Minutes of Committee Meetings 2002 - 2003
Minutes of Meeting of 15th June 2002, held in G17 Burrell's Field
Present: Andrew Fisher (AF), Alex Lee (AL), Paul Whiting (PW), Matt Chamberlain (MC), Hugh Colvin (HC), Dan Holland (DH), Fan Zhang (FZ), Helen Adams (HA), Sarah Legrand (SL), Matthew Byrne (MB), Iain Edwards (IE), Jon Davies (JD)
AF: Spoke to the local police officer, who pointed out that the simple expedient of keeping the door closed would prevent most thefts, which are opportunistic in nature. He observed that Homerton have instituted a system of fines for security lapses, and suggested that we follow suit. Homerton have agreed to submit half of the money thus raised to First & Third for the purposes of improving security. Andrew cited examples of stupid security lapses including people leaving bags in plain view just inside the open boat-bay doors when no one was around. He is investigating the cost of CCTV cameras.
SL: Remarked that doors are often left open as a courtesy to the multitudes lacking properly programmed cards, and suggested that a campaign to persuade the whole club to sort out their cards might be a step towards closing doors.
JD: Commented that a new card system altogether would be desirable: members to have individual cards that can be singly annulled, thus obviating the need for a club-wide re-programming in the case of a security breach.
AL: Suggested that coxes be obliged to carry working cards at all times. He asked if the proposed fines would be on the termly bill, or payable on the spot in cash.
JD: Asserted that on the spot fines would be more effective in highlighting the need for security.
AF: Proposed that a two-pound on the spot fine would be a sufficient hassle to deter laxity, yet would not seriously dent the finances of even the most penurious members.
MC: Instigated a discussion leading to the conclusion that any such fines, together with the half of the Homerton fines should be ear-marked for spending on security.
AF: Claimed during this discussion that the club is not legally liable for the theft of members possessions, according to Ruth Adams (acting senior treasurer).
AF: Advised that we review the locker system so as to provide secure storage for more people. Advocated the use of combination locks that any member could use for the duration of an outing.
MB: Pointed out that cash-deposit style lockers might be better still.
HC: Asked if the introduction of lockers would render the proposed CCTV system superfluous. The following discussion was typically vague, but seemed to support the idea that both would be best, the CCTV being a lower priority than lockers.
SL: Wrapped up by verifying that individuals may no longer be allocated lockers for the permanent storage of possessions at the boathouse.
- The Captain to formally introduce a fine system for culpably negligent security lapses.
- No individual specifically charged, but the following resolved:
- New locker system.
- CCTV investigation.
- New card system investigation.
AF: Introduced the topic by reminding the committee that JPD is the only person legally allowed to tow a trailer, excepting those members of the club who obtained Driving Licenses before 1997. Noted that JPD will be trialling next year, and may not always be available or willing to transport boats. Suggested that asking Fellows to help would be a sub-optimal solution in view of the fact that they have lives outside of rowing. Noted that Iain Law does not work at the weekend, and so would not be available for transport duties.
The following members of the committee have Driving Licenses: Matt Byrne, Alex Lee, Matt Chamberlain, Hugh Colvin
MC: Stated that the club should pay for transport and transport-related items, it having emerged that JPD has been absorbing some of the cost to date.
JD: Concluded a discussion on how to structure the finances of transport by suggesting that individuals bill the club on a per-mile basis; the rates of 18p for petrol and 12p for wear-and-tear for every mile travelled in the service of the club being a good starting point.
SL: Asked if all the clubs have similar problems, and wondered if we could get someone from another club to tow our trailers.
AF(?): Noted that the legislation touching the towing of vehicles was recently introduced, and resolved to ensure that all clubs are aware of it, this resolution to be effected during the next Captains' Meeting.
MB: It emerged that adding someone to JPD's car insurance would cost about the same as four days van hire, and would thus be more efficient than hiring vehicles.
MC & JD: Have very similar cars. The cost of adding a tow-bar to MC's car would be 160 pounds, the expected cost of moving the tow-bar from JPD's car to MC's would be about 30 pounds.
The Committee Resolved: Matt Chamberlain to take the test.
AL: Inquired as to the first event requiring transport. After a brief discussion it emerged that JPD can handle it.
- Matt Chamberlain to qualify for towing over the summer, the expense to be reimbursed by the club.
- Where is the money coming from?
3. Freshers' Events
AF: Noted that the LBCs must largely handle this, but that it may be useful for the whole committee to briefly discuss the issue.
SL: Requested help at the Chaplain's Squash, and was swiftly assured that such would be abundantly forthcoming.
