Newsletter No. 5 January 2014.
New Year Greetings to all F18 World Sailors. May I wish you all a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.
I am writing as your Sec. General, and some of these ideas for the future are mine. I start this Sec. Gen. task again and I have spent the last three months in serious discussions and thought about the future, it is natural that when I start the task again, I am full of ideas which I think will help our great F18 Class.
Council Meeting. Paris December 14th 2013.
1. The Irish National Class Association (NCA) is working well with the Club and we going to have a great Worlds. Ireland is famous for its parties and we are going to have a GREAT F18 party. Please go to www.2014.F18worlds.com to get all the details. In the past we have always had restrictions on numbers per country, a quota, we decided that this hasn’t always worked when the quota has been released well into registration, so this year, we are not having a National Quota. Please see NoR on the website. We can almost market this worlds as “Come to the Great F18 Party, world class racing will be arranged for party goers during the day.” The Club is vastly experienced and we can assure all sailors of high quality race management on superb waters. Please book early !
2. The F18 Class is very fortunate in having requests from NCA’s and Clubs to hold major international regattas. This year, we had more requests than could be granted. You know that Council voted to go out of Europe once every three years, and we will keep to that system, but it has taken one more year to be able to implement that agreement, Italy was in 2013, Ireland in 2014, so should have been outside Europe, but there was a long standing request that we go to Germany in July 2015, so Council voted that we go there in July 2015. In November 2016 we are all going to meet in Argentina and that is really exiting. Their sailors have supported well and travelled to other countries, we thank them for that, and their reward for developing the F18 Class in South America is a visit there in 2016. The regatta in November is after the Olympics and we will pick up more enthusiasm from that event. After a close vote, it was agreed to go to Brest in North West France for Europeans 2016, this regatta will be second half of July. This means that Oman, Spain, Holland the UK were unsuccessful, I thank them for their work and support for the F18 and hope that we can visit those countries in the future, but when we had more applicant countries that regattas, someone had to be disappointed.
3. We had a useful Council meeting earlier this month and let me give you some detail. Minutes are being finalised and agreed and have gone one out this morning.(Subject to further minor discussions, but not large enough to hold the minutes back any longer) There was much discussion about money, always an interesting subject. As the Class has grown, we are fortunate that the President and Treasurer work so closely together we know that financial matters are secure. There is a considerable amount of work and in the future, we plan an even more open audit procedure.
Financially the Class is in a good financial situation, BUT I want it to be far better. The problem is F18 does not earn enough and the income that comes in every year is not spent. In the last Newsletter, I asked for bids for monies for 2014 so we could build into a budget. I have not had one response ! I want to earn far more, so we can spend more and give members better value for their membership.
Following on from money discussions, we need to consider the best way of supporting sailors with container movement for regattas. There has been talk of NCA’s owning their own containers. I know that some containers have been bought in Australia and Germany. I am coming to this problem with little experience and so starting from a limited knowledge base, can anyone who has knowledge and experience in this field PLEASE share it will us all. I am talking with Hamilton Shipping of Belfast, one of the Worlds 2014 sponsors who tell me that “owned “ containers will be shipped more cheaply than those owned by the shipping lines, also there won’t be costs while waiting at regattas, but I accept that they have to be stored when not in use, and that they have to be licenced.
4. The Council discussed the problem of Measurement Certificates, and are seeking ways of simplifying the system of measurement. I know that in some countries, especially the large ones, it is a serious problem for our sailors, and we must try and resolve it. The US F18 NCA has opted out of measurement and relies upon detailed checks at regattas, their system seems to work well, and the Class is growing very well. The Council discussed the self certification programme. (Already an Appendix to the F18 rules.) This will allow registered sail makers to self certify the sails that they build and owners won’t have to spend time and money paying an independent measurer. The minutes give more information. Sail makers will have every incentive to comply with the rules, as the consequences for them if the sails were later found to be out of class would be considerable. We are grateful to Pierre-Charles for all his work on sail and mast areas, that will certainly help development
5. I am convinced that coaching is a further development that we can make in our F18 Class. I will be putting the following plan to Council for an F18 Coaches Commission.
