Chairmans Report - 2019 NZ Laser Association AGM

Yes, 2019 has again been a good year for Laser in NZ with good turnouts nationally at regattas, particularly in the Youth fleet, and success on the international stage for our Olympic sailors. 
The core of the success of the class however remains attracting and retaining new sailors at all levels. It has been pleasing to see strong club fleets in many regions but it remains a challenge for the class to retain numbers as longstanding members of the masters fleet become less active and youth sailors move on to new challenges if they are not looking at Olympic campaigns.
After a very challenging couple of years for the class, the Laser and the Laser Radial have been confirmed by World Sailing as the single handed classes for men and women for the 2024 Olympics. I believe this is great news for the class and its future. Part of World Sailing’s requirements for Olympic selection was that the class adopt a policy to allow new manufacturers to enter the Laser market. The class has agreed to this and is just commencing the appointment process. In NZ we do not expect any rapid change to the market for boats and equipment but in the medium term we hope that the scope of the class will expand and that this will lead to more competitive pricing for boats and equipment in the future.
Congratulations to George Gautrey and Sam Meech, whos results on the world stage this year have continued to demonstrate the strength of our Men’s Laser squad and the talent of our sailors. Of particularly note are George’s podium finish in the worlds in Japan and Sam’s consistency and No1 World Ranking. Our women sailors have also competed internationally and have been successful in qualifying NZ for an Olympic spot in 2024 if they are able to meet the NZ Olympic committee selection criteria.
Congratulations also to Dave Ridley and Scott Leith for their recent victories in the World Masters in Holland. There were also many other solid performances from our top Youth, Open and Masters sailors at international regattas.
The Nationals at Manly was again a success, with good numbers in the Masters and Youths. It was extremely well run by Manly and the fleet again enjoyed a great variety of conditions. We trust that this years nationals in New Plymouth will be well supported and we look forward to some awesome sailing at this iconic venue.
Our grants and coaching initiatives have continued and NZLA will continue to encourage and sponsor coaching this season for any club or group of Laser sailors.  I think this is a great opportunity for clubs and would encourage any club to get in touch to see how we can assist.
Financially we again had a satisfactory year and the Association remains in good financial health. We again had a small loss but this was within the committees comfort zone, given the cash resources of the Association. We are however continuing to look at options for a fundraising initiative to bolster the Associations coffers and ensure its ongoing financial health.
Internationally ILCA continues to try and work with the manufacturers on the ongoing equipment issues. We understand that approval of the carbon alternative for the Radial bottom section imminent. Unfortunately the issues with the European Laser manufacturers have continued, but with the introduction of the WS FRAND policy this year we are hopeful that these too are nearing resolution. 
Thanks again to Karen who has continued to do a great job as our secretary and to all our committee for their input this year. 
If anyone would like to join the committee or propose or discuss any Laser issue you are always welcome to contact me or any member of the committee via the NZLA website e mail contacts
Nick Page 
Chairman NZLA