September Surprise Ballot


There is a new ballot coming our way and there are some things to consider before you vote.

The By-laws section of the current ballot seeks to rectify certain perceived problems concerning regatta organization addressed in Section B4. In doing so paragraph B4a turns various registration deadlines into moving targets, and opens Pandoras box regarding refunds in paragraph B4d.  If refunds have ever been granted, they shouldn’t have been. Why start handing out refunds now?  More fundamentally, why were these changes not presented separately?   Each paragraph of Section B4 addresses a separate issue.  While the first three paragraphs of Section B4 are relatively non-controversial, paragraph B4d appears to offer a new and troubling concept.  Because of this, I will be voting “No” on all of these changes.

The first ballot item relating to rope halyards is non-controversial, and the recent Runner Tracks article by Chad Atkins makes the case for allowing rope halyards.  However he misses one important point.  That is, if you break your wire halyard while racing, you could have a spare in your pocket or tool bag, and continue sailing legally without a lot of hassle.  Vote “Yes” on this specification change.

Robert Cummins

I appreciate your input.  I doubt I can change your mind, but I will give you a little of my thought process on why that is in the rules.  I don’t presume to speak for the whole Governing Committee.
First, the current bylaws do not address the subject of refunds in any way at all.  Since it is not prohibited, I assume that the Commodore, or potentially the Governing Committee could issue refunds if they thought it was appropriate.  As commodore that is how I would interpret it.  By that definition the new rule merely clarifies who makes the decision.  There is less flexibility under this rule than there was before.  We are not allowing something that was prohibited, we are simply saying who the decision maker would be IF that decision was made.  Since the Regatta Chairman (Area Rear Commodore) is the one financially responsible for the regatta, it makes sense that he has the final say.
Secondly, there are legitimate reasons to issue refunds.  Take as an example a competitor, who ends up as part of the race committee instead of competing because we move and are short staffed.  I can think of a PRO from the last few years that gave up his racing to RUN the event.  Personally I think that individual deserved a refund and had I had I been Commodore at the time, I would have issued it.  Do I think that the practice of issuing refunds will become commonplace?  No I don’t.  I would hope it gets reserved for extraordinary circumstances.    Can I anticipate all the possible reasons a refund may be issued at some future date?  No I can’t.  I do have enough trust in the class that I would be comfortable with a lot more flexibility on the part of the governing committee and race organizers.
If it passes, and years from now Race Chairman are giving out refunds left and right without a good reason, then revisit the issue. 

If the ballot fails, and I thought someone had a completely legitimate reason to get a refund, I would do so. In my judgement, that is well within my authority under the current bylaws, as Commodore. 
 What I do see is that the current governing documents are overly constraining, and frankly don’t reflect how we actually do business.  Take for example the issue of Europeans competing in North America.  We have always allowed them to pay at registration, instead of ahead of time without incurring a late fee.  That totally violates the bylaws as they currently are.  Yet we as a class have been doing it for many years.  Our governing documents are rife with examples of us saying one thing and doing another.  I think the time has come to change that.  This is a very small start.

Eric Anderson US 5193


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