2014 Melges 24 World Council AGM Minutes



Saturday, 6th December 2014

Hotel Hilton Milan, Via Luigi Galvani 12, 20124 Milan Italy




Voting Delegates:

Riccardo Simoneschi - Chairman
Michael Schineis - Vice Chairman & representing AUT
Chris Farkas - Vice Chairman US      
Jens Wathne - Executive Committee Member EU
Warwick Rooklyn - Executive Committee Member ASIA/PAC 
Rob Britts - Executive Committee Member & representing USA 
Tomi Hakola - Executive Committee Member & representing FIN + FRA + EST + HUN 
Peter Göckel - Technical Committee Chairman & representing GER + SLO 
David Young – representing AUS 
Duncan Stamper – representing CAN
Marc Wain Pedersen – representing DEN 
Andrea Rachelli – representing ITA 
Maarten Jamin – representing NED 
Jan-Inge Hellesmark – representing NOR 
Fredrik Wenehult – representing SWE 
Michael Good – representing SUI 
Peter Smith/Ben Stone – representing UK

Non-voting Delegates:

Luisa Bambozzi – Melges Europe 
Hank Stuart – IMCA Championship Coordinator 
Piret Salmistu – IMCA Administrator (minute taker)
Jan Schmidt – observer GER 
Soren Mathiesen Laugesen – presenting update on Worlds 2015 in Middelfart, Denmark
Hein Ruyten – observer NED 
Franco Rossini – observer SUI

Apologies were received from: 
Egidio Babbi – IMCA Chief Measurer 
Heath Walters – Melges Asia Pacific, Australia

 1.       Chairman’s Introduction

Chairman Riccardo Simoneschi welcomed the delegates to the meeting at his hometown Milan, thanking everyone for attending, and for all their vital volunteer work in support of the International Melges 24 Class. As 2014 AGM is the last one for Riccardo as a Chairman, he was also thanking all the Executive Committee members across these 8 years (2006-2014) and for all what they have achieved together.  

According to Riccardo Melges 24 class comparing to many others is still doing very well – 20 years old and is still the best and very well designed one-design keel boat class in the world which is a very good starting point for the future. Riccardo was highlighting 2014 Worlds held in Geelong (AUS), where the number of participants was not so big, but the level of sailing was very high, the atmosphere was friendly and the level of organizing very professional and high. After very well executed Worlds the sailing has became even more active in the Asia Pacific region and the class will have a good development in that part of the world. 

The Chairman said, that despite some problems with the shortened stanchions, the fleet is satisfied with this innovation making sailing healthier and simpler. 

The high number of participants at the European Sailing Series events already for a second year now shows a good vitality of the class – 108 boats in total were taking part from 5 events all across the Europe with a high number per event. Riccardo was introducing the M24 Italian Series 2015 which will be emerged to Audi Sailing Series with M20 and M32 and where the new marinas will host the events next year bringing new freshness to the class. The Chairman ended his report looking very positively to the future.  

2.       National Class Reports

RS asked each of the delegates at the table to introduce themselves and confirmed receipt of the formal National Class Reports, as below.

3.       Minutes Of The Last Meeting

Acceptance of the Minutes of the 2013 Meeting as a correct record of the meeting was proposed by Jens Wathne, seconded by Chris Farkas and approved unanimously.

4.       Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Tomi Hakola presented the Treasurer’s Report and Budget Proposal 2015. The financial figures 2014 presented at the AGM were cut down on November 19, 2014 and have been prepared as since 2011  by a third party company based in Helsinki based on the Finnish and EU laws. 
Majority of the income comes from the sail royalties (54%) and class affiliation fees (36,3%). ISAF royalties come from the boats built, but this year only one boat was built – that explains a small figure. Membership fees have dropped down by 15,8 %.The biggest downsize has been during 2014  the selling of new sails which made a huge deficit to the  income. Treasurer’s main concern is the membership fees –  if the class has less paying full members, the less income we’ll have. The class needs to get boats back  sailing and to buy new sails. Expenditure’s increase 4,3 % in 2014 - this side looks pretty much similar to 2013 and nothing different or dramatic in this. 
The Treasurer emphasized that although the class has a massive deficit this year, the current assets, due to the fact that some years have been exceptionally good, are enough to manage 2015 and even 2016.

