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Arresting the Decline and Fall of our Sport.

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: Dinghy classes
Forum Name: Dinghy development
Forum Discription: The latest moves in the dinghy market
URL: http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=13459
Printed Date: 15 Dec 19 at 1:04pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Arresting the Decline and Fall of our Sport.
Posted By: iGRF
Subject: Arresting the Decline and Fall of our Sport.
Date Posted: 08 Nov 19 at 10:01pm
Well if it were my market place, I have to say I'd be really concerned. What was that quote? "The surest way to go broke is to chase market share in a declining market."

I had a look at the stats from 2008 to now to make a point at the tail end of that PY thread which is going nowhere really, and what I came up with plugging those numbers into a spreadsheet, as you do, if you run numbers as part of your business to guage projections, and hell.

Optimists down 100, Toppers down 124 Laser Radial down 102, Laser down 50 from 80, all in all 1457 less boats racing at class championships than there were in 2008, why that year? That was the year I began to first notice things were off anyway and now it's much worse.

So, if I were in this business I'd be ringing around about now wondering wether we should get together to do something to stimulate the business at entry level, because whatever planet the jolly old RYA is on, the sky aint the same colour as our is, I'd say ours is turning red and that's what's going to happen to lots of balance sheets of companys, clubs, classes, mags, everything unless some waking up and smelling the coffee grinds doesn't happen and happen soon imv.

Tell me I'm wrong, could do with some better news than this.

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Replies:
Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 08 Nov 19 at 10:13pm
RS Tera up from 39 to 134 in 10 years.

Not saying that dinghy racing isn't in decline, but cherry picking figures didn't help a case. In 2000, Oppie figures were much lower than now. So something has gone right over the last 20 years. How about looking at what that was and seeing if it can be applied to sailing as a whole?

Doomed, we are all doomed...

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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 08 Nov 19 at 11:16pm
Well there was a bit of a financial bublle/boom that came to an end in 2007/8 and the ramifications are still being felt, that and a cultural shift away from participation in activities that could be viewed as remotely 'dangerous' or competitive on an individual level.

That said, easy access pