2012 Melges 24 World Council AGM Minutes

INTERNATIONAL MELGES 24 CLASS ASSOCIATION WORLD COUNCIL

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2012

Saturday, 24th November 2012, Helsinki, Finland

MINUTES

Present:

Voting Delegates:
Riccardo Simoneschi – Chairman
Chris Farkas – Vice Chairman & representing USA + HUN
Michael Schineis – Vice Chairman & representing AUT
Jens Wathne – Executive Committee Member
Simon Strauss – Executive Committee Member (via Skype)
Warwick Rooklyn – Executive Committee Member & representing AUS
Tomi Hakola – Secretary/Treasurer & representing FIN/JAP
Peter Goeckel – Technical Committee Chairman & representing GER + SLO
Frank Lieve – representing NED + GBR
Martin Muur – representing EST
Arne David Andersen – representing NOR and SWE
Rasmus Melsen – representing DEN
Michael Good – representing SUI
Alessandro Poggi – representing ITA

Non Voting Delegates:
Federico Michetti – Builder’s Representative
Egidio Babbi – IMCA Chief Measurer (via Skype)
Hank Stuart – IMCA Championship Coordinator (via Skype)
Fiona Brown – IMCA Administrator
Arto Kiiski – Observer FIN
Lucy Simoneschi – Observer
Luca Babini – Observer ITA
Heath Walters - Melges Asia Pacific (via Skype)

Apologies:

HUN – proxy given to Chris Farkas
GBR – proxy given to Frank Lieve
FRA – proxy given to Alessandro Poggi
UKR – proxy given to Alessandro Poggi
SLO – proxy given to Peter Goeckel
SWE – proxy given to Arne David Andersen

See Agenda for supporting papers.

Welcome & Chairman's Report

IMCA Chairman Riccardo Simoneschi welcomed all the delegates to the meeting and thanked them for giving up so much of their valuable time to support the work of the Melges 24 Class.  He particularly welcomed the new delegates to the meeting - Rasmus Melsen from the rapidly expanding Danish Class, Warwick Rooklyn from the flourishing Australian Class, Martin Muur from the now independent Estonian Class and Federico Michetti of Melges Europe who has joined the Technical and Executive Committees as Builders Representative.  He also thanked the Executive Committee members for all their hard work during the past year and Treasurer Tomi Hakola for his work helping to ensure the Class is now in a better financial position than it has been for some time.
 
Riccardo highlighted the recession defying success of the Melges 24 Class in the past year with impressive growth of the class into Scandinavia, Australia and South America, a record breaking World Championship attendance and regular events with turnouts of 35+ boats across Europe and North America.  These facts make the Melges 24 the strongest one design high performance keelboat in the World. 
 
He noted that there are many areas where we must pay close attention and work hard to ensure that the Melges 24 retains that position and confirmed his commitment to achieving that goal.
 
National Class Reports
 
Each national representative introduced themselves and presented their formal written national class reports:

Minutes of the Last Meeting

Minutes of last meeting - were approved as a correct record of the meeting.

Financial Report and Budget

Tomi Hakola presented the Financial Report and Budget. He highlighted that the accounts have been audited by a third party company as per Finnish law.  He confirmed there will be no change to the membership and sail label fees which will remain at Euro 85 per Full member and Euro 70 per Sail Label. The Budget was approved by the meeting.

Marketing & Communications Report

Riccardo Simoneschi highlighted the excellent coverage the Melges 24 Championships had received across the online and print media outlets globally this year, the continuing growth in followers on our Facebook and Twitter accounts and the increasing visitor numbers to our websites.  Looking forward he noted that our marketing efforts must be focused on supporting the development of the class regionally, reaching out to new members and new nations, as well as supporting existing teams.  As part of this effort he formally presented the new European Sailing Series and its Trophy.  This series is specifically focused to build on growth in Europe and ensure the Melges 24 media profile is maintained throughout the season.  He was pleased to note that member numbers were up in Europe and Australia and that the decline in member numbers in the USA has been halted over the last two years.  With the draw of the 2013 Worlds in San Francisco, the 2014 Worlds in Australia and an ongoing programme of excellent Championships and Ranking Series around the Globe, the class is well poised to continue building on this success.

Technical Report

Technical Committee Chairman Peter Goeckel presented the Technical Committee Report.  A full Tech Comm meeting had taken place the previous day and Peter summarised their discussions and conclusions.  He particularly noted the appointment of Chief Measurer and Technical Advisor Egidio Babbi who joined the Class this summer and will be working closely with Peter to manage a number of important projects in the coming year.  These include a full technical review of the Class Rules, Measurement Form and Certificate, etc, for compliance with current ISAF Rules and Regs; development of a training programme for Measurers and introducing a Measurer's Handbook; continuing to review and develop the Regatta Regulations; working with MPS to ensure high production/measurement standards are maintained; identifying and training a new International Measurer for Australia/Asia Pacific.  In recent years the management of measurement certificates has been problematic and Peter advised that investigations were being made into bringing certificate management in house to simplify and standardise the process.  

