Minutes of AGM of Queen Mary Reservoir Sailing Club Ltd – Held at the Clubhouse on 13th October 2019 at 2pm


1. Apologies for Absence

Apologies were received from Chris Simon and Steven Fowles


2. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting were accepted as being a true record and were signed by the Commodore.

Proposed by Charles Wand Tetley and seconded by Bob Joce and passed unanimously.


3. Matters arising

There were no matters arising.


4. Commodore’s Report (Richard Steele)

Hello Everyone. I think you will agree that what follows is a very positive report for 2019, so far. QMSC is also in good shape financially as our Hon Treasurer will explain later. A successful appeal to HMRC regarding VAT payments, resulted in a major rebate. This has allowed us to make significant investments in time for the 1st April start of season and beyond:

Projects completed – Led by our Council, GM Tony, Volunteers & Staff

  • New club balcony & splendid glass fronted balustrade – RC Steven Fowles
  • New wet flooring on the entire ground level – GM Tony Bishop & all of us
  • Computer Room & Servers rebuilt & commissioned – CM Paul Johnson
  • Booking System & System 365 Distribution Groups – VC Chris Stanton
  • New Club Boats, foiling kits & equipment etc – GM Tony & SP Paul Adams
  • Prudence must prevail now, but more to come – Council & Hon Treasurer

Club Racing  Results – As a new ARO , I’ve been deeply impressed with Club Racing

  • The Bloody Mary was back: Monique Vennis-Ozanne (& crew John Mather) at 16 yrs  3 mths the youngest overall winning helm by a month. “It’s great, I’ve done BM twice in an RS Feva & Topper and I can’t believe I’ve just won!
  • Wednesday SEVEN30 Cup Series won by Howard Farbrother and Louise Hosken, RS400 V’s RS200 closely fought racing, Andy & Jill Peters 2nd.
  • Wednesday Series Cup overall was won by Howard Farbrother & Louise.
  • Club Championships won by Markus Bird, the Laser fleet remains King.
  • RTYC’s big event this year was the J80 British American Cup. Astonishing winds/racing and to top it all RTYC won on the last race and the last lap.
  • British Keelboat League finals RS21s – Astonishing winds x2 & racing again
  • QMSC testing & pondering acquiring RS21’s for club & Select programme
  • Boat owning membership has stabilised this year, beating industry trends
  • Join us at the Christmas Lunch, Sunday 15th December, for the full annual prize-giving, Xmas Fun Race, RYA awards to celebrate & special prizes too

Circuit Racing Results –  QMSC Prestigious visibility, we always race from the front

  • Bjorn Handley wins Topper 4.2 Nationals & 2nd Worlds & joins the GB squad
  • Team 15 windsurfers (Skimmers) deliver great national results and go to the Europeans, Millie Searle 12th Junior Girl & Elektra Day-San 35th Youth Girl; T15 Interclub event – QM 3rd overall for the series & won the QM hosted event
  • RS400 Fleet: QM top travelling club in the southern circuit. Strong club presence both at the nationals & Europeans at Garda. Highlights: Special Endeavour prize to QMSC. Howard and Lou for a 2nd to Steve Cockerill southern circuit sponsor & overtaking Nick Craig in the nationals to win a race
  • RS200 Fleet: SEA Series: Last races for final results at Island Barn on Saturday, currently 8 QMSC boats in this series: David & Sophie Harris 1st, Alex Curtis & Raffi Gracie 4th Mike Calvert & Sophie Harris 6th, Andy & Jill Peters 18th
  • RS200 Nationals: 104 boats, David Jessop & Sophie Mears 23rd, Alex Curtis & Raffi Gracie 44th/2nd in Bronze Fleet Rooster
  • RS200 HISC Rooster Summer Regatta: 42 boats, David & Sophie Harris 5th, Alex Curtis & Raffi Gracie 24th
  • RS200 Inlands: David & Sophie Harris 5th, Alex Curtis & Raffi Gracie 30th
  • Laser Fleet: Roger O Goreman 3rd in masters National Championships. Mark Lyttle 4th. Mike Hicks 3rd in masters world championships. Big Thanks Tony Woods, who is an Industry legend for all he does for the Laser fleet
  • Cherubs: Andy & Gill Peters 2nd in the Nationals, previously won the Worlds!
  • QMSC wins the team cup at National School Sailing Association, retaining it.

