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Arresting the Decline and Fall of our Sport.

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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: 10 Nov 19 at 8:05pm
Originally posted by iGRF

I'm of the view that targetting kids in this day and age is a rfwot, if the kids have sailing parents they'll do the job anyway and if they don't it's unlikely you'll find that many willing to go through that God Awful mill that is the squad system.

I think we're missing a trick, not targetting mature empty nesters, that these days are more conscious of the liklihood of longer life, and have the necessary resources to facillitate what is after all a relatively high cost of entry, in the acquisiiton of the boat.

It's not a difficult sell, it's green, it's a relatively free ride once the equipment cost is mitigated, it's good exercise and it's a mental rather than a physical pursuit, that can be studied and improved on by reading, training and practise.

Provided the right products are suggested for entry level and access points detailed in an easy to find brochure, it shouldn't be a difficult thing to market to them.

Our problem within the sport is that we're so tied with all the detailed baggage of the past, the key to marketing is a simple inital message and not to over complicate. Sell the sizzle, not the complicated sausage, they can deal with that once they're hooked.


A lot of sense in that.
There is a big pool of people out there who have sailed at least a little in their past, and have the time to sail when they reach 40s/50s or whatever.
There's also a lot of dads who want activities they can do at the same time as their kids.
I think some are put off by the dinghy arms race in some clubs, where it looks like you need a boat costing North of £5K to fit.in.

I also feel that most clubs struggle to offer any real coaching for adults who are basically competent but uncompetitive. Some class associations are great, once you've got that far.
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sargesail View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sargesail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 8:32pm
Originally posted by tink

As a keen sailor who has somehow ended up with a daughter in third year of squads I find it flabbergasting how many squad parents have little or no sailing experience. I just canít see how these parents will be able to facilitate their childís sailing logistics fully other than just squad dates and a few big events.†
For children there has to be a critical mass of other kids and when that is lost because there are so many of travelling we have a very big problem.


Burghfield is probably one of the exceptions.....but at far too many other clubs the problem is that children have to travel to get meaningful activity.....even a tolerant attitude from the club!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 8:52pm
Originally posted by tink

Found some PY numbers from 2012 with the number of returns, total returns 211,000
Same number 2019 - 138,000 

There where a lot more classes in 2012 and perhaps the RYA is ignoring the small classes in the newer returns but still quite a difference,

radically different from the 216,000 the participation survey says race small boats 

The problem is that classes who return fewer than 100 races don't figure in the main PN list, and while some of the others manage to do enough to get into the EN list it doesn't publish the numbers of races returned. And in both cases it is the number of race not the number of participants that is counted.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 9:34pm
Originally posted by Sam.Spoons


Originally posted by tink

Found some PY numbers from 2012 with the number of returns, total returns 211,000
Same number 2019 - 138,000†
There where a lot more classes in 2012 and perhaps the RYA is ignoring the small classes in the newer returns but still quite a difference,
radically different from the 216,000 the participation survey says race small boats†

The problem is that classes who return fewer than 100 races don't figure in the main PN list, and while some of the others manage to do enough to get into the EN list it doesn't publish the numbers of races returned. And in both cases it is the number of race not the number of participants that is counted.


There is no question we're in decline, we know this because the RYA were paying consultants weren't they, who were probably telling them what any club could tell them, I think that organisation is so big, bureaucratic and hog tied with their own rules and regs there's nothing they can do that will address our issues.

Sure they'll push the boat out once a year and we get a few more tryouts on sunny spring days, some might take courses, some might even learn to potter about, but they're not being taught the sport we know, we need a concerted effort to teach mature adults not just to sail, but to use sailing as part of the bigger game that we enjoy, the 3D chess match with the elements.

Because if we don't, what will happen? The answer is simple, if you make boats for a given volume and you cost accordingly, then that volume drops, you have no choice but to increase that price, as you may or may not have noticed has been occuring, even in this short period, look at the cost of the RS100 for instance, almost developed on this forum it could be bought for what 5-6 grand and its now what 9 grand plus? So you get into a viscious downward spiral with numbers and upward spiral in pricing, then it'll be club fees, sails and accessories, so it really is in everyones interest to try all and anything to stem the flow.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ian.r.mcdonald Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 9:43pm
Originally posted by eric_c


Originally posted by iGRF

I'm of the view that targetting kids in this day and age is a rfwot, if the kids have sailing parents they'll do the job anyway and if they don't it's unlikely you'll find that many willing to go through that God Awful mill that is the squad system.

I think we're missing a trick, not targetting mature empty nesters, that these days are more conscious of the liklihood of longer life, and have the necessary resources to facillitate what is after all a relatively high cost of entry, in the acquisiiton of the boat.

It's not a difficult sell, it's green, it's a relatively free ride once the equipment cost is mitigated, it's good exercise and it's a mental rather than a physical pursuit, that can be studied and improved on by reading, training and practise.

