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RYA and UKCRA meeting re dropping cats from Olympics


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Dear Catamaran Representatives

Here is the report of our meeting with the RYA on Monday 8th October.

Virtually all organisational matters were subject to differing

understandings. There were rival agendas - both distributed at least

partially in advance. RYA Council Chairman, Eddie Ramsden, was invited

to chair the meeting, but appeared to interpret his role as leading

the RYA delegation. RYA undertook to produce a note of action points

(not yet received). UKCRA undertook to produce minutes (attached).

Please note that RYA were offered opportunity of commenting on the

accuracy of what was discussed but declined to do so, even though

Sports Development Manager, Jon White did acknowledge receiving the

minutes before publication.

Nevertheless I am confident that these are an accurate representation

of the discussion because UKCRA had two note takers, while no-one from

the RYA team was observed making a contemporaneous record. I am glad

to say that apart from these political squabbles the meeting was

businesslike, but obviously sad that there was no meeting of minds on

the key issue of Olympic representation for catamarans. Nevertheless

there was agreement to persue

two channels for further discussion on separate issues of detail.

I hope that you can distribute these minutes among your various

constituencies in time for discussion over this weekend, because it is

important that sailors come well informed to the meeting of catamaran

sailors at Grafham next Saturday (Changed to 5.30 Upstairs Bar before

dinner). The campaign now moves on to lobbying ISAF directly, and so

that meeting needs to focus constructively on how we can work together

towards achieving our common goal that the sport of catamaran racing

be represented fairly at the Olympic Games, without which the rest

will wither.

Meanwhile please encourage people to continue signing the e-petition

."Against the RYA's recent submissions to ISAF" at

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/CatamaranSubmission?e . Now the

campaign has moved on to the global stage, it is especially important

that this message be abroad abroad.


Nick Dewhirst




Throughout the MINUTES, RYA representatives are referred to as ‘RYA’ and UK CATAMARAN representatives are referred to as ‘UKCRA’



Nick Dewhirst (UKCRA Chairman)

Catherine Howland (Shearwater)

John Alani (F16)

Lee Davies (UKIDA)

Graham Eeles (Tornado Builder)

Grant Piggott (F18)

David Scarfe (BHCCA)

Chris Laming (Hobie parent)

Brian Phipps (Windsport)

Rob White (SL16)

Reg White (Tornado Gold Medallist)


Eddie Ramsden (Council Chairman)

John Derbyshire (Racing Manager/Performance Director)

John White (Sport Development Manager)

Chris Atkins (Racing Committee Chairman)

Carla Stanley (420/Optimists/Olympic Steering Group)

RYA opened the meeting and stated that, in their opinion, the purpose of the meeting was to achieve a better understanding of issues raised and to review the relationship between the RYA and UK catamaran sailors. Secondly, they wanted to achieve a way forward to develop catamaran sailing at all levels. RYA further stated that although the RYA has its own clear processes of internal communication, they wished to develop a better method of communicating externally, particularly with the catamaran community.

UKCRA stated that their objective for the meeting was to ascertain how the RYA arrived at its decision to forward the Submissions (129-07 & 103-07) and to hope for an agreement to manoeuvre and re-submit them. UKCRA further stated that they wished to discuss the Olympic selections, particularly the issue of multihulls generally, not necessarily ‘Tornadoes’. They then wished to move on to discuss the subject of classes for selection at the ISAF World Championships and then finally move on towards achieving common goals and objectives between UKCRA and RYA.

RYA stated their Association remit as defined within the ‘Racing Committee’ as being to - ‘Protect and promote boating, represent members internationally, represent GBR at ISAF, influence ISAF policy in GBR interests and to deliver an elite programme’. To achieve this, they had three roles – ‘Increase number of racers, increase frequency of races, increase enjoyment of racing’.

UKCRA asked if the remit and roles were on the RYA website. RYA responded that they were not sure. RYA undertook to provide a copy of its Charter.

The RYA stated that their organisation had very much become a business and that decisions had to be made accordingly. RYA went on to describe regional organisation and structure and how the regional representatives influence the Council. They stated that main communications were via their website and magazine and that every January there is a Youth Stakeholders Conference. Racing issues are discussed at a December Conference and there is a Commodores Conference at the RYA Dinghy how.