2015 Budget Proposal 
Motion was made by Chris Farkas to delete the associated membership fee proposal from the budget, seconded by Warwick Rooklyn and approved unanimously. 
2015 Budget Proposal was not approved by the AGM and was requested to be revised. The Chairman acknowledged the request and advised that this would be dealt by the Treasurer and Executive Committee during the break time and the new proposal will be brought to the AGM later.

5.       Marketing & Communications Report

Chairman started the report with a comment that the class has had a couple of good shots both in US and Europe thanks to the Sailing Anarchy which has been brought the attention to M24 class several times. He also mentioned that there are several new tools in social media which help to monitor the number of people interested and those who are talking about you.  

Tomi Hakola presented the Marketing and Communications Report. Normal website numbers have been decreasing but the increasing unique visitor numbers; spend minutes and engagement numbers on the other platforms  i.e. social media have been a delight on the eyes.  The class needs to be everywhere  on different kinds of media platforms. The numbers are showing that usage of the mobile phones and iPad’s has been peaking up during the past year, Facebook pages user numbers has been steadily growing and there’s a highly growing interest in YouTube video footages (minutes watched in total have been growing 18 % vs 2013). Tomi advised the sailors and NCA’s to share their sailing videos online to get class more covered from different countries and events. 

Rob Britts was asking why not to use in US the local photographer or video team instead of flying them in from Europe. Riccardo was commenting that the level of quality of those hired by the event not by IMCA should be approved by the Exec Comm before making a deal with the partners to prove their high level quality to cover the event. Michael Schineis suggestion was more to contribute in the big events where the interest is peaking up and save from those events which do not create such interest.

6.       Technical Report

Technical Committee Chairman, Peter Göckel, advised that the Technical Committee had met the previous day to discuss ongoing general technical issues and to review the technical and rule change proposal incorporated within the AGM Agenda. He presented the Technical Committee's Report and it was agreed that the individual recommendations relating to Agenda items would be covered under the relevant sections later in the meeting. But all in all a conclusion from the Tech Comm meeting was that 2013 Class Rule change was successful and the class was happy with the shortened stanchions.

7.       Builder’s Report

Luisa Bambozzi gave a short overview about the current situation mentioning i.e. two new Melges24 boats that were been built, and that Melges Europe’s aim is to give better support to the European events and to the Italian class events to be present on the spot as much as possible. Riccardo was adding that the new boat will be built now which will be equal with those built in the past and the Chief Measurer egidio Babbi is keeping a close eye on the process. 

8.       Election Of Officers

Before going to the process, Chairman Riccardo Simoneschi was giving a short speech emphasizing some important topics. He was highlighting that the Constitution of the class is lacking of consistency and most of the troubles what class has met during several past years came up mainly due to the constitution which is not set up for the international class. He’s suggestion was to turn to the independent third party, for example to the Chairman of the Constitution Committee of the ISAF to rewrite the constitution. The suggestion was made to explain to the NC members that they are the members of the IMCA in the first place and then the members of the NC. This is how the international class works recognized by the ISAF. He was also emphasizing the importance of the communication using all our best assets like images and video footages to present class very well all over the globe. As the class has been well spread all over the world, and even the numbers have been decreasing, this is the good base for the future. 

Chairman - To proceed with the process which is different this time as has been normally, Chairman asked two candidates to leave the room to present the facts discovered about both nominees (Jens Wathne & Chris Farkas) to the AGM.

Jens Wathne

  • Full member of the class since 5th of April 2014 (nomination deadline 10th October 2014)
  • Sole boat owner & racing actively on both continents

Chris Farkas

  • Full member of the class since 24th October 2014, but nomination deadline 10th October 2014.
  • Not a boat owner & not actively racing - misleading the USMCA, IMCA World Council since 2012 of being a boat owner.

The facts about the nominees were presented both to Jens and Chris. Both candidates got the chance for questions and for the short speeches by both nominees. Then a vote was called for and Jens Wathne NOR was elected by a majority to stand in to post of the Chairman (votes: 38 vs 21). The voting was arbitrated and checked by two observers. 

