Thistle Class Forum

2021 Amendment Proposal: Jurisdiction and Sanctioned Events

Home Forums Announcements & News 2021 Amendment Proposal: Jurisdiction and Sanctioned Events

Viewing 2 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #2005663
      Jack FinefrockJack Finefrock
      Participant

      Fleet 53 Constitution Amendment Proposal to clarify and revise Thistle Class Association jurisdiction and sanctioned event definition

      This is published by the Amendments Chair, Jack Finefrock, on behalf of Fleet 53.

      Table of contents:

      1. Proposed changes to TCA Constitution
        (Please note strikeout text as proposed deletions and italics as proposed additions.)
      2. Proposed changes to TCA Bylaws
        (Please note strikeout text as proposed deletions and italics as proposed additions.)
      3. Rationale for the changes
      4. Pro comments
      5. Con comments
      6. Instructions for comments

      1. Proposed changes to TCA Constitution

      THISTLE CLASS ASSOCIATION CONSTITUTION

      Constitution Article VI Present Ruling:

      Article VI – JURISDICTION

      The Association has jurisdiction over all Thistle activities. Its Class Rules govern all sanctioned Thistle races regardless of by whom they are held. Its Constitution, By-Laws, Rulings, and Specifications are binding upon all members and Fleets, and all registered Thistle sloops must conform to its official plans and specifications.

      Constitution Article VI Proposed ruling:

      Article VI – JURISDICTION

      The Association has jurisdiction over all Thistle activities. chevron race events which are considered sanctioned events. Its Class Rules govern all sanctioned Thistle races regardless of by whom they are held. For these sanctioned events, its Constitution, By-Laws, Rulings, and Specifications are binding upon all members and Fleets, racers, and all the racing registered Thistle sloops must be registered and conform to its official plans and specifications.

      All other Thistle events are considered independent and autonomous events and include local non-fleet sailing/racing, local Fleet racing, Invitational races and Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall Series events. These events are permitted without prejudice, jurisdiction or oversight by the Association or its Class Officers, except that for Fleet, Invitational and Series racing events, all Thistle sloops must be registered and conform to the official TCA Plans and Specifications.

      Constitution Article XI Present Ruling:

      Article XI – REGIONAL AND DISTRICT OFFICERS

      Duties and Method of Selection:

      1. The Regional Vice Presidents of the Thistle Class Association shall have the following duties:
        (a) To coordinate the activity of the Thistle Class Association in their region, including scheduling of Thistle Class regattas
        (b) To sanction and to supervise the Interdistrict regatta.
        (c) To provide interpretation of TCA specifications, measurement rules, and Chief Measurer’s Rulings as required for conduct of the Interdistrict regatta. Such interpretation shall not have force beyond the Interdistrict regatta.

      Constitution Article XI Proposed Ruling:

      Article XI – REGIONAL AND DISTRICT OFFICERS

      Duties and Method of Selection:

      1. The Regional Vice Presidents of the Thistle Class Association shall have the following duties:
        (a) To aid coordinate the Thistle activity of the Thistle Class Association in their region, including scheduling of Thistle Class regattas.
        (b) To sanction and to supervise the Interdistrict regatta.
        (c) To provide interpretation of TCA specifications, measurement rules, and Chief Measurer’s Rulings as required for conduct of the Interdistrict regatta. Such interpretation shall not have force beyond the Interdistrict regatta.

      Constitution Article XII Present Ruling:

      Article XII – GOVERNING BOARD AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

      Duties and Method of Election:

      2. The Executive Committee – The Executive Committee is a sub-committee of the Governing Board, empowered to act in the name of the Governing Board in matters requiring prompt action and personal discussion. The Executive Committee shall consist of the President and two or more Governing Board members appointed by the President and approved by three-quarters of the Governing Board. The President shall serve as Chairman. The Executive Committee shall sanction or ban races or other  activities, shall pass on the eligibility of committees, shall grant charters, fill vacancies in office subject to  ratification by the Governing Board in case such vacancies are being filled by a member or members of  the Executive Committee, impeach Fleet and Association officers subject to ratification by three-quarters  of the Governing Board when a Governing Board Officer is involved, suspend members guilty of gross  violation of rules or unsportsmanlike conduct for a period not exceeding its term of office, approve the  purchase and sale of securities, and approve depositories.

      Constitution Article XII Proposed Ruling:

      Article XII – GOVERNING BOARD AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

      Duties and Method of Election:

      2. The Executive Committee – The Executive Committee is a sub-committee of the Governing Board, empowered to act in the name of the Governing Board in matters requiring prompt action and personal discussion. The Executive Committee shall consist of the President and two or more Governing Board members appointed by the President and approved by three-quarters of the Governing Board. The President shall serve as Chairman. The Executive Committee shall sanction or ban races or other  activities, shall pass on the eligibility of committees, shall grant charters, fill vacancies in office subject to  ratification by the Governing Board in case such vacancies are being filled by a member or members of  the Executive Committee, impeach Fleet and Association officers subject to ratification by three-quarters  of the Governing Board when a Governing Board Officer is involved, suspend members guilty of gross  violation of rules or unsportsmanlike conduct for a period not exceeding its term of office, approve the  purchase and sale of securities, and approve depositories.