RYA continued, stating that, on the Racing Managements side, there is a ‘fourth role’, that of -‘Producing Olympic results’ and that a youth programme exists to deliver youths to the Olympic programme.

RYA stated that their responsibilities cover a large area – eg power boating etc, therefore Racing Policy is delegated to the Racing Committee and then promulgated on the website prior to the ISAF meeting. They stated that it is not always possible for Council members to have an oversight of the work of the Committees and working groups. An earlier ‘Cruiser Submission’ had been withdrawn following a ‘Dispute’.

UKCRA asked why the current issue had come to light so late in the process.

RYA stated the ‘Submission Process’ requires agenda items to be with ISAF by 1 Aug for that year. Anyone in the RYA can submit to the Race Committee who then decide if it is in the interest of the RYA and sailing generally. RYA continued, stating that they were the largest Member National Authority (MNA) in ISAF with 100,000 members and that USSailing were second largest with 30,000. They stated that they therefore had to use their influence carefully.

UKCRA asked if MNA’s votes and hence influence, were weighted according to size of membership. RYA replied that this was generally the case since smaller MNAs may share seats when at times RYA may have two seats out of the 40 total.

RYA stated that ISAF Youth issues were covered at the January Youth Conference and that Olympic matters covered by the Olympic Steering Group (OSG). They continued, RYA needs sailing to stay Olympic for funding in the UK and other countries plus ISAF funding from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Furthermore, Olympic sailing remained vulnerable if number of sailing nations and entrants fell, if cost was prohibitive, if value of televising dropped and if media appeal dropped. Strengths for Olympic sailing included the Eco angle and the fact that female participation was in excess of 30%. ISAF’s Olympic goals were to increase nations participating, increase media appeal and increase number of female athletes. Therefore, RYA’s submission for the Olympic events was based on the requirement for ISAF to choose 10 out of 13 events. RYA submitted 4 male crewed boats, 4 female boats – to either maximise ‘nations participating’ or boats that provided ‘maximum media appeal’. The two remaining, the RYA stated, should be chosen from keel/male, keel/female, singlehanded/male/heavy, multi/male, multi/female or multi/open. RYA further stated that, while not ‘anti-catamaran’ they would be content with whatever ended up in the two remaining slots.

UKCRA asked for the names of the members of the OSG responsible for the Submission. RYA declined. UKCRA asked who were the three members that RYA stated were Tornado sailors. When revealed, UKCRA stated that these were past not current or recent competitors and pre-dated the Tornado upgrade to three-sails. RYA answered that they provided sufficient ‘knowledge’ for the RYA to makes its decisions on this matter. RYA also apologised for possible misunderstanding

RYA acknowledged the good performance of multihulls, the fact they could be sailed ‘Open’ or ‘single-sex’ and that they were not susceptible to Rule 42. They however stated that, in the balance of the 4 criteria mentioned previously (number of sailing nations, cost, value of televising and media appeal) multihulls were of questionable affordable equipment.

UKCRA emphasised that they were pursuing the case of multihulls in general, not necessarily Tornadoes, but in any event, Tornadoes were not necessarily more expensive to run than other classes since the major costs come with standard overheads such as travel etc.

UKCRA and RYA discussed the various merits of multihulls and other classes against the criteria used to select classes favoured by RYA and therefore forwarded by Submission. UKCRA advised that, given the ‘black and white’ objective nature of the above criteria, RYA had a responsibility not only to its members, but also to ISAF and all the other MNAs to weigh the respective merits of the classes on offer, including multihulls. UKCRA produced a scorecard matrix that had already been used to go through this process and that clearly showed multihulls come out as the top scoring class which best satisfies the requirements of the above criteria. RYA admitted the scorecard was a good method. UKCRA asked if RYA would therefore reconsider either withdrawing Submission 103-07 based on their acknowledged lack of research and consultation. RYA replied that they were content that the ISAF conference would result in sufficient dialogue to ensure the correct classes were chosen. UKCRA reminded RYA of their (RYA’s) earlier comments regarding being very influential at ISAF and re-iterated the requirement to go to ISAF with a full selection of classes that were well thought out, logical and could be argued for in any forum. RYA were further advised that their ’content with what ever classes fill the last two places’ view would be misinterpreted by other MNAs as a lack of regard for multihulls and that they were merely passing a difficult decision onto another party and therefore absolving themselves of any responsibility should multihulls not be selected.

