The future of the SOA ?


Phil Weston
 

Hopefully you will have received a copy of the agenda  for the "Shipmate Owners Association AGM _ Sat 11 Sep".

I know only a handful of members attend the meeting at Rutland. However, there is one item we are keen to get members input to,  namely "The future of the SOA" - Agenda Item 7.

So even if you are not coming, please fell free to commnet on the proposals.


Oliver Shaw
 

 

Phil,

 

First,  please accept my apologies for the AGM.

 

Second,  thank you for your consultation document on the future of the Association.   The concept of such a consultation seems a very sensible step at this time,  and I will endeavour to respond in a day or two with some considered thoughts.

 

Regards,

 

 

 

 

Oliver

 

 

From: shipmate@groups.io On Behalf Of Phil Weston
Sent: 04 September 2021 09:48
To: shipmate@groups.io
Subject: [shipmate] The future of the SOA ?

 

Hopefully you will have received a copy of the agenda  for the "Shipmate Owners Association AGM _ Sat 11 Sep".

I know only a handful of members attend the meeting at Rutland. However, there is one item we are keen to get members input to,  namely "The future of the SOA" - Agenda Item 7.

So even if you are not coming, please fell free to commnet on the proposals.


Oliver Shaw
 

 

Phil,

 

Some initial thoughts on your consultation document;   I may yet get back to you with further thoughts.

 

Options 1 and 2 may sensibly be combined.   Much as I might have a vested interest in my Privateer entitling me to full membership,  I tried to interest fellow Privateer owners some years ago in setting up a Privateer Class Association,  and more recently tried to interest them in joining SOA as Associate Members,  and achieved a resounding nil score in both attempts.

 

If it is any consolation,  Class Associations and Owners’ Associations more widely are noticeably badly supported;   however that does not mean for one moment that such Associations are not worth supporting  -  it merely indicates that we have to be prepared for only low levels of uptake.   As one the more successful examples the GP14 Class Association nonetheless provides dramatic evidence of that;   I am a long serving Officer of that Association,  and we regard ourselves as one of the more successful Class Associations,  and yet with well over 14,000 boats built over a period of more than 70 years our total membership is only a few hundred;  sadly it tends to fluctuate,  with some of our top racers joining us for our World Championships every two years (approximately) but not renewing until the next World Championship comes round  -  absolutely no long-term loyalty there,  notwithstanding a few splendid exceptions,   including the late Richard Estaugh,  and also the current World Champion (Mike Senior) who is a very loyal and long-established member,  and past Committee Member.  

 

Option 1 on its own therefore seems unlikely to bring in more than just the occasional new member (plus “upgrading” myself to full membership!).   If we were going to widen our scope in this way it would seem more sensible to widen it to include (almost) any (small) trailer-sailer yacht;   however it might be appropriate to set an upper size limit,  even if only as a guide to prospective members.   Such expansion might also help to retain long-serving loyal members who now sail boats other than Shipmates.

 

On the matter of a size limit,  such trailer-sailers as the McGregor 26,  the larger Cornish Crabbers (and Norfolk Smugglers),  and fixed keel boats such as the Folkboat (and I kid you not,  I have actually seen one in Fort William being towed behind a Range Rover,  and very clearly being trail-sailed) are radically different boats.   It is possibly better not to formally exclude them,  but simply to indicate that they are not our target,  and then leave it to the membership and to owners to see how this develops.   

 

I have a parallel from a different field.   My late parents were lifelong caravanners,  and for about the last 25 years of their lives they were members of the Safari Caravan Club.   This started as an Owners’ Club,  for owners of Safari caravans,  which at the time were the Rolls Royce of touring caravans;   but the marque went out of production in 1982,  and after a further few years the club found itself with an increasing number of long-established members who valued their membership,  and the social camaraderie,  but who no longer wanted to be confined to an ageing caravan and wanted to update.   So they changed the rules so as to admit caravans of other makes,  with just a modest change of name (from Safari Owners’ Club to Safari Caravan Club),  and continued with much the same activities and broadly the same membership.   By the time I was briefly involved,  perhaps 15 years later,  it was not unusual for my parents and I to have the only two actual Safaris on a rally field;   but the club,  and the camaraderie remained,  albeit generally with more modern caravans.   There is perhaps a model for us there.

 

Although I never had occasion to become a member,  I have always thought that the now-defunct Trail-Sale Association was a potentially useful organisation.   In particular I thought that their facility for offering Yachtmaster practical exams in members’ own trailer-sailers was most valuable.   If we are to expand our remit,  we could well consider stepping into the gap which they have vacated;   but it would be sensible first to consider why they vacated that remit if it was in fact viable  -  if only so that we can avoid obvious mistakes,  and blind alleys.

 

 

Some Other Considerations

 

SOA meetings are predominantly at weekends.   While that suits some members,  it does not necessarily suit all.  I myself,  for example,  being retired but also being a Church Organist and Choirmaster,  am usually otherwise committed on Sundays but am often available mid-week.