AGM was thanking Riccardo Simoneschi for the exceptional years what the class have had with him as a Chairman. A special trophy (designed piece of glass art) was awarded to Riccardo to thank him for all those 8 years (2006-2014) with the class. Michael Schineis and Warwick Rooklyn and those on Skype were thanking Riccardo and wishing him and Jens good luck for the future. New Chairman Jens Wathne was grateful to Riccardo for all these years with his professional leadership of the class and was thanking Chris for all what he has done for the class.

From this point on the new Chairman Jens Wathne was chairing the AGM.

Vice Chairman - a vote was called and Rob Britts USA was elected unanimously to stand in to post of the Vice Chairman.

Secretary/Treasurer - There was a proposal from several NCA’s in the Agenda to modify the Constitution to enable the members of the Board to remain in the office longer. After voting, the AGM agreed not to change the Constitution in that point, but as there wasn’t any other candidates to this post, the proposal was made by Jens to keep Tomi Hakola for another year in the office and it was seconded by Michael Schineis. A vote was called and was approved unanimously that Tomi Hakola will stand for another year in the office. However the work is in progress to revise the Constitution for the next year’s AGM as it dates back to 1990nties and has became outdated for now. The AGM is acting in good faith to solve this situation next year.

Member North America - a vote was called and Duncan Stamper CAN was elected unanimously to stand in to post of the Member North America.

Member EU – As there wasn’t any candidate nominated by the deadline for the AGM Agenda, Jens Wathne as a new Chairman was using his constitutional power to put forward a candidate Michael Good SUI for this position. A vote was called and Michael Good SUI was elected unanimously to stand in to post of the Member EU. 
The list of Executive Committee members

9.       National Class Association Submissions

  1. Finland Proposal – Submission to update the Melges24 Regatta Regulations – Approved with minor modification. The Finnish Class has been concerned about the Regatta Regulations especially those related to the events and racing as they have not been updated since 2011. The proposal is to nominate a group of people to revise them and the person to lead this group – Arto Kiiski (IJ) was proposed to lead this group as he has a long history with the class and has been working closely with Hank  Stuart during the M24 events.  It was ensured that the work will be done without any costs to the IMCA and is mainly just “housekeeping” item. Michael Schineis seconded the motion with a remark that this will be free of charge for the class. It was unanimously approved. 
  2. USMCA Proposal 1 – Proposal to review and revise IMCA’s Regatta Rules & Regulations – Approved with modification. Rob Britts gave an overview about the reason to put forward this proposal. The USMCA proposes that the IMCA ease many of the restrictions currently advised in the various prescribed Melges 24 Rules & Regulations Documents due to the ongoing difficulty of finding a Yacht Club to host premiere regattas such as the North American Championship and World Championship. Yacht Clubs are refusing to host events due to the high cost of underwriting either event. After the discussion about the different experiences with the events and IMCA’s Regatta Rules & Regulations, Jens Wathne proposed to review the whole documents, not only the points mentioned in USMCA’s proposal, seconded by Warwick Rooklyn. It was approved unanimously. Rob Britts was emphasising the need to do that as soon as possible because of the approaching events, i.e. in early January 2015. 
  3. USMCA Proposal 2 - The complete abolishment of existing Class Rule C.2.2 WEIGHTS – Rejected. The USMCA proposes the complete abolishment of existing Class Rule C.2.2 WEIGHTS. If the abolishment of the existing Class Rule C.2.2 WEIGHTS is not possible, the USMCA proposes a complete re-evaluation/abolishment of Class Rule H.3. According to the Class Rules the Rule H3 has to be followed at the IMCA’s sanctioned events. Warwick Rooklyn was suggesting that IMCA should say that the ranking events are also sanctioned events as otherwise the ranking events are not equally comparable. Peter Göckel was reminding that the Class Rule change on that was made already before (from 360 to 375 kg) based on USMCA proposal in 2011 and was emphasising that Technical Committee did not support the proposal as it will change the basics of the class. A vote was called to vote for the abolishment and the proposal was rejected with a majority (45 vs 22). Another vote was called to vote for re-evaluating Class Rule H.3 and the proposal was rejected also by the majority. 
  4. USMCA Proposal 3 - A review of the Class Rule G.4.2 (h) Fixed Forestay Rule - Rejected. The same proposal was made in Salzburg few years ago and a chance according to this rule has been given to those wanting to use it. Top teams do not use it, and the sailors will choose the best solutions for themselves. It was approved by the majority that no changes will be made.

