President's Letter #196

MY Issue 196 is the first Model Yachting under a new regime of editors and staff. Many are veterans from the previous and other staffs, but several are also new volunteers committed to making the magazine on time, and great.

My thanks to Cliff Martin and his staff, who have done a great job over the last couple of years- 8 issues- since the untimely death of longtime Managing Editor John Davis. Now, Richard Lomax and his staff have fully taken up the challenge.

Their job is not easy- and I wanted to call your attention to some realities:

  • There is NO Model Yachting writing staff. No "staff writers" or "reporters". There is only US- the AMYA Members and friendsi- to write everything that is published. So- write something!! What is happening with YOUR club? What new ideas have you and your sailing friends tried to make things better- successful or not?? Other clubs can benefit by your experience.

  • Model Yachting IS the best. Every time we ask, Members say that Model Yachting is the best part of being a Member of AMYA. It's the best magazine anywhere in the World about what we do- race "toy boats for bowling trophies". But we want to make it even better. More entertaining, and more informative for more sailors. See above: WRITE SOMETHING!!

It's only mid-March, and your rookie president has already had a LOT of experience- some good - some not so good!! And a few questions.

The good: in mid-February, Nita and I headed west, driving to Arizona. There we met with some great AMYA Members, including Region 5 Director Mike Eades, the West Valley Mariners' (Phoenix) at their February DF-95 regatta, and I even attended their club meeting of March 2. It's a great club, with very good sailors!! In addition to seeing Mike and the others in Phoenix, I met and talked with a number of sailors from the Payson and Tucson, AZ areas. Things are going well in this section of Region 5!!

More good: the AMYA Executive Board and Board of Directors are off to a good start for 2019. We have begun some important work, looking at things that the AMYA might do better to serve Members and clubs, and also to grow the hobby.

The AMYA Executive Board and the AMYA Board of Directors have formed the first "Task Committee"- a working Committee charged with looking into specific areas of the AMYA's activity, making recommendations for action, and providing services to Members and Clubs.

We formed the Competition Committee on January 2, and they are up and running, making recommendations and starting on important projects. As part of the activation of this new Committee, the old "Rules Committee" was de-commissioned, and at least one of their group will be moving over, and assisting the new one. Two other Committees were (just) authorized- one the "Bylaws Review and Recommendations" Committee, and the other a "How to Help Clubs Prosper" Committee. By the time you read this- they should be staffed and starting to work.

A detailed look at the Committee process has also been released using the AMYA Bulletin and is explained elsewhere in this issue of Model Yachting. So, unless you are completely up to speed from previously-released information, please take the time to read about the Committee process. The Task Committees are how YOU can become active as a leader in the AMYA!! So, volunteer to be a part of this effort. And, if you have any questions, please let me know.

The Questions: Technology: In 2018, the Board of Directors had to consider the issue of telemetry (transmission of data concerning boat performance) and (related) the use of FPV (first-person video). Do we "outlaw" this technology? Allow it in "development Classes only"?? Or do we let it happen across the board- increasing costs and complication for all Classes??

FPV and telemetry are not exactly the same- FPV is telemetry but not the only form of telemetry.

The use of FPV actually puts "eyes on the boat", and makes it possible for the skipper to see the approach to a mark or a "cross or duck" situation far more clearly than just using eyes from the shore.

An onboard camera, and a positioning device indicating location, speed, wind speed, and angle to a fixed point (like a Mark), could actually allow remote sailing. All one would need is a friend to charge batteries and launch your boat, and you could conceivably race it from anywhere in the World.

SO?? Is FPV fundamentally the same as allowing a competitor to use binoculars or special glasses that improve depth perception?? See RRS Appendix E4.2 and Outside Help Rule 41. Is FPV an "unfair advantage", or "outside help" under the Racing Rules of Sailing?? You can make a case either way.

And can every Class really be expected to legislate every new technological development, and be able to stay "on top" of technology when the speed of development is so unpredictable?? So, how can Classes evaluate these technological innovations and allow (or not allow) them by vote of Class Members??

The decision of the Board last year was to let telemetry issues be decided on a Class by Class basis. At least one Class (the Soling 1 Meter) has already taken their 2018 vote and "telemetry" will not be allowed except for radio/boat connectivity and transmission of battery status. A couple more Classes are putting similar Motions in place for the 2019 cycle.

These are not easy questions. I may have most of the questions. But few or none of the answers.

As we go forward- take someone sailing!! Get a transmitter in his or her hands, and help them get started in our hobby!!

Mike Wyatt

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