 

Another personal consideration for myself is that my particular boat takes me around 2½ hours to rig after towing by road,  and a similar time before towing back home again.   That is vastly longer than it takes me to rig a dinghy,  and probably about twice what it would take to rig a Shipmate.   Alright,  in part that is a consequence of my very deliberate choice to choose a gaff cutter rig,  and to equip it with all the gubbins;   in that respect all boats are compromises.   My boat is fitted out for extended cruising,  rather than for trailing to a weekend meet;  and if I were intending to use her primarily for weekend rallies I would rig her somewhat differently.    So in my case a week-long rally,  or a 5-day (weekdays) rally,  might well attract me more than a weekend.  

 

Of course one size does not fit all,  but offering one or more mid-week events  -  possibly of longer duration  -  within the programme might be worth trying.   That might attract a different set of members.

 

Having said that,  I must declare certain personal constraints.   First,  as a busy A Level Examiner I am normally tied to a desk fairly continuously from late May through to early July;   and then from late July through to early September I normally aim to be away on my summer cruise.

 

Second;   earlier this year I had to part with my Discovery,  and couldn’t afford to replace it with another Discovery.   Although I am very pleased with my replacement car (Volvo C70 convertible) I think the Privateer is a little heavy for it to tow,  at least when fully stocked for extended cruising.   At some point in the future I intend to buy another Discovery,  just for towing duties,  and will probably keep the Volvo as well;   but that might not necessarily be next year,  so next year’s summer cruise may well be from my home club  -  an Irish Sea circuit  -  Liverpool, Anglesey,  Isle of Man,  Cumbria,  Morecambe Bay,  and back to Liverpool.

 

Once I firm up my cruise itinerary I would be very happy to publish details within the Association,  and any other members who wished to bring their own boats and join me for part of it would of course be very welcome.

 

 

SAGA:    The problem of the supply of articles from members is an old one,  common to a great many organisations,  including two with which I have a long involvement  -  my sailing club,  and my local Organists’ Association.   I personally have contributed a number of articles to SAGA,  but I don’t want to hog the show,  and it is a matter of balance.

 

If it helps,  I edit (and very largely write) the Newsletter of my sailing club,  which I bring out four times per year.  The  declared aim for this is to be a small sailing magazine,  rather than just a parochial club Newsletter.    If it helps,  I would be very happy to supply copies of this to SAGA Editor,  to extract whatever he may wish,  provided it is properly attributed.

 

 

 

 

Membership:

 

Perhaps the time may have come to merge the Full and Associate categories.

 

I suggest that we should not be too concerned about the level of the subscription;   the present level is trivial,  but it is appropriate because at present we have minimal expenditure,  and there is no need for any increase.   But we should not be afraid of a significant increase if members are then to be getting something to justify the higher figure.

 

 

 

Dinghy Cruising Association:

 

I write this as an ex-member,  who resigned in good standing simply because I found that over a period of many years I managed to get to only one of their rallies,  and that on only two occasions,  and I felt that I was neither contributing much to them nor getting much use of my membership.   That was in part because their rallies are normally at weekends,  and partly because my main sailing was my main summer cruise,  rather than weekends here and there around the country.

 

I still have friends in that Association,  and I view the Association with goodwill.

 

They are an unusual Association.   One description,  one which I believe they pride themselves on,  is that they are “the organisation for dinghy cruisers who don’t want to be organised!”   I am not sure how well their approach to running rallies would interface with SOA’s approach;   at the very least,  careful consideration would be needed.

 

Hope this is helpful;    and I may have other ideas later.

 

 

 

Oliver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From: shipmate@groups.io On Behalf Of Phil Weston
Sent: 04 September 2021 09:48
To: shipmate@groups.io
Subject: [shipmate] The future of the SOA ?

 

Hopefully you will have received a copy of the agenda  for the "Shipmate Owners Association AGM _ Sat 11 Sep".

I know only a handful of members attend the meeting at Rutland. However, there is one item we are keen to get members input to,  namely "The future of the SOA" - Agenda Item 7.

So even if you are not coming, please fell free to commnet on the proposals.


Phil Weston
 

Thanks, Oliver !

On 5 Sep 2021 19:10, "Oliver Shaw via groups.io" <acapella13934@...> wrote:

 

Phil,

 

First,  please accept my apologies for the AGM.

 

Second,  thank you for your consultation document on the future of the Association.   The concept of such a consultation seems a very sensible step at this time,  and I will endeavour to respond in a day or two with some considered thoughts.

 

Regards,

 

 

 

 

Oliver

 

 

From: shipmate@groups.io On Behalf Of Phil Weston
Sent: 04 September 2021 09:48
To: shipmate@groups.io
Subject: [shipmate] The future of the SOA ?

 

Hopefully you will have received a copy of the agenda  for the "Shipmate Owners Association AGM _ Sat 11 Sep".

I know only a handful of members attend the meeting at Rutland. However, there is one item we are keen to get members input to,  namely "The future of the SOA" - Agenda Item 7.

So even if you are not coming, please fell free to commnet on the proposals.