President's Letter for Issue 166 (Winter 2011)
by David Brawner

Have you heard the early talk about Race Week 2012 in San Diego? While the details are still being worked out, the plan appears to hold nine national championships during the August event. Yes, nine national championships in one place. When I heard that, I figure there is no way I want to miss that one. More on that later.

Is your club one of the few that doesn't have a website yet? The old excuses of being too expensive or too difficult are really no longer valid. There are many services that offer free website hosting and they are easy to use. If you can write an email or create a Word document, you already have enough skill to create a website. Don't believe me? This is where Mike Eades comes to the rescue. Not too long ago, Mike and his club were in the same position, which is why he has volunteered to help clubs create basic websites. In this issue, you'll find Mike's excellent article on creating your first website. Through the magic of gotomeeting.com, Mike can actually walk you through the initial steps right on your computer. After this, you'll wonder why you waited so long.

A club site doesn't have to be all that extravagant to be effective. The answers to the important questions like what you sail, where you sail and when you sail can fit on one page. As you get more comfortable, more features can be added. The important step is the first one of just getting started.

There was mixed news regarding renewals this past quarter. For the first time, we used the Bulletin email system to issue the membership renewal notice. Simply put, the response was terrific. To those that used it, thank you. I hope you found it a much easier way to renew. A snail mail renewal was sent to those that didn't use the email renewal. Due to a family emergency that kept Michelle out of the office most of a month, the mailed renewals went out a few weeks late. This has affected our end of the year numbers to the point we don't have an accurate read on the trend. Based on the positive numbers the past few quarters, there is no reason to believe the end result will be anything but positive when the numbers catch up in the next several weeks.

You'll see that class data is published in this issue for the first time in quite a while, which is result of more hard work by Doug Hemingway. Now, we realize the data presented is not without flaws, but it is a good starting point. Class secretaries were recently given a new online interface to the database that enables them to better manage their class data. Over time, the data integrity will grow and inaccuracies should go away. What did become quite clear is the fact that some classes have fallen below the required 20 boat minimum to continue being sanctioned AMYA classes. We are presently working with those classes to either correct their class census or move them to the Open class.

The 2011-2012 operating budget was approved by the Board in mid-September. Communications to accomplish this was done using our internal forum and our monthly online meetings. Directors and Associate Directors were able to communicate their concerns and opinions openly. We are dealing with other people's money and it was obvious that everyone took that responsibility seriously. The approved budget will allow the AMYA to maintain our plan of expanding services while also continuing to build cash reserves at a modest rate. I'd like to thank the Board for getting this task accomplished before the September 30th deadline.

The online regatta registration continues to grow in popularity. Presently, it's located at amya.spruz.com, but the links will be integrated into our regatta schedule page over the Winter months. The flexibility of the system has made it possible to handle all sorts of options at regattas such as payment for multiple regatta entries and guest meals.

Alright enough about the business end of things. Let's get back to sailing and the topic of Race Week 2012 in San Diego next year. Though I don't own any of the boats scheduled for Race Week, the stars do seem to be aligning on this one. When Lisa let me know how much she'd like to go to California, attending was no longer an issue. Then I just had to figure out what boat to sail there. I am simply not smart enough to sail anything with a fin keel. So that limits my choices a bit. It just so happens that local builder Scott Todd recently acquired a set of Santa Barbara molds recently and wants help with a prototype. Bingo!! That's opportunity knocking, time to answer the door. I am not going to let a little detail like I have never seen a Santa Barbara race deter me.

The goal will be to compete for a couple days in San Diego, make some new friends and leave with a smile, but the enjoyment is multiplied by every step it takes to get from bare hull to the starting line in San Diego. This isn't the simple project of getting a boat together for local club racing. This is jumping into one of the original AMYA classes, shipping it across the country and sailing with some of the originators. It doesn't get much better than that in my book. I can't wait to get started on this project. See you in San Diego.

David

Previous letters:   #163   #164   #165   #166   #167   #168   #169   #170   #171   #172   #173   #174   #175   #176   #177   #178   #179   #180   #181   #182   #183   #184   #185   #186   #187