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New Class President for Irish Flying Fifteen Association

by Cormac Bradley 20 Jan 02:05 PST 13 January 2021
2019 Flying Fifteen Irish East Coast Championships at County Antrim © COYC

The Flying Fifteen Association of Ireland (FFAI) hosted their delayed AGM on the Zoom platform last Wednesday night (13th Jan) with a virtual attendance from Dun Laoghaire, Strangford Lough and Dunmore East and, refreshingly, Galway, where there is a significant fleet of boats. In all there was an attendance of just over twenty people, including our Middle East Representative (and Treasurer) who was home on a short break from his posting in warmer climes.

Current Class President, Chris Doorly opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and proceeded to give a synopsis of the season, noting at the outset that the impact of Covid 19 had decimated the regatta schedule with the Championship of Ireland, hosted by Waterford Harbour Sailing Club in Dunmore East one of the few to be sailed. This reduced race Championship was won in a heavy weather weekend by John Lavery and Alan Green sailing their new 2020 boat after the Friday and Saturday racing had to be abandoned. We also managed to sail the single-day regatta that commemorated the 150th Anniversary of the National Yacht Club. This regatta had some "fun and games" in determining the overall result due to a varying number of interpretations of the numbers of races to count. All the other regattas for the season were lost.

A full suite of regattas is scheduled for 2021 with events in Dun Laoghaire, Galway, Strangford and Lough Derg. Additionally, the Class will support the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, split this year over two weekends at the start of July in anticipation of the need to dilute the crowd numbers and to encourage more classes to attend. At this stage, there is no commitment to sail a ranking event as part of VDLR but that may be subject to change. The regatta schedule has already been advertised on the Afloat website and is on the Flying Fifteen website. In the past few months, the Class Constitution has been subject to a long overdue review and a new draft Constitution was circulated before the meeting with a view to having it adopted by the Class. This prompted a lively discussion on membership, in particular, with some concerns expressed on the classes of membership and the rights accumulating to the proposed classes. The mechanism by which Association membership monies are collected also featured in the discussion. A concern was expressed on the implications of not having a quorum at meetings. Chris Doorly acknowledged the value of the discussion and agreed that further consideration of the Constitution would be given.

An update on finances confirmed that the Class is in a healthy position, despite the lack of regatta activity during the season.

Having served a three-year team as Class President, Chris Doorly confirmed that he was standing down and welcomed Andrew (Hammy) Baker as the new President. Hammy sails out of Strangford Lough and he was also congratulated on his new position as High-Performance Coach with RYA Northern Ireland. Other officers confirmed on the night were; Ian Mathews, Treasurer, David Mulvin, Secretary, Ben Mulligan, Fixtures Secretary, Alan Green, FFI Representative and Messrs Martin (Rory) and Bradley appointed to PR and website support.

Under Any Other Business, it was proposed that a Classic Division be accommodated at the Galway event and the Galway hosts gave a brief update on their plans for the regatta and the facilities that are available.

A straw poll was taken to determine interest in attending the next Worlds in Freemantle, Australia, postponed by a year to 2022 due to Covid. The early indication is that a container may be required for the Irish contingent.

The Class website is undergoing an overhaul and is expected to be operational by the end of January.

Roger Chamberlain proposed a vote of thanks to Chris Doorly for his term as Class President and the other officers of the Association were likewise thanked. Best wishes were afforded to the incoming President who said he would do his best to follow in the style of his predecessor.

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