Sunday, April 10, 2016

The OCC in Henley, day 2: The AGM and Awards Dinner

John Franklin presiding over the AGM with the BOD seated

Side trip to the winery
The next morning, we awoke to no hot water in the hotel wing at Greenlands. No worries. Intrepid sailors know what that's like and the chatter at breakfast continued until people scattered to various activities. Dick and Suzie Guckel, Daria and Alex Blackwell and chauffeur (and still Commodore at the time) John Franklin headed over to the Chiltern Valley Brewery and Winery. We spent two hours learning about viticulture, viniculture and beer making as well as tasting wines, beers, and liqueurs. What fun! We learned a lot and we found ourselves giggling and wondering how the AGM would fare later in the afternoon.


Suzie & Dick Guckel, John Franklin and Alex Blackwell
having a look around the lovely grounds
By the afternoon, the hot water was sorted and we all thankfully took showers before heading into the serious portion of the weekend: the AGM. It was held in the auditorium, which is a very impressive space but has massive windows so it is impossible to black out the room for slides. They didn't show well but kept people occupied as the credentials were checked for all attendees and voting cards issued for those who were eligible. Anyone who voted by mail or electronic vote was disallowed a vote on site.

At the Chiltern Valley Winery and Brewery
For the first time ever, the Commodore's seat was contested and two candidates were put forward to the membership. Another first was electronic voting. Votes were cast by absentee paper ballot, by electronic vote on the website, and in person at the meeting. Just to make life interesting, the website had a catastrophic failure of hardware just after voting opened and is still not fully operational to this day. But that didn't stop us. In a very close vote and good turnout, Anne Hammick took the Commodore's seat by 202 to 194 votes over John Whyte. Anne said it was the most democratic process she'd witnessed in her years in OCC and John Whyte graciously wished Anne the best. To have two such highly qualified candidates was testimony to the vigor of the club.
Suzie and Dick Guckel and John Franklin tasting wines

Jenny Crickmore-Thompson and Daria Blackwell were re-elected for a second term and, in another first, the first OCC Committee member from Down Under, Paul Furniss, was elected and takes the place of Terry O'Brien. George Ehlers was elected to the post of Treasurer, replacing Sally Currin who was sent off with a very fond farewell. John Franklin received his Past Commodore's flag and retired from the Committee and Board. His next venture involves ditch digging and he is really hoping to be promoted to digger driver. Ask him for the story. It's a good one.

The crowd gathered in the bar demanding drink! The Award winners' PowerPoint presentation played in the background giving attendees a flavour of what our members were out there doing on the high seas. This time projecting to a large screen TV it was nicely visible.
Anne Hammick, newly elected Commodore, with John Franklin

We all made our way into the main dining room just before 7. It's a lovely room.  We sat down to a preset menu, three courses -- warm goats cheese and salad, filet of beef with roasted cherry tomatoes and potato tower, and a lovely dessert medley. The Reverend Bob Shepton said a tender grace and the night was launched.
The crowd gathering at the bar at Greenlands

Between the courses, we were treated to three tranches of  award winner announcements by John Van Schalkwick who came all the way from maritime Canada for the event. Unfortunately, few of the winners were in attendance as so many are currently underway all around the world. Those that did make it kept the room enraptured with their tales of adventure on the high seas. Michael Johnson, winner of the Barton Cup, wrapped up the evening with a gripping account of his two year transit of the Northwest Passage. It's the stuff legend is made of!

We adjourned slowly for the night, making the most of every minute with new friends and old. It was a really fun day.
John Franklin pinning the Commodore's pin on Anne Hammick's lapel

 John Franklin accepting his Past Commodore's burgee

John van-Schalkwyk addressing the crowd at dinner.

Recipients of the Qualifier's Mug, Debi Dennis and Jack Markin.

Doug Theobalds s/v Panacea
David Blackburn accepts award for Whanake

Maxine Maters (for John Vallentine)
Rory McDougall s/v Cooking Fat with Jester Medal


Michael Johnson accepts the Barton Cup

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