Yachting Australia's National Boat Owners Meeting: CYCA Friday 27 July
Matt Allen, Yachting Australia's Offshore Keelboat Committee Chairman, explained the aims of the meeting.
‘The boat owners meeting will be happening this coming Friday at the CYCA. The aim of this particular meeting is to increase participation in keelboat sailing.
‘Down the track we may well want to repeat this consultative process with cruising, dinghy and other small boat sailing.
‘We have about 85 RSVP so far. There are a number of people coming in face to face and people all around Australia will be dialing in via our online facility.
‘If owners cannot get to the meeting personally, they can listen and ask questions by typing them into a box on the screen.
‘Here's the background to this meeting. We have a Yachting Australia Offshore Keelboat Policy Committee and we want to get direction for that committee and we are very opened minded about where that goes. We can either kill the committee off or we can change the focus of the committee and we can change the people who are on the committee, to suit the ongoing purpose of the committee.
‘In the past, the Offshore Keelboat Policy Committee has looked at special regulations to a large degree. Now we have a national safety committee we don't need too many different layers of committees to handle the same set of issues.
‘I'll introduce our Friday speakers and give you a broad outline for the meeting.
‘Chris Oxenbault, the National Safety Committee Chairman will explain the roles of the National Safety committee and the special regulations and the process of the special regs.
‘Hopefully his address will answer some questions we get asked regularly such as ‘Why do we have different special regs from ISAF? What is the process for determining special regs in Australia? How can people get interpretations on special regs?
‘People actually understand the new way of doing things in terms of special regulations in the country.
Festival of Sails, Geelong 2012 Beth Morley - copyright
‘I am going to explain at the beginning of the meeting some background on how Yachting Australia works and the Offshore Keelboat Committee and the question of how we will take forward this discussion.
‘Then David Tallis, the Racing Rules and Officials Committee Chairman is going to talk about the racing rules of sailing and some of this specifically relates to keelboat sailing. It's interesting that one of the issues that has come to light is stacking weight down below.
‘A number of boat owners have mentioned to me that it is very common and I have certainly seen it on boats where people stack the weight down below, especially in longer races when you are on the wind or in heavy running.
‘Clarifying that issue, given that people are admitting it's occurring, and how we actually manage that issue going forward is interesting.
‘Do we pretend it is not happening? Do we try and enforce or do we attempt to bend the rules or there may be a better idea than any of those suggestions.
‘We could decide to allow stacking but obviously there are safety implications also.
‘You have big differences to the stability of a boat if you have everything stacked on one side and then if the boat does an involuntary tack or gybe, does that have an impact on potentially crushing people down below if the bunk system collapses for instance, or/and has a knock on effect to the stability of the boat.
‘There is also the seamanship issue. If you were running downwind in 40 knots of breeze, for example, and you haven't trimmed the boat for the weight to be aft and now you need it that is a safety and seamanship issue.
‘We will also be talking about event formatting with Glen Stanaway– YA's Sport Services Manager and International Race Officer Denis Thompson will discuss the running of events, scheduling of events, IRC, potentially ORC, championships and also looking at if you can change crew weight during a regatta.
‘I think I might have mentioned it t before but Marcus Blackmore has been raising an issue for quite some time.
‘Marcus had people that came to the Port Stephens Regatta, 16 crew or so, and because of light airs they went down to about 12 or 11 crew for the three days - poor people sitting on the beach or the dock or wherever for three days.
‘Marcus says he was following the current rules but it's not very good for people who volunteer three days of their life to not even go sailing.
‘Is there a way that the sport can resolve to fix that issue?
‘At Hamilton Island regatta we have seen owners take large teams of people and then put them all off on the light day and then bring them all back on board when it's heavier.
‘It's not a good thing for the sport. That obviously dovetails into the IRC rule crew weight limitations, headcount crew weight not in the Notice of Race or modified by the Notice of Race. It's obviously overlapping that issue.
‘We'll be talking about the variation of courses for IRC as obviously it is a bit challenging, especially say out of Sydney where it is hard to get a course that is not a run or a beat. It is hard to get a variation of courses unless you are going out to Lord Howe Island, that is a fair wing mark that one. We'll also talk about getting a bit more coordination of feedback on that issue.
‘That is really one of the roles of the OKPC. Does it in effect have a particular role there or should we just pretend it hasn't got a role?
‘Standardisation of sailing instructions had been raised. Denis (Thompson) does them in a pretty standard way. But a template would obviously help.
‘David Lyons, – National Safety Committee, ORC Nominee Glen Stanaway and I, are going to talk about free rating rules being ORCi, IRC and High Performance rule and David Lyons will be talking specifically on the high performance rule.
‘Glen Stanaway is also going to speak about PHS rules, what they do in the States for PHRF and ask the PHS sailors whether there is any sort of appetite for that. Then we are probably going to have a fairly meaty question session. Obviously we will take questions along the way.
‘It is a three hour meeting and is going to be pretty tightly chaired. It starts at 9.00am on Friday 27th July morning. It should hopefully be finished by 12:00 to 12:30.
‘I am very happy for people to come and observe the meeting or participate in the meeting.
‘What we are going to do at the end of the meeting is really work out where we go forward. I don't think we are going to have this sort of format of a meeting on a regular basis.
‘What I would prefer to do, is if people think it's worthwhile, to then delegate it to a group that would go forward with particular terms of reference from the boat owners and be responsible and start to look at other areas of yachting.
Look at other non racing aspects of yachting , organised cruising is one I think is coming up especially out of Victoria, of which Ross Kilborn – YA's Sport Development Director is very much aware.
‘Overall Yachting Australia will be responsive to whatever the demands are.
‘This meeting is a bit of an experiment, to get a group of people in a room and online for a national meeting, so we will see how it goes.
Overall I am very open minded on what are the outcomes of the meeting.
‘How do we take these things forward? I will be guided by the meeting but any things we think we have a consensus on, we will then offer a survey on, because I am conscious that 100 people in the meeting will be just a part of the sport Australia wide.
‘We might get a really good idea happening and then we will want to do a relatively brief, straight forward, simple survey to a database of yacht owners to validate or otherwise what comes out of that meeting. ‘
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