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Members will be aware that at the Annual General Meeting, a proposal was made to amend the AYRS Articles (our "rule-book") to allow everybody to vote on AGM matters (passing the Accounts, electing Officers and Committee, any major changes to AYRS' rules, etc.) At present, these matters are decided by the small number of members who come to the AGM. There were 20 this year.
When the proposal (details of which can be found in the Minutes of the meeting printed opposite) was put to the vote, it was passed by a majority of 11 to 8. However, UK company law requires that such changes are passed by at least a two-thirds majority of those voting. Thus although the motion was passed, it failed to attract the required degree of support, and the Articles remain unchanged.
With the last newsletter went out a letter from the then AYRS Vice-Chairman, Ian Hannay, asking for your opinion on the matter. Now we realise that time was a little short to reply before the AGM, especially for members in North America, however we were a little disappointed that only eight people (not including the originators of the motion) managed to reply before the AGM. Of those that did, opinion for/against split roughly 50:50.
Now it may be that this is a true reflection of the views of the AYRS members - that many of you do not care how AYRS is run as long as you get your publications and newsletters on time. However, the majority that this motion gained obliges the Committee to ask you again if you are happy that these matters are settled by a small number of UK members, or if you want some wider enfranchising.
Please will you ALL write to us and tell us what you think. It's your Society, and though we do our best to run it on your behalf, we like to know what you think of it.
The 33rd Annual General Meeting of the Amateur Yacht Research Society was held at 8.00 p.m. on Tuesday the 4th day of March 1997, at the London Corinthian Sailing Club, Linden House, Upper Mall, London, W6 9TA.
There were twenty members attending, and apologies for absence were received from Dave Culp, David Jolly, Robert Downhill and Theo Schmidt.
The Minutes of the 32nd AGM were circulated in the March 1996 Newsletter and were taken as read by a unanimous vote.
The retiring Vice-Chairman, Ian Hannay, read his report in which he made the point that, despite great interest in high-speed sailing and several other fields, the quantity and quality of research from the Society was much below that produced in the past. Consequently he felt that we needed to encourage more real experimental work to be undertaken by the general membership, if not individually, then perhaps by co-operative projects.
He congratulated the New England group for producing two excellent newsletters during the past year. He noted an increasing number of members were on the Internet which, whilst its extreme verbosity required drastic editing before publication, had as not the least of its merits that of the possibility of "Reactive Discussion". Ian also hoped that some of the Hammersmith meetings might see the benefit of some new faces and new speakers. He noted that the Society had supported Weymouth Speedweek in 1997, which had had three entries from France, but he wondered why there were not more boats from the UK.
The Vice-Chairman reported that there had been calls for the AGM to be moved in future to the weeks of the London Boat Show. This would be done in the hope that members might be encouraged to come in greater numbers. The best day of the Show on which to hold the AGM was not certain but members opinions would be welcomed in this regard. Similarly there had been calls for the introduction of some form of proxy voting for future AGMs. The Vice-Chairman thought that before any such change was introduced it was most important to canvas the largest possible number of members.
After a brief outline of the accounts from the Honorary Treasurer and some comments from Robin Fautley (AYRS Reporting Accountant) on the new arrangements, the Accounts were adopted unanimously.
By the universal acclamation of those present:
H.R.H. the Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh KG KT OM GBE QSO was confirmed as President of the Amateur Yacht Research Society
Similarly were Austin Farrar FRINA, Sir Reginald Bennett, and Richard C. Newick confirmed as Vice-Presidents of the Society.
Vice-Chairman: Fred C. Ball was proposed by retiring Vice-Chairman Ian Hannay, seconded by R. E. Glencross, and elected unanimously.
Honorary Secretary: Graeme G. W. Ward was proposed by R. E. Glencross, seconded by C. M. G. Butterfield and re-elected unanimously.
The retiring ordinary members of the Committee offering themselves for re-election were Theo Schmidt (Switzerland) and Simon Fishwick (UK/Belgium). Members present were pleased to return them unanimously to Committee duty for yet a further term.
A letter from Dave Culp (California, USA) was read out to the meeting detailing his ideas for offering a better service to our North American members. Dave, known to many for his speed-sailing exploits which included coming over to Weymouth Speedweek several times in the 70s and 80s, was proposed as a Committee member by Theo Schmidt, seconded by Simon Fishwick, and was similarly elected to serve.
Robin Fautley, formerly our long-suffering and most patient Auditor, was proposed by the Committee to continue to serve in the new capacity of Reporting Accountant, permitted by last year's changes in the AYRS Articles. His agreement to so serve was most gratefully received and he was so elected.
Simon Fishwick introduced this proposal explaining how the Internet, the World Wide Web and electronic mail could be used to allow us to offer AYRS membership at a lower rate, by saving on printing costs. Several points were also amplified by Andrew Beattie who had considerable experience of running an Internet site. Whilst those present thought we needed to examine more how it would affect our costs, possible problems concerning copyright, and the amount of work required, it was felt the Committee should press ahead and with some urgency.
Simon Fishwick had proposed that:
a) Many members of AYRS neither live nor work within easy travelling distance of London;
b) Even were the meetings to be moved to another place, it is unlikely that a place would be found to which a majority of members could travel conveniently for a weekday evening meeting;
c) The present practice of holding general meetings on a Tuesday evening is inconvenient for many;
This Meeting requires that all future Annual and Extraordinary General Meetings shall be convened at a weekend (during Saturday afternoon or evening, or Sunday morning or afternoon)."
