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Arresting the Decline and Fall of our Sport.

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tink View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote tink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 5:09pm
Originally posted by ian.r.mcdonald

Let's change the title and direction of this thread

" How we are growing and improving dinghy racing and club sailing"

Far better on a wet and miserable day!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote tink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 5:45pm
Originally posted by Gordon 1430

At Lee our biggest fleets are on a Tuesday Evening but we have all states of tide slip so start races 14.30 on Saturdays all summer until the hour changes. Tuesday nights early and late are 18.45 and 19.00 for the balance.
We don't have Oppies as they would spend more time bailing than racing in the chop and launching and recovery could be a challenge. I would love to see more juniors progress to want to join in and race but it does not seem to be part of our trainings aims.
If you have a 400 or Aero we have fleet racing and both General and Asymmetric handicap, (the general is mostly single handers) 
For next year we will have a brand new club house with fantastic Solent views
We locally is 4 clubs within 10 minutes drive from Hillhead to Stokes Bay which dilutes the numbers, but compound space is at a premium.
Tink we would love to see you and your daughter when she has grown into a Topper/ Aero 5

Thanks, sounds nice, my daughter also has a Topper we are doing a bit of both. Probably a bit far from where we have settled, my wife works in London, I am working in Hungerford and daughter in school Newbury 
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eric_c View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote eric_c Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 8:25pm
Originally posted by A2Z

All true, but I guess golf and running have an internal check of performance (score or time) where sail racing generally doesn't - you can only benchmark externally by comparing your position with others. Events like the Round Sheppey are a little different - you can compare your time one year to the next and get a sense of achievement just getting round, but they are the exception not the norm.

Many clubs already run 'novice races' for those less experienced, so in the sense it already happens. But it will be years before most of those people travel to an event because they are worried about being intimidated in a fleet of 'serious' experienced racers. So why not set up a 'Grade 6' open meeting where it is clear that it is an event aimed at the less experienced or the less serious, give sailors a rating based upon club results and anyone with a rating that is too good is excluded, or better, asked to run it. Get a couple of decent results in those events and feel confident to move onto a 'Grade 5' event where the competition is a little stiffer. And so on. By all means have 'open' events to, open to all as well.

Many classes have gold/silver/bronze fleet for nationals and other big events.

IF you sail a Laser there is a spectrum of events you can do, ranging from Nationals etc through 'serious' opens down to a class start at local regattas.
I don't think we need any more complication.
We need some like minded people to promote stuff that's mostly already there.

Inter club things can be good, not too much travel, social, gets people out of their normal club 'pecking order'.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Nov 19 at 4:05am
Originally posted by sargesail

Originally posted by Brass


Originally posted by sargesail

But if youíve got your 20? Do you still have to keep growing?

If you're not growing you're dying?


Not necessarily....yes you need input to sustain against fall out.....but if youíve got your 20 and it sustains then youíre definitely living as far as Iím concerned.


Point well taken.

What I prolly should have said was: If you ever stop recruiting you will shrivel and die.

Sure you can dial your recruiting effort up or down, but don't ever stop.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sargesail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Nov 19 at 7:18am
Originally posted by Brass

Originally posted by sargesail

Originally posted by Brass


Originally posted by sargesail

But if youíve got your 20? Do you still have to keep growing?

If you're not growing you're dying?


Not necessarily....yes you need input to sustain against fall out.....but if youíve got your 20 and it sustains then youíre definitely living as far as Iím concerned.


Point well taken.

What I prolly should have said was: If you ever stop recruiting you will shrivel and die.

Sure you can dial your recruiting effort up or down, but don't ever stop.


Agree with that...grow or die just sounded a bit too like the flawed application of a business model to the sport.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Nov 19 at 10:04am
It's flawed when applied to business too............
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Post Options Post Options   Quote fleaberto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Nov 19 at 12:31pm
Originally posted by 423zero

Fleaberto, what acreage lake did club have that stopped racing ?

Y'know what - I don't really know  LOL

We have several interconnected lakes to sail on so, overall, a lot of water.... the biggest of which is around 60Acres? Not sure to be honest, I'n not great with guessing acreage.

Big enough to race decent sized RTC courses in Lasers/Merlins/GP14s etc.

The main thing is that we've established our USP as 'The Family Club' - we're surrounded by more hardcore racing clubs and decided to be the club that appeals to those that want to give sailing a go, those that now have young families but want to keep sailing and a few for whom competition isn't the be all and end all..... and it's working well as a plan.
The racing we do is really good-spirited and we work really hard to encourage the youngsters in both their sailing and developing them as people - Hence the high number that have been heading off to beach clubs/Camp America etc

When people visit the club to see what it's all about we're honest and upfront: "If you're looking for hard racing then we won't be for you, but if you're looking for a lovely place to be, a lovely family atmosphere and can laugh at yourself readily and will help others enjoy their sailing, then take a look"

Membership is now up at 130+ with a nearly-full boat park. More importantly, that 130+ has stayed stable with a very large number of renewals over the past two years.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Nov 19 at 12:52pm
I guess you're a long way from me but, if I was looking for a new club, those are all qualities that would attract.  Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Quote tink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Nov 19 at 4:59pm
Originally posted by fleaberto

Originally posted by ian.r.mcdonald

Let's change the title and direction of this thread

" How we are growing and improving dinghy racing and club sailing"


At one of my clubs we did this by getting rid of racing. Yep, we removed racing from the agenda.