10.   Proposed Rule Changes – approved by the meeting with minor modification

Fittings Rule Change/Regulation from Technical Committee. Peter emphasized that the class has struggled with rudder fittings and gudgeons delivery problems for the years already and those delivered the sailors have the quality problems. The current Class Rule is pretty week because the official drawings have never been published and in case someone would like to have custom made rudder fittings, he doesn’t have an access to the official drawings. Peter presented the drawings (click to open: 1 ; 2) for the gudgeons made by Atomic Ski (AUT) with correct numbers on the drawings, which will make the work of the measurers much easier. 
Technical Committee from the previous day was supporting the proposal to be voted at the AGM and the drawings to be published to launch the production.  

The added sentences in bold will be added to the current rule. 
(1) The rudder shall be attached to the transom by means of 2 pintles on the rudder and 2 fittings, with loose pin or pins, on the transom. 
The fittings shall comply with the official drawing, showed in H1. The material should be stainless steel or higher quality. 
Aluminium, ceramic and/or FRP (fibre reinforced plastic) are not permitted. 
The tolerance in any dimension is ±0,5mm

Rudder fittings are an essential part of every sailing boat and their failures/breakage can lead to significant safety issues. Unfortunately we have seen several failures/breakages in the past. In addition to that class members were blocked from sailing due to shortage of spare parts. The new rule allows local supply to overcome shortage of spare parts and the new specifications will enforce durability and safety significantly.  

It was mentioned that there are concerns about one-design and that the material mentioned could be too expensive. Michael Schineis emphasized the delivery problems of the spare parts and the reason why Atomic engineers have been made those drawings for the class. He was also saying that the cost of the titanium fittings might not be as expensive as expected. Warwick Rooklyn suggested to use only one material mentioned in the rule and Duncan Stamper was supporting this opinion.  To conclude it was highlighted that this rule will exclude some materials from using on boat and having this rule we’ll put the boats already using titanium into legal position and it will be kind of a compromise here.  Jens Wathne proposed to call a vote seconded by Fredrik Wenehult SWE and it was supported by a majority in favour of the rule change.  (45 vs 25)

11.   Proposed Changes To Class Constitution – no changes will be made in the Constitution.

Please refer to no 8 in the Minutes – Election Of Officers – Secretary/Treasurer

12.   Future Events – Current Situation

  1. Worlds 2015 Middelfart, Denmark – June 30 – July 5. Soren Laugensen updated the meeting on the progress with this event. Currently 70 teams have been registered and at least 100 boats are expected. Hank Stuart will be the PRO of the event and since December 2014, the NOR is available on the event website. Soren presented the idea of the Stadium Sailing/Medal Race. There was a discussion whether such a format in the existing implementation guidelines is possible at all and whether it would be a system what IMCA and the teams want. The advantages are that it would be very attractive due to the land nearby for spectators and media. The concerns have been brought to the table about the scoring and whether this kind of new format should be tested for the first time at the Worlds. It was found that the implementing regulations do not allow such format, but here is an interest in such format to be seen as a show event in the first place. The site visit report made by Piret Salmistu will be published for the best use of sailors to get more information about the venue. http://www.melges24worlds15.dk/ 
  2. North Americans 2015 & Worlds 2016, USA. Rob Britts updated the meeting on the progress with these events. He was saying it was not possible to find a club willing to take on the significant complexity and financial exposure associated with hosting a North Americans during 2014, and it looks likely that the same will be the case in 2015. Until the Regatta Regulations are changed to allow a more cost effective approach to hosting a North American Championship it will be difficult to find clubs willing to host these events.  
    The 2016 World Championships were originally scheduled to be held in conjunction with Key West Race Week. Since KWRW remains an ongoing concern year to year since the US recession it was decided between Premiere Racing and the USMCA that we would be best suited examining a more suitable location in South Florida that will allow the class sufficient time to prepare and market the event. USMCA is still looking at Key West and may be in partnership with a large hotel there it could be possible to have event there. Several other potential venues in South Florida have been identified and the USMCA is actively receiving submission bids on these to review and report back to IMCA for a final decision no later the end of December 2014 such that the necessary preparations can be begin. 

