News: On The Road Again – International J/24 Magazine – Fall 1995

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    By Geoff Evelyn
    With apologies to Willie, the title of this piece typifies my activities this past year. With stopovers in Atlantic City, Mar de Plata, Buenos Aires, Montreal, Dublin and Rochester I’ve managed to get to meet a lot of Class Members and get my ear bent on an informal and formal basis. These travels are on top of my normal travels to various regattas in my sailing area.
    Il like to spend a little time on the formal side of things. In Montreal and Dublin, we held an open forum meeting in which individual members were invited to select topics of discussion and then everyone has an opportunity to air their views. These forums allowed me to find out what is generally important to those who are actively racing at international events and pass along these concerns to other members of the Class Executive Council and executives of the various NJCAs.
    Two subjects that were common to both meetings and elicited the most discussion were “Cushions” and “Crew Weight.”
    The general consensus on the first was to make cushions optional and keep the all-up sailing weight the same. As to the second, while there was a consensus to reduce the weight, no particular weight was brought forward. What did come out was that the members did not want the boat to become strictly a “four person” boat. A new weight will have to be chosen that fits both large and small sizes. This rule change will have the largest impaction the way the boat is sailed in the future and will require a reasonable amount if thought before a change can be implemented.
    As to the cushion issue and other subjects such as sheets/halyard sizes, proposed rule changes are in the works and will be presented at this year’s World Council meeting in November for implementation in 1997.
    The feedback that I’ve received at these meetings is invaluable in ensuring that the Class is going in a directions that continues to make the boat the best one-design boat in the world and that you still enjoy sailing. I would encourage each National Association to have these types of open forums at major regattas and pass the comments back to me via the Class Office.
    In my last report (Spring 1995 mag) I covered two other topics that are still ongoing: Class Promotion and The Olympics.
    The Two are very much intertwined. In my meetings, the feedback from the membership on our Olympic involvement has been very positive as long as the parameters are defined as follows:
    - Match Race only
    - Builder supplied
    - Use Class rules during event
    - Provided boats must meet Class rules
    Further discussion will take place at the World Council Meeting and approval will be sought to promote the use of the boat in the Sydney Olympics in the year 2000.
    As you can see, Class/Boat promotion is tied to our stance on the Olympics. Involvement in the Olympics would allow the Class to introduce the boat to other counties that do not have fleets. Also, it would bring sailors who do not currently sail the boat into the counties where we already have a presence.
    We are, you will be glad to hear, not going to tie ourselves to one strategy. We will continue to promote the boat by ensuring that the boat is at major sailing regattas, used for regional games which include sailing, working with J Boats to ensure that there are qualified builders throughout the world and lastly ensuring that the twentieth Anniversary of the Boat and Class are celebrated world-wide.
    Another topic that is near and dear to my heart is the was in which regattas are run. Unfortunately, events at two recent international regattas have prompted the Executive to realize that the Class must take greater control of what happens on the water. This could take the form of using the skills of our Executive Director as the Principal Race Officer or ensuring that the Class is a part of the Organizing Authority which would allow the Class to dictate the conditions under which races are run and decisions of the Jury are reached. It is a contentious area but just suggesting what the Race Instructions should look like is not enough. The Class Executive will make proposals to the World Council on how to proceed in this area. Members comments are always appreciated.
    I’ve noticed that this report is getting a little wordy and it is time to close off. But before I do it would be remiss of me not to note the success of the 1995 Europeans in Dublin. The committee was only expecting 40 some odd boats. In fact, almost 70 turned up. They must have heard about the party. On top of that the sailing was excellent. The most unforgettable comment that I heard was, “And it’s only Monday” after someone was passed another pint of Guiness. That someone was not me. The Irish seem to have a nack of throwing a heck of a party/regatta and I wish at times we could recreate that combination at all our regattas. We would all have a lot of fun and some great sailing which is what we all want.
    Smooth Sailing,
    Geoff

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