Nomination of Ali Meller for 2002 Dennis Surtees Service Award

I'm very proud to have commissioned this new service award bearing the name of one of our most distinguished members: Dennis Surtees'. Dennis is a legend in this class, both for his outstanding performance and for his superlative service. I'm equally proud to have Ali Meller as the first recipient. Ali has served in so many capacities for this class, most of which many of you don't know about or may have forgotten. Ali has been fleet captain in the US for two different fleets (maybe more in Canada?). In one of these he was largely responsible for the creation of this fleet at a new club. He served as VP of the American Section, Editor of Tank Talk, VP of international (an office created for him), and is now completing his term as President of international. As webmaster, Ali took the 505 web page and made it the most informative class page on the Internet. US Sailing used our web page as an example of what a great class web page should look like. Ali was also instrumental in introducing countless people to the 505 through personal communications and through sailing time.

Ali's leadership came along at a crucial time for the 505 class. In the early 90's we were a class teetering precariously on the seesaw of success and failure. Our numbers in the US had steadily declined, and the class lacked direction. Ali was the catalyst for our resurgence, and a large reason why we all enjoy fine competition today.

Simply put, nobody in the world has put more into the 505 class in the past decade than Ali Meller.

Ali, on behalf of the 505 American Section, it's my honor to present you with the Dennis Surtees Service Award for 2002.