a. That all NCA’s promote one/two/three names of coaches who will undertake coaching in that country.
b. These nominated coaches will have support from the National Authorities, covering legal requirements.
c. These coaches will form their own Commission, they will elect a Chair.
d. The Coaching Commission will be responsible for creating the programme for F18 sailors, from first time sailing programme through to highest level in the F18 fleets. This programme will give consistency across the NCA’s participating.
e. Council was asked by the US that they considered spending monies, up to €5000 was discussed, to prepare a DVD, F18 manual, complete programme or whatever the Coaches decide. They are the experts, they do it for a living, it is in their interests to make sure that F18 sailors want to join in. We must have a serious audit facility where we know that monies are being well spent.
f. One or two countries have said that this is too bureaucratic and we only need coaching prior to major regattas, I disagree ! We need to do both within each NCA AND at major regattas. It can become a valuable tool for all F18 sailors and attract more if they feel they are going to get support from their first F18 day on the water.
I will give update on progress in the next Newsletter.
6. I was in the catamaran trade for over 30 years. This experience gives me great understanding of those who are our builders and sail makers. We need to get a much closer understanding with them of what F18 sailors are expecting. I will be writing to “the trade” in the next day or two, asking them where they think they can help to take F18 into the future. This contact will also help with the Technical Committee that we had, the problem was that fewer and fewer builders/sail makers responded and so, we were left with one or two making suggestions. It was NOT the case, but there were suggestions that they were presenting changes that suited their own financial interests and was a situation that I could not accept and so I closed down the Technical Committee in the short term. I will keep further information for the next Newsletter when I hope that I can give positive information, we need their advice and support on a range of subjects.
7. Dates for major regattas worldwide. I asked in the last Newsletter for dates for regattas for 2014. I have had TWO responses, from UK and Germany, my thanks to them !!! I had hoped to be able to produce an International Calendar, which could have been a “money earner” as well as promoting the Class. My concept was that we could have a calendar that showed F18 racing every month of the year throughout the world, but it met with little response. But the idea is not dead!! Our German colleagues have produced one, attractively detailing their boats, regattas and local dealer services, UK could be following soon. We could do the same internationally !!
8. The new Commercial website has started and has made decent margins, and in the first three months has paid £ 312.00 into IF18CA , on sales of just over £1000. So far so good, but no where near far enough or fast enough. If we want money to spend money on giving better value to members, then we have to earn. The idea was to sell high quality goods to F18 sailors and others at ONE PRICE throughout the world which give further exposure to the F18 brand and bring in monies for the sailors. We can widen the range of goods that we sell, but we need support. Please ensure that the commercial site is featured on you NCA website as we develop further ways of marketing F18 gear and clothing.
I am developing with the printers a “MONTHLY DRAW” so that anyone who purchases during the month can win a prize. The first winner was Andrew Gallagher from Ireland. (The luck of the Irish!) I will see whether it helps with sales.
So I ask for the following.
Real Support for Irish Worlds . See website.
Any knowledge on container purchase held within F18 members.
Further thoughts on reducing Measurement work, but maintaining quality guarantees.
Nominations for Coaches from NCA’s.
Dates for 2014 regattas.
Support for Commercial website. Go to our International site www.f18-international.org and follow the links.
Now to my next area for discussion.
You will see in the last Newsletter No4. that I said :
“ We are doing our best to keep every sailor involved with F18 development and the decision making process, keep the comments rolling in !”
Now I want to take that further. When I started this SG job the first time round in 2004, I asked sailors world wide what they wanted and where they wanted their F18 Class to develop. We started as French Provincial, then French National, then European and now World. We were a very different Class in 2004, it was the responses I received that steered me, and the Class for following years.
I would like to do the same again.
Will you please send your suggestions for F18 development to me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I will assemble your views into areas, F18 management, F18 Rules, F18 regattas/racing, F18 Constitution, F18 Marketing, F18 Finance or whatever you want to raise.
Sometimes you may want to keep the comments private. I accept that and will respect completely, certain matters can best be discussed that way, and then developed into a wider audience.
I hope to have strong response. It is YOUR Class, you have invested heavily, now I want to hear from you how we can all make it better.
Again Best wishes for 2014.