2011 IMCA World Council AGM Minutes

International Melges 24 Class World Council Annual General Meeting

Saltzburg, Austria, 19 November 2011



Voting Delegates
Chairman – Riccardo Simoneschi
Vice Chairman – Simon Strauss – via Skype
Executive Committee Member – Chris Farkas – also representing USA and acting as proxy for HUN
Executive Committee Member – Jens Wathne
Secretary/Treasurer – Tomi Hakola – also representing FIN & EST and acting as proxy for AUT for second part of meeting and for Vice Chairman Michael Schineis
Technical Committee Chairman – Peter Goeckel – also representing GER and acting as proxy for FRA
Frank Lieve – representing NED
Franco Ricci – representing ITA and acting as proxy for UKR and CZE
Jeroen Baggerman – observer NED and acting as proxy for GBR
Zelko Perovic – representing SLO
Arne David Andersen – representing NOR and acting as proxy for SWE and DEN
Josef Hackle – representing AUT for first part of meeting (Tomi Hakola stood in as Proxy for the second half of the meeting)

Non-Voting Delegates
IMCA Administrator (minute taker) – Fiona Brown
IMCA Championship Coordinator – Hank Stuart – via Skype
Branko Parunov – observer SLO
Federico Michetti – representing Melges Performance Sailboats and Melges Asia Pacific
Karel Samsula – representing Devoti Sailing
Luca Babini – observer ITA
Piero Andolina – observer ITA
Lucy Simoneschi – observer
Gianfranco Tonelli – President Circolo Vela Torbole presenting a report on the forthcoming 2012 Melges 24 World Championship

Vice Chairman – Michael Schineis

Click here for full Agenda.

The meeting was opened by Chairman Riccardo Simoneschi who first called for a moment of silence to honor IMCA Vice Chairman Guenter Tzeschlock who sadly passed away in May of this year.  

The Chairman welcomed all delegates and observers to the meeting and thanked them for their time and commitment to representing the membership of the International Melges 24 Class Association.  He also reminded them that the management of the Class is in their hands as a democratic process and that the Class Constitution describes the timetable through which motions and proposals can be brought to the meeting by any National Class, the Executive, Technical Committee or the Builders; how those motions and proposals are then circulated to all National Classes for discussion with their members; that there is a formal opportunity for National Classes to then submit their amendments or counter proposals; and finally that it is through the open process of open discussion and formal voting at the meeting that decisions are made.

He also confirmed that it was his intention to run the meeting according to the Constitution rules, with full transparency and allowing all delegates the opportunity to express their views in the best interests of the Class.

National Class Reports

The Reports from the National Classes were approved.  

Minutes of Last Meeting

The Minutes of the Last Meeting were approved. 

Financial Report

Treasurer Tomi Hakola presented the Financial Report and the budget for the coming year explaining the details of income and expenditure to date and projections for the coming 12 months and beyond.   He also explained the actions that had been taken to secure class finances following the untimely death of Guenter Tzeschlock who had managed the Class accounts and thanks the Chairman Riccardo Simoneschi for his personal financial support. He confirmed that all accounts and papers had now been correctly transferred and secured.

In light of the growing costs, the need to ensure that in this time of recession the Class maintains a secure financial footing, as well as the need to ensure that the Class continually improve the standard of its services he recommended that the following small increases be made from 1st January 2012.

The IMCA Class Affiliation Fees be increased to Euro 85 per full member

The cost of each Sail Royalty Label be increased to Euro 70

These proposals were agreed.  

Marketing & Communications Report

The Chairman presented the Marketing and Communications Report confirming that the Class will continue to build on the good work already undertaken in this area.

Technical Report

Peter Goeckel presented the Technical Committee’s report advising that aside from the rule changes already listed on the Agenda there were no major outstanding issues to report.

Riccardo Simoneschi had recently represented the Class at the ISAF November meetings and reported on its various discussions and decisions.

Builders’ Reports 

Federico Miccheti presented the reports from Melges Performance Sailboats and Melges Asia Pacific.  Karel Samsula reported on behalf of Devoti Sailing.  The builders confirmed that whilst the recession has impacted sales significantly they are all hopeful of conservative growth in 2012.  Links to typed reports.

Election of Officers

At this point in the meeting the Chairman explained that whilst under normal circumstances only discussion of those items formally submitted to the Agenda within the published timetable may be discussed at the AGM, the Constitution does give the Chairman the right - in exceptional circumstances - to accept motions from the floor.

