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Update from the Members’ Forum

9 February 2016 Jill Connell

The view from the forum on Thursday morning

"The view from the forum on Thursday morning"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

A members’ forum was held during the week of the 2016 Etchells Australian Championship at RBYC. Its purpose was to update members on developments in the Etchells Class, and on the Association’s status and priorities.

The key principles guiding the initiation of this and future forums are to further improve the transparency of the Association for members, and to help ensure that the Executive Committee seeks and understands members’ views, so that they can act in the best interests the Association’s members.

The agenda included an update by the Association’s President, Jake Gunther, on progress to resolve one-design measurement issues. No surprise that this is clearly a hot topic for members. There was a lot of interactive discussion about:

  • How boat owners and those purchasing boats could be sure that their boat is compliant.
  • How and when the tighter measurement tools would be available to ensure all boats comply at A (e.g. Worlds), B (e.g. Nationals), and C (e.g. State) level championships.
  • Compliance of newly produced Australian boats and alteration of the Australian mould.
  • How soon issues can be resolved, so that members can purchase new boats with confidence of compliance and performance.

Please see the separate article in this newsletter, where Jake summarises the current situation.

David Healey (Secretary), outlined the current financial status of the Association. Please go to the Members Area, Association Info page to access the financial summary. David indicated that the Association currently has healthy reserves, however needed to make changes to ensure that a series of annual operating losses are curtailed and turned around.

At the AGM last August, it was agreed that the allowance for members to travel interstate to the Australian Championships would need to cease, at least temporarily. David also outlined the promotional levy that will be introduced to help ensure that B and C championships are properly promoted, and that this promotion is managed in a financially responsible manner. A policy on promotion for B and C championships will be published shortly, and will apply to all B and C events from the 2016 Mid-Winters onwards.

Jill Connell (Assistant Secretary) briefly outlined three priority projects that will be initiated this year including:

  1. A survey of members to help ensure that the Association is seeking members’ views on how the Association can best cater to members’ current and future needs. A project team will be formed to develop and implement a quantitative survey for all financial members of the Association.
  2. An updated strategic plan, focusing on how to ensure the ongoing vitality and growth of the Etchells Class in Australia. The survey results will provide important input to the strategic plan. A project team will be formed to develop a draft strategic plan. We are planning a consultative approach to the development of an updated strategic plan, for example. We’ll provide more information on this when the project team has been formed and developed a project plan. We are hoping that a draft plan can be ready for discussion at the next AGM.
  3. Revision of the Association’s constitution. The Association’s constitution was developed many years ago and best practice in governance has evolved considerably since then. A project team will be formed to develop a more suitable constitution for the Association now and into the near to mid-future. Some elements of a revised constitution can be developed in parallel with the first two projects, however the constitution should also consider the updated strategic direction of the Association. We hope to provide a status update and seek members’ views at the next AGM, however finalising an updated constitution may need to take longer.

Andrew Palfrey then provided an inspiring introduction to the 2016 World Championships. I think all attending the Forum were impressed by Andrew’s outline of the enthusiasm and commitment of the Cowes Fleet to hosting and exceptional Worlds. And since the Forum, the Cowes Etchells Fleet’s rapid resolution of issues caused by the fire on January 26th, and enthusiasm to host an exceptional Worlds is evident. The Australian Association will support the Cowes Fleet where we can, and quite a few Australian teams are planning to participate in the 2016 Worlds.

The Forum closed at 1015hrs, as promised, so that we could all go racing.

We are aiming to hold interactive members forums to coincide with all National Championships (and potentially at other times as well), to provide updates, further improve transparency, and to help ensure that the Association is working to support the interests of the Association’s members.

Jill Connell

Assistant Secretary

International Etchells Class Association of Australia Inc.


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