At a meeting of the NSOA Committee held in London on 9 May 2016, attended by 22 members, the following motion was voted on after over two hours of discussion.
"I agree that the Rondar prototype fulfils the criteria set out by the NSOA in the mandate of November 2014 and request that the RYA licence Rondar to build the first production Squib."
It was passed by 13 for, 6 against with 3 abstentions.
I would like to take this opportunity to refresh your knowledge of the process over the last two-and-a-half years, so that you can be confident that your NSOA committee has taken the whole project seriously and diligently, and that there has been a logical process that we signed up to from an early stage.
I also realise that some members will have come to the Class part way through this period. So to recap:
- After the previous builder ceased business, a tender was put out, 8 serious submissions came in, which were reduced to a shortlist of 3: Rondar Raceboats, Hartley and Cornish Crabbers. The tech committee revisited all three and in Spring 2014, unanimously chose Rondar to take us forward. Rondar then developed their ideas during the year, met the membership at the Lowestoft Nationals and the Inlands, making various proposals including self draining cockpit and foam sandwich construction. These were further developed and refined during the autumn when a detailed submission to the Committee was made which formed the backbone of the wording for the "Mandate" and it's preamble, published in Autumn Squibble 2014. The mandate was drawn up with the guidance of the RYA, approved by 21-1 by the Committee, and voted on electronically by over 200 Class members in December 2014, with 90.5% being in favour. This mandate was crucial and clearly defined. It committed Rondar to three key principles:
- Cost (under £20k);
- Allowed the use of new materials/design (including foam sandwich and self-draining floor); and
- Performance (no faster than existing Squibs). It also clearly stated that the RYA, NSOA Committee and Rondar managed the project, and the RYA and NSOA would resolve any situation where the new boat turned out faster than existing ones. Most importantly it involved you the members and has been our guiding document ever since.
- The decision was taken this way round because the builder needed to have this confidence before they spent a lot of time, effort and money developing a new boat for the Class. That boat was built during 2015, Rondar again updated the members at the Howth Nationals, and presented the boat in bare form, to the members at the Inlands, then in more complete form, to the tech committee and RYA in November 2015. They unanimously, although with some reservations, agreed that Rondar completed it to racing standard as the prototype, for testing during the winter, to see how it performed against existing boats. That testing has now been done, over 12 days' sailing, 36 hours racing and 30 races, with 16 different helms and crews, in 6 different venues, in conditions from light and variable to Force 6 and big seas, on inland and coastal, estuary and open waters. The question being asked, again from the mandate, was: "Has the racing performance been materially affected by the update to the construction of the new Squib?" Performance was what we were measuring, what the mandate stipulated, and the only thing that counts in racing. The Class is hugely indebted to all those who took part in this process (often in some pretty grim weather), sailing the boat, writing reports, competing against it and towing it over 2000 miles in between events. In parallel, the tech committee also tested the Rondar boat's moment of inertia and centre of gravity which were within 4.5% and 47mm of existing boats respectively. The results of all the testing and racing are also published on the website.
The passing of this motion is another key step in the process of appointing a new builder to the Class, to allow us to build more Squibs, to use our hard fought for moulds productively again after lying idle for over three years, to explore new markets and continue to keep our profile high in a crowded market place. The Class has chosen a world class builder, and with the RYA's help will continue to ensure that they produce the quality product that we have all asked for, and that performs no better than our existing boats.