News Virtual 2020 IODA AGM - An Overview

Virtual 2020 IODA AGM - An Overview

Due to the Corona-19 pandemic, IODA held their Annual General Meeting virtually on Thursday, October 22 during the 2020 Optimist European Championship in Portoroz, SLO.

Although the intention was to host a hybrid virtual meeting, the Slovenian Government Health Authorities began tightening the COVID restrictions as this region of Slovenia moved from orange to red. These actions ultimately resulted in the European Championship finishing one day earlier than scheduled.

Although it is always nice to meet our members face-to-face at a normal AGM, we had a record number of 65 members online for the virtual AGM, plus two honorary members as well as the former IODA Secretary Robert Wilkes listening in on the meeting.  In total, over 100 people registered for the IODA AGM.

Logistically, holding a virtual AGM was more challenging than normal due to the number of moving parts.  IODA used the mi-voice voting platform, throughout the meeting for all items that required a vote.    The team headed up by Simon Thomson at mi-voice did a outstanding job handling the voting throughout the meeting, in particular the few complicated proposals that came from the floor.  To find out more about the mi-voice platform, you can go here

Reports were presented by the President, Vice Presidents, Technical and Regatta Committee Chairs and the Treasurer on the activities and accomplishments of the past year.  Here are some of the highlights from the President, Kevin Whitcraft’s report:

  1. IODA increased our communication to our Members and stakeholders throughout the year with Monthly Newsletters, Member Messages and Announcements, and Surveys for Members, Builders and event attendees for their feedback with the view of improving our services.
  2. We continued to modernize and improve efficiencies with the updating of features in our event microsites as well as introducing the Paperless Measurement System at our events and the introduction of the mobile APP.
  3. IODA invested last year in strengthening our builder relationships through increased dialogue and builder feedback. A total of eight builder inspections were completed last year to ensure the integrity of our one-design class. We also approved the moulds of three new builders.
  4. The development of Optimist sailing is a major goal for IODA. Late in 2019 IODA signed a partnership agreement with ASAF to produce coaching clinics together over the next 4 years. Unfortunately, COVID 19 has not allowed us to implement the clinics this year.
  5. Sustainability and Social Responsibility are values that the Optimist Class feel very strongly about. This year IODA launched a co-branded version of the World Sailing Sustainability Education Program consisting of 6 topics to our members.  Our members also generously responded to the devastating effects on the host nation of the 2019 North American Championship in Nassau, BAH from hurricane Dorian..  Many of the participants in the championship lost everything.  A number of Members generously donated boats and McLaughlin Boat Works stepped up to help out in a major way.
  6. Providing a safe environment for our Opti sailors is also an area that IODA feels strongly about. This past year IODA Launched its' “Code of Conduct” for sailors, volunteers, event organizers, coaches, and parents.  Keeping the Opti environment safe and inclusive is important to keeping girls in the sport, another very important focus of IODA. 
  7. Delivering our IODA Events with a very high standard is a fundamental cornerstone of IODA.  Providing the best possible services and consistency for our World and Continental Championship from year to year is very important to the class.  We implemented event surveys to obtain the feedback we need to improve our event delivery. The introduction of the Mobile App was a major accomplishment, which has extended our reach to our members, families, and friends around the globe during our IODA Events.

Challenges that face the class in the immediate future is COVID 19 and how it could possibly disrupt our IODA events again in 2021. We have only been able to host one IODA championship this year so far. COVID 19 has had a devasting effect on the industry and builders are not producing many boats and sail makers are also experiencing a low demand in new sails.  As a result, our revenues are down considerably in 2020, so we are trying to do more with less. We are hopeful that the battle with COVID will subside in 2021 and that Optimist activity will stabilize and the manufacturing and sales of plaques and boats will increase. 

In terms of the decisions that were made at this AGM, they were primarily focussed on the effects of COVID 19 on our IODA Championships in 2020 and 2021. It is the members of IODA who decide where our championships take place each year, so changing a venue required 2/3 majority to be approved. The following two proposals were approved by the members:

  1. To grant the 2021 World Championships venue to Riva del Garda, Italy and move the 2022 World Championships venue to Bodrum, Turkey.
  2. To grant the 2021 South American Championship venue to Mar del Plata, Argentina, and move the 2022 South American Championship venue to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A major component of the AGM is the confirmation of our 2021 events for next year.  The following 2021 IODA Championships were confirmed by the members:

  • 2021 World Championship, Riva del Garda, ITA – June 30th - July 10th
  • 2021 European Championship, Santa Maria, ESP – June 20-27th
  • 2021 European Team Racing Championship, Lago di Ledro, ITA – late August
  • 2021 North America Championship, Riviera Nayarit, MEX – May 29 - June 5th
  • 2021 South American Championship, Mar del Plata, ARG – November  6 - 13th
  • 2021 Asians & Oceanian Championship, Pattaya, THA – November 6 - 13th

The 2021 African Championship, Dar es Salaam, was withdrawn shortly before the AGM, so we are looking for a venue for the African championship next year.

In addition, the selection of the 2022 IODA Championships took place.  They are:

  • 2022 World Championship, Bodrum, Turkey – July 4 - 14th 
  • 2022 European Championship, Sondenborg, DEN – June 25 - July 2 or July 30 - August 6th
  • 2022 European Team Racing Championship, Lago di Ledro, ITA – last week of August
  • 2022 South American Championship, Rio de Janeiro, BRA – October 2022
  • 2022 Asian & Oceanian Championship, Yeosu, KOR – April 25 - May 5th

We hope that we will receive bids to host the 2022 African Championship and North American Championship in the coming months

Many proposals were presented regarding the Championship Conditions and Articles of Association. The results of voting will be included in the Minutes of the Meeting.  Also approved by the members were three class rule amendments that will now be submitted to World Sailing for approval.  If approved, they will come into effect on January 1st and will be included in the 2021 version of the Optimist Class Rules.

We would like to thank all of members for attending the AGM and for exercising your right to vote in the future direction of the Optimist Class.  Your participation along with the many observers that attended indicates that the Optimist Class is very much alive and well