AGM Minutes

Minutes of the Laser Stratos Class Association
Annual General Meeting
Held at Swanage Sailing Club on Saturday 11 June 2005
Jo Bacon
Charles Bacon
Mike Beggs
Alister Beveridge
Carol Boughton
Trevor Boughton
Serena Davis
Tim Davis
Brian George
Marek Jezierski
Sophie Jezierski
Mark West
Steve Woolnough
Also present:
Amanda Eastwood
Bernie Grogan
John James
1. Secretary’s report

Sophie reported that it was now four years since Class Association was first up & running. Membership started in April 2002, and in the interests of simplicity runs on a fixed year to 31 March for all. Not everyone renews each year; most of the fall off this year seems to be because members have sold their boats. However new members are joining at a fairly steady rate.

Committee membership has remained problematic with no active members except the Class Secretary (Sophie) who is also Acting Treasurer and the Webmaster (Pascal Guignabaudet). The Association has had no separate Treasurer for the last three years. Both the Secretary and the Webmaster have been attempting to find replacements for their posts but so far with no results.

Class Association activities remain fairly limited. Since the 2003 National Championships at Leigh on Sea SC, during which the last AGM was also held, the following activities have taken place:

The Class still struggles to get into double figures for events, with the Nationals attracting the highest numbers (16 boats at Lymington in 2004, 13 at Swanage in 2005). The Class Association may have to accept that, for the time being, most people who buy a Stratos don’t want to travel with it. This does mean a more structured and competitive class racing circuit cannot be achieved at present, unless the Class can develop stronger links with the Laser2000s, who already work closely with the Laser3000s.

2. Financial report

The Class Association bank balance at 31 March 2005 was £2,543.05 in credit.

Class Association income remains dependent on two sources at present: membership subscriptions and insurance commission from Noble Marine. The Class does not at present have any outside sponsorship. At the last AGM it was agreed that sponsorship opportunities would be explored but the member who agreed to look at this did not make any progress and has now sold his Stratos and left the Class Association.

The major expenditure each year is on prizes for Stratos events. Current policy is to spread the prizegiving as far through the fleet as possible to reflect the inclusive nature of Stratos events and to recognize the contribution that all participants make to the success and enjoyment of the events.

The Class Association has also subsidized evening meals at some weekend events. Additional expenses are postage and stationery costs.

3. Contributions from members

There is not a great deal of Class Association activity from members. The major support has come from the Secretary and the Webmaster, Pascal Guignabaudet. In addition, those clubs who have hosted events, in particular the Nationals, have contributed much appreciated support to the Class and a great deal of hard work from individual club members to ensure the success of these events. There is also a hard core of active Stratos sailors who have developed a fairly regular online correspondence and who often offer helpful support to other Stratos sailors via contributions on the website forum.

4. Committee Vacancies:

Sophie reminded the meeting that, having been in post since the Class Association began, she had being trying to resign for over a year. She had not wanted to leave before a replacement had been found but could not continue indefinitely and had now reluctantly decided to resign despite the lack of a successor. She agreed to remain the Class contact for the moment but warned that future activity within the Class Association would of necessity be minimal until a new Secretary is found.

Since Sophie was also acting Treasurer, this post also needed to be filled. Mike Beggs very kindly volunteered to take on this post and this decision was warmly endorsed by the meeting.

The role of Webmaster was also raised since Pascal was unable to continue to give the time needed to maintain the website in its previous form. No one had volunteered to take over from him and there had therefore been some changes to the website forum in particular to make it possible for it to continue, see item 5 below.

5. Class Association Website:

Since Pascal had taken over the website it had been running well and seen some major improvements. However pressure of work prevented him from continuing to maintain the site as it was. In order to make the forum in particular less cumbersome to maintain he and the Secretary had taken the decision to move it to Yahoo Groups so that members were able to take more responsibility for postings and maintenance.

This change had prompted considerable discussion among members. The major disadvantages appeared to be:

On the upside:

The meeting agreed that the current format was not a desirable long term solution but that until someone could be found who would be able and willing to run the site in a different format the current arrangement would have to stand.

6. Forthcoming events

Mike Beggs informed the meeting that Lymington Town SC, the host of the 2004 Stratos Nationals, was very keen to support the Class again. Stratos sailors were invited to the LTSC Regatta on 30/31 July 2005. If LTSC received six or more advance Stratos entries it would provide a Class Start and the Class Association would provide prizes for this as a Stratos Open event.

Mike also told the meeting that the dinghy cruising section of LTSC was organizing one of its regular cruises, on 2 July 2005, from Lymington to the Isle of Wight where there would be a sandcastle competition before returning to Lymington. All Stratos sailors were, as always, most welcome.

The meeting expressed some interest in another training and racing weekend at Queen Mary SC although this would probably not take place during 2005.

Sophie informed the meeting that she had been in contact with the Laser2000 Class Association and that the 2006 Stratos Nationals would probably take place at Grafham Water in May 2006 when the Laser2000s would also be there for their Inland Championships.

There would be a further opportunity to meet up with the Laser2000s at Rutland Water in Autumn 2006 for an asymmetric weekend with other Laser classes.

7. Any other business

Mark West expressed an interest in a Stratos tuning event. He also suggested that as an alternative to this, some of the Class Association funds might be used to pay for an expert tuning session, not necessarily involving Stratos members, which would lead to some specific guidance for Stratos rigging tensions and other settings. There was some interest in developing Stratos rigging and tuning information but no decision was taken at the meeting regarding this.

The restriction on choice of sailmaker for Stratos sails was raised. Some members felt that it would be more convenient and probably cheaper if the class rules permitted replacement sails to be ordered from any suitable sailmaker. The meeting was aware that this would have commercial implications and did not decide to take this further at this point but suggested that the issue could be further explored at a later date.

The current voting requirements for a change of class rules were explained. Several classes have voted to change their voting requirements so that instead of a specified percentage of total membership, a percentage of the total votes cast should be sufficient to effect a change to the class rules. It was agreed that this would be a sensible change and that further action on this should be considered once a replacement Class Secretary was in post.

The meeting briefly discussed the RYA Racing Charter. No decision was taken on this issue.

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