support the Mexican organizing committee. The annual Membership drive is underway and we are doing well in this year of the down economy. President Hayes is hoping for 1,000 Active memberships. He encouraged all District Commodores to encourage their members to support the ILCA with membership. We have a good product to sell at this point, with a strong class office and the new website, the Lightning Class is seen as a leader among One-Design Classes. Brian expressed his thanks to the membership for this opportunity to serve the Lightning Class; he noted that his dad started sailing a Lightning 1941 and sailing Lightnings has been a lifelong pleasure.
Treasurer’s Report – John Faus
Treasurer John Faus reported that we are in good financial standing right now. He expressed his thanks to those who came before us and established our funds, for making this possible. We are currently looking to put our funds into trust. The biggest change to the finances for this year is with respect to the Yearbook distribution, it enables us to save $15,000 year. Those who want hard copies of the yearbook are paying the $20 fee and we have had no complaints. Membership is the foundation of the organization; please encourage your fleet members to support the ILCA. Royalties for boats, sails, and masts will be dramatically down this year. Treasurer Faus presented the 2009 Budget for Governing Board approval, there was no opposition, it passed unanimously.
President Hayes reiterated that the new yearbook distribution via CD will offer us a huge savings, and that we have budgeted for much diminished royalties in 2009.
Treasurer Faus expressed his appreciation for how expenses are carefully watched at the Class Office and President Hayes reported that the Contract for the Executive Secretary has been revised and signed. He noted that the Class is moving toward a market rate for the Class Secretary, positioning the Class for the time when Jan no longer is the Secretary.
Allan Terhune brought up the topic of royalty fees, asking if we are “at market” and if we might consider raising them. The current fee structure was set 15 years ago. President Hayes stated that the racers, who purchase sails, and purchase new boats, support the class via these “taxes.” Increasing royalties in effect taxes the racers. Boat and mast royalties of other classes are higher, this is something to research.
Valerie Holly wondered if credit card fees could be saved by requiring payments via check. ILCA Secretary Jan reminded the group of the cost for a bad check as well as the time required to resolve bad check problems. She feels that credit cards are essential to the International nature of the organization and reminded the group of the online Store as well as membership payments are made via credit card.
George Koch pointed out, after reviewing the membership numbers that Crew membership are not appropriate in number vies a vi Active members. One could expect 1 active member and two crew members per boat. He suggested an article for Flashes about the importance of paying for crew.
Jan shared with the group that President Hayes made going live with the new website a top priority this winter and that we have additional refinements to implement. It is now easy to pay for “undesignated” crew in the on line membership form, and we hope this yields more crew memberships. Additional work will be done to improve the cross browser usage of the site, particularly in the membership application process.
Amy Smith Linton mentioned that she had conversation with members of the Star Class who complimented the new ICLA website.
Chief Measurer’s Report –Bill Clausen
Measurer Clausen reported that the Landing School in Maine is currently building 4 boats with the help of Stu Nickerson. People who are refurbishing boats are contacting Bill with questions. Henry McCray is sailing the Southern Circuit with a restored 13000 series Allen. We can grow our class via these boats coming back into circulation. Regarding measurement at North American Championships, Bill has received criticism for the lack of organization at the past couple of regattas, going forward we need to make sure the host clubs understand the volunteer commitment required for measurement. He can measure more things, with more support. Additional assistant measurer’s have volunteered to help, Nelson Schmitt, Jared Drake, Frank Atkinson, Neil Hayes will be hands on support for Bill.
The proposal regarding Tow Lines was initiated in response to problems at the NAs last summer in Newport. 4 towlines broke, causing a huge problem, and embarrassment for the Class. People asked Bill to make a proposal to address the problem. He feels this is an important safety issue. He asked that the proposal be tabled and the vote not take place today due to the question of enforcement as the current proposal is written. Also under consideration is if 50’ of line is adequate to tow boats. We will be towing at the Vermont World Championship and at the Toms River North American Championship in 2010. For this Southern Circuit the St Pete PRO asked the Class to handle this with its own rules, as opposed to handling it in the NOR. Brian Hayes is in favor of a process whereby the Governing Board has input into this kind of proposal. He reminded the Governing Board that the radio issue created a lot of discussion within the Class, which actually was good. He noted that the breaking strength and length of our safety lines are things that we need to think about. The testability of the 3600 lbs is a problem; he feels that the kind of line needs to be specified in any proposed ruling. Measurer Clausen feels the diameter of the line is important in terms of the quick un-tie-ability of knots used after they have been put under pressure.
James Taylor agreed with the idea to table the vote at this time, but is concerned that the “safety/tow” line needs to be a secondary line. Not only one carries only one line, if you lose your tow line for some reason, then you have nothing to tie to the anchor. The anchor line has no specification at this time.
Allan Terhune noted that there are very few places where we race that 50’ of line and a 4lb anchor is of any value at all.
Perhaps calling it a tow line is a problem, President Brian Hayes would prefer we call it a “safety line.”