Saturday Club – The trend Setters in many ways – Led by Andrew  & David

  • Excellent growth this year – With 6 Saturday Club sessions to go, we have 67 members sailing 461 times – will be similar to Wednesday evening numbers
  • Strong trends linking Select to Saturday Club, Coaching, Club Racing next
  • New younger members joining are building the Saturday Club community
  • Skiing in March, Messini Sailing Holiday, Weymouth Weekend led by the dynamic Peter Caselton. What next for what is now a QMSC Phenomenon

Sailability – ‘Sailing for the disabled – Evolving into big business  – Led by Andrew’

  • last 12 months QMS has had 60 sailors who sailed 570 sessions, plus our 30 support team with them of course around 120 times in total
  • On any term time 65-75 people involved 6X schools 9-14 students + adults
  • New faces volunteering and on the water too – QMSC best kept secret
  • Thursday racing going strongly, we even had the club GM mixing it up

Sailing School – The astonishing jewel in our crown nowadays – Thanks to:

  • Two new chief instructors Ross & Ben, also lead instructor Oliver – wow.
  • We broke last year’s totals with another record year 733 little people on our Summer Camps, together with more than 30 new staff members this year.
  • Trends: Courses & coaching has now overtaken membership turnover/profit
  • Select, Pay & Play tuned to modern requirements – skills, experiences & fun
  • Foiling: windsurfs, Lasers, Aero’s now integrated into Select membership.
  • A really big thank you to the team lead by Paul Adams, Ros, Benn, Oliver & Matt, Will, Flossy etc etc

Events – QMSC Community Support at its best – QMSC team, Volunteers & Guests

  • Fourth London Youth Games – Fabulous fun, impressive LYG team
  • Open Day – Totals for the day 150, Longboats took 40 family members out
  • Charity Lap-the-Lake day still to come: Eric Twiname Trust Bruce Aitken, one of the Trustees c/o Chris Simon & our club gets a signed Americas Cup flag!

Plastic Education – Peerless Community Support – The quiet success story – GM Tony

  • 110 schools from around the country have signed up for the Ocean Guardian Challenge. This year we produced Plastic Education Assembly with help from Freddie and developed the Ocean Guardian Accreditations, in Bronze Silver and Gold levels, for schools to achieve. plasticeducation.com
  • 12,500 Children getting educated about plastic is something we can be proud about – the project’s goal to get more people using water ways as their playground. Help us by getting your local school involved.
  • QM has also had record year for school groups, nearly 300 on activity days.

Looking to the future – Some thoughts to consider:

  • RTYC special relationship both at QM & their prestigious London site
  • RS21‘s trialling, programme & Circuit Race – a fantastic coup
  • Drought Mgnt Project – FF15, J80, RS21’s, Longboats etc – CM David C
  • QMSC currently enjoying Financial & Quality Staff Stability – Prudence!

Further Big Thank you – We have never had a stronger team in recent times

  • Tony GM & Club Sec, Janet Sailing Sec Caroline Office M, Petra, Charlie & Susan.
  • The Catering team Debbie, Tracey, Sue and their team – Always flexible
  • Paul Sailing Principal – The Race Officers, the Instructors and safety crews
  • Finally -Thank you to Tony GM & the QMSC Council for their good work


5. Treasurer’s Report (David Bithell)

Thank you, Richard, for your review the Club’s year – it’s been another busy and exciting year for QMSC. Before we go to the numbers, I want you all to look at the floor! Now it might look like just some very nice new grey flooring to you, but actually you’ve all been walking on VAT for the past 6 months!

If we turn now to Page 3 of the accounts, the Income Statement for the year ended 31st March 2019, you’ll see that, in contrast to last year’s small loss of £3,581, the Club made a profit this year of £99,381.

We are, of course, a non-profit-making members’ club but it is precisely that status which enabled us, earlier in 2019, to take advantage of the opportunity to correct a number of past years’ VAT Returns and successfully claim from HMRC a back-dated refund of £92,142 of previously overpaid VAT. That refund accounts for £92k of our profit, the remaining £7k arising mainly because the Club had a very successful and busy 2018 with courses, particularly for the summer junior courses.

The VAT story goes back a number of years to when QMSC acquired the former Queen Mary Sailsports sailing school and merged this into the Club and, more particularly, to a change in VAT law in 2015 and a reinterpretation of previous VAT law. A couple of non-profit-making golf clubs successfully brought cases against HMRC arguing that their supplies of sporting services, both to members and to non-members, should be VAT exempt and not VAT standard rated.

Having picked up on these cases, I thoroughly researched the VAT status of non-profit-making sports clubs and the application of these rules to QMSC’s situation, including guidance on VAT published by our sport’s governing body, the RYA, and concluded that there was an opportunity for QMSC to VAT exempt its fees for all sailing courses.

In August 2018 we submitted to HMRC corrections to our past four years’ VAT Returns, underwent a thorough VAT audit by HMRC during two visits by them to the Club and got our refund in February.

Going forward, what this means for the Club is that, when we charge say £250 for a weekend course, we are no longer giving away £42 of this to HMRC and only retaining £208, but we’re now able to retain the full £250. The downside is that it severely restricts the Club’s ability to claim back VAT on expenditure, especially capital expenditure, but there is, nevertheless a significant net gain for QMSC.

So, the profit is something of a windfall and we will be back to hovering around break-even in future years.

As a non-profit-making Club owned by you, the members, our constitution requires us to invest any profits in the future of our Club and I hope you have all already seen some of the benefits from our new investments this year:-

  • £17k on the much-needed replacement of the ground floor flooring, especially the changing rooms
  • £22k on the stunning refurbishment of the balconies – the timber decking needed replacement anyway, but we hope you all agree that the new steel and glass balustrades have transformed the appearance of our Club House.
  • £55k on some much-needed replacement of dinghies, windsurfing boards and powerboat engines.
  • £4,500 on upgrading and protecting our IT infrastructure
  • £3,500 on extending, and adding fendering to, the black pontoon – variously described as the “bumble bee” or “caterpillar” pontoon during the past few days!
  • Various smaller items – additional hand-dryers (£1,100) and Shower Mixer Valves (£1,000).

Page 4 – Balance Sheet – Overall Net Assets improved by the profit from £424,241 to a very healthy £523,622

  • Tangible Fixed Assets – reduced by £35,287 from £580,964 to £545,677. Mainly due to the annual depreciation charge of £78,060. Most of the new investment just mentioned happened shortly after 31st March and will feature in next year’s accounts but there were £42,773 of additions in the year to 31 March 2019, the highlights being:-
  • £16,700 on 3 power boat engines
  • £3,500 to purchase the black pontoon
  • £1,600 on a new dishwasher and £1,100 on the hand-dryers.
  • Part of the balcony works (£9,600) and part of the IT works (£2,100) were prior to the year-end.

Cash in Bank position was a very healthy £107,956, reflecting the receipt of the VAT monies just before the year-end, but much of this has subsequently been reinvested in the Club. Council adopted, a number of years’ ago, a policy of aiming to keep a cash reserve through the winter of 7.5% of turnover, i.e. about £55,000. We are on target to achieve this and the purpose of the policy is to try to make sure we can get through the lean winter months without needing to take a loan and can cope with unexpected expenditure, like having to replace the boiler 2 years’ ago. This policy, reaffirmed by Council at its most recent meeting is noted in the Directors’ Report.

Notes to the Accounts: Note 5 (Page 7) explains the effect of theVAT refund.

Debtors and creditors (Refer to Notes 9, 10 & 11 on Page 8) – I would just draw members’ attention to:-

  • Bank loans (included in creditors, split between amounts repayable within 12 months in Note 10 and amounts repayable after 1 year in Note 11) – reduced in total by £12,759 from £25,809 at 31st March 2018 to £13,050 at 31st March 2019, continuing the policy of recent years to reduce the Club’s reliance on borrowed money. Club will be debt-free in less than 3 years’ time as remaining loan continues to be repaid by £427 per month.