He noted that the Executive Committee and many of the World council delegates were aware of a line of public, negative communication in recent weeks indicating dissatisfaction with the Executive Committee, in general, and himself as Chairman in particular.  In order to serve the best interests of the Class, he opened the floor for any additional proposals or motions at this time, giving further options to the Italian fleet to present their motions on this issue.

The Italian Fleet asked to defer the election after discussion on the 2012 World Championship location The Chairman accepted this motion and opened the floor to new motions.

New Proposals From The Floor

Objection To Change Of Agenda Wording

Italian Class President Franco Ricci (with Italian Class Secrtary Luca Babini assisting as translator) raised an objection to Point 13 of the Agenda being revised 48 hours prior to the meeting from the original wording of “2012 Worlds (TBC, Italy)” to “2012 Worlds (Torbole, Italy).  

IMCA Administrator Fiona Brown advised that this was purely a “house keeping” correction and made no material change to either the purpose of the agenda or to the items that would be discussed.  The Chairman confirmed that since this did not materially affect the meeting, not having received any submissions on this matter, the issue was not to be considered but, for the reasons meant above, he was happy to open the floor to full discussion.  No further action was necessary.

Mid-Term Replacement of Executive Officers

The Italian Class also raised a concern that the Executive Committee vote of the late Guenter Tzeschlock had not been reallocated, following his death.  

It was confirmed that this had been handled according to the historic precedent of the Class and so no replacement had been appointed to represent his vote until an election could be held at this AGM.  

The Italian Class argued that his vote should have been passed automatically to the Italian nominee who had stood against Guenter (Mr. Poggi) in 2010, but not been elected. Though not necessarily the case in this instance, it was argued by the floor that in some circumstances this could result in an officer joining the Executive Committee despite the fact that the World Council had not felt that individual was suitable for office.

IMCA Vice Chairman and US Class President Chris Farkas agreed that this scenario was not adequately covered by the Constitution to date and should be remedied for the future. The Italian Class formally proposed and Chris Farkas seconded a motion to request that the Constitution be reviewed to cover this point and the proposal was approved. (See also Constitution notes below).

Proposal To Re-Open Discussion On The Venue And Date Of The 2012 World Championship

The Italian Class proposed that discussion about the venue and date of the 2012 World Championship be re-opened ahead of Officer elections.  

Chris Farkas seconded the motion, but suggested that if this proposal were accepted a time limit should be set on the discussion, as there was a very large amount of business to be dealt with by the AGM.

The Chairman stated that the priority must be to ensure the best interests of the Class as a whole and that this meeting must do everything in its power to resolve the matter fairly and expeditiously.  Despite the fact that the Italian Class had not submitted a formal motion to reopen this matter, as otherwise required, the Chairman was prepared, in the best interests of the class, to allow this motion under Constitution section 10.4.8.

The Chairman proposed that following a presentation and discussion by the Italian Class and Executive Commitee regarding the process that led up to the current published dates and venue for the World Championship 2012, the Presidents of the National Classes, physcially in attendance, be allowed to discuss the matter in privacy for 15-20 minutes and then vote on whether they wished to formally reopen a discussion on dates and venue or not.  

A brief presentation was made by the Executive Committee confirming that it was with great reluctance that the IMCA had withdrawn the event from Scarlino and that this had been compelled to do so because the IMCA has never received from the Club or the Italian Class a complete set of documents by the necessary deadlines despite repeated requestsproving, in particular, confirmation that they would fully underwrite the event financially based on the agreed entry fee accordingly with the program as proposed, without making any last minute supplementary cost demands to IMCA or the competitors.

With less than 12 months to go the Executive Committee was compelled to reconsider the available options to ensure a secure and successful World Championship.  The Italian Class had been informed about the reopening of the floor in writing, which was accepted by them; the Italian Class was asked to research and submit in writing only further "formal bids" for 

Porto Rotondo, and Sardinia more in general terms

Scarlino with two different sets of dates

An alternative location in Italy to be recommended by the Italian Class for which the Italian Class proposed Riva de Garda

In addition the Executive Committee, retaining its right to further investigate, also received direct proposals from Circolo Vela Torbole and Fraglia Vela Malcesine on Lake Garda.

Having received the proposals the IMCA reviewed and researched each in great detail. After careful consideration, the findings of the Executive Committee in regard to each proposal were:  

1. Malcesine – the proposal was in outline form only and was not detailed enough to be taken forward.

2. Porto Rotondo – whilst an excellent venue the proposal critically did not include a full commitment to underwrite the regatta financially. In addition, there was significant feeling from the general membership that the costs and time required to travel to Sardinia would make the regatta prohibitively expensive at a time of economic hardship.

