Has Your Boat Insurance Expired …??!!!

(If it has, I don’t want to race against you!!… Ed)

UPDATE FROM UKGLOBAL: According to our latest records there are still over 50 members who have not yet renewed their craft policy.

If this applies to you, then please note that your craft is currently uninsured.

It is important to note that If you are waiting until your first sailing event before you renew your policy then should your craft be damaged by fire or it causes damage to another craft or other Third Party property during a storm in the meantime for example then you will not be indemnified for the repairs or replacement as there is no policy in force.

Please do not rely on insuring your craft on this policy just for racing. We have seen many claims over the years that have nothing to do with racing (including a number of storm damage claims during the recent adverse weather conditions in February.)

I strongly recommend you contact Natalie or Jerry to renew your policy and ensure you are fully protected:

· Natalie Surridge on 01883 333 522 / natalie.surridge@ukglobalgroup.co.uk; or
· Jerry Dungate on 01883 333 512 / jerry.dungate@ukglobalgroup.co.uk;


Membership News Letter from BIFFA….!!

A couple of days ago, on the 27th in fact, paid up Members of the Association will have received the latest Secretary’s Newsletter into their mailbox.  It contains all the inside track information on upcoming events – plus a timely reminder to us all to pay our subs on time on April 1st.  Most people will pay by standing order, but do hurry as the Yearbook and the forthcoming FF Magazine will be waiting to come out  !!

Association – Payments Made Easier for Members….!!

Payments made easier for members

Some if you may have noticed that there is now a Paypal facility for some of our services; currently the second hand listing and for new membership applications.  This has proved a really popular option and now all new member applications payments have been processed this way as well as second hand listings.  There are costs involved but as a not for profit members organisation we get a separate fee structure for using this facility and we feel that benefits outweigh the costs.  We will offer more facility to pay by this means in future, the next may well for membership renewals in April, though please ensure you are not already paying by Standing Order before using the facility.


One Small Step for Man…….

visa mastercardHave you seen over on the BIFFA website, you can now make payments for memberships, for sale ads and anything else we can dream up that might be useful.

It’s going to make life an awful lot easier for everyone, don’t you think? Anyway, BIFFA HQ has worked very hard to make this work.  If you have any ideas or more useful content that might be available on a nominal pay-as-you-use basis, then leave a reply here on the blog.

New Insurance Certificates – A Little Delay…..!!

For those of us that have our insurance on the new super-duper BIFFA Insurance scheme, although we all have acknowledgements from our broker, we haven’t yet received our insurance certificates. Probably, most of you, like me, had not noticed !!

This is the explanation from our Broker, Dan Blake, at UK Global…..

“Dear Policyholder

For those of you who have recently renewed your F15 policy with us or indeed taken up a new policy following a quotation, you may be wondering why you’ve not yet received your Certificate of Insurance along with the new policy wording.

The main reason is because following further negotiations with Navigators & General the policy will now include a new Personal Accident section. This cover pays out fixed lump sum benefits for members aged between 16-70 if they suffer Loss of Limbs, Loss of Sight or Permanent Total Disablement as a result of an accident whilst aboard an insured craft.

Since the inclusion of this section, N&G are now looking at enhancing the cover even further following the recent tragic accident resulting in the death of a 14 year old boy (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-21416652). We are currently looking at the possibility of including Accidental Death cover and extending the age limits to include under 16 year olds.

You will be pleased to learn that these enhancements will be automatically included in your policy and the premium will remain unaltered.

Once the final version of the policy has been authorised by the FSA, we will immediately issue the Certificates and wording to you. In the meantime, should you require evidence of cover for your sailing club, then we can provide “Confirmation of Cover” in writing to you.

We thank you for your continuing patience and support and trust you understand that the delays are as a result of further enhancements to the BIFFA insurance scheme.

If you have any queries about Personal Accident cover or indeed anything to do with the policy, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Kind regards

Dan Blake


Association Membership : Fleet Size……..!!!

