Minutes of the annual general meeting of the royal artillery yacht club held at the packway officers’ mess larkhill thursday 26 february 2015 Item Commodore’s Welcome and Opening Remarks

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Item 1. Commodore’s Welcome and Opening Remarks. The Commodore, Brigadier Karl Ford, opened the meeting by welcoming all those present. He reported that apologies had been received from the following; P Crump, Dumas, Murrin, Nugee, Bolton, Abraham, Pickersgill, Sleap, Hallam, Geenfield, Gent, Wilson, Sargent, Ohlenschlager, Bonallack, Blessington, Cox, T Crump, Fraser, Hill, Kidd, Lawson, Lewin, Martin, Morris, Raley, Rowlandson, Stephenson and Wilson. There were 27 voting members present. He also wished to take the opportunity to thank the Committee for their work and the Flag Officers for instilling their enthusiasm for their respective disciplines into the Club’s extensive programme of activity.

Item 2. Previous Minutes and Matters Arising. The Minutes of the AGM held on 17th October 2014 were proposed by Lt Col Richard Kidner and seconded by Maj Colin Walsh with the recommendation that they should be taken as read and approved. There were no matters arising which were not then further discussed later in the AGM.

Item 3. Election of new Flag Officers. The following Flag Officer appointments were announced;

  • Vice Commodore – Lt Col Chris Gent RA who was proposed by Lt Col Nick Bird and seconded by Col Chris Copeland

  • Rear Commodore Offshore – Maj Nat Webber MBE RA who was proposed by Lt Col Richard Kidner and seconded by Lt Col Nick Bird

The Commodore explained that these changes had been the result of the previous appointees being sent on Operational Tours or selected for overseas appointments. Both appointments were voted upon and the nominees duly elected.

Item 4. Honorary Treasurer’s Report for 2013-2014. Lt Col Paul d’Apice presented the Accounts which had been published on the RAYC Website in advance of the AGM. His detailed report together with the AFN 1514, which includes the auditors comments, are available on the RAYC Website. The RAYC accounts were approved and endorsed by the membership. A particular vote of thanks was proposed for all those who had been instrument in managing the refit of St. BARARA V and for ensuing that the project came in on cost with particular thanks to Lt Col Robin Baker who as RC(O) had led the Project Team and L/Bdr Craig Downing the boatswain who had monitored the Project on a daily basis.

Item 5. Proposed amendment to Rules 20 to 24 to allow Postal and e-Mail Voting. The Honorary Treasurer described the rationale for the proposed amendment to Rules 20 to 24 to allow for postal voting. After some discussion it was agreed that the proposed amendment to Rules 20 to 24 would be the subject of a further rewrite in order to take account of the views and concerns of those members who had shared some of the problems that other clubs had experienced in this matter. It was unanimously agreed that the subsequently revised version could be accepted for inclusion in the Rules by the RAYC General Committee without any subsequent endorsement at the next AGM being necessary. This is to allow for a postal vote to be instigated if necessary before the next AGM on the future legal structure of the Club.

Item 6. Proposed cessation of automatic Honorary Life Membership. The Honorary Membership Sec explained his rationale for proposing that the relatively recent introduction of awarding automatic Honorary Life Membership post 2012 to those who had been members for 50 years be suspended. He described the ever increasing number of the membership that would become eligible and felt that the scheme was in danger of becoming unmanageable. It was unanimously agreed that the scheme be suspended but that Honorary Life Membership would continue to be offered to those members whose contribution to the affairs of the Club merited such recognition.

Item 7. Commodore’s Report.
Offshore (Oct 13-Feb 15)

  • Arrival of Lt Col Matt White as the new Rear Commodore Offshore, Lt Jennifer Price as the new Captain of Boats and of both Bdr Ian Thornton and LBdr Craig Herbert as the Senior Offshore Boatswain and Junior Offshore Boatswain respectively, and the latter’s appointment as a Serving Soldier Member of the RAYC Committee.

  • Capt James Boutle has taken on the role of Offshore Race Secretary from Charlie Wilson in addition to his current responsibilities for the YOs.

  • Major refit of St Barbara V over the winter 2013/14 overseen extremely well by Lt Col Robin Baker. Total outlay for the refit was £118,606 – a massive undertaking, funded by grants totalling £37K with the remaining £81,606 coming from RAYC funds, which should secure the future off St Barbara V until 2025. Bombardier II is due to be replaced in 2016 and plans are underway to scope potential options for a replacement hull.