Peter also reported that an Asia Pacific members representative will join the Technical Committee with Warwick Rooklyn of Australia representing the region initially.  The poor recording of member data on the Class records has been noted and the National Class representatives were reminded of their responsibility to their members to profide e-mail addresses so that members can be fully involved with the formal business of the class.  Peter reconfirmed that as each member is joining the International Class when they sign up it is legal for the IMCA to hold the data and he reiterated that IMCA member data is never released to third parties or to other member nations.  

The Technical Committee had also reviewed all the technical and rule change proposals on the AGM Agenda and its recommendations were presented as each item was discussed.

Builders Reports

Before introducing Federico Michetti to present the Builders' Reports, Riccardo Simoneschi updated the meeting on recent developments with Devoti Sailing.  Devoti and Melges Performance Sailboats (MPS) have reached mutual agreement that Devoti's contract to build Melges 24s will end in summer 2013, 12 months earlier than planned.  In future all production will be based at the MPS facility in Wisconsin, USA and European distribution and service will be coordinated by Melges Europe.  Riccardo expressed a vote of thanks to Devoti and MPS for handling this transition with such professionalism and goodwill.  Federico then gave the meeting further details of how they will manage the business in Europe from this point forward.  He advised that Melges Europe will be seeking a network of local agents and putting all their efforts behind supporting existing owners and helping to grow the class across Europe with particular focus on developing new nations.  He advised that the current weakness of the US$ means that the cost of shipping from the US to Europe is almost negated so customers will not see a significant price hike.  In addition he noted that for the past season Melges Asia Pacific have also been electing to bring in boats from MPS rather than build locally in Australia as the exchange rate is so good.  This brings the advantage of truly one design production at a consistently high quality.  He then presented the formal written reports from the builders.

Election of Officers 

The following Officers were elected to the IMCA Executive Committee

Chairman - Riccardo Simoneschi – ITA 
Vice Chairman - Chris Farkas - USA 
Member - North America - Simon Strauss – USA
Member  - Europe - Jens Wathne – NOR

Regatta Regulation Change Proposals

The following recommendations from the National Classes were approved by the World Council:

Event Measurement

Having tested the alternate "during regatta" measurement checks system over the past two seasons the AGM agreed that it preferred the more traditional "pre-event" measurement system.  Peter Goeckel reported that the Technical Committee agree with this conclusion and the proposal from the Norwegian Class to revert to the old system was approved.  The Championship Coordinator and Chief Measurer will work to encompass this for future events starting in 2013.

Championship Length

The AGM accepted the USMCA's proposal that the Regatta Regulations should define the number of races required for a World and Continental Championship, but should allow flexibility in setting the number of days of racing to allow for local variations in available holiday time and other local conditions.  All schedules will still require to be approved by the IMCA.  

Round Robin Series/Gold - Silver Fleet Selection

It was agreed that changes were needed to the current Round Robin system used when events have a large entry and a split fleet is required.  The current system is prone to problems in seeding the teams so that one group may end up with a much stronger list of sailors than another.  Following recommendation by the Technical Committee the AGM agreed to use the 49er Class system, whereby the Round Robin fleets are reseeded at the end of each day of the Round Robin series ensuring that imbalances in the groups are avoided, as the basis for our new system.  The Championship Coordinator will be asked to work with the Tech Comm and Executive to finalise this.  The details of the new system must then be published with explanatory notes on the website.

Scoring - Corinthian Division

Currently the Corinthian Division racing is scored as a completely separate series - the first Corinthian boat gets 1 point, the second 2, etc.  The Italian Class requested that the scoring system for the Corinthian Division be changed so that the results are an extract of the main result - the first Corinthian boat finishes 10th in the race so he scores 10 points, the second 14, etc.  The pros and cons of each system were discussed, but no conclusion was reached.  The AGM referred the matter to the Technical Committee to recalculate the past 3 years World and Continental Championship results using the alternative system, compare the results and bring their recommendations to the next AGM.

Proposed Class Rule Changes

Changes to the Class Rules were approved as per the attached document.  Subject to approval by ISAF these will come into force on 1 January 2013.

In addition the following Rule Change matters were discussed and referred for further review.  All other Rule Change proposals were rejected.