Jim Carson made the motion to table the vote at the General Meeting. All voted in favor of the motion. In addition he made a motion that a committee, prepare a new proposal for the Annual Meeting.
Ian Edwards summarized that we need to clarify the proposal to specify one or two lines and the appropriate breaking strength of a tow line.
President Brian Hayes expressed his appreciation to Chief Measurer Bill Clausen for all he has done for the Class.
Secretary’s Report – Rob Ruhlman
To Date in 2009:
Skipper members 434
Paid Fleets 51
Secretary Ruhlman noted that memberships are down year to date. He shared that his home fleet has not enforced that you must be an ILCA member in order to participate in fleet activities. Going forward the Lake Erie District is going to enforce the ILCA membership requirement and encourages others to do the same.
Fleets to Reactivate:
435 Rush Creek Yacht Club, Dallas, Texas District
147 Killyleagh Yacht Club, Ireland District
New Fleet Charters:
515 Du Bay Corinthian, Midwest District
Charter Members Jim Force, Stuart Doty, Doug Hosler
516 Beaconfield, Quebec, St Lawrence Valley District
Charter Members Jamie Allan, Mike Holly, Valerie Holly
John Faus made a motion to approve the proposed fleets, all approved.
Vice President Reports
President Hayes reported on behalf of John Atkins VP Youth World Championships that the Salinas Yacht Club will host the 2010 event. In order to encourage maximum participation we need to explore ways to subsidize travel expenses for Europeans and other South American countries. Airline sponsorship would be fantastic, if anyone has contacts in the Airline industry please contact John Atkins. Also to be explored, any cross marketing opportunities with the Pan Am Games.
President Hayes reported on behalf of VP Todd John, NA Championships - Sodus Bay will host the event this year. Toms River, Metedeconk are going to host in 2010. For the 2011 Championships, North Cape YC has presented a bid, it has been tentatively approved. The location to hold the WJM needs to be defined prior to final Executive Committee Approval.
Bill Clausen noted that Todd Johnson has done a fantastic job getting these events lined up going in to the future.
VP Southern Circuit - Amy Smith Linton Based on what other classes have experienced this year, she planned to have 20 % decrease in participation, and has been pleasantly surprised. This is Amy’s last year serving as VP Southern Circuit. She reports that the event is in good shape, she has created a notebook with notes and a planning schedule that she can pass on to the next person to fill this position.
President Hayes thanked Amy for the spectacular job she has done over the past three years as VP Southern Circuit.
VP Boat Grant Progam - Allan Terhune The selection process was difficult this year and has been completed. The announcement will get out, by the end of the week. 5 boats will be granted this year. The builders and sail makers continue to support the program. Of note this year, two females will receive grants. The committee is discussing selling existing boats and the possible purchase of new boats. They need covers and practice sails, and would encourage anyone with used covers or sails to please donate them to the program. This is Year 3 for the Boat Grant Program; the first two years have run in the black, donations have exceeded expenses. The positive press generated by the program has been fantastic for the Lightning Class.
Our Grant Program is being used as template by other One-Design Classes and Lightning Fleets are now starting to create grant boats programs.
Boat Grant Alumni attending this Southern Circuit are: Bobby Martin, Nick Farina, Collin Kirby, Steve Waldie, Will Brown, Justin Coplan. Bob King and Sarah Costich had plans to attend but had to cancel due to an illness in the family. Everyone is thrilled to see such a strong turn out!
President Hayes report on behalf of Todd Wake that three Lighting Labs are currently scheduled for this spring, he encouraged any fleets needing a little “shot in the arm” to contact Todd, these are great fleet building activities.
Executive Committee Rulings
North American Qualification Ratio
At the request of the North American Championship Organizing Committee the Executive Committee has approved a ratio of 1:4. We believe this ratio strikes the balance between the need to keep the Districts as having value and at the same time allowing for maximum participation.
Motion to accept the Executive Committee Ruling was made by Jim Carson, seconded by Allan Terhune and unanimously approved.
It was noted that the Governing Board Meeting participation was sparse at Newport, the timing at that event was especially difficult.
President Hayes brought up his concern regarding our Lightning Builders, how can the Class support our builders during the current economic downturn? The Executive committee has discussed a variety of ideas, the most viable at the moment, is to offer to pay the shipping costs of a containers of boats going to So America or Europe. Victor Lobos, 5th Executive Committee member reports that he can fill two containers for Chile if the Class decides to subsidize the shipping costs.
Ian Edwards expressed support for the concept and encouraged the Class to fill the containers, perhaps spec a boat. He noted that it would be great to get someone who can help with the customs, logistics. Tom Starck was mentioned as a possibility.
President Hayes asked: Does the Governing Board support the Executive Committee in being authorized to react quickly to opportunities that may present themselves between now and the next meetings? The group responded affirmatively.
The District Commodores need to be made aware of the issue as well as opportunities the Class will make available to those purchasing boats during these tough economic times.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.