  • Participation in the Army Offshore Regatta by St Barbara V (Bombardier II having been taken out of service due to the requirement for steering repairs). Not being built for round the cans action, St B acquitted herself well, showing her true colours with a well-deserved win in the offshore passage race.

  • Participation of Bombardier II in the Prince Consort Charity Race in aid of the Ellen McArthur Trust organised by the Royal Solent Yacht Club.

  • Production of the Offshore 5 Year Plan by the RC(O) - essential in ensuring a coherent future for the offshore element of the Club; and a detailed two year plan for the management of the offshore yachts in 2015/16.

  • Ongoing preparation and planning for Exercise ATLANTIC UBIQUE Sep 15 – Aug 16 is proceeding apace – the JSATFA has been submitted, all Legs allocated to Regiments/HQs, crew training plans were being developed, sponsorship for the expedition was being sought, all relevant equipment for St B was being planned, scrutinised and prepared, and all other aspects were progressing well. There will be a pre-deployment event organised by the Ex AU Committee for expedition sponsors, RAYC Committee members, crews and various media outlets.

  • The RAYC Regatta at Yarmouth was a great success – many thanks must go to Lt Col Robin Baker for all his efforts in organising a tremendous event; some fantastic racing between the 14 yachts that took part; all very well supported, with many soldiers and almost 20 YOs amongst the crews.

  • The RC(O) and the CoB were working extremely hard to cover the offshore training requirements: with Lt Col Mac McCormack instructing on the C* familiarisation events and overseeing various aspects of the preparation for Exercise ATLANTIC UBIQUE 2015/16. Col Paul Molyneaux was also assisting with the examination requirement (two new YM(O)). Qualifications since the last AGM include: 9 x CC – plus four others in progress; 2 x DS; 2 x YM Offshore – plus 2 others in progress; 5 x C* ratings. Further sail training periods are planned for Jan and Mar 15 as well as C* rating familiarisation events and Ex AU afterguard skipper training prior to the deployment of St Barbara V in Sep 15.

  • RAYC was represented at the inaugural RA Sports Dinner by the RC(O) – a highly successful evening with close bonds being forged between the Royal Artillery and Arsenal Football Club.


  • The RA Keelboat Regatta was sailed at Seaview Yacht Club, Isle of Wight on Wed 28 and Thu 29 May 14 in Mermaid keelboats. Ten boats entered; eight from the serving Regiment (two each from 16 Regt RA, 3 Div OSG and 3 RHA and one each from 19 Regt RA and 32 Regt RA) and two from retired members (the Dumas boat and the Sleap boat). The racing was very competitive amongst all the crews but Dumas (RAYC) comfortably saw Barnes’s boat (32 Regt RA) into second place.

  • The RA Novice Dinghy Racing Regatta was held on Thu 5 Jun 14 at Rutland Sailing Club with six competitors in Laser Pico dinghies and was won by Lt Jen Price (32 Bty/16 Regt RA). The Regatta was linked to an “RYA Start Racing” Course which was run by the Rutland Sailing Club from Mon 2 – Thu 5 Jun 14.

  • Group membership for the Spinnaker SC at Ringwood was started in June 2014 with two Laser Picos available to sail for one afternoon per week throughout the year.

  • Eighteen RA soldiers, from six Regiments, achieved their RYA Level 2 Basic Dinghy Sailing qualification in Laser Picos at the AISTC(S), Thorney Island at the beginning of September. This was followed by the RA Dinghy Regatta on 4 Sep 14 which was sailed in Chichester Harbour in Laser Picos and Laser 2000s. Twenty eight officers and soldiers competed in both the individual and inter unit competition which was strongly contested. The individual competition for the Barron Cup was won by Gnr Tom Kingsbury, 12 Regt RA. The Dinghy Cup (Open Champion) was won by Gnr James Roe, 32 Regt RA. The Inter Unit competition, for the Loseby Trophy, was competed for in Laser 2000s by 12, 32 and 47 Regiments. The winners were 12 Regt RA closely followed by 32 Regt RA with 47 Regt RA sailing well in third place.

  • The Army Asymmetric Regatta (The Gold Cup) was sailed on 20 – 21 Sep 14 in Chichester Harbour with Maj Matt Sargent coming runner up across the three Services and winner of the ASA element of the competition.

