David Matthews interviews the new Sonata Chairman.
Mr Joe Cross was unanimously elected as the new Sonata Class Association chairman during the 2014 Annual General Meeting at Brixham Yacht Club in July.
In order for the membership to learn a little more about our new chairman the committee thought it would be beneficial to publish a ‘get to know you’ interview.
- David: How old are you exactly?
- Joe: I’m 20.
- What do you do for a living?
- I’m a student at Plymouth university studying Marine Sports Technology, Although I am currently on a placement year working for a ship surveyors.
- Which sailing club are you a member of?
- I race out of Poole Yacht Club as well as being a past committee member of the university of Plymouth sailing club.
- Where and when did you learn to sail?
- I learnt to sail as part of Poole YCs youth Wednesday evening training. I started in an optimist before moving into lasers and starting to club race.
- Where and when did you first sail a Sonata?
- My Dad (Kevin) bought Selene when I was 11 or 12 and I used to go out and get in the way whenever I could. I first helmed for myself when I skippered a youth crew at the 2010 Southerns in a borrowed boat.
- To what do you attribute your racing success?
- Mostly it’s down to the way we work as a team, although we don’t sail together much we have grown up together and went through training for the youth inter-club match racing that takes place in Poole. The success in 2012 was driven by this sense of a team and a lot of emotion which still affects me at events. Also a lot is down to the support we receive from John Waters who makes an amazing effort to make sure we have access to a well prepared boat for events.
- Can you tell us about the sails you used at the 2014 National Championships?
- We stepped away from the norm and used a set of Ullman sails. These were the first sails out of the loft and due to the Sonata’s strange setup the No1 needed some development. We weren’t far off though and next year we will be going for it again.
- Why do you think the Sonata continues to be such a successful cruiser racer?
- Firstly I guess is the price, it’s an awful lot of boat for the money. Mostly though it’s down to the design of the boat making it very easy to sail and also very nice to sail. This allows the boat to be extensively used for cruising as our last chairman proved you can sail them almost anywhere!
- How do you think we can encourage more young people to become involved in the class?
- We need to find a way of spreading the word more, there are a few youth owned Sonatas around but not as many as there could be. Some of this I feel is down to the loss of our presence at events such as Cowes week or other major regattas. Nothing gets people more interested than seeing a big fleet racing.
- What is you assessment of the current health of the Sonata Class Association?
- I think the class is currently in a very good state thanks in no small part to our past chairman Chris Bentley, I feel we must thank him for everything he has done and the fact that we have had 20 or more boats at the last 3 national championships shows that the class is still thriving at nearly 40.
- As chairman, what is your vision for the future of the Sonata Class Association?
- In my opinion we need to keep doing what we are doing. We have a core group that travel anywhere and are always at events. In the future we need to try and expand this circle whilst not forgetting about those who cruise and ensure that the association remains in the good health it is currently in.
If anyone has any ideas on any ways to improve the class please get in touch. I wish everyone a good rest of the season and hope to see as many of you on the water next year.
Joe thank you for your time and very best wishes for your chairmanship, I know there are a lot of people who are very eager to help you successfully take the class forward.
David Matthews (White Magic)