UKCRA handed out a selection of the comments made on the recent e-petition against the Submissions.

UKCRA asked if it was still possible for RYA to change Submissions prior to 1 Nov 07. RYA confirmed that it was possible to withdraw or amend, provided the amendments were not substantial owing to the need for one person to represent several countries. RYA refused to do so, stating that they would be guided by views from other representatives expressed at the ISAF conference. RYA also refused to identify whether they had a preferential pecking order.

UKCRA asked why multihull organisations had not been consulted or informed prior to the Submissions. RYA asked why multihulls had no representation on RYA, UKCRA responded stating that they used to but the committee had been closed down a number of years ago.

UKCRA asked finally if multihulls would be included in an amended submission for RYAs proposed classes. RYA stated it was too late but asked what UKCRA might provide research material to help RYA influence the ISAF conference. RYA requested ‘knowledge’ and ‘information’ to assist in the creation of its own ‘scorecard’. UKCRA pointed out that this was an admission of lack of knowledge of multihulls prior to the Submissions and that they were therefore ultimately flawed and that they should be withdrawn with immediate effect. RYA responded by stating they would still not withdraw the Submissions.

UKCRA concluded that it hoped RYA would withdraw or amend its Submissions, or at least commit itself to voting for multihulls, that it did not accept RYA position as UKCRA scorecard showed that multihulls met Olympic requirements best and suggested that the subject be closed as it had become clear that it was not possible to reach agreement.

Discussion moved on to the subject of the Youth Submission (129-07).

RYA stated their Youth Steering Committee (YSC) had a remit to support 2 handed trapeze and skiff sailing and that the RYA believes youth championships are all inclusive while achieving pathway to Olympic Campaign. The Youth Steering Group (YSG) has a remit to select/de-select as required but struggles to find parents willing to buy boats of many different types. The YSG uses boat purchase to steer direction. RYA stated the requirement for properly funded youth programmes.

UKCRA and RYA discussed the run down of the Catamaran Youth squad and disputed whether numbers dropped because RYA ran the squad down. RYA replied, a decision was made in 2003 to reduce the youth catamaran program based on its success at that time.

RYA asked what UKCRA wanted from them to re-establish youth catamaran sailing. UKCRA replied that they needed a properly funded and RYA supported youth catamaran programme, from grass routes to junior and youth squad level, similar to the French program

RYA consulted with themselves regarding the possibility of a club based development programme but then stated that the shortage of clubs willing to take on a cat youth programme was restrictive. UKCRA stated that although clubs lacked infrastructure, the RYA had a programme that was growing and successful until being culled by RYA in 2004 and that current youth cat success was a remnant of the pre-2004 programme. UKCRA called on RYA to re-build the junior and youth cat program and work on club based catamaran entry programs similar to Team 15.

UKCRA stated that for multihulls to have Olympic success, a fully funded Youth programme was essential, therefore both Submissions had to be withdrawn. RYA stated that the original 129-07 Submission had been amended to include multihulls but UKCRA pointed out that ISAF would almost certainly only accept 7 entries and that one from the revised RYA list would have to be dropped. RYA stated they were content to give the problem back to ISAF but that an option may be compulsory mixed multihull crews.

RYA then stated that they would consider further evidence for the Olympic issue and were willing to engage with UKCRA in the form of a joint working group to look at ways to re-invigorate youth cat sailing but that the Submissions would still stand.

The meeting concluded in agreement that both sides still disputed the Submissions and the RYA’s commitment to youth and Olympic multihull sailing.

The meeting ended on time at 5.30.

Minutes produced by UKCRA. RYA offered opportunity to comment on accuracy, but declined.

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Yet another example of the stuffed shirt, pompous a@*holes in the likes of the RYA dictating terms to the catamaran sailing fraternity.

Is it also a question of our blaise attitude to authority? Probably not. It's very difficult to work with an organisation that has it's own agenda, and to argue for (or against) something when we are not even aware that it has been tabled until AFTER the fact!

Revenge is best served cold. Give the bastards hell via the I.S.A.F.!!

Hope the RYA all get a dose of the clap!

Leroy frown.gif

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