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Arresting the Decline and Fall of our Sport.

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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 19 at 10:29am
Originally posted by CT249

do you need even that many race organisers in a small waterway? We normally race with a 6+ boat fleet and just one person in one boat running the whole show.

You can certainly start a race with one decently competent person. But then you aren't developing the next generation of competent persons.

Then safety boats. In our risk averse society they need to be two crewed, especially if there are U18s or younger involved, and in the UK if you are after all the extra support that comes with RYA recognition then the safety boat driver needs a powerboat qualification, and it all escalates... so you get to the situation where you need at least 3, better 4 on the water...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote CT249 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 19 at 10:09am
Originally posted by Rupert

If duties are the issue, then I suspect we will need to change the way we run races. Every race being a mini Olympics possibly doesn't work any more.

If there are only going to be 6 boats racing, you need 1 PB with 2 crew and a race starter. Make those 6 boats all the same and run lots of tight 15 minute races. Make the boats slow and you get very tight tactics. Make them fast and get amazing boat handling. Start the races using a whistle and a 3 minute count down. Film the races, have a play back and discussion session after. With a beer, or at least cake.

You never know, you might end up with a dozen boats.

IMHO you're right on the money with much of that, but with much respec, do you need even that many race organisers in a small waterway? We normally race with a 6+ boat fleet and just one person in one boat running the whole show.  They start the race and then act as rescue boat. My old windsurfer fleet used to have up to 25+ starters and we just did a pursuit start from the beach, using personal handicaps, and dropping and collecting our own buoys. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sussex Lad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 19 at 10:05am
Originally posted by Rupert

If duties are the issue, then I suspect we will need to change the way we run races. Every race being a mini Olympics possibly doesn't work any more.

If there are only going to be 6 boats racing, you need 1 PB with 2 crew and a race starter. Make those 6 boats all the same and run lots of tight 15 minute races. Make the boats slow and you get very tight tactics. Make them fast and get amazing boat handling. Start the races using a whistle and a 3 minute count down. Film the races, have a play back and discussion session after. With a beer, or at least cake.

You never know, you might end up with a dozen boats.



Trouble is there needs to be background volunteering going on. Safety boat maintenance, sailing com, exec com etc..........I suspect there will always be some folk wanting to go sailing but will there be sufficient volunteers able to run a club in it's entirety. The standard club race format does give members the chance to practice skills essential to running open events. If these skills aren't honed on Sundays then fewer clubs will be able to run opens. The classes will drift towards the bigger clubs to host their events..........Money isn't the only thing that's drifting upwards these days ;-)

Edited by Sussex Lad - 13 Nov 19 at 10:07am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote KazRob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 19 at 9:17am
I think speaking anecdotally, weekend sailing at clubs is struggling everywhere due to the pattern of modern family life. Mid week evening sailing however seems to be where it’s at. I always wonder whether Sunday mornings would work better than weekend afternoons? Lots of other sports like running, local football seem to do well getting a morning session in and then leaving the rest of the day free for other things. Obviously not all clubs can do this due to tides, but again perhaps worth a try if weekend sailing is waning where you are
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Post Options Post Options   Quote H2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 19 at 8:41am
Originally posted by eric_c

Maybe mass participation is not the only or best measure of success?
Maybe it doesn't matter if only half as many people go sailing compared to 10 years ago, so long as those that do go sailing get affordable quality sport?

I've lived at a few places on the coast, and TBH I'm bored of hearing about the disaster of not every nasty little lake in the hinterland being able to support a drifting club.
Face the facts, it isn't 1965 any more, when every DIY chap wanted to build a plywood boat and learn to sail. Stop comparing now with then and think about what the 200k (total guess) people who actually want to sail, actually want. We don't need to convert everyone, we're not a church or a politcal party.

I have a work colleague who shoots pistols seriously competitively. In that sport, they keep themselves to themselves, don't ask for handouts, don't seek to drag half the public in, they just get on with it. Off their own bat. Likewise people in amateur motorcycle sport.
Some of these people also realise the world don't end at Dover...


I was really surprised when I looked at the results pages of some famous coastal sailing clubs to find that the weekend club racing is very poorly attended with a handful of boats showing up to race. I just assumed that places like Hayling, Itchenor, Netley etc would have loads of boats out each weekend. The little pond I race at still has over 20 boats out racing at this time of year on a Sunday - I struggled to find too many clubs who achieve that even in the Summer!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 19 at 8:16am
If duties are the issue, then I suspect we will need to change the way we run races. Every race being a mini Olympics possibly doesn't work any more.

