The East Coast Gaffers AGM was held at the Walton & Frinton Yacht Club on Saturday 11 November. The formal business of the evening was conveniently truncated by the WFYC Chef announcing that dinner would be served in half an hour – an excellent way to concentrate the minds of Officers and Members alike!
The East Coast President, Robert Hill, reported on another successful year; one that he had largely missed due to work commitments. He reported that the committee had further discussed the proposal made by Northern Ireland to change the Association name and drop the word 'Old'. Mostly, the East Coast had already moved to a position where, in general usage, the term East Coast Gaffers had found acceptance, while OGA, The Association For Gaff Rig Sailing continued to be in use for more formal communications. The majority of members present were happy to continue with this format. Sarah Adie proposed that any funds allocated to a possible name change should actually be used to promote the OGA and try to win new members.
Looking forward, Robert asked all members present to focus on the OGA55 due to be staged on the Isle of Wight in August 2018. He urged members to consider the best ways to attend and to register an interest on the OGA website. Sue Lewis, Association Secretary, explained that the GMC had allocated funds to help members support the event, either in their own boat or on a charter boat. She also explained that the organisation for OGA55 would be done by the areas, not by a special GMC Committee. Areas with good ideas should submit them to the GMC for joint funding. Clare Thomas, Treasurer, had earlier explained that the area is in a strong financial state as most events through the year had been in surplus.
Under AOB, there was a return to the thoughts of building membership. There was a robust discussion about the need to recruit new members, particularly younger ones. It was suggested that a new sub-committee be formed to develop a strategy for this. Some of the younger members present were urged to get behind this idea and join the committee.
In 2018 the new OGA Gaff Rigged dinghy should see the light of day. This would be the focus for recruiting new members and encouraging a fleet to be used all around the country.
After dinner the highlight was the presentation of the Bateman’s Tower Trophy, awarded to the member who has contributed most to the area during the year. Clare Thomas, Treasurer, received general acclaim on being given the award and also received the new picture – a winter scene of the tower to complement the large model of the real thing!