The members assembled around midday and were then invited to enjoy a buffet lunch, which has become the custom before the Winter Meeting of this Group, which is celebrating the conclusion of their eighth year together.
In advance of the general publication of his discussion document on the future of AYRS, Mike made a presentation entitled, What is our Future – Expansion or Dissolution? There followed a lively discussion for over an hour or so which can be summarised as follows:
Several members were shocked to hear that the current membership has dropped to 225.
All members present saw a need for more active members. The idea of promoting other regional groups was endorsed.
Most members agreed that a simpler hard copy regular communication in the form of a News Letter, full of ‘boating news’ was preferable to the occasional editions of a ‘rather highbrow’ glossy magazine like Catalyst. One member asked if young people actually understood the meaning of the word ‘catalyst’?
Whilst some members embraced the idea of a digital Catalyst others preferred a hard copy. Several members indicated that they utilise their computers very little in retirement and do not access their e-mail account on a regular basis.
The RYA dinghy Show and Beale Park Boat Shows were discussed. Several members saw the difficulty in prising young members away from their allegiance to their chosen dinghy class into a more generalised arena. One member expressed the opinion that Beale Park Boat Show was losing credibility with the professional boatbuilding community It was agreed that a meeting or event should follow closely on from a boat show attendance by AYRS in order to keep alive new members or potential members interest in the Society.
There was no enthusiasm for either the Northern Boat Show or the Western Boat Show as the target audience was too fragmented within the general public, who can access these shows free of charge.
There was much enthusiasm for targetting the prime UK Boat Show at Southampton where 80% of attendees were ‘boating people’. It was felt that manning levels of two/three persons on the stand per day could be sustained on the basis of two days per person. A suggestion that we apply for a free stand as a charity intent on bringing newcomers into boating was greeted by one member with much scepticism. Does AYRS really have a high enough profile to pull this off? Another suggestion was to share a stand with ’another organisation’.
There was a lot of enthusiasm for targetting Universities, Colleges teaching marine subjects and boat building academies. (see comments on sponsorship)
Sailing Clubs, it was suggested, were another target market. AYRS members could make a presentation as part of a recruitment drive. Many Sailing Clubs hold Winter evening lectures which are immensely popular. One member cited an audience of 80 members.
Howard Fund sponsorship of student projects was warmly welcomed. A suggestion that we team up with a commercial sponsor might add more weight to getting projects accepted by students and create more commercial relevance. One suggestion was a set of standard hydrofoils which could be attached to a variety of popular sailing dinghies, thus driving down the cost of custom sets for each class of dinghy.
Mike introduced the idea, suggested by Fred Ball at the Committee Meeting on the18th November, of an AYRS sponsored attempt at the Hydrofoil Class in the 2019 Open Cordless Challenge which is to be held at the Beale Park Boat Show at the end of May 2019. John S suggested that the innovation had disappeared from this event with the deletion of the restricted power class. He felt there was now too much emphasis on whoever could afford the most power would win. He thought that a professional organisation would probably win the Hydrofoil Class. Amongst the members present there was little practical knowledge of either powered or human propelled hydrofoil boats and little enthusiasm to get involved in this project.
Colin then updated the meeting on his attempts at developing a kite or glider powered hapa. The Summer had been very hot and very calm, he related, and although he had increased his knowledge of flight control he had been unable to conduct any meaningful trials. He drew the members attention to a website entitled ‘flight school’ (http://www.amaflightschool.org), which specialised in electrically powered model aeroplanes. He also mentioned the latest wireless remote control system which incorporates an ‘Oh Sh*t’ button. If your plane gets out of control, rather than try to recover it manually, you press the ‘Oh Sh*t’ button and an electronic gyroscope fitted inside the model restores it to level flight. This caused much amusement amongst the members.
Finally, Mark outlined his latest development of his self righting proa project which has been awarded a Howard Fund grant. He is currently having a custom set of sails made for his quarter scale model by sailmaker, Steve Goacher at Windermere, Cumbria. These include luff sleeve fastenings to allow the sail to be reefed as the retractable mast sections are lowered to reduce windage and lower the Centre of Effort of the sail. A lively discussion took place on his righting theory. Some members, not conversant with proas did not get it while others, agreed with Mark’s theory.
The final subject of the day was the Winter Outing. This was provisionally arranged for the first week of February. A visit to the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester is scheduled. John S agreed to check out the cost of rail travel.
The meeting broke up around 5.30 pm.
Present: Mike Howard, John Alldred, John Shuttleworth, Colin McCowen, Adrian Denye and Mark Hillmann
Apologies: Brian Shenstone, Steve McKenna, James Nielson and Colin Weir
The Health & Safety at Work Act applies to all organisations, amateur or professional, regardless of whether they employ individuals or are run by volunteers. The ‘duty of care’ to employees, volunteers or members of the public, accessing the Society’s events (boat show stands, etc) is the responsibility of the Officers, Committee Members and Event Organisers of the Society. Having in place a wholly practical written procedure embodying Risk Assessments minimises the likelihood of accidents and safeguards the individual in charge of the event. In the event of a serious accident at an AYRS organised event, the penalty for total disregard of any form of risk assessment can result in a custodial sentence for the person responsible for the event..Need I say more!
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