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Governors' Meeting in Hong Kong

13 November 2015 Phil Smidmore

RHKYC in the midst of amazing Hong Kong

"RHKYC in the midst of amazing Hong Kong"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

On Saturday Oct 31, 2015, I attended the Etchells Annual Governors’ Meeting in Hong Kong.

Also present was our Australian President and ODTC Chairman, Jake Gunther, along with Australian Governors Noel Patterson, Richard Hammond and Grantham Kitto. The last three put in a great effort by flying up just for the meeting. David Ritchard, International Treasurer, joined in via phone link, which meant that Australia was well represented.

High on the agenda was the tightening of the One Design rules, particularly with regard to the keel and skeg garboard measurements, and the minor alterations we are going to make to our Australian mould in an effort to make all moulds even more similar. The meeting adopted the introduction of some new templates and measurements in this difficult to measure area, and applauded Bill Abbott’s precise measuring.

A number of boats failed initial measurement in HKG, with Bill noting keels (both too big and too small), and excessive sized holes in bulkheads, as the two main areas that needed rectification work.

The meeting agreed on the need to strengthen the whole concept of One Design and ensure boats complied with both the letter and spirit of the rules.

Also on the boat measurement side, jib battens and carbon spin poles were discussed. Crew weights and weighing, along with some rule wordings came up for discussion and there will be some items going out for voting by the membership in the near future.

The fall in revenue from membership fees was well discussed. Our Executive Secretary, Sherri Campbell, runs a business that looks after seven other classes, and she reports they all have a similar issue. There are a number of reasons for the membership decline, including just how we go sailing now verses past years.

The introduction of social media and electronic newsletters means people do not have to be members to keep up with the Class news, but of course, without membership there could be no news. The Class has spent considerable money to have a website and needs membership numbers to support it. Revenue from class membership is terribly important and it comes very cheaply, especially for crews who get a lot (like a boat to sail on) at not much cost.

World Championship eligibility, quotas and fleet sizes were also discussed. Reports on the progress of confirmed future Worlds venues (Cowes, San Francisco and Brisbane) were presented, and the meeting looked at possible venues for 2019 and beyond, but the venues were not finalised.

As my first governors’ meeting, this was an opportunity to see the Class from another angle. This Class has always had a hard working and dedicated group in command, and this is a tradition that the current Governors appreciate and wish to continue.

Country flags of competitors in the 2015 Worlds

"Country flags of competitors in the 2015 Worlds"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,


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