Mast & Measurement Form/Certificate

Following discussion of the proposals submitted by the IMCA to consider introducing a requirement for mast serial numbers to be recorded on the Measurement Form and Certificate the AGM agreed to refer this subject back to the Technicall Committee for discussion.  It understood the intent of the rule was to address potenial issues in regard to teams selecting/changing masts according to conditions but did not have the necessary data available to make an informed decision on a rule change.  The Technical Committe was instructed to:  1.  Assess the extent of the existing and potential problem.  2.  Review the mast measurement elements of the Class Rules and the Measurement Procedures.  3.  Bring forward its recommendations to the 2013 AGM.

Rudder Fittings

The IMCA and Norwegian proosal to revise the rules controlling rudder fittings was discussed.  Peter Goeckel reported that the Technical Committee had discussed the poor quality of the currently supplied rudder fittings, the problems of individual owners purchasing alternative fittings and the issue of rudder failures cause by poor lack of understanding of correct maintenance techiques.  The rule change proposals were felt to have correct intent but were not adquate to correctly resolve the issues and needed further work.  

It was confirmed that under the current wording of the rule the use of any fittings that are not made of stainless steel using the "investment casting" technique are prohibited.  

The Technical Committee had agreed that its Chairman and Builders Rep will reach out to MPS to make arrangements for the following to be put in place:

  1. The rudder fittings will be made available in machined steel (currently cast).
  2. Establish a consistent size for the diameter of the bolts for the straps and stock.
  3. The fittings to be stamped with an MPS builders mark so that they can be clearly identified when in place on the boats by the measurer.
  4. Update the official drawing to delete the text “investment casting”, to reflect the option to use either the original investment cast fittings or the new machined fittings.
  5. Update the official drawing to reflect the option to use countersunk screws (as used on earlier fittings) or bolts (as currently used).
  6. Produce a maintenance guide for the owners clearly showing the correct ways to check and tighten the rudder fittings to be published on the website.
  7. Propose to the 2013 AGM to revise the wording of Class Rule E.4.4.a.i) to read 
    “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. These fittings shall be as supplied by Melges Performance Sailboat and shall comply with the official drawings (see Appendix TBC).

The World Council agreed that MPS must be asked to give this matter very serious consideration and work urgently to provide a solution for both new boats and for retrofit to existing boats.  

In addition to the points above the Tech Comm Chairman was also asked to raise the question of reinforcing "knees" inside the transom with MPS and establish the feasability of allowing these.

Stanchion Height, Hiking Line Deflection And Crew Hiking Position

Chris Farkas presented the MPS proposals to reduce the stanchion height and hiking line deflection and enforce a "seated" hiking position for the crews.  He noted that in the US, where Corinthian teams form the majority, the extreme hiking style now common in the class was causing existing owners to leave the fleet and putting new owners off joining.  There was very considerable discussion amongst the delegates about the need to protect the one design status of the class and its standing as the leading international high performance sportboat.  Part of the Melges 24s attraction is that it is a demanding boat to sail and is aimed at sailors looking to be challenged mentally and physically.  The meeting agreed that the hiking techniques had now become very extreme and there were potential issues for health as well as concerns about teams being put off the class because the hiking technique.  The meeting acknowledged that cost must be taken into consideration in any such rule change and that a retrofit kit to lower existing stanchions should be available alongside purchase brand new stanchions if introduced.  It also acknowledged that the one design ethos of the class must be maintained and so a change must be mandatory for all boats.  Having reviewed reports from Bora Gulari and Brian Hutchinson and recieved a report from the Technical Committee regarding the issues that would need to be addressed the AGM agreed the following in regard to MPS Proposals 1) Seated Hiking, 2) Hiking Line Deflection and 3) Stanchion Height (Click here to read MPS proposals in full - see item 11)

1.  We recognize that the MPS proposals 2 and 3 to change to the shorter stanchions with reduced deflection is the right direction for the class.
2.  We do not currently possess sufficient data to adequately define a full Class Rule Change at the current time, specifically:
      a.    The optimum stanchion height.
      b.    The price for new stanchions
      c.    The price and example of the proposed retrofit kit
      d)    The correct number for the deflection
3.  We instruct the Technical Committee to conduct the following research:
      a)    A procedure for assessing the issues above to be submitted to the Executive Committee including a full description of the on water test procedure by January 31st.
      b)    Request MPS to provide the specification and price for:
                 i.      New short stanchions
                 ii.      A retrofit kit to enable existing owners to adapt their stanchions
                 iii.     Provide sets of telescopic/adjustable test stanchions to be provided tothe Technical Committee no later than 31 January
4.  We reject the proposal 1 to enforce seated hiking

The meeting agreed that all testing must be conducted outside racing.  The Technical Committee's formal report with photographic and video evidence together with a draft Rule Change wording for submission to the 2013 World Council AGM must be submitted to the Executive Committe for review no later than end August 2013.  A summary report and photos/videos must then be made available for review by the members.  Every opportunity must be taken to allow members to test the new lower stanchions by providing a test boat at key events for trials before and after racing.