A few days ago we wrote about the league table of Clubs for BIFFA Membership.  I’ve taken a few minutes to add the census survey data as it stood 18 months ago in summer 2011.

Of course, the club fleet sizes flex quite a bit  in the course of 18 months. In our case, it certainly has and we have a slight reduction in boat numbers – thankfully mainly in the unraced stock of boats – but that inflates the apparent number of non-Association Members in that scenario. Also you have to recognise and adjust for people who have two (or more!) boats, and also where the Club itself may own some boats for training, trial sailing etc.

The next thing that can really distort this is “Honourary Members” and the like – it has a significant effect on Royal Windermere for example, as it’s like Mount Olympus up there – inhabited by Gods…. There are four categories of member which may distort the overall numbers – Associate, Honorary, Joint Owners and ‘non-boat owning’, but the instances are really quite limited in number.

So bearing all that in mind, take a look at this fleet table – sorted in size order for those fleets where FF owners choose not to belong to the Association are ranked at the top of the table….. Sorry – being a bit playfully mischievous here (!!), best treat it as an approximate guide for the reasons above!!!

Click here

The BIFFA Members Club League Table….!!

Do you remember when our Annual Year Book used to contain the league table of Clubs according to how many paid up association members there were??  I used to leap on that page  – it was a reasonable proxy for the health of FF sailing at each location!!

Well, the table for the current membership year has been issued by HQ – and very interesting reading it makes too.  There are plenty of upsides….

  • For a start, I would not have expected to find Association members at an astonishing 78 UK clubs.
  • Second, right at the top of the league table is Royal Windermere. It’s a rule in that fleet, I’m told, that if you are not a BIFFA member then you don’t race!!
  • What makes a good size fleet??  Well, how about ten full members of BIFFA?? There are 12 clubs that make the grade.
  • How many Clubs are large enough to justify “FFI Fleet Status”?? To have “FFI Fleet Status” needs a minimum of 6 boats and 6 full association members.  Well, we have seventeen of those – and I have a feeling that might be slightly up on 2011.  I’ll have to check.
  • Keep reading the blog for an entry soon which compares for each fleet the number of boats in the 2011 Census and the number of 2012 Association Members.

Click here to see the League Table.

FLEET CAPTAINS – if you would like a list of the current members in your fleet, then you can work out who is not a member!! If you would like the membership list for your fleet  please contact the Association Secretary  on secretary@flying15.org.uk

“BIFFA – What’s In a Name?” – Adrian Simpson Speaks….

On 29/11/50, the Flying Fifteen Owners’ Association was formed.  I think the name gives a reasonable indication of who they thought it existed for.  In due course it became the National Flying Fifteen Owners’ Association, almost as much a mouthful as our current name.  As we were still a national class, the NFFOA combined the roles taken by BIFFA and FFI.  When the class gained international status (1977-8 ish), FFI was set up to administer the class internationally (realistically by the UK until the constitutional re-write in mid 90s), and the remainder of the NFFOA functions became BIFFA, the Irish association didn’t come into being until some time later (sorry not sure when), so British Isles was a better descriptor than British or UK.

Ironically, the class was probably more widespread when it was a national class than it is now.

Since there was no class association, who organised the 1949 and 1950 Nationals ?


BIFFA – Who Gets to Vote…..

I’ve just seen your blog posting on the fact that non-boat owning members don’t get to vote in our Association….

Be careful in what you wish for, it may come true.

At the moment those that get a vote are those who have made an investment in the class (bought a boat), and a few non boat owning members who are life honorary members (most, if not all of whom are either ex-owners or ex-joint owners).  As you correctly state, the class has a number of non-boat owning members, some of whom have been members for donkey’s years, and in some cases (Phil, since you mention him), have been outstanding supporters of the class, so why shouldn’t they have a vote.  How do you decide at what point a non-owner is worthy of having a vote ?

I am aware of other organisations that have been “troubled” and some factions have engineered the situation to load the voting process in their favour.  Not a good situation in either the short or long term. I’m not for a moment suggesting that BIFFA is “troubled”, but by allowing anyone a vote, it would be relatively easy for someone to sign up a load of mates (who might not even know or care what a Fifteen is) and skew the voting accordingly.  The number of people who vote is usually low, so it wouldn’t be that hard to do.  This could also apply to FFI votes (if my quick scan of their constitution is correct).

The solution to this problem ? I don’t have one.

Name and Address Withheld!!


Proof of Membership…. !!

Yes – the Yellow Association stickers are starting to appear!!  Have you got yours yet??  This is the way to show you believe in the strength of your Class strongly enough to belong to your Association.

I thought the plan was to send the labels to Fleet Captains so that “fireside chats” would be better enabled, but I think Keith has decided to mail them to members directly.

So pop it on your mast right away and support your Class!!!

Crews, or particularly Non-Owners, Don’t Get to VOTE !!…..

I had never particularly thought about who gets to vote in BIFFA until the Dinghy Show.

Suddenly two people, Dave Hemmingway and Phil Evans, both raised the subject that as non-boat owners they don’t get to vote in Association matters. In the case of Phil and Dave, they each pointed out that they were happy to pay the full BIFFA subscription rate, but couldn’t!!  The BIFFA constitution if you go and take a peek at it says that the Association is there to promote the interests of Owners…  I think that needs examination in this new millennium  as it doesn’t really reflect what is going on in current times – and anyway so many owners choose not to pay Association fees. Our Association is really there to get people sailing flying fifteens and to sail them more often.

It seems to me that we may have quite a few associate members in this position. It is by no means rare these days to find owners who prefer to get a permanent driver, and that driver should be able to fully participate in Class matters. In the case of Phil Evans, well…. it’s just not right.

I guess this is some overhang in the older wording of the BIFFA constitution that causes this effect. Evidently there could be a dozen or two people out there in this situation and the Association is depriving itself of a few extra pounds in fees too!!

I wonder how we get this fixed??  Must discuss with the President…..

Brand Image – What’s In a Name??

Regular readers of the FF Blog will be aware that I am a bit hung up about our “Old Man’s Boat” Image… on all fronts. I often think if we called it the ‘RS Fifteen’, we’d have the problem cracked in a moment.

Did the name of our Association, the British Isles Flying Fifteen Association, ever strike you as a bit…. well…. 1950ish????  Plus of course, since search engines came along keying in “BIFFA” takes you to dozens of google pages about a waste management company. Lots of complaints about them interestingly!!

I think the Aussies use “FFI-A” which actually isn’t bad… it doesn’t sound 1950ish anyway. It sounds quite “IBM” which puts it a decade or two later.  For unsubtle reasons, we obviously cannot append “UK” after the letters “FF”.  Does UKFF’s work for you??

When you create accounts in Facebook and Twitter, as we have for the FF Blog, you hit the problem straight away – and you find most words in the dictionary have already been booked. I think on Facebook we are “BritishIslesFlyingFifteens” (clumsy, bit of a mouthful obviously and too many letters to key)  and on Twitter we are @ukflyingfifteens… Not good to be something different on both…. Before we dismiss the relevance of Facebook and Twitter to our little world of Flying Fifteen racing, might I say that we have around 140 daily followers of the ff blog in social media – 110 of those on Facebook. Interesting….

So what to do??  It was David Hume writing on the blog a  week or two ago that set me off on this.  I felt David made a good point that the International Moths actually do ‘fly’ these days ….  and for us to use the word “flying” seems a bit inappropriate.

So if we had a name of something like “UK Fifteens” for our Association, our online identities, and so on – would that seem a lot more youthful, modern, contemporary???

Maybe…. What do you think?? ….. “UK Fifteens”??….