2014 AGM


The 2014 AGM was held last Friday and with the follow on being a social evening as well there were plenty of people attending.

Vic Bensen, Secretary, opened the meeting and this swiftly moved on to the President’s address which you will find below. Following this, David Watkins presented the accounts. There is a healthy contingency fund and the club goes into the next fiscal year with a suitable balance for the New Year when the fees for the year will further boost the account.

The posts of President, Ian Roriston; Secretary, Vic Bensen; Treasurer, David Watkins remains unchanged. As there were no other candidates and the incumbent officers were willing to continue, a formal Election of Officers was unnecessary.

Regarding the committee, Tony Iles and Malcolm Kaye indicated their willingness to continue. Lynne Hall had informed the Officers that she would stand down this year and Peter Brown was elected to the committee.

There were no contentious issues to be discussed and the fees will remain the same for a further year.

During the open discussion the subject of VHF radio use was discussed and this will be further investigated in the coming year, Issues regarding the safety boat were brought into discussion also and some safety aspects were talked through. Again, much of what was mentioned will be subjects for the forthcoming committee meetings.

Presidents Address 2014

Welcome To the Santa Irene club de Vela AGM in its 12th year.

Thank you for taking the time to attend and I hope that you will enjoy the AGM social evening immediately following.

We have a lot to get through and we have a dinner set to start at 20:00 hours so I will try to keep my report to the vital points.

I can proudly announce that we are members of the Premier Sailing Club in the Garrucha and Mojacar Area and this year has firmly established this as a fact.

Socials – On the 24th January we held the Dinner Dance and as well as being a very enjoyable event, we managed to surpass the previous year fund raising and collected 635€. My thanks to Lynne and Malcolm and all of you who donated the prizes for the raffle.

Next year we have set the date for Saturday, March 7th. Please make a note in your diaries.

We had two other social events at our club house, La Oficina one of which was associated with the highlight of our year – our Open Day which I will return to shortly.

Boat Park – This will be our first full year with a home and it has provided us with a wonderful platform. No, it isn’t perfect and above all we need a water supply and we are trying our level best to bring this into fruition. We have offered to pay for it, install it ourselves etc but the best we have been able to get is that they will do it but we don’t know when. We will keep asking.

I am hoping that as the number of boats kept at the park has increased, creating revenue for the Port Authority, this will help us to justify the importance of providing a suitable facility.

Importantly, we now have a home and in our home we have a storage shed. Above our storage shed we have a banner that tells people exactly who we are and how they can meet or get in touch with us. It is attracting interest and now that we look like a club, with our yellow livery, passers by are stopping to watch the activity and people are making enquiries.

Open Day – Despite the weather deciding to rain that day after nine months with scarcely a drop, it was a great success. 38 visitors attended and our membership has increased by 10 as a direct result. The unused club boats have been sold and turned into a tangible asset in the form of a second club Wayfarer which will be with us soon. We gained a substantial amount of free publicity in the Euro Weekly, La Voz,

Costa Almeria News and Sol Times newspapers. In addition we received radio publicity via Spectrum Radio and a detailed listing in a Spanish online website. I was also interviewed by a regional information website that is associated with Remax Estate agencies and this has been posted to their website and can be accessed by people who are trying to assess what facilities are available in the area..

Sailing – Early this year we purchased the big yellow training buoys and we have had a great deal of fun getting round them and bickering about the results and the execution. It is what racing does. It brings out the competitive side of us and with it a few squabbles too but by heck, it has put some life into our sailing! Thanks Malcolm and Nick for pushing it on. I know the job hasn’t stopped yet, let’s see what we can do in the next year.

As you know, we have tried hard to build up a safety boat crew who each week can lay the buoys and provide backup when we get into difficulty. It is a big step forward and we know it isn’t perfect but in general we are no longer taking sailors off the water to man the safety boat. We constantly face challenges in recruiting our safety boat crew together with training them and trying to cram as much information into them about administering our racing events as possible. We will continue to chip away at it but I feel that you will agree that we have made significant progress from where we were 18 month ago.