Detailed Profit and Loss Account (Pages 9 & 10)

  • Turnover up from £707k to £909k, an increase of £202k, but £167k of that is the back-dated VAT and a further £63k is being able to retain the full amounts charged for courses in the year to 31st March 2019. Underlying turnover was therefore actually £28k down on the previous year.

That £28k decline breaks down into:-

  • Membership income down £25k from £328k to £303k
  • Underlying training income up £43k to £306k, after stripping out the VAT effect.
  • Racing Income up £5k from £18k to £23k entirely because the Bloody Mary had to be cancelled in 2018
  • ClubHouse Income down £1.5k
  • Other Income down £48k from £76k to £28k – mainly because there was grant income for the Plastic Bottle Boat challenge in the 2018 number.
  • Decline in Membership Income of £25k was a £29k reduction in income from traditional Standard Memberships and a small reduction in Day Sailing Fees offset by £8k growth in Select Membership income. The decline in Standard Membership income has been a matter of concern for Council at its recent meetings and follows the trend of the past few years. However, so far, in the summer of 2019 it looks like Standard Membership has held up better whilst the growth of Select has continued.
  • The underlying £43k increase in training income reflects the very successful season of courses in 2018 which was coupled with the long hot summer for the junior courses. However, the record number of participants on courses in 2018 has been surpassed in 2019 so we are looking at another very successful result for the training school in next year’s results too.

Expenditure was overall £102k higher than for 2018 but again the VAT reclaim had an effect, with £89k of this being additional non-recoverable VAT on expenditure (mostly backdated), so the underlying increase in expenditure was £13k.

That is made up of a back-dated rent review on the Thames Water lease, increased property maintenance costs, some higher staff wages and training costs necessary to deliver the additional courses sold and depreciation on the new powerboat engines but also offset by some savings in other costs.

Looking forward – we’ve just had another very good summer of training income and I would expect the Club will make a small profit in its March 2020 accounts. The new investment in the ClubHouse and boats and boards, together with reduced borrowing and a cash reserve in the bank account sets your Club up well for the coming few years

A few thank you’s:-

The office team – Caroline, Janet and Charlie for their continued drive to sell courses and memberships and management and continued enhancement of the booking and membership systems.

The Watersports Team, led by Paul, Ben, Ross and Ollie for delivering all those courses and turning those bookings into real income for the Club.

Thank you to Petra, our book keeper, for her hard work helping with what can only be described as an “accounting archaeology exercise” to uncover the past mysteries of QMSC’s VAT accounting to facilitate our successful claim and to help with a number of other improvements to our accounting system.

Thank you also to Amersham Accountancy for  your work on preparing these accounts, for casting an independent eye over them and over what Petra and I are doing – Martin Hunt, present at this meeting is ably assisted by Helen Hadfield.

And thank you to Tony for your overall management of the Club and your support with getting us into a healthier financial position.

The Accounts were proposed by David Bithell and seconded by Neil Beaton and passed unanimously. The AGM approves and adopts the accounts for signature by Richard Steele & David Bithell and by Martin Hunt (independent accountant).


6. Appointment of Amersham Accountancy as Reporting Accountant

David Bithell proposed that Amersham Accountancy be reappointed as Reporting Accountant.

The motion was seconded by Andrew Craig and passed unanimously.

The Commodore then presented David with a set of Whisky tumblers as a token of appreciation for his work, undertaken as a volunteer, not only to achieve the VAT repayment but also for overhauling the Club’s accounting more generally.

7. Honorary Life Membership Nomination: Les Everett

The Commodore asked the AGM to confirm QM Council’s recommendation that Les Everett be appointed an Honorary Life Member of QMSC with the following citation:

Les was one of the original Queen Mary members in 1972 along with Brian Willis and Mike Evans. He had been sailing a 505 since 1965 and was the fleet captain at QM for many years. Indeed he started sailing the boat internationally and was national and international secretary to the fleet assisted by his wife Janet and sailing all over the world. As fleet captain he expanded the club fleet and some weeks there would be 20 505s racing.

