Presidentís Letter for Issue 165 (Fall 2011)
by David Brawner

What a great time of year. The meat of my regatta travel is just ahead of me. Four days of EC12 & Jís at Mystic Seaport, CT and Detroit, MI in August and September respectively followed by EC12ís in Annapolis, MD in October and Charleston, SC in November. Throw in some local club racing along with a trip to either Central Park or Marblehead, MA for the free-sailing event and Iíll be living large. That gets me into four regions this year. Iíll have to fit in regions 5 & 6 either late this year or next. With both kids away at school and a wife who likes to travel, anything is possible.

As I travel around to different events and regattas, members are always coming up asking how they can help the AMYA. Trust me, when we have a specific need for a volunteer, I am not shy about asking. Itís a great feeling to know that every call for a volunteer has been answered. My belief is the best way to help the hobby is to go sail at your local club and enjoy it. Go travel to a regatta and enjoy that. Help a newcomer feel comfortable on the water. The real question is how can the AMYA help you do that? If you really want to help, tell us what we are missing.

This year, weíve introduced some class posters to help advertise your event, a new brochure to hand to the spectators, a membership referral program that gives you a credit if you refer a new member and printable master score sheets. That is what has happened so far. We can always use more ideas. Pass along any suggestions, ideas or needs. Feedback both positive and negative is always welcomed.

The online regatta registration process mentioned in the last issue has completed its testing phase and is now open to for use. While it will be integrated into our regatta schedule with this winterís website update, you can find it now at http://amya.spruz.com/. Gerry Cobley, the creator of this service, has put together an FAQ page to help regatta organizers with the easy setup process.

Regatta organizers will be able to offer both mail-in registration using their usual method of distribution and online registration through a link to this AMYA service. When registering online, your participants may pay by credit card or a PayPal account. The registration fees go directly to the regatta organizerís PayPal account without going through the AMYA. The only cost involved is the fee that PayPal charges on credit card transactions that is roughly 3-4%.

There is plenty of flexibility in setting up your registration page. Do you have other data or fees besides just the registration fees that need to be collected? Things like guest lunches or tee shirts? Your registration page can be set up to handle that also.

Also, the registered skippers list is automatically generated for the online registrants and the regatta organizer can manually enter registrations received by mail. As we all love to see who is and how many are coming, this is a nice bonus. Our thanks go to Gerry for putting this together for us.

At this point in the term, itís a good time to see where we stand. The last quarterly membership report shows our membership total is slightly ahead of last year at 2645. The financial report indicates that we are on budget for this year, which ends in September. We will meet our goals of paying our bills, expanding our services and modestly building the cash reserves. The current budget along with other financial information can be found on the website in the "About the AMYA" section. The budgetary process for next year is underway as you read this.

The AMYA has taken over financial responsibility for the services previously paid by individuals such as our web hosting service, the service we use to host our online meetings and the email service used to produce the Bulletin. The AMYA took advantage of discount offered on upgrading the software used to produce Model Yachting.

We have streamlined the cash management system for the AMYA with the simple concept that money comes in through the Membership Secretaryís office and out through the Treasurer. John and Michelle put a lot of work into getting this operating smoothly and reducing our banking fees.

We hope to have our email membership renewal system up and running for the next quarter. This could create terrific savings both in postage and labor if this experiment is successful. Now donít worry if you donít use email, weíll send you the usual snail mail version. We have already started using the system in a limited way to send last minute reminders to members when their expiration date is coming up. The response so far has been better than expected.

There is still a lot of work to do. The heavy lifting will be done over the winter months after the sailing season. Our attention will turn to our online presence and reporting. We want to start posting accurate class data. This is going to take a coordinated effort between our data manager and the class secretaries. The infrastructure for this is still in the works.

I want to thank all of the regatta organizers that make our schedule come to life. Without you, Iíd be home cutting the grass. Iíll see you at the lake soon.

David

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