Jenny Kumeta (JK) and Kim Warren (KW) arrived
AL: Commented on the success of other Boat Clubs in attracting interest from freshers, most conspicuously Sidney. Apparently the whole first year, save a remnant of single-figure order, signed up. Proposed that we emulate them. Practical measures include the printing of gaudy stickers for the whole club to wear publicising the club and club events, and flyers. Stated that expenditure on freshers events would be money well invested.
MC: Brought up the topic of a flyer in the Freshers Handbook.
AL: Developed the idea, recommending a page rather than an insert. Further recommended that the parts of the website of interest to 'inquirers' be upgrade: the Freshers' Guide for example. The date of the Boatclub Squash should be advertised on the website.
We believe that the Chaplain's Squash is scheduled for Sunday 8th October, and propose to hold our squash on the following Monday 9th October.
AL: A discussion about other ways to attract Freshers threw up the idea of having a cocktail party.
AF: Considered expanding this to giving Freshers a Formal Hall, with numerous oarsmen scattered amidst them, briefed to lure the innocents into the fold.
AL: Astutely observed that a Formal Hall is superior to a Cocktail Party or Squash insomuch as once someone has sat down, they are committed to stay for the meal, whereas one can leave a party very quickly. This retention of a captive audience will make the one-to-one evangelism of the oarsmen more effective.
JK: Reminded the committee of the success of the barbecues, commenting on how much she had enjoyed it.
AL: While not discounting the barbecue, observed that it lacked the 'retention' capability of a formal meal.
AF: Mentioned the issue of timing, asking if the Formal Hall should immediately preceed our squash.
JK: Thought this unwise, because linking the events would reach only one audience. Two distinctly separated events are more likely to reach more people.
AF: Decided that a cocktail party followed by Formal Hall on the Tuesday would be ideal. Wednesday would be a second choice. He then handed the matter over to the LBCs.
- The LBCs to implement an effective Freshers' Week programme, including, but not limited to:
- Sunday 8th October: Chaplains' Squash
- Monday 9th October: Boat Club Squash
- Tuesday 10th October: Cocktail party and Formal Hall (Issue: Have FHs started this early?)
- The support of the whole club to be available at all of these events.
- The LBCs to find out the details of the TCSU programme in order to time events for maximum impact.
- JPD to upgrade the Freshers' Guide on the website, and investigate a tasteful way of advertising the squash thereon.
4. Lard and Booze Cruise
IE: Is busy in September, so the cruise must wait until early October
MB: Resolved that he and IE would arrange something
(Note - the Secretary should be involved too)
5. Michaelmas Training Camp
AF: Wanted to gauge enthusiasm for a training camp this coming Michaelmas. He realised that everyone would have filled in their exeat form, but reported that a conversation with Mr. Coleman had revealed that the specified dates could be changed easily even close to the the next term. The proposed dates are the week before the Freshers arrive, starting on the 28th September.
AL: Proposed that sparring between mens and womens boats be part of the programme: he had found this both fun and effective on previous occassions. (Note: I didn't quite follow - sparring between a mens crew and a womens crew or between men and men, and women and women?). He noted that Iain Law would be around, and wondered if additional coaches of a high standard could be obtained.
AF: Said this was a matter for the Captains to discuss, and that he thought several Bufties would be keen.
AL: Delivered a stirring oration in favour of an end-of-training-camp event. This was met with widespread approval.
6. Mercer Regatta
AF: Announced that Mercer (our sponsors) were keen to sponsor us to the tune of two thousand pounds if we would organise a Mercer Regatta. Guy Taylor has been working on this for some time. He had managed to gain ARA approval for the event, and had found qualified umpires. The event could not be held on the Cam, because permission to close the river would not be forthcoming. An application to use Dorney Lake on the 15th and 16th of May had just been turned down. The idea of appointing Guy to the committee as Regatta Officer was mooted, but Andrew stated that until it was clear whether Guy would be here next year, any decision would be premature.
This point was for information only.
7. New Equipment
AL: Exploded onto the topic of more cox-boxes
AF: Praised Iain Law's matching and colour-coding of the existing boxes and microphones. Floated the idea of looking for a better way to store them.
AL: Suggested that the old practise of storing the men and womens' cox-boxes separately be revived, there apparently being an unused locker in the crew room.
MC: Linking via the concept of ersatz cox-boxes, inquired as to the number of megaphones owned by the club. Answer: zero plus Iain's megaphone.
AF: Supported the idea of getting some megaphones, because they can amplify a coach's voice to the point where it is actually productive to have a coach. He also wanted to get a video camera.
AL: Found that the cost of megaphones varies from about fifty pounds to about thrice that sum.