      2. Proposed changes to TCA Bylaws

      THISTLE CLASS ASSOCIATION BYLAWS

      Article XI Present Ruling:

      Article XI – OUTLAWED RACES

      Enforcement of Class Rules and Regulations is essential to the protection of all owners in a one-design class.  Members are required to report to the Association any sanctioned event wherein Class rules are not respected and enforced by the organization conducting it, or where entries of ineligible yachts are knowingly accepted. A member who makes himself a party to such practice by knowingly, and after due warning, entering outlawed events, shall himself be subject to suspension.

      Article XI Proposed Ruling:

      Article XI – OUTLAWED RACES

      Enforcement of Class Rules and Regulations is essential to the protection of all owners in a one-design class.  Members are required to report to the Association any sanctioned event wherein Class rules are not respected and enforced by the organization conducting it, or where entries of ineligible yachts are knowingly accepted. A member who makes himself a party to such practice by knowingly, and after due warning, entering outlawed these events (sanctioned events that do not comply with Class Rules and Regulations), shall himself be subject to suspension.

      Article XII Present Ruling:

      Article XII – SANCTIONED EVENTS

      Sanction. All chevron events shall be considered sanctioned. A District Governor or Regional Vice President has the authority to sanction any other event if requested to do so.

      Article XII Proposed Ruling:

      Article XII – SANCTIONED INDEPENDENT/AUTONOMOUS EVENTS

      Sanction. All chevron events shall be considered sanctioned events. The Executive Committee shall have jurisdiction over the (Gold Chevron) National Regatta, (Silver Chevron) Mid-Winters East and Mid-Winters West Regattas, (Purple Chevron) Women’s National Regatta and (Green Chevron) Junior National Regatta. The Regional Vice Presidents shall have jurisdiction over the (Blue Chevron) Interdistrict Regattas and the District Governors shall have jurisdiction over the (Red Chevron) District regattas. All other Thistle events are considered independent and autonomous events and are not subject to the governance of the above Thistle Class Association Officers. A District Governor or Regional Vice President has the authority to sanction any other event if requested to do so. 

      3. Rationale for the changes to the Constitution and By-Laws Amendments

      Fleet 53’s proposal is intended to create a clearer and more defined understanding of the role the TCA and its officers have regarding Thistle activities. It would relieve, and thereby take the pressure off, some of the obligations of the Class Officers, the Executive Committee and the President in the “jurisdiction” of all TCA activities as stated in the Constitution Article VI.

      The By-Laws Article XII already states that all chevron events are considered sanctioned. From this ruling, it therefore should be assumed that non-chevron events are not sanctioned events. This proposal does not change the authority or dynamics that the TCA Executive Committee and President has over sanctioned, chevron events.

      This proposal defines non-chevron events be independent / autonomous activities. This would include a single member going for a sail, a tuning session with other Thistles, a “beer can” race among some Thistles, Fleet races and also all Invitational events/regattas.  Fleet #53 believes that the present TCA rules give the TCA officers too much and over-reaching authority over all these other activities.

      The Regional Vice Presidents and District Officers still have a duty to aid the Thistle activity in their region. And for races at and above the Fleet level, all Thistles shall be registered and conform to the TCA Plans and Specifications.

      In conclusion, this proposal relieves the pressure on TCA executive officers to determine the activity encompassing ‘all Thistle activity’.  Individual members, Fleets, Districts and Regions will determine rules for non-chevron Thistle activity in line with sailing club and local jurisdiction rules and/or guidelines.

      4. PRO Comments

      1. The Constitution, By-Laws, Chief Measurement Rulings, Plans, Parts List, etc. provide a good definition of the boat and our key racing intent. However, Constitution Article VI is vague regarding Class Activities. It can be interpreted to mean that all power can be controlled by the few key class officers. The amendment clearly distributes authority through the various class levels.
      2. The amendment reduces confusion and empowers members, fleets and sailing clubs to sail/race fleet and non-sanctioned events in accordance with state and local laws.
      3. The Class has been stalled for months due to the TCA communications warning about health concerns and members have begun to sail other boats. Allowing members to realize local control over activity should be a boost to activity and hopefully growth.
      4. By removing some of the burden of the TCA officers, hopefully their resources can be spent on other class activities, i.e., growth and promotion initiatives, fleet building, training, and sailing!
      5. We have a very diverse class, made up with racers and non-racers, from all over the country with different club facilities, resources, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Although the GB and EC attempt to represent the entire class, they simply cannot stay in touch with every district, fleet, club, and sailor. This proposal moves some of the local logistics back local and allows greater autonomy to act in their own best interests.
      6. Clearer lines of communication and definition of duties among class officers
      7. *Speculative question* Does this remove some of the liability from the EC and TCA? I.e. three idiots do something stupid in a sailboat, as opposed to three Thistle sailors do something stupid in a TCA sanctioned regatta
      8. Does US Sailing not already offer an avenue to throw out sailors due to egregious unsportsmanlike issues? This option should further alleviate any concerns about policing such behavior at non-Chevron events

      5. CON Comments

      1. Could this potentially create a different legal scenario for the class?

       

      6. Instructions for comments

      Please reply to this topic in the TCA forum for conversation around pro and con comments to the proposed amendment.

