Chairman's Report for AGM 2015

Posted: Saturday, 31st October 2015

The 66th EAORA season was rather a windy affair, after the lighter winds we experienced last year, with 5 of the 12 races held in over 30 knots. 39 yachts competed (32 of which were endorsed) compared with 26 yachts last year, competing in 12 races which included 4 North Sea crossings. The racing included the popular Offshore Regatta with 18 starters, the Royal Thames Offshore Series and two RORC races which acted as qualifiers for the Fastnet.  This year six EAORA yachts competed in the Fastnet and for the first time we entered two teams with the small boat team of Cosmic Dancer III, Woozle Hunter and McGregor IV, narrowly beating the large boat team of Snatch, Assarain IV and Andrasta.

This season we joined forces with the Haven Series for the first two races of our Offshore Regatta and their two races to Lowestoft and Ramsgate. This ensured that numbers were up for both organisations and I must thank their Chairman Des Cowan for his co-operation.

The Forensic Healthcare sponsored Youth Programme is now in its eighth year and is open to all cadets aged between 12 and 22 years old and has once again proved to be a great success and loved by all who took part in it. A record number of 20 EAORA cadets raced offshore in the 2015 season (13 last year) with cadets racing in every EAORA race including our longest 180 mile North Sea race and the Fastnet. A big thank-you to Jason and Judy Payne-James for their continued support.

We had two new sponsors this year.  Haven Knox-Johnston who kindly sponsored the Offshore Regatta glassware and the wine on the table this evening. Haven Knox-Johnston have agreed to sponsor the Offshore Regatta again next year. We also have had support from Barton Marine with £75 prize vouchers this evening for the class winners and loads of sailing caps. A big thank-you to both of them.  I would also like to thank the Royal Thames Yacht Club for their points Championship and their excellent prize-winners dinner and of course all the advertisers on the website.

For the second year we have run all of our racing though our website with the sailing instructions, full race information and results available to all, with further information published regularly on Facebook and Twitter. With the exception of only a few ‘oldies’ this seems to work well.

Congratulations to Chuffy and my crew on Amazon for winning the season overall, with Angus Bates’ Assarain IV second and Russell Walker’s Cosmic Dancer III in their last year of racing, in third place. The interclub championship was won by the Haven Ports Yacht Club and the rest of the trophies will be announced tonight at the prizegiving.

There were 7 different race winners this year with Amazon winning four races, Assarain IV three races and Cosmic Dancer III, Andrasta, Ickle Jura, Fatjax and Oystercatcher XXX all winning one race. The Ralph Herring, Houghton Cup, East Coast Race, Stroombank and Round the Goodwin races were all raced in over 30 knot races, with Amazon finishing the 55 mile Stroombank race to Ramsgate in 5 hours 15 minutes, at an amazing average speed of 10.5 knots

The programme for next season will hopefully build on the success of this season with our continued co-operation with the Haven Series, our increasingly popular Offshore Regatta and more starts from the Harwich area. There are only two proposed changes for next year. We have kept the Stroombank race as a feeder race to Ramsgate for those who want to compete in Ramsgate Week, but we are dropping the Round the Goodwins race, which has not been popular with a long delivery trip home late on a Sunday evening. This will be replaced by the Thames Estuary race from Burnham to Harwich on the Sunday after the Houghton Cup from Harwich to Burnham, the day before. This makes the crew logistics much easier with a back to back race weekend and the fleet will be in the right place for the start of the Offshore Regatta the following week. The East Coast RORC race in a non-Fastnet year will be a day race from West Mersea to Breskens. This is the same format as last season with 12 races and 7 to count.

At the end of my fourth year as Chairman I would like to thank all of the EAORA committee members, especially our race officer Brian Bolton and our treasurer Michael Wood and all of the member clubs for the hard work they do during the year to ensure our offshore racing is so successful. I have reluctantly agreed to stand for a fifth year as Chairman, but this really really is my final year and we are already looking for a volunteer. Any thoughts?

I would also like to thank all of the yacht owners and their crew for racing during the season and I would like to wish you all a very successful 2016 season.

Tony Merewether  -  Chairman EAORA

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