  • Two RA soldiers both of 12 Regt RA, LBdr Andy Stanyard and Gnr Tom Kingsbury, were selected to attend the ASA Dinghy Development Squad expedition to Lake Garda in Italy from 28 Sep – 3 Oct 14.

  • The RA were runners up to the R Signals in the Army Inter Corps Dinghy Racing Regatta which was sailed on 16 – 17 Oct 14 in Chichester Harbour.


  • Two RYA Level 2 Basic Dinghy Sailing, exclusively for RA personnel, are planned for 11 – 15 May 15 and 1 – 4 Sep 15 at AISTC(S), Thorney Island with the RA Dinghy Regatta taking place on 4 Sep 15 in Chichester Harbour. The RA Keelboat Regatta is planned for Wed 27 and Thu 28 May 15 at Seaview Yacht Club, Isle of Wight. The group membership facility at the Spinnaker SC will continue in 2015.


  • Team Gunner - The 2014 season has been yet another in which the Gunners have led the way for the remainder of the Army to follow, both in terms of overall attendance at events and also performance on the water. There were sadly no individual pieces of silverware at Army level the Gunner team finished in 2nd place in the Army championships – pipped by the RLC – yet they still did enough to emerge as the overall champions for the season by securing 1st place in The Inter Corps Series which takes into account at not only the Army Championships but also the Inter Services and Forces Open.

  • Inter Unit Events - Internally there was excellent attendance at the RA windsurfing Championships (19 Sailors) and RA Regatta (25 Sailors).  Both events continue to be very well supported by AISTC and would not be possible without their support.  We continue to be the only cap badge which is able to hold such events at Corps level.

As expected unit attendance was up on last year with 1 RHA, 12 RA, 19 RA, 29 RA, 32 RA and 47 RA all consistently providing representation at Army and Inter Services events.

  • Winners of silverware were as follows:

The Kent Cup:  Maj Adam Greenfield

The “Digger” Kent Trophy: 1 RHA

Inter-Unit Series Champions: 47 Regt RA

  • Training - 2014 saw over 40 Gunner soldiers introduced to the sport with the majority completing “Start” courses run by unit level instructors (as opposed to AISTC scheduled courses).  The investment in individuals with equipment and incentives such as overseas expeditions is really paying off, inspiring soldiers at all levels to try the sport.  Our future is being gradually secured by the introduction of new instructors at units across the Regiment with the number of instructors set to increase by 4 this year with courses already booked for those individuals.

  • Expeditions - The RA completed Exercise Atlantic Surf which saw 12 sailors from across the gunners spend 10 days in Lanzarote.  The expedition acted as a kick start to the season and was instrumental in securing the success achieved throughout the season.  Money well invested as it certainly acted as a motivator for new sailors and it is hoped to complete another similar expedition in 2016.

  • Upcoming Events - The Army will run a large overseas expedition to Brazil in 2015 on which the RA has been allocated 2 spaces.  This is already proving to be a huge motivator encouraging new sailors to take an interest in the sport at unit level. 

RA Windsurfing Championships – would be held at AISTC on 3 Jun 15.

RA Windsurfing Regatta – would take place at AISTC in Sep 15 – date tbc.


  • A bid for kitesurfing equipment has been forwarded to the ASA for the consideration of the AWGC in Apr 15.

  • The events that the RA team is focussing on are:

 9 Jul 15 - RA Kitesurfing Championships

13 - 17 Jul 15 - Army Kitesurfing Championships

2-6 Nov 15 - Inter-Service Kitesurfing Championships.

  • Sgt Barnes (32 Regt) is the current Army novice champion in kitesurfing.

  • An Army Kitesurfing Sports tour is planned for 20 - 27 Jun 15 in Cyprus that will include some Gunners.


  • The AISTC (S) Accommodation and Training Facility was finally opened by the Admiral on 26 Sep.  It represents a step change in the facilities available at Thorney Island, and was built with over £1M accessed from non-public funds by the Army Sailing Association.

  • Maj Jed Cunningham is employed to manage the facility, with Maj Matt Sargent as the Chairman facing the Station, and the ASA, as a Flag Officer.  The Centre will have its full manning of two RA Boatswains/Instructors from the Royal Artillery (as part of Thorney Island based regiments).

  • Course outputs were on par with 2014, but a full programme in 2015 is expected to deliver a significant increase this year.  The new accommodation is proving popular: throughput in the first two months at the end of the 2014 season was 220.

