Minutes of AGM of Queen Mary Reservoir Sailing Club Ltd
held at the Clubhouse on 9th October 2016 at 2pm
There were 28 members present, with 25 members required as a quorum.
1. Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Paul Schroeder.
2. Minutes of previous meeting
The minutes of the previous meeting were accepted as being a true record.
Proposed by Andrew Craig and seconded by David Bithell and passed unanimously.
3. Matters arising
There were no matters arising.
4. Commodore’s Report
As we move into the final months of another busy year at the Club, I am pleased to bring you all up to date with this latest Commodore’s report.
Sailing highlights over the last 12 months have included another successful Bloody Mary with 274 entries and 254 boats on the water. I am particularly pleased that the overwhelming message from competitors was a resounding thank you to all the Queen Mary SC volunteers who put so much time and energy into this event - it couldn’t happen without you. In June 2016, the club hosted the sailing edition of the London Youth Games for the first time. This is the largest sporting youth event in Europe; it is a privilege to be asked to host this event and great promotion for the club, as schools in the 32 boroughs of London are invited to compete. Congratulations to all Queen Mary competitors who took part. We have also seen a selection of Inland and Winter Championships here and the Royal Thames Yacht Club Cumberland Cup - the oldest trophy in international sport. QM once again took part in Bart’s Bash, now in its third year and raising funds for disabled sailing all over the world. Members continued their achievements away from Club waters with success for our Laser sailors, our Tasar sailors and our youth windsurfers and youth dinghy sailors. I am delighted to see that windsurfing at the club and beyond has been particularly strong this year thanks not only to the weather but to the tireless efforts of individuals including our Fleet Captain Mike Farrie and, with youth windsurfing, Tez Maher and Paul Stainsby. Several of our youth windsurfers have been selected for Zone and National Squads, and there have been good performances in inter-club and national events. Our youth dinghy sailors continue to impress with some standout performances and a great team showing once again at the NSSA. And we celebrate a magnificent second Bronze paralympic medal for Alexandra Rickham in Rio with Niki Birrell. Congratulations to them and to all our members who go out and compete in this great sport at every level.
Club racing continues to thrive. The decision to merge the less well-attended August series into the Summer and Autumn series, with a one off Sprints Day in mid August, was well-received and we hope to add more sprints events during the year. The Wednesday Evening series went right to the wire, with Andy & Jill Peters in their RS200 taking the honours on the last evening of the series. We were delighted to welcome Danny Chinery, son of former member Ken, to the prizegiving to present Andy & Jill with the Kenneth Chinery Trophy in its 40th year. Racing highlights coming up, as well as your regular Sundays, include the Club Championships on 30 October,the Christmas fun race and prizegiving lunch, on 18 December, and of course the 2017 Bloody Mary on 7 January 2017.
A special thank you to our fleet captains, who continue to lead and nurture our fleets, with Laser Big Sundays and RS400 Gold Fleet Regatta days now a regular feature of the Club racing calendar. Welcome too to our emerging RS200 fleet.
One of the unlooked for consequences of successful and competitive Club and Open racing is that everyone wants to be out racing rather than running the races. We are very lucky to have a core of experienced and dedicated Race Officers and Assistant Race Officers whose commitment to the Club has kept our racing going this year. We have new volunteers joining the team thanks to PRO Paul’s excellent RO courses and the on water mentoring provided by our senior ROs but there is always room for more. Thank you to everyone on the team for volunteering and for your positive responses to pleas, particularly at the tail end of summer, from our long suffering Sailing Secretary, Julie, who makes sure that all the gaps are filled and that racing can go ahead for the enjoyment (or otherwise) of everyone on the water.
QM Sailability, which celebrates its 20th birthday next year, and Saturday Club, a mere stripling by comparison, continue to thrive and have both developed a highly competitive interest in racing alongside their regular social sailing activities. Again, a big thank you to all the volunteers and participants who make these activities happen.
When the wind drops, people can now stay out on the water with our new fleet of SUP boards, which were spectacularly augmented for one day this summer at a Guinness record-breaking SUPer Mile parade: of the 318 people who registered, 293 completed the mile and became World Record breakers. This was a great open day for the club: particular thanks to our partners in this event, Hampton Court House and the Africa Foundation for whom this was also a sponsored fundraising event.