Adoption Of A Standardised Measurement Process And Guide 

Peter Goeckel reported that this matter had been discussed by the Technical Committee the previous day who had agreed that introduction of such a process and guide would be beneficial.  No rule change was necessary but the World Council accepted the USMCA's proposal that this be introduced and instructed the Chief Measurer and Technical Committee to complete preparation of the guide by 1 May 2013.  It was agreed that the booklet drafted by USMCA Technical Committee Chair JA Booker would be used as the basis for the new guide and he meeting thanked JA for his work in preparing this document.

Proposed Changes To the International Melges 24 Class Constitution

Changes to the Constitution as per the attached document were approved.  Subject to approval by ISAF these will come into force on 1 January 2013.

Future Events - Reports From Events Already In Planning

On behalf of the Dutch Melges 24 Class Frank Lieve made a short presentation on the planning progress for the 2013 Melges 24 Europeans in Medemblik.  He confirmed that plans are well underway for the event which is expected to attract 80+ entries.  Medemblik's purpose built facilities on the Ijslemere are outstanding, the sailing waters are world class and Medemblik is a most attractive historic town with plenty of visitor attractions.  The website will go live within the next few days.

Chris Farkas of the USMCA updated the meeting on progress with planning for the 2013 Worlds in San Francisco and confirmed that the Rolex Big Boat Series will act as the Pre-Worlds event.  This means there will be an excellent full schedule for those travelling from overseas.  He confirmed that a title sponsor will be announced within the next few days and that the website will go live at the same time the sponsor announcement goes out.

On behalf of the Australian Melges 24 Class Warwick Rooklyn made a presentation on the proposals and initial planning for the 2014 Worlds in Geelong.  He highlighted the growth of the Australian Class specifically and the potential for growth in the Asia Pacific region in general and the need for a major IMCA event in the region to support this growth.  He emphasised that the organisers had plans in place to assist overseas competitors to attend as inexpensively as possible and confirmed the Australian Class's commitment to growing the Melges 24 numbers in the region.  The meeting unanimously voted to confirm the selection of Geelong, Australia as the venue for the 2014 Worlds from 28 January to 2 February using the Geelong Festival of Sails immediately preceeding those dates as the Australian Nationals and warm up event.

Future Events - Proposals And Decisions

Having reviewed all the proposals submitted the forthcoming IMCA World and Continental Championship schedule was agreed as follows:

2013 European Championship  Medemblik, Netherlands 16-22 August 2013
2013 World Championship  San Francisco, CA, USA  30 Sep - 5 Oct 2013
2014 World Championship  Geelong, Melbourne, Australia  28 Jan - 2 Feb 2014
2014 European Championship  Lake Balaton, Hungary  End April/Early May 2014

2014 North American Championship

 Chicago, IL, USA  Late June 2014
2015 North American Championship  In Association With Bacardi Miami Race Week, FL, USA  Early March 2015
2015 World Championship  Europe North, TBC  TBC
2016 World Championship  In Association With Key West Race Week, FL, USA  Mid January 2016
2016 European Championship  Europe South, TBC  TBC

Proposals for those events still to be confirmed will be considered at the 2013 AGM.

European Sailing Series 2013

The following events are confirmed for the European Sailing Series 2013

26/28 April - TBC Lake Balaton, Hungary
22/26 June - Kiel Week, Germany
18/21 July - Torbole, Lake Garda, Italy
16/24 August - European Championship, Medemblik, Netherlands
6/8 September - Norwegian Championship, Hanko, Norway

North American Ranking 2013

The following events are confirmed for the North American Ranking 2013

20/25 January - Quantum Key West Race Week
7/9 March - Bacardi Miami Sailing Week | Atlantic Coast Championship
19/21 April - Charleston Race Week | Melges 24 US National Championship
17/19 May - Sperry Top-Sider Seattle NOOD Regatta
31 May/2 June - Bayview One Design Regatta – Detroit
21/23 June - US Melges 24 Gold Cup – Chicago
17/18 August - SFYC Invitational Regatta / Pacific Coast Championship - San Francisco
26/29 September - Rolex Big Boat Series | Pre-World Championship
30 September/5 October - Melges 24 World Championship – San Francisco 

Australasian Ranking

For the first time the World Ranking will feature an Australasian Ranking.  The following events are confirmed for the Australasian Ranking 2013

24/27 January - Australian National Championship in association with Geelong Festival of Sails
7/10 February - South Australian Championship
November TBA - East Coast Championship
November TBA - New South Wales Championship

Next Meeting

The next IMCA World Council AGM will be held in Budapest, Hungary on 2 November 2013.  It will be preceeded by a Technical Committee Meeting on 1 November 2013, also in Budapest.