  • Linkages with Thorney Island Sailing Club continue to grow in strength, and for the first time, in addition to the various Army and JS kite, wind surfing and dinghy regattas, AISTC (S) will, with TISC, run an Open Meeting in the Laser 2000 Class.

  • Accommodation in double and bunk rooms may be booked at AISTC (S) by RAYC members.

TI Moorings

There are so far two 9m moorings not allocated of the 27 moorings that exist. It was expected that these would be taken up by the start of the season.

2015 Year Book

The Commodore stated that the plan to issue an e-version of the 2015 RAYC Year Book in Apr 15, which was likely to save about £1900 in production costs, would be reviewed by the Committee and its success or otherwise gauged before a decision was made as to how to proceed in the future.


The Commodore then invited the outgoing RC(O), Lt Col Matt White, to provide a brief on Exercise ATLANTIC UBIQUE. He reminded members that Exercise ATLANTIC UBIQUE would be an 11 month offshore sailing expedition involving a double Atlantic crossing and covering an estimated 8,000nm. The expedition would be divided into 19 legs of between 2 and 5 weeks each. The yacht would depart Gosport on 20 Sep 15 and was due to return to the UK by mid-Aug 16. There would be 5 Ocean crossing legs and 14 cruising legs in the Canaries, Caribbean and Eastern Seaboard of the USA and Canada. Crews would be made up of a qualified skipper and first mate, 2 watch leaders and several inexperienced or novice sailors and it would offer crews of certain legs an exciting opportunity to link in with Allied and Commonwealth artillery nations as an adjunct to UBIQUE 300. There would be up to 180 crew slots available over the course of the expedition open to all Regular and Reserve RA personnel as well as specifically identified retired RA sailors.

A particular vote of thanks was raised for the huge amount of invaluable advice, time and assistance that had been provided by Col Jon Dutton to the Expedition Organising Committee led by Col Neil Wilson.

Item 8. Any Other Business. The following matters were raised;

Col Chris Copeland proposed that the RAYC’s contribution of £50 a year to the RNLI should be reviewed with a view to an increase in the Club’s contribution. This was agreed unanimously with an increase approved to £100 a year.

Col Billy King-Harman was invited by the Commodore to brief on the aims of the James Myatt Trust in his capacity as the new Chairman of Trustees. The details of the Trust would be published on the RAYC Website together with details on how to support it. Members were duly encouraged to consider supporting the Trust.

Item 9. Proposal that the RAYC be incorporated as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). The Commodore provided a detailed update on the work done to date towards incorporating the Club as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) in line with the recommendation made by the RAYC’s Sub-Committee which looked into the matter in 2014. He thanked Brig Alan Gordon and his small Sub-Committee for their work and for exposing the issues that required resolution. He also flagged up to the Members some of the detailed correspondence that he had received on the subject from some of the Membership following circulation of the proposal in advance of this AGM. He had determined that the decision to apply to the Charity Commission to incorporate the Club as a CIO should be deferred until the AGM in 2016. This would enable the Committee to exploit further the knowledge and experience of a number of the members who had expressed their deeply held concerns about the proposal in its current format. It would also allow further time for consideration of the alternatives and to take account of the general concerns of an important element of the Club’s membership. There would be an opportunity for a further postal vote on the matter in advance of the AGM held in 2016 once the way forward had been determined. It was stressed that the Club had been very well run for many years under the present Rules and Bye-Laws but that there was an imperative to meet the new legislative challenges by incorporating the RAYC either as a CIO or as a Company Limited by Guarantee. The general thrust of the concerns expressed by the members concerned the various implications of incorporation under one or other charitable status and that the generally preferred option would be to incorporate the Club as a Company Limited by Guarantee. It was agreed that this further work would be taken forward by Lt Col Nigel Lang who would be co-opted onto the RAYC General Committee and had kindly agreed to manage the proposed changes wef 17 Apr 15.

Item 10. Date and Location of the next AGM. This would be on Thu 25 Feb 16 at the RA Mess at Larkhill.

Closing Address. The Admiral assured the members that morale in the Army was buoyant in spite of the changes wrought by SDSR, and that from his perspective on the Committee the Club was imbued with the same ethos and enthusiasm that he recalled from his earlier time on the Committee. He made particular mention of the work of the Hon Treasurer and the Commodore.

Hon Secretary RAYC 11 May 15

List of Enclosures:

1. Award of Cups and Trophies for the 2014 Season.

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