Once again, this summer, QM members got together to take a break from sailing at the Club to go on a dinghy sailing trip to Phokaia,Turkey, and a windsurfing trip to Vassiliki. I suspect planning is already afoot for 2017’s outings.
Our Treasurer will shortly report on the Club’s finances, so I will only say that after a successful year to March 2016, the current year looks to be a more challenging prospect as participation slows. This trend has been visible in sailing generally for some years; the difficult weather early in the season and the uncertainties of Brexit have had an effect on the Club’s sailing school this year with bookings slower than the last couple of bumper years. The sailing school is important to Club finances generally, with a good year underpinning development and improvements to the Club’s on and off water facilities from which we all benefit. Suffice to say, the tireless efforts of our staff saw course bookings rise from a worrying 264 in May this year to a total of 565 by the end of summer to get us back on track for an acceptable performance over this current financial period.
I cannot speak too highly of the enthusiasm and dedication of our staff, permanent and seasonal. Their cheerful commitment, expertise and flexibility is a real asset to the club and we are very lucky to have them. I am really pleased that the positive comments in the most recent members’ surveys reflect an appreciation of the staff and their work here at the Club.
It wouldn’t be Queen Mary without a comment on the launching and the dreaded water levels. After record high levels for much of the summer, the water finally dropped rapidly at the end of August so that the hoists were put out of action within a matter of days. For several weeks, there was no pumping into the reservoir because of low flow on the Thames. However I am pleased to say the water is now rising. As for launching in general, we now have the new pontoons, secured with the help of a Sport England grant. They have already proved far more stable than their predecessors and have stood up well to the first onslaught of high onshore winds which too often took the old pontoons out of service. There are the inevitable teething issues, most particularly the fendering. Thank you to members for your patience on this: it has proved quite a challenge to find a solution which we hope will meet the needs of the different boats using the pontoons but we have now placed an order which will be fitted as soon as it arrives. We have also replaced and added matting at various points along the bank; this is an ongoing process and we cannot guarantee that mats or other equipment will always be available so please do check that you are happy to launch and recover under the prevailing conditions before you go out on the water.
In the Clubhouse, we have retiled the showers in the female changing rooms and look to work on the male changing rooms as soon as funds permit. We are aware that despite our efforts so far, the hot water supply to the showers is still erratic. The QM plumbing and boiler system remains something of an enigma which may only be fully resolved by significant outlay on a new system. We are chasing further information from the suppliers to clarify the position and our best course of action. Although the Clubhouse no longer houses a shop, we continue to hold a stock of essential items to help members get out on the water and staff are happy to help and advise. Outside, the old staff room has at last been replaced and we have made some general improvements in appearance, particularly on the waterside, with new and refurbished benches and replanted flower pots. We have enjoyed several summer barbecues there courtesy of Thyme Lords, our caterers on whom we depend for food and refreshment before and after sailing - many thanks to them for their continued support. Thanks too to Richard Steele’s Escargot Marine volunteers for their continued work refurbishing our Clubhouse and surroundings.
In a Club of this age (44 this year), we inevitably come to a time when the sad news of deaths of founding and early members becomes more frequent. This year we lost former Commodore Eric Williams, Yeoman regular Paul Coote and Bill Eadie who was a member, a Club instructor and a founder member of QM Sailability. It is not always easy to know the best way to update those who wish to be informed of these sad events, however we are proposing to add a section to the website, which could include other member news, but an important part of which would be an appreciation of those members, past and present, who have died.
Also available now on our website are the updated Bye Laws which Council has reviewed and updated in line with new or significantly evolved practices: WiFi use, photography (video Go Pros, operation of drones), safeguarding (child protection, vulnerable adults) together with some general wording changes which reflect the way of the world today. I encourage members to familiarise themselves with these, together with the Club Code of Conduct and Safety Policy all of which are available, with other Club documents, on the website (under “Contact/Club documents”).
Finally I would like to express my thanks to Flag Officers and Council, to all our volunteers, our professional staff and to you, the members, for your contributions over the last year.
4. Treasurer’s Report
It is my pleasure to give a report of the Club’s financial activity for the year ended 31 March 2016. The accounts were approved by Council on 6 September and copies are available.
The club’s financial results are very dependent on the weather in the early summer, the peak time for booking training courses in the school holidays. The weather was kind at the right time and we had 665 students for our summer courses in 2015.
Tony Bishop has reviewed all of our fixed and semi fixed costs and was able to make some useful reductions.
