Tradition has it that the current Chairman writes in the Newsletter
but the retired Chairman does not. Breaking with this, there
are a few personal thoughts I should like to send to all of you.
Obviously the first thing to say is a tremendous "thank-you"
to all Committee members who worked so hard with me last year.
Until you have been actively involved with the various jobs that
need doing to run an Association like, ours, it is difficult
to appreciate the time and effort, the painstaking attention
to detail and the many evenings of writing and telephoning which
are shared out around the Committee. No one person should ever
be indispensable to the Association but everyone of those people
was indispensable to me. I deliberately did not thank them at
the A.G.M. because not all could be there. I should now like
to offer them all my sincere thanks.
Being Chairman however is not all hard work and weighty decisions;
far from it. Part of it is going to a meeting away from the local
circuit where the faces are not quite so familiar, the sail numbers
so big that you wonder the boats do not capsize under the sheer
weight of them and where everybody's transoms disappear at a
frightening speed. Yet people come up to you, introduce themselves
and in no time at all you are chatting away. When you finally
drag the boat off home, some time later than you expected, you
realise you have made another bunch of friends. So for all the
hospitality we have received, thank-you. And in turn, I promise
to do my best to talk with any new face I see around in future.
Yes, even if she is young and gorgeous !
During the twelve months in the hot seat it is pretty inevitable
that you ponder a fair bit on the Class in general. By and large,
there did not seem to be a great deal wrong with our boats or
with us. This of course is perhaps the natural conclusion for
any interested party, most of all a Chairman who is possibly
rather involved with the Class to view it with the utmost objectivity.
So after a couple of days at Weymouth, the initial formality
having worn off, I had rather a shock. People started being complimentary-very
complimentary, about us in that funny sort of way that showed
they were being completely genuine. In no time at all, my ears
were positively burning with all the nice things that were being
said. Your behaviour on and off the water, the lack of frivolous
protests, the well-mannered attitude to club members and club
property, the absence of hooliganism and the overall decent behaviour
of the Class and its adherents have made a big, impression on
the locals. It was especially pleasing to recall the variety
of national and international events which they stage, as a basis
for comparison. By the end of the week, so many people had come
up to me and said nice things about you all that 1 was positively
bursting with pride, for the Class. It was a superb note on which
to end my time as Chairman and I thank you all for your support.