The Vice-Chairman commented that the Committee had already taken on board a suggestion that the AGM should be returned to the period of the London Boat Show and had agreed to implement that for 1998. With that in mind, those assembled expressed the view that cost and convenience should decide where it was held, and that the only matter was to decide on which day. An Amendment, proposed by C. M. G. Butterfield, seconded by R. M. Ellison, that "The 1998 AGM should be held on a weekend during the period of the London Boat Show" was carried by unanimous approbation. The question of which day was left to the Committee to determine by canvas of opinion. It was similarly determined that Extraordinary General Meetings should be held in the period Saturday Afternoon through to Sunday Afternoon.
Simon Fishwick introduced the motion explaining that despite previous practice, Voting by Proxy was not currently permitted under the AYRS Articles of Association. He therefore proposed that:
"Considering that many AYRS members live outside of England, and are discouraged by reason of distance from attending AYRS General Meetings, this Meeting requires that the AYRS Articles of Association be amended to allow members to nominate a proxy to vote in their place. The required amendments shall be as follows:
(a) Article 15(b) - Delete the words "Members present", replace by "Members voting";
(b) Article 18(b) - Delete the words "Every member present at the meeting" and replace by "Every member present, or having nominated a proxy who is present, at the meeting"
(c) Article 38 - Delete the words "shall be decided by a show of hands or by secret ballot among the members present as the Chairman shall decide and," and replace by "shall be decided by a ballot among the members present and represented by proxy, secret or not as the Chairman shall decide, and,".
(d) Article 40 shall be deleted in toto and replaced by the following:
"40. (a) Every member (other than an Honorary Member) entitled to vote at a General Meeting shall have one vote.
(b) Every vote shall be given by the Member in person, or if the member is absent by a proxy nominated by him to act in his place.
(c) If a proxy is to be nominated, his name, and those of alternates (if any), shall be sent by the Member to the Honorary Secretary at least seven days before the General Meeting.
(d) If the Chairman of the Meeting is nominated, any instructions as to how a proxy vote is to be cast shall also be sent by the Member to the Honorary Secretary at least seven days before the General Meeting."
After a lengthy discussion concerning the number of proxies might be held by any one person at a meeting (five was not felt to be an inordinate number by those who cared about such, except that the Chairman of the Meeting might be assigned an indefinite number), the matter of instructions as to the casting of proxy votes, and the problem of un-circulated amendments, a vote was taken which was determined in favour of the Motion by eleven votes for the motion and eight votes against. However, under current regulations, motions to amend the Articles of Association are deemed to be Special Business, and require a two-thirds majority to be carried. The result was therefore insufficient to carry the Motion, and the Committee was instructed to most urgently canvass the larger membership.
A formal vote of thanks to the helpers of the Society throughout the year was proposed and given with unanimity.
The meeting was closed at 9.56 p.m.
These Minutes will not be finally approved until the 1998 Annual General Meeting. In the meantime, any comments regarding them should be sent to the AYRS Committee, BCM AYRS, London WC1N 3XX, UK as soon as possible.
Simon Fishwick, AYRS Newsletter Editor
It has come to our attention that not everyone whose Internet messages were quoted in the February 1997 AYRS Newsletter were aware, when they wrote those messages, that they would be treated as any other correspondence to AYRS, and might be re-published in the Newsletter.
We offer our unreserved apologies to those whom we have offended, all of whom have been sent individual messages.
We should like however to remind those who do send messages to the AYRS email discussion group <email@example.com> that AYRS' aims are to spread information far and wide, and we may well indeed want to re-publish Internet messages to AYRS to the rest of the membership, especially when those messages contain requests for help, or provide information, accounts of experiences, or are about other matters likely to be of interest to a large proportion of the AYRS membership.
AYRS is always looking for interesting subjects and speakers for its meetings. If you have something you want to talk about, or hear about, or know of someone who gives interesting talks related to nautical science in any of its forms, please contact John Perry (for London meetings) tel: +44 (1923) 855 268, or Tom Blevins (for New England meetings) tel: +1 (207) 882-6396. Thank you.
It is sometimes suggested that the days of amateur yacht research are over, and that future innovations will only come from professional designers with huge budgets. As AYRS, we strongly disagree with this view, and feel that there are many promising areas where research and development can be carried out successfully and enjoyably by amateur sailors working individually or in small teams, to make sailing safer faster, cheaper and more fun. Some examples of such projects are:
These and similar projects all need IDEAS. You don't have to be a professional to produce ideas, in fact it's a drawback. Who wants to spend their leisure time thinking about work? AYRS members have shown they can be a first-rate "ideas factory", because they have no commercial interests to protect. We need your ideas now! Send them in to us, and we will send them around (address inside the back cover). You never know - someone else may have the answer to that little detail that is stopping you from realising your dream.
The AYRS Newsletter is published quarterly by the Amateur Yacht Research Society Ltd, BCM AYRS, London WC1N 3XX, UK. The AYRS as a body is not however responsible for opinions expressed by individual authors.
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Multiple copying of the content of this publication without permission is always illegal.
Authorisation from AYRS to photocopy items for personal use, or for the personal use of specific clients, is granted ONLY to libraries and other users registered with the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) Transactional Reporting Service, CCC, 21 Congress St, Salem, MA 01970, USA. This authorisation does not extend to other kinds of copying, such as for resale, or to other unregistered organisations. Permission to copy articles for these and other purposes should be sought on each occasion from AYRS. Permission for non-commercial purposes will not normally be refused.
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