AL: Said that we were getting some dictaphones. He recommended that they club hold on to all the tapes - i.e. that they not be entrusted to individual coxes. This is because it is far more productive for the learning cox to be taken through the recording with a senior cox, rather than left to figure out why so-and-so is good and so-and-so is bad.
AF: Changed tack to boat purchasing. Iain Law felt that the most pressing need was for a new womens' novice boat. Such a purchase would represent a departure from the existing seven-year spending plan. AF agreed that the top boats are still serviceable, which is more than can be said for the womens' current novice boat, Mary Tudor.
JK: Enthused over the suggestion, remarking that a new novice boat would boost the morale of the lower echelons of the womens club, and may help attract and retain freshers.
AF: Continued to report Iain Law's recommendations, viz. that a plastic tub be purchased. The reasoning is that the wooden tubs are too heavy, especially for novice women. He made a general comment about the usefulness of tubbing in general at all levels.
AL: Expressed concern that the spending plan, which calls for a new womens first boat, was being ignored. He noted that although Denys Lawrence (the current first boat) is still serviceable, it is nearing the end of its useful life as a top boat. He was worried that if the plan is ignored this year, it may be the next, and that it could be a long time before the women get a new first boat. He was very reluctant to agree to any spending plan that did not include the purchase of a new womens' top boat. Indeed, only if some guarantee were made that next year the club would buy a new womens first boat, would he even consider conceding the point this year. Such a guarantee could, for example, take the form of a deposit on a new boat.
AF: Thought that it wisest for the Captains and Iain Law to meet before making any decisions that could wait - specifically the purchase of a novice or first boat. However, given that a plastic tub would be most useful in early Michaelmas, it would have to bought quickly.
MC: Asked if we still had an operable bank-tub.
AF: Answered with a guarded affirmative. The club's bank-tub is little more than a wreck. It is worth replacing. Given that the club budget is fifteen-thousand pounds, and that the costs of a first and novice VIII are about thirteen-thousand and eight-thousand respectively, this should be possible.
SL: Informed the committee that she has a family connection with the boat manufacturers Resolution.
- Men and women's cox boxes to be stored separately, as they have been in the past. (Issue: Why was the system changed? There may have been a good reason.)
- The Captains purchase some megaphones and a video camera.
- The stated policy of the club is that coxing tapes be held by the club, not individual coxes.
- The Captains and Iain Law decide whether to replace Mary Tudor or Denys Lawrence.
- The Captains seriously consider replacing the bank-tub.
8. Coxing Captain
AF: Stated that coxes are often ignored, to the detriment of the whole club. He wants to look after them. The idea of a dedicated committee member to look after coxes had been around for a bit. However, both he and AL feel that they can handle the coxes themselves.
AL: Observed how fortunate the club was to have two coxes as Captains.
MC: Admitted that the MLBCs lacked the necessary experience to fully support their coxes, and appealed to the Captains for help.
AL: Was keen to spend a lot of time training up coxes. He hoped that Steph Richards would also help, but could not be sure that she would.
SL: Identified as a problem the attitude of certain oarsmen to coxes.
AL: Thought it almost inevitable that a disgruntled crew should target their cox. He hopes to ameliorate the problem pre-emptively by making sure that all coxes are very competent.
AF: Summarised the clubs aims for coxes as: making them feel they were a valued part of the club community, and coaching them carefully.
- The discussion took a very general form. The committee intends to place a high priority on coxes, and will strive to train and nurture them.
- AL to approach Steph about looking after coxes.
9. Boathouse Decoration - boards and possible War Memorial
AF: Was bemused by the presence of this item on the agenda, pointing out that he had not placed it there.
PW: Falteringly tried to justify including it on the grounds that at the last AGM people had wanted some sort of 'War Memorial'. Further, some of the old nineteenth-century boards are very faded.
AL: Rounded on PW, asking for details of the proposed memorial and noting that a commerative plaque already exists.
PW: Stammered though an explanation that he himself was keen to let the issue rest, and did not have any details, but felt obliged to bring it up in consequence of the recent AGM.
MB: Stepped in, taking responsibility for the updating of recent boards, and the refurbishment of old boards.
The committee decided that BPBC was better qualified to handle any memorial, and that the matter would be left alone for the time being.
- MB to chase up the update of the new boards.
- MB to investigate the refurbishment of the old boards.
DH: Reminded the club that he will not be here for the first part of next year.
AL: Wanted a committee-restricted area of the website to feature the contact details of all coaches. He recalled that in recent years the mens and womens clubs have not shared such details freely.
The committee expressed their determination to bury any such non-cooperation.
- JPD to implement such a restricted page.
DoNM: Thursday 5th October 2002