3. Scarlino – once again failed to confirm their explicit financial underwriting of the regatta.

4. Riva del Garda – whilst an excellent venue, the documentation proposed was largely insufficient and it has been later proved that it was not a formal bid  officially proposed by the Club. 

5. Torbole – as well as being an excellent venue, the Circolo Vela Torbole provided a complete bid pakcage, formally committing to fully underwrite the costs of the regatta and provide the event to the standards of the Class' regatta regulations at an agreed entry fee of Euro 650.  

Of the five proposals reviewed only Torbole was able to offer a secure and guaranteed championship without potential further cost to the Class.

There was considerable discussion about the various proposals and the decision making process employed.

On the proposal of the Chairman Riccardo Simoneschi, having completed discussions with the full meeting, the Chairman, the Observers and members of the Executive Committee, not also representing National Classes, withdrew and the Presidents of the National Classes in attendance continued the meeting in private.

Following their debate and a formal vote the Chairman, observers and Executive Committee members rejoined the meeting and the National Class Presidents reported the following findings from their debate and voting:

The National Class Presidents voted against reopening the debate on the subject of the 2012 World Championship and the venue and dates shall remain Torbole from 27 July to 4 August.  

They asked that the AGM minutes formally record that a significant proportion of the National Classes did not consider the agreed dates or the selection of Torbole ideal, but felt it was in the best interests of the Class as a whole to leave the venue and dates as they stood.  Instead it was now time to get behind the event and move forward in the spirit of cooperation to achieve the best possible 2012 World Championship in Torbole.

 They also recommended that future proposals submitted to the World Council for Championships must only be accepted onto the Agenda if they include full formal proposals directly from the host club including a letter of commitment to financially underwrite the event for the agreed entry fee and confirmation of exact dates on which the event can take place.

The Chairman thanked the National Class Presidents for their deliberations and decision on this matter.

Election Of Officers

The Chairman, having fulfilled with the above descripted procedure the previous motion from the Italian Fleet, and having read consistent flow of mails addressing him personally and the Executive with very improper comments opened the floor again asking for another eventual “late submission” against him personally or the Executive. No motion was put forward.

Michael Schineis was proposed as Executive Committee Vice Chairman for Europe by the Executive Committee, seconded by Germany and approved unanimously.

Tomi Hakola was proposed for a second term of office as Secretary and Treasurer by the Executive Committee, seconded by Germany and approved unanimously.

Peter Goeckel was proposed as the Technical Committee Chairman by the Executive Committee, seconded by the Unites States and approved unanimously

Class Submissions

Click here for full details of the decisions made regarding National Class Submissions.

Rule Changes

Click here for details of the Rule Changes submitted to ISAF for approval.  These will not come into force until approved by ISAF.  If approved by ISAF they will come into force on 15 March 2011.  Click here for the summary of discussions regarding the rule changes.   Click here for Rule Changes as approved by ISAF and for 2012 Class Rules.  

Constitution Changes

A motion to defer the proposed constitution changes was presented by the Italian Fleet. The Chairman accepted this motion to be voted only after a full explanation of each one of the single points and its relevance for the Association. After a long technical explanation made by the Chairman there was no second for the pending motion of the Italian Fleet. Delegates went to the vote on each one of the points  and all but one were approved , some with slight amendments.

Click here for full details of the approved Constitution Changes.

Forthcoming Events

Worlds 2012 – Torbole – 24 July to 4 August

President Gianfrano Tonelli of Circolo Vela Torbole presented a report and video to the meeting detailing their work on the event to date and their plans for the coming months. Fiona Brown confirmed that she is in regular contact with the Club and that her site visit and subsequent communications have enabled the event to be brought online very rapidly despite the late change.   

President Tonelli brought to the meeting’s attention the fact that in 2010 the sponsorship agency of Volvo responsible for the Volvo Cup events, had gone into liquidation owing the Club over Euro 25,000.  The Club had attempted to recoup this money from the new sponsorship agency working with the Italian Class and formed by the same directors as the company that had been liquidated, but without success.

They were most disappointed to then discover that the 2011 Volvo Cup Lake Garda event had been awarded to Riva del Garda.

Despite this extremely upsetting situation President Tonelli most specifically confirmed that Volvo had not been at fault in this situation and that Circolo Vela Torbole would be pleased to welcome Volvo as title sponsors of the 2012 Melges 24 World Championship.  His only provision was that the contract must be with Volvo directly, reimbursing the 25,000 €, as the Club was not prepared to deal with the agency or the persons that had acted in such  a way previously.