Provided the right products are suggested for entry level and access points detailed in an easy to find brochure, it shouldn't be a difficult thing to market to them.

Our problem within the sport is that we're so tied with all the detailed baggage of the past, the key to marketing is a simple inital message and not to over complicate. Sell the sizzle, not the complicated sausage, they can deal with that once they're hooked.
A lot of sense in that.
There is a big pool of people out there who have sailed at least a little in their past, and have the time to sail when they reach 40s/50s or whatever.
There's also a lot of dads who want activities they can do at the same time as their kids.
I think some are put off by the dinghy arms race in some clubs, where it looks like you need a boat costing North of £5K to fit.in.
I also feel that most clubs struggle to offer any real coaching for adults who are basically competent but uncompetitive. Some class associations are great, once you've got that far.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ian.r.mcdonald Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 9:49pm
Originally posted by eric_c


Originally posted by iGRF

I'm of the view that targetting kids in this day and age is a rfwot, if the kids have sailing parents they'll do the job anyway and if they don't it's unlikely you'll find that many willing to go through that God Awful mill that is the squad system.

I think we're missing a trick, not targetting mature empty nesters, that these days are more conscious of the liklihood of longer life, and have the necessary resources to facillitate what is after all a relatively high cost of entry, in the acquisiiton of the boat.

It's not a difficult sell, it's green, it's a relatively free ride once the equipment cost is mitigated, it's good exercise and it's a mental rather than a physical pursuit, that can be studied and improved on by reading, training and practise.

Provided the right products are suggested for entry level and access points detailed in an easy to find brochure, it shouldn't be a difficult thing to market to them.

Our problem within the sport is that we're so tied with all the detailed baggage of the past, the key to marketing is a simple inital message and not to over complicate. Sell the sizzle, not the complicated sausage, they can deal with that once they're hooked.
A lot of sense in that.
There is a big pool of people out there who have sailed at least a little in their past, and have the time to sail when they reach 40s/50s or whatever.
There's also a lot of dads who want activities they can do at the same time as their kids.
I think some are put off by the dinghy arms race in some clubs, where it looks like you need a boat costing North of £5K to fit.in.
I also feel that most clubs struggle to offer any real coaching for adults who are basically competent but uncompetitive. Some class associations are great, once you've got that far.


The RYA are committed to restricting training to that supplied by RYA qualified instructors. So we arrive at the situation where the mega experienced, multi championship winning sailor cant run a coaching course. But the keen newbie who has done a two weekend course can run a race coaching training session. Ok all training needs some structure, but this is crazy.And a significant brake on developing older sailors.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 10:07pm
Yup, and that's true of nearly everything in our H&S/litigation obsessed society.

Edited by Sam.Spoons - 10 Nov 19 at 10:08pm
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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: 10 Nov 19 at 10:35pm
Originally posted by Sam.Spoons


Yup, and that's true of nearly everything in our H&S/litigation obsessed society.


I will own up to having missed that. It's more important to avoid being sued than to support a decent service to new sailors.
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iGRF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 10:51pm
Originally posted by ian.r.mcdonald



The RYA are committed to restricting training to that supplied by RYA qualified instructors. So we arrive at the situation where the mega experienced, multi championship winning sailor cant run a coaching course. But the keen newbie who has done a two weekend course can run a race coaching training session. Ok all training needs some structure, but this is crazy.And a significant brake on developing older sailors.


Nail - head.

So the only way round it is to either just go wild west and cowboy it, or establish that other new body we talked about in the yardstick thread, with maybe slightly lower standards for coaching qualification. It's interesting that the only recent growth in participation watersports like kitesurfing and paddleboarding are succeeding precisely because they were kept out of the grip of the RYA and it's punitive training qualification validation schemes.

The fact is, what's to stop a bunch of 'friends' teaching their chums how to race dinghys 'unofficially'?

Edited by iGRF - 10 Nov 19 at 10:53pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 11:06pm
As the demographics change the support for dinghy racing will ebb and flow.  Demographics have conspired to remove a lot of things that allowed dinghy racing to blossom ... I would suggest weekend working, the 24/7 culture, being mortgage slaves, student loans etc ... on top of that there were some really good things that set up dinghy sailing in the late sixties; Boat Shows, Dinghy Shows, two or three dinghy centric magazines, national Newspapers promoting dinghy classes, a do it yourself culture,  Arthur Ransome .... these are now old hat.

We owe a great deal to the Mirror and the Laser hitting some attractive price points at that time.  On any day in the summer I would see dozens of red sails sailing up and down our estuary for the fun of it.

Even if the RYA were a 100% on message I really donít see how they can turn this tide.

Dinghies have got too sophisticated and expensive; 

I think the shift from two person boats to single handers will prove to be the ultimate nail on the coffin, because this halves the number of people using clubs and halves the available human resources to make stuff happen.

At sixty I hope that the sport holds on for another fifteen years, and I shall do my level best to put back in what I have taken out, but I really cannot see the big idea that will change things.


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