If there are only going to be 6 boats racing, you need 1 PB with 2 crew and a race starter. Make those 6 boats all the same and run lots of tight 15 minute races. Make the boats slow and you get very tight tactics. Make them fast and get amazing boat handling. Start the races using a whistle and a 3 minute count down. Film the races, have a play back and discussion session after. With a beer, or at least cake.

You never know, you might end up with a dozen boats.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sargesail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 19 at 8:09am
Originally posted by Brass

Originally posted by eric_c

Maybe mass participation is not the only or best measure of success?
Maybe it doesn't matter if only half as many people go sailing compared to 10 years ago, so long as those that do go sailing get affordable quality sport?
I've lived at a few places on the coast, and TBH I'm bored of hearing about the disaster of not every nasty little lake in the hinterland being able to support a drifting club.
Face the facts, it isn't 1965 any more, when every DIY chap wanted to build a plywood boat and learn to sail. Stop comparing now with then and think about what the 200k (total guess) people who actually want to sail, actually want. We don't need to convert everyone, we're not a church or a politcal party.


I can't let this one go by.

For a game, a sport or a pastime, participation is the only valid measure of success.

For a televised or stadium entertainment, audience number is a valid measure.

While I am nostalgic for the 50s and 60s DIY culture where economy and self help were valued above shiny off-the-shelf techno-marvels, I can't dispute that those days are gone and cannot be brought back.

I actually want to sail an I actually want to be able to sail in a division of about 20 similar boats, instead of a sad little gathering of 6 to 8.

To achieve that we need more people and more boats participating.



But if you’ve got your 20? Do you still have to keep growing?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 19 at 7:56am
Brass +1

I think that we shall need to travel further, or clubs will need to consolidate to ensure worthwhile fleet racing can be achieved.

To run a race we need to fill a minimum of 6 duty slots ... RO, an assistant + two fully manned safety boats; 50 Saturday’s a year plus regattas and Wednesday nights; that is approximately 350 duty slots; my guess is that this is pretty typical of other clubs up and down the country.

Given the continued trend toward single handers, and a tolerance to doing maybe no more than three duties a year, this needs to be supported by 115 active sailors ... I think this aspect is going to be the big challenge for its to enjoy dinghy racing as we know it.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 19 at 12:06am
Originally posted by eric_c

Maybe mass participation is not the only or best measure of success?
Maybe it doesn't matter if only half as many people go sailing compared to 10 years ago, so long as those that do go sailing get affordable quality sport?
I've lived at a few places on the coast, and TBH I'm bored of hearing about the disaster of not every nasty little lake in the hinterland being able to support a drifting club.
Face the facts, it isn't 1965 any more, when every DIY chap wanted to build a plywood boat and learn to sail. Stop comparing now with then and think about what the 200k (total guess) people who actually want to sail, actually want. We don't need to convert everyone, we're not a church or a politcal party.


I can't let this one go by.

For a game, a sport or a pastime, participation is the only valid measure of success.

For a televised or stadium entertainment, audience number is a valid measure.

While I am nostalgic for the 50s and 60s DIY culture where economy and self help were valued above shiny off-the-shelf techno-marvels, I can't dispute that those days are gone and cannot be brought back.

I actually want to sail an I actually want to be able to sail in a division of about 20 similar boats, instead of a sad little gathering of 6 to 8.

To achieve that we need more people and more boats participating. 

More boats and people equals higher quality competition.



Edited by Brass - 13 Nov 19 at 11:56pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote tink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Nov 19 at 9:30pm
The difference with sailing is it requires so many other people people to do their duty to make the race work. A while back I lived 15 mins from a coastal club and 50mins from a lake. They dinghies only sailed when the cruisers could race, which was every other week because of tide. Over the years the dinghy park was full of less boats and more jet skis. Only ever saw 4 or five dinghies ever racing, they must have had to do duties once a month. At the lake there was up to 40 boats out on a Sunday and for most of the year you could sail with full safety cover 4 days a week. We only needed to do 3 duties a year - participation and members are critical.

This club has introduced open water swimming, and bought canoes and has a partnership with a SUP company. This not only helps with the coffers but also these other users see sailing and hopefully ask to do a try sail that doesn’t have to be limited to PTBO. 


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