Our results can be adversely affected by the maintenance of a building which is nearly 50 years old and the need to keep our clubhouse looking fresh and up to date. In this year we had to pay a substantial amount to restore the disability lift to working order. This was partially supported by generous member donations.
Ten years ago we borrowed heavily to re-model the changing rooms, upgrade the hot water system and create disabled facilities. I am pleased to note that in the last seven years we have repaid over £100,000 and expect to complete the repayments within the next two years. Then we will need to have another major upgrade!
A significant source of funds for new projects is the availability of grants to finance a large part of the cost. This summer we acquired the long awaited pontoons on the West side. The terms of the grants require us to use the grant aided assets for a period of years for the designated purpose, failure to do so would require a repayment of the grant. This crates a liability in the accounts (See note 8 on page 9). Each year we release a part of this liability as a credit to the profit and loss account where it appears as “Other income”. The amounts released in this way correspond to the depreciation charged to the profit and loss account as part of Expenditure.
A few years ago we became a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) which relieved us from paying rates. In 2015 HM Revenue & Customs issued new regulations for CASCs , the criteria were tightly drawn and not suitable for a club which uses expensive equipment (sailing dinghies and sailboards) or one with a trading income of over £100,000. Clubs were given until 31 March 2016 to voluntarily withdraw from the scheme. I hope this explains the note on page 2 of the accounts.
In consequence we are liable to pay business rates for the current financial year. At present we are unable to say whether we will be given partial exemption, the full charge would be £17,000.
In conclusion I would like to thank our reporting accountant Martin Hunt and his colleagues at Amersham Accountancy for their support and help with the technical accounting and tax issues, and Petra Schlerf our own accountant for keeping our records in such good order.
Finally I propose the adoption of the financial accounts for the year ended 31 March 2016 by the members.
Proposed by Neil Beaton, seconded by Richard Steele and passed unanimously.
6. Appointment of Amersham Accountants as Reporting Accountant
Sophie Jezierski proposed that Amersham Accountants be appointed as reporting accountant.
The motion was seconded by Richard Steele and passed unanimously.
7. Election of Officers
The Commodore read out the list of those standing, remaining and retiring for the new Council.
Standing for re-election as Officers:
Sophie Jezierski Commodore
Alison Benz Rear Commodore
Neil Beaton Honorary Treasurer
Standing for election as Officers:
Richard Steele Vice Commodore
Robert Joce Rear Commodore
Retiring and standing for re-election as Members:
Paul Schroeder Council Member
Standing for election as Members:
Mark Hanley Council Member
Stephen Fowles Council Member
Paul Johnson Council Member
Remaining on Council:
Chris Stanton Council Member
Andrew Craig Council Member
Mike Farrie Council Member
David Bithell Council Member
Tony Bishop Council Member ex officio
John Hobbs-Mallyon Rear Commodore
Richard Lloyd Council Member
The proposal to elect all Officers and Council members was seconded by Isabelle Joce and carried unanimously.
The Commodore welcomed the new members to Council and said a special thank you to retiring Rear Commodore, John Hobbs-Mallyon, and Council member, Richard Lloyd, for their service to the Club.
8. Presentation of the B&S Trophy
The Commodore took great pleasure in announcing the award of the B&S Trophy as follows:
“This teapot is the B&S Trophy. It was donated by Bryan & Sue Willis, hence “B&S”, who at the time were QMSC members numbers one and two, so it can claim to be one of QM’s most historic awards. In the gift of the Commodore, the trophy is intended to be awarded to someone, not the Chair of a committee, who has made an outstanding contribution to the Club.
This year I am delighted to award the trophy to someone who is a shining example of how a Fleet Captain should work. He has done amazing things for the his fleet and hence the Club itself. He puts in hours leading training and using all means at his disposal to get his fellow sailors out on the water practising. I hear he may be even be compiling a chart of the most creative excuses for not staying out to train after Sunday racing. An accomplished sailor himself, he came in 6th in the Nationals as he led the QM team to the Club prize, he is, of course Laser Fleet Captain, Tony Woods.
In a triumph of organisation, Tony is away this week, but we will present the trophy to him personally at a later date, and will of course remind him to brew up and drink at least one cup of tea from the pot to link him to all the previous worthy winners.”
9. Other Awards
10. Any Other Business
There being no other business, the Commodore thanked everybody present and declared the meeting closed at 14:42 pm.