Firstly we noticed that, actually, it was only a small percentage of our members that actually wanted to race - yet the vast majority of our club focus was spent on this.
I bet if you were to look at membership Vs Racing participation many clubs would find this same correlation too.

Secondly we then noticed that racing numbers started to dwindle due to some particularly 'shouty' sailors that thought that they were on Olympic courses with Gold medals at stake. That's certainly not what this club is about.

Now, once numbers started to dwindle into single figure turnouts (at a very picturesque and relaxing Inland club) these uber-competitive people (who always seemed to get out of doing duties) were obviously winning everything - which they enjoyed despite the, by now, lack of competition...with others thinking "Well, Dave wins everything so there's no point"

Meanwhile, our Junior sailing and adult training was on an opposite trajectory - 40 kids on a Saturday morning, 10 Adults enjoying training / sailing on a Saturday afternoon and whole families starting to enjoy the club all day long.

Our racing was on Sundays and, despite single figure turnouts, seemed to be where the focus still went..... until someone that could see the obvious decided to say: "Well this is a bit crap don't you think?" and made some changes.
These changes weren't massively popular with the shouty ones that remained and it was these that drove away the more 'recreational' racers and - more importantly - the kids from racing. 

We decided that making these efforts in terms of duties etc it was just too much work to cater to the three boats that might turnout - so we canned racing.

In turn, this saw the shouty types leave (Obviously in massive huffs commenting on how this would destroy the club......)

Now? Well, over the last two years we've been running very gentle racing on Saturday afternoons - no 'series' no 'champions' (apart from one big race of which *cough* I won this year LOL) and what do you think has happened?

Racing has seen a nice takeup to where we're seeing double-figure handicap fleets, newbies are going out and buying old bangers to have a go with - and, thus, investing in sailing and the club.
Membership is on the up - particularly amongst adults and families as people chat to their friends about Sailing and the club itself - with most people willing to pitch in with helping out in some capacity or another.

We have huge turnouts to randomly organised social events and even clean-up days see more than we need.

In short, ditching 'Racing' has been the best thing for this club in years.

Now, we see people using the racing as an extension of their day's sailing and, every month, our training team brings all of the kids and novice adults into the fleet as well - and it's a right laugh!
We don't discourage anyone - if you want to have a go then come on down. Junior/Trainee/Novice/Expert all are welcome - but just don't be a dick!

All of this has come from changing the short-sighted focus that 'Racing' is what makes a club. 
Maybe for some it is, but for us it wasn't and as soon as we recognised and acknowledged that, we set on a path to move this focus to bringing people into sailing and, importantly, retaining them.

We now have kids that started at 7yrs old undertaking AI, DI and even SI training. Some have been out for seasons at the beach clubs, some have been out to the U.S at Summer Camps teaching sailing.......all from making "Lets just go sailing" the focus of our club.

We're now thriving again, have a lovely social, inclusive atmosphere and can now have some great racing without the fear of a couple of Jobby-heads ruining things for everyone.

I'm not saying that this is the way to go for every club - but a bit of self analysis did us the world of good and allowed us to discover what it actually was / is that people want from our club.



Sounds fantastic, are you allowed to sail without safety cover? Perhaps buddy sailing? One of the issue with racing is the tying you down to a specific time. A more flexible and always open arrangement means you can fit sailing in when your time and the weather suits. 

Must also be great for retaining newbies as they donít see all the shouty behaviour and club members must be more willing to take them out. 

Also none of the top gear fast boat, PY bandits etc 

When the decline of sailing is mentioned the rise of cycling always comes up, I imagine the percentage of cyclist that race is low. 

Looking at participant canoeing is 8 times more popular than dinghy racing, again I imagine a low percentage are competitive. Yes they have white water but much must be casual.


Edited by tink - 16 Nov 19 at 5:04pm
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ian.r.mcdonald View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ian.r.mcdonald Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Nov 19 at 5:35pm
I am a life long cyclist and was a coach ( last century) . Cycling has the advantage of easy measurement. At low cost you can measure distance,speed etc etc and even do this online. And a chunk of us a pretending to be racers most of the time anyway.

Fleabertos club has the advantage of a "swallows and amazons" type water where an element of exploration can be introduced. Cruising round a concrete bowl will move to boredom fairly quickly. The third option is training but it's a challenge to avoid ending up with a dinghy park overflowing with training boats, and lots of sailors sailing elsewhere.

If we are to keep people club sailing in numbers, racing or sailing something radical and challenging is a fairly important to keeping peoples
interest.
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