He closed by thanking the Melges 24 Class for bringing the Championship to Torbole and looked forward to welcoming everyone in July of next year for a great Championship.

North Americans 2012 – San Francisco – 22 to 26 August

On behalf of the San Francisco Yacht Club Chris Farkas confirmed that planning for this event and the 2013 World Championship, to also be hosted by SFYC, is well underway.  Hank Stuart confirmed that he has conducted the site visit and that regular communications between the Club and the IMCA Staff are in place.

Europeans 2013 – Medemblik – 16-24 August

Frank Lieve confirmed that plans are well underway for this event and that they are currently working hard on sponsorship and budgeting for the event. Fiona Brown confirmed that she had had a very successful site visit to Medemblik in September and was now in regular correspondence with the club moving forward.

Worlds 2013 – San Francisco – 30 September to 5 October

See notes above re North Americans 12.

Worlds 2014 – Australia – Dates TBA 2014

A formal report from the Australian Class was submitted outlining work on the event to date and confirming that whilst it was still extremely keen to host the 2014 Worlds it was currently still working to identify the correct host club and guarantee financing of the event. Until those were in place the event could not be 100% confirmed.

The Chairman noted that the Worlds in San Francisco in October 2013 provided the best logistical take off point for an Australian-based Worlds.  In addition the International Class is keen to support the growth of the Class in the Asia Pacific region with a major championship at the earliest opportunity.  To this end it was agreed that the situation with Australia be kept under review for the coming year in the hope that they would be in a position to submit a confirmed bid to the next AGM.  Should this not be possible alternative proposals from Europe would be sought.  

The Chairman also noted that Hyeres had already volunteered to step in at late notice to host the 2014 Worlds if needed.  This was a most generous offer and gave the Class a secure position.  However, if Australia felt compelled to withdraw he confirmed that the 2012 AGM would consider proposals from other venues as well as Hyeres.

Future Events

North Americans 2014

Chris Farkas presented an outline proposal to host this event at the Chicago Yacht Club.  He confirmed that this is one of North America’s premiere clubs with a long and excellent history of hosting major events.  He also advised that there were some 50 Melges 24s currently sailing within the local catchment area for this event.  The meeting confirmed that it would like to progress this and asked the USMCA to bring forward detailed proposals to the next AGM.

Europeans 2014

Peter Goeckel presented an outline proposal from the Flensburg Yacht Club on Germany’s Baltic Coast.  He noted that whilst the club has an excellent track record and facilities there were some concerns about the suitability of the race area.  It was agreed that the German Class should pursue this proposal further and if the race area is deemed suitable the club should be asked to put forward a full proposal for the next AGM.  In addition proposals from other venues were sought.

Worlds 2015

Hyeres has expressed interest in hosting this event.  It was agreed that this would be left in abeyance until the next AGM when the situation with Australia would become clearer.  Additional proposals for this event are sought.

Worlds 2016

Chris Farkas advised that the USMCA is currently considering Miami for this event.  Further proposals will be sent to the World Council in due course.

Any Other Business

Builder Representation On IMCA Executive Committee

On behalf of the USMCA Chris Farkas proposed that the World Council appoint a Builder’s Representative to join the Executive Committee as a non-voting Councilor of Honour.  They proposed the Federico Michetti be the first holder of this post.  The motion was seconded by the Chairman and approved.

Proposal To Open The Floor To A Frank Discussion Between The Chairman And The Italian Class

In light of the recent views expressed outside this meeting in various public forums by the Italian Class regarding IMCA Chairman Riccardo Simoneschi, Chris Farkas on behalf of the USMCA proposed that both parties be given the opportunity to fully and frankly express any views about the recent situation to clear the air.  Peter Goeckel seconded the motion which was approved.

Riccardo Simoneschi expressed his view that the approach taken by the Italian Class in communicating its views about the business of this meeting in such a rude and openly insulting way in various public forums and through circular emails to a blind contact list, which prevented the right of reply, was neither appropriate nor acceptable behavior.  He felt that their use of the Internet in this way was beyond the limit and brought the Melges 24 Class into disrepute.

He thanked the delegates for all their excellent work throughout the meeting to bring the situation back under control.

The Italian Class was extended the opportunity to have the final word, but elected not to make a response.

Next Meeting

The next IMCA World Council AGM will take place in Helsinki on 24 November 2012.