13.   2015 Budget – revised and approved

Tomi Hakola and Executive Committee have developed a new budget proposal. 
Michael Schineis made three following motions, seconded by Jens Wathne: 
a)       Proposal to vote for the increased full membership fee by 10 Euros (from 85 to 95) was supported unanimously. 
b)       Proposal to increase Sail Royalty’s price by 10 Euros (from 75 to 85) was approved unanimously. 
c)       Proposal to take away from the initial proposal the Class Affiliation fee of the Associate members and replace it with a voluntary fee of 10 Euros for those Associate members participating at the international regattas – this proposal was supported unanimously. 
From the Expenditures side the costs for footages were split up so that 4500 Euros for the costs of the footages can be spent in US/Asia Pacific and the same amount in Europe. 
The revised budget 2015 was approved unanimously.

14.   Future Events – Current Situation

1. European Sailing Series 2015. The following events were confirmed for the 2015 European Sailing Series 

1. March 27-29 - Portoroz Slovenia 
2. May 8-10 - Balatonfüred, Hungary 
3. May 22-24 - Riva del Garda, Italy 
4. June 12-14 – Melges 24 Campione, Lugano Lake, Switzerland 
5. June 30-July 5 – Worlds, Middelfart, Denmark 
6. September 18-20 – Medemblik, the Netherlands

Melges 24 Audi Tron Sailing Series dates and events were presented to the AGM as well to avoid a clash with the events to be scheduled. 
1. April 3-5 - Imperia, Liguria 
2. May 1-3 - Porto Venere Liguria 
3. May 22-24 - Riva del Garda 
4. July 24-26 - TBA 
5. September 10-13 - TBA (Italian Champs.) 
6. October 2-4 - Melges Team Racing Genova

2.       Europeans 2016
There were two proposals, both received late without publishing in the Agenda until the AGM. The applicants were Hyeres in France and from Suffolk Haven Port, UK. The bid from UK class was not in an appropriate form to decide based on the information given. The proposal of Hyeres FRA was approved by a majority.  The exact dates to be finalized by the Executive Committee in consultation with the international sailing calendar and the schedules of the other Melges classes.

3.       Worlds 2017 
Proposals were presented by Andrea Rachelli on behalf of the Melges 24 Italian Class and by Tomi Hakola for Helsinki, Finland. Both proposals were great and the meeting thanked for the presentations. 
Italy proposes for the event several locations - Talamone Toscana , Porto Rotondo Sardinia, San Remo , Garda, Trapani. The dates for the event have not been set yet, but the best time to consider would be September as the last event of the season. 
Finland – losing the bid for Worlds 2015 to Denmark, was presenting the same proposal as last AGM. Proposed dates for the event are in late Julys and early August. The hosting club would be HSK – Helsingfors Segelklubb. 
Jens Wathne was calling a vote, seconded by Michael Schineis and it was voted in favour of Helsinki, Finland by a majority (47 vs 15) to be held in early August 2017.

 4.       Europeans 2018 
IMCA received a note at the AGM from Italy that they will be bidding the 2018 Europeans next year.                              

5.       2018 Europeans, 2018 Worlds USA & 2019 Worlds EU 
Shall be decided in next year´s AGM. IMCA is asking all national classes to be active in getting bids for the 2018-2019 major championships. Bid deadline end of August 2015 and to be sent to IMCA central office.  

6.       USA/CAN/Asia Pacific Events 2015
USA – US Gorge Nationals 2015, Cascade Locks, OR, August 7-9 and DIYC Series leading up to Worlds in 2016 – See more at http://www.usmelges24.com/?p=events/&y=2015 
CAN - Canadian Nationals 2015, Windsor Yacht Club – July 10-12 
Asia Pacific – Australian Championships 2015, January 8-11. See more at http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?c=0-9994-0-0-0&sID=297308 
North American Sailing Series and Australasian Sailing Series – the dates and events to be confirmed with Rob Britts and Warwick Rooklyn shortly.

15.   Date and venue of Next Meeting 
The next meeting was proposed to be taken place in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was not decided yet, place, date and time to be confirmed.