by Zbigniew Rakocy, General Secretary Europe
Dear National Secretaries,
It has been 6 years since I was unanimously elected General Secretary Europe. It was a wonderful period for me. At that time I was the president of a big joint-stock company but I still managed to combine my professional career with pro-bono work in order to change or improve some areas of activity of SCIRA. My work was guided by listening to our sailors and respecting the rules of our Constitution.
Our democratic organization, however, needs some fresh blood. For this reason, after having served three terms in office I have decided to give the young ones a chance. It has not been an easy decision for me because many issues initiated during my three terms have not been finished yet. Nevertheless, I believe that my successor will conclude the pending issues in a way most European countries will find satisfactory.
My first regatta as GS Europe was in 2012 in Cervia (ITA) for the European Championship with 43 boats, which made me scrutinize the problem of poor attendance. This event inspired me to undertake an issue that I am currently very proud of: the Open European Championship formula. I was very happy when this idea was implemented since it brought immediate effects, as seen in Kamień Pomorski – POL (Open European Championship), which attracted over 67 participants. In Santiago de la Ribera we had our record attendance of 109. I saw there numerous world top sailors and lots of young people who observed and approached the MASTERS.
One of the major achievements of our organization during my terms was improving the quality of our communication and bringing it to the level of WEB 2.0. As GS Europe I did my best to have personal and close relations with all NSs and numerous sailors. It was a great honour for me to attend personally all Board Meetings irrespective of their locations on different continents.
We have also started to think seriously about sponsorship as an effective tool to help us develop our class in the coming years. The events that I helped organize have been of high quality both at the sport and social levels. I have attempted to create an atmosphere in our class in accordance with our motto “SERIOUS SAILING, SERIOUS FUN”. As a result, a lot of sailors have begun to travel across Europe not only to participate in regattas but also to get to know new people and cultures. Please take note that our European calendar (although still imperfect) enables sailors to participate in numerous regattas, as the events do not overlap. This definitely contributes to better events.
Nevertheless, there is still lots to do. We must find a way to attract youngsters glued to their computer screens and smartphones to our class and show them that sailing offers great experience, friendships and an opportunity to travel the world.
As far as the promotion of our class is concerned, we need to endorse our recognized and highly appreciated SNIPE sailors who could be featured in interviews and articles in the domestic and international sailing press. The commitment of these MASTERS will bring mutual benefits.
Finally, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the Commodores I have been honoured to cooperate with over the last years: Luis Pessanha, Don Bedford, Ricardo Lobato and Gweneth Crook.
My great thanks also go to Jerelyn for her professionalism and assistance in my work as GE Europe. Let me also express my appreciation and gratitude for supporting my initiatives to my Italian friend Pietro. Even though we speak different languages, we think in a similar way. Thank you very much indeed.
Please do not take my words as good bye to the class. I remain at your disposal and you can always rely on my experience in various fields. I would also like to wish all the best to the newly elected ES Europe Martin Bermúdez de la Puente. I hope that Martin will follow the vision of class development that has been created in recent years and his term will contribute to further successes of our class.
As the holiday season is coming, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2017.
General Secretary Europe 2010-2016