    • #2006399
      Doug Kitchin
      Participant

      While I don’t disagree with some the intent of these changes, I’m not sure creating a more disjointed Thistle Class structure is necessarily a step forward. Are the “problems” this fixes really problems? I don’t foresee any major problems with these changes, but I don’t see any real benefit either. So I’m not sure that the changes are actually necessary. This proposal seems to suggest there was some overreach of power by the TCA that needed correcting, which I can only assume is related to the statement it issued on Covid. I would certainly agree that the statement created some confusion and concern, but given the state of the country at that time it seemed to be a reasonable measure. I don’t believe the TCA ever explicitly forbade regattas…just mandated that they were held in a responsible manor (ie. complied with local guidelines).

      I think straying from a system that has worked for decades may be unwarranted. I’d be interested to hear what other people think about this though.

    • #2006489
      Howard & Hill
      Participant

      Matt Fisher recently provided a very good analysis and I also urge all not to pass this amendment.  I am taking the liberty of posting  Matt’s assessment which follows….

       

      “I hope you are all doing well and are looking forward to an active season.   It is a special year with Nationals in our District.

      I am sending you all a note in response to an amendment that has been published on the Thistle website.     As a Thistle class member I am extremely concerned about the future of the class if this amendment passes .

      This amendment was submitted by Fleet 53 (St Petersburg) and is published on the Thistle web page by Jack Finefrock.    My exposure to this amendment started when I was in St Petersburg 2 weeks ago and ran into Chris Klotz, who is the author of the amendment.   Chris is a class stalwart;  a long time Thistle sailor who sails Boat #1, and like many of you, I have known Chris for more than 45 years.   He is a bright person who did not like some of the decisions of the class leadership regarding issues with COVID.    His concerns range from being told to wear masks to canceling several regattas.    Full disclosure  —  my bias to this topic is totally opposite — I respect the class leadership for their decisions to look out for the welfare and safety of the class and its members.   The Thistle class is one of the stronger national classes in the United States.   I have recently learned that  the class has raised $40k with a matching grant, and that there are more members this year than last year. We are doing fine coming out of the pandemic and don’t need this disruption to pull the class apart.

      Chris’s intent is to limit the authority of the class leadership so that leadership cannot cancel local events or have a hand in how the events are managed.  Chris wants to limit national oversight on local events in times of a pandemic.       But the amendment is written so broadly that the unintended consequences will  be devastating to the class.  Hoover Sailing Club has recently  been very active, but on a national basis, much of small boat sailing is in a fragile state.   This amendment is so strong that it goes way beyond its original intention .   It removes significant authority from the class leadership to only govern chevron events.  Chevron events are the Nationals and the Midwinters East and West.     If it passes, this amendment could ruin the class — I am not trying to be overly dramatic.

      Please read it — Thistle web site ,  scroll down to “Recent Blog post” and then “2021 amendments”.

      At first pass you may think this is harmless and simply removes some broad phrases.    But it impacts the structure of the class by changing the leadership of the class to having “jurisdiction over all Thistle activities” to “jurisdiction over chevron race events”.

      If this is passed, the officers of the class would not be able to (partial list, there are likely many more) – Allow the class officers to carry out financial responsibilities to run the class
      – publish The Bagpipe
      – employ a Secretary- Treasurer
      – approve a boat builder or mast builder
      – obtain liability insurance at non-chevron events
      – Allow regional vice presidents to coordinate the regatta schedule

      This is not a personal attack on Chris or anyone who is involved in supporting the amendment.   As I said earlier,  my take on this is that they were trying to address one issue — class management during a major, national pandemic — and wrote an amendment that is extremely broad and will lead to unintended consequences that significantly damage the class.    I am on the board in two other classes — the Lightning class and the MC class — and neither of these major classes has any type of limitations on class leadership.  Actually, the structures of these classes give more authority to the class leadership.

      The Thistle  class leadership is 100% voluntary other than the Secretary/Treasurer (I believe that position gets some compensation) .      This past year the class leadership  made these decisions in the best interest of the class.   While I write this I will note that people have just been banned from attending the Ohio State fair in August .  This may sound off the topic but the pandemic is still affecting our day to day activities and is changing monthly and we aren’t out of it yet.    I 100% respect the decisions now and also in the timeframe when they were made.

      Please read the amendment and appreciate its potential impact and vote it down when the time comes for a vote.

      Thanks and hope to see you soon

      —Matt”

Viewing 2 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.