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You are here: Skip Navigation LinksHome > Events/rallies > Previous years > 2013 > AGM, St Malo

Annual General Meeting
9th March 2013, St Malo

Report and photos by Ken Surplice

 

2013 is the year of our 40th anniversary. During the AGM held in February 2012 the idea was hatched to try something a bit special for this anniversary year. After reviewing several options we adopted the idea of a mini cruise to St. Malo in France. It was a bit of a gamble but thanks to great support from the membership everything worked well and we attracted sixty nine members to the AGM itself.

The first part of the plan was to assemble in Portsmouth on Friday night at 9pm. To qualify for our bargain ferry group ticket we were obliged to present our group’s documents in one go. In true Seal fashion, everyone was there early and we checked in painlessly and received our cabin keys. We were not able to board early as we hoped but got on board around 9.45 pm then headed immediately to the ship’s restaurant. There we sat next to large windows looking over the stern. It was foggy so we did not see much and the ship departed Portsmouth only after we’d nearly finished eating. The restaurant was very smart and the food was even smarter. As promised by Brittany Ferries, the standard of food was excellent – a real treat. Many members dressed for dinner. It might have been a ferry rather than a cruise ship but it was a wonderful start to the weekend. We left the restaurant around 11.45pm and headed for bed during a calm channel crossing.

Our arrival at St. Malo was an hour later than expected, perhaps due to the foggy conditions. This meant an extra hour in bed and we found ourselves disembarking around 8.30am in a misty St. Malo. It was quite strange to be so far from home and know so many people around us. The first task was to drop off trophies, projector, screen and cables near to our AGM venue. Luckily the tourist office staff were very obliging. Heading into the walled city we soon saw other Seals taking breakfast in a tented pavement café. We joined them and soon more gathered. After “petit dej”, we set about exploring St Malo with its ramparts and interesting streets. It was a bit of a shock when the ramparts took us past the port again and the ship had disappeared together with our overnight belongings. Not to worry, it simply sits offshore for the day and returns later.

Just before noon we headed for Le Yacht Club right in the inner harbour. By now the sun was shining and there was a very positive mood all round. Le Yacht Club is actually a restaurant that specialises in serving organic food. We filed in, took our places and enjoyed a welcome aperitif. The food was excellent and despite the large size of our group we enjoyed service with a smile and a great value and high quality meal. With an excellent desert behind us and coffee in front of us, it was time to start the AGM.

The committee assembled at the front at we began the formalities of the AGM. We first welcomed members, noting the excellent turn out from the Eastern Area, and a good spread of members from the West, from Wales and from the Midlands. It was also pleasing to see new members, new boat owners and established members coming to their first AGM. With a warm and friendly AGM atmosphere to encourage me, I launched into my last report as Commodore. 2012 was a great year for the country, with Queen’s Jubilee and Olympics to lift our spirits. Although there was little sunshine, few fair winds and no Seal boatbuilding (although Parkers are ready to build 235s and Fosdyke Yacht Haven are looking for 285/335 orders) the Association ended the year in good financial shape, with our membership numbers holding and excellent communications in both newsletter and web traffic. On average our web forum saw 11 postings per week and we sold 35 boats via our website. I certainly enjoyed the company of members especially late in the season.

During my time on committee I thoroughly enjoyed and valued the company and contributions of Committee members, Area Officers and the membership at large. I paid tribute to the people that make the association what it is. I thanked Graham Ebb, who has ably served as Trailer Sailer rep and hosted a past AGM. Graham is stepping down as he has changed to a non-trailing Parker yacht. I presented Peter Lowry with porcelain Seal, engraved “Seal of Approval” to commemorate his more than ten years of service and contribution to the Association. He has been one time Rear Commodore and hyperactive Solent Area rep for many wonderful years. Peter is stepping down from Committee.

Following my report, our very capable treasurer Steve Drew presented a healthy picture of rising subscription income, a mix of rising and falling costs, and an overall surplus for the year, our fifth in a row. Members voted not to increase membership fees.

The AGM then voted on two proposals. We have been without a President for many years and between proxy votes and those at the meeting there was unanimous support to vote Martin Hopton as President. I don’t have the opportunity here to cover the many reasons why Martin was such a deserving candidate, but he has contributed so much over the years, including seven years as Commodore, and is very capable, very experienced and is naturally suited and equipped to take on this role. Congratulations Martin! Members proposed to also grant Sheila Gale, Martin’s partner honorary life membership. This was enthusiastically supported by those present and will be put to a formal motion at the next AGM.

The second proposal, also overwhelmingly supported, was to amend the constitution to make it easier for friends of members to join if they do not have a Seal or Parker yacht.

Via proxy votes and members voting at the AGM, a new committee was elected, to be led by new Commodore Tim Reeder! Congratulations go to Tim on his election to the post. The new look committee is:

Commodore Tim Reeder
Vice Commodore Michael Mead
Treasurer Steve Drew
Secretary David Bamber
Nesletter Editor Jeremy Parsons
Webmaster Geoff Turner

Between Committee and Area Officers, this leaves vacancies for Sailing Secretary, South West Area Officer and Solent Officer. I am delighted that volunteers have since come forward for the first two of these posts and this will help the new Committee get off to a flying start.