But in 1999 he sold his 505 and since then (20 years) he has regularly helped young and disabled sailors at the club. He was part of the group which was the driving force behind securing the Youth Group as an important part of the club’s future, with all the success of so many young sailors in different classes. His enthusiasm has inspired so many of the club’s rising talent and they have benefitted from sharing his wide experience.

He helped with his time and generosity in assisting Sailability to become one of the country’s leading providers of sailing for the physically and mentally handicapped.

Les has been an important contributor to the success of the club. An unsung hero whose love of sailing has always been paramount and to whom the gift of Life Membership is a small thank you for so much time spent in helping.


8. Election of Officers

The Commodore read out the list of those standing for election as Flag Officers or Council members and also confirmed those members remaining on Council or retiring.

Standing for Re-election as Officers:

Richard Steele                        Commodore

Chris Stanton                          Vice Commodore

Robert Joce                            Rear Commodore

Steven Fowles                        Rear Commodore

David Bithell                            (Hon) Treasurer

Standing for Election as Members:

David Casale                          Council Member

Angus Davies                         Council Member

Martin Pue                              Council Member

Peter Caselton                        Council Member

Remaining on Council:

Mark Handley                         Council Member

Paul Johnson                          Council Member

Max Tosetti                             Council Member

Tony Bishop                            Council Member ex officio

Retiring Members:

Andrew Craig                          Council Member

The proposal to elect all Officers and Council members was carried unanimously

The Commodore welcomed the new members to Council and said a special thank you to retiring member Andrew Craig, who said a few words.


9. Presentation of the B&S Trophy

Richard Steele took great pleasure in announcing the award of the B&S Trophy as follows:

We have a club member who has been with us for nearly 40 years and he is indeed a QM National Treasure, loved by all who meet him it’s long overdue that we allow him to drink tea from the infamous volunteer’s teapot. It is my privilege, as Commodore, to announce that this year the ‘B and S Trophy’ is going to Paul Stainsby.

In 2014 he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the Royal Yachting Association’s most prestigious awards, by HRH the Princess Royal, in recognition of a decade of commitment to Team15 and Race Management at Queen Mary Sailing Club.

Five years on and he is still supporting Team15 windsurfing, volunteering on Saturday mornings, making sure youth windsurfing continues and inspiring the next generation of ‘Queen Mary Skimmers’. Paul has been an integral part of Team15 for more than 15 years, on the water almost every time Team15 has been operating, driving a powerboat and providing safety and race management support. And we would like to celebrate this!

Although not a windsurfer himself, he is always very encouraging, helping newbies to climb the learning curve rather than give up. He is a magician on the race courses and uses his own racing experience to help the top end of the fleet become high achievers. QM have a regular and enthusiastic group of youth windsurfers with some windsurfers making RYA national squads, travelling and representing the club with great success as I spoke about earlier in my report.

Paul is a keen RS400 sailor, he was European Champion in the Tasar and still difficult to beat in the right conditions. He’s done everything at the Bloody Mary from car park to Race Officer. He has served on the club council and was Vice Commodore in 1984.

He is a Regional Race Officer and is particularly keen to support youth classes. He is very encouraging in his approach to youth events from the manner of the briefing through a flexible approach to race management to acting as rules advisor.

Please join us in celebrating over 15 years of Team 15! A huge thank you for everything you do for the club. Congratulations to Paul… Paul said a few kind words of thanks, but mostly talked about not liking tea and getting into trouble in Russia because of it.


10. Any Other Business

Rob Trufitt raised two points:

  1. To reduce water waste, please can members consider not showering before sailing, only showering once on a Sunday after sailing at the club. If other clubs also adopted this policy there could be a significant reduction in water use and he will be writing to the RYA to recommend this.
  2. Taxi drivers don’t know where the reservoir is and are very interested to know. Rob is telling everyone where the club is -please can we all do the same.


The Commodore thanked everybody present and declared the meeting closed at 15:15

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