Finance – The club is financially sound and as last year, we do not see any reason to increase the club membership fees. David will be giving you more details on finance later so I will not be going there now.

Website – It is now unusual not to receive some form of enquiry each week via our web presence. There are plans to develop the site further and this will be something for the next committee to consider. Essentially it is working well but there is considerable room for improvement.

Plans – I see the forthcoming year as a consolidation year which concentrates on what we now have and trying to improve all the weak areas. We know what these are in general terms but we need you to politely express your views too, even better, work with us to fix it!

The biggest fight we have is complacency. We cannot relent on our drive for new membership, natural attrition will take its toll. It is far easier to loose members than it is to recruit them.

I still believe we need an external training facility with whom we can work. I have not had a great deal of luck to date but I hope to be able to lend more time to this in the New Year.


While I have spoken of the things that have happened this year to advance our club and indeed the day to day things that we have grown to accept as normal, none of them happened without someone making it happen. I would say that overall this year has required more effort than ever. The shed didn’t arrive via the shed fairy. The club and members’s boats didn’t just arrive sprucely cleaned and ready for sale for the Open Day without people making it happen and the ones that got sold before the day didn’t get bought by someone dropping out of the sky who said I’ll have them!

The day itself did not just happen 24 hours before the event. No, it took hours in planning the scope and execution months before the event as well as the sheer physical work that was required during the days prior to and on the day. Following the event, the follow up played a very important role in converting interest to membership: I particularly commend Malcolm for responding to his salesmans instinct to convert inquiries to sales! Also in organising the demonstration sails, which is still going on.

As a result I am again deeply indebted to the elected officers and the committee consisting of Vic, David, Lynne, Malcolm and Tony. It is tempting to name individuals who have shouldered particular responsibilities this year but when I look at it overall I realise that every member of the team has made a significant contribution not just to a singular event but plugged away consistently during the year. In addition, Nick Berridge and Peter and Sandra Brown have been there to lend a hand. Paula, Jenny, Irene and Janis for sorting the food and drinks at the open day, Dell for stepping in to man the safety boat, Stephen Borrett for keeping the trailer going and others too. If I have missed you out, my sincerest apologies. My thanks to all of you who lent a hand before, during and after the Open Day. You were and still are brilliant! Always there when the bugle blows!!

Please join me in giving you all a round of applause.

It is with much regret that we have had to accept the resignation of Lynne who has been on the committee for many years. She has handled the Wayfarer bookings and organised many of our social events including this one. Lynne is continuing her club membership so I am sure that she will still keep us on our toes. My sincerest thanks to her.

Vic informed us on Tuesday that this will be his last year in office. I cannot tell you how much we have relied on Vic to soak up many of the compliance issues we face in running an official club. With his experience and knowledge he has been a rock for this club and I have learned to respect and listen to him. The thought of continuing in my role, if allowed, without him is something that I am still coming to terms with.

We are now looking for someone who can shadow Vic over the course of the next year with a view to taking on the role of Club Secretary in 2016. You must realise that a Club Secretary has a similar level of importance as a Company Secretary. It carries the responsibility of ensuring that the Club operates within it’s statutes and within the law. Belive me, if you confuse the word secretary with the person who takes a few notes and does a little dictation you will be dissapointed. We really need someone prepared to step up to the plate. If you have an interest please let Vic or I know.

In the past, Vic has also assumed the role of Vice President but this is actually a required elected position. We need to have this filled for 2016 and we are again looking for someone to shadow this position before assuming the role from that time.

Again, if you have an interest please make yourself known.

I was immensely proud to be Chairman of my old diving club in the UK and I am immensely  proud to be to be the President of this club and that is because of the membership. I don’t know what it is about sailors and divers but they really are the best of people. Thank you for making Santa Irene the Premier Sailing Club. 

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