The formalities of the AGM were followed by a presentation on the 40th Anniversary Rally to be held May 24th-27th on Hamble and Solent. Michael Mead is organising this activity and stresses how members from all over UK, and indeed from other countries, can attend and stay at the base site and enjoy sailing on the boats of local and visiting members. Do sign up for this special 40th anniversary celebration and let’s make it a true national event.

The final part of this most enjoyable AGM was presentation of awards. The Committee thanks Chris Turner of Elsa for kindly donating a splendid new award, the “Turner Prize”. This is a magnificent Seal mount on a wonderful wooden base, to be presented annually to a member to commemorate “something off beat”. The Committee also thanks Jeremy Parsons for donating another splendid trophy – “The Parker Wheel”. This award brings a balance to the number of awards dedicated to each of Seal and Parker classes. Both Chris and Jeremy have put in a lot of hands on effort to create these wonderful additional awards. Gentlemen, thank you!

Winners of Association awards for the 2012 season. Congratulations to all winners!

Devonshire Boule Philip Linsell, Rascal Winner by far in the competition
Sandcastle Trophy Ella Williams and Linda Vacher, Grace For entry Portsmouth approaches and dolphin
Parker 21/235 Graham Ebb For trailing leadership, exploits and association contributions
Photo competition Steve Parker, Dancer “Weymouth on Jubilee weekend”
Solent Area Trophy Stephen and Julie Roy, Penlu For active participation in rallies and running one of their own
Super Seal Trophy Philip Linsell, Rascal First Seal 26 to finish in RIOW
Annual Racing Trophy Nigel Walbank, Breeze First to cross line in RIOW
Newsletter award Graham Ellison, Tiptoe Too For “if it floats”.
Joint runners up:
Steve Munday, Hylje, “Trip round Britain”.
John Brealey, Ariel, “Au revoir Ariel”
The Turner Prize Margaret Reeder, Speedwell For being attacked by a Seal, instead of sailing one
The Parker Wheel John Margarson. Muffin Amazing completion of Jester Challenge
Silver Jubilee Award Clifford Miller, Abacus For many years of outstanding service and support to the association and its members.

Following the awards ceremony the committee very kindly presented me with something new in the Association – a prototype battle flag, featuring large Seal and our family yacht name “Vol-au-vent”. In addition new Commodore Tim presented me with a photo collage commemorating many events of the years. I am truly grateful to the association for these kind gifts. I have to tell you that I have always dreamed of a Seal battle flag and cannot wait to fly it with pride. This kind gesture ended the AGM. We assembled outside for a group photograph in the sun and then returned to explore the town before boarding ship at 7pm.

Back on board there were no specific activities planned. A large group assembled in one of the bar areas to remember the good times we had enjoyed in St. Malo, accompanied by a very fortunate good weather in a period of unsettled weather. Geoff Turner, Webmaster, set up a PC on a table and members went up one by one to vote in the annual photo competition. Later a cabaret act took the stage and following them was an amazing magic act. We’re still talking about that today – and who would expect such entertainment on a ferry?

Retiring to bed just before midnight, we enjoyed a good sleep before arriving in Portsmouth at 7.30am on Sunday morning. Thank you to the many people who have offered words of support and sent cards concerning this AGM. With the wonderful support from many members, good weather in an interesting city, food to die for, and an AGM truly supported by its members, it was a weekend I will remember for many years to come. In closing, I offer my best wishes to our new President and new Commodore and look forward to benefiting from their leadership in the year to come.

Thanks to all who participated – Ken

 

Photos

Gathering at Portsmouth
Gathering at Portsmouth
Dinner on board
Dinner on board
Dinner on board
Dinner on board
Arriving in St Malo
Arriving in St Malo
Misty St Malo
Misty St Malo
Misty St Malo
Misty St Malo
The sun breaks throuh
The sun breaks throuh
In St Malo
In St Malo
In St Malo
In St Malo
Part of the wall
Part of the wall
The beach
The beach
From the marina
From the marina
Lunch at Le Yacht Club
Lunch at Le Yacht Club
Lunch at Le Yacht Club
Lunch at Le Yacht Club
Lunch at Le Yacht Club
Lunch at Le Yacht Club
Preparing for the AGM
Preparing for the AGM
Ken starts the AGM
Ken starts the AGM
Ken and Peter Lowry
Ken and Peter Lowry
The Commodore's pennant
The Commodore's pennant
Steve & Julie Roy
Steve & Julie Roy
Nigel Walbank
Nigel Walbank
Battle flag
Battle flag
 
Late afternoon
Late afternoon
Late afternoon
Late afternoon
Robert Sercouf
Robert Sercouf
St Malo
St Malo
Pont Aven in St Malo
Pont Aven in St Malo
Pont Aven in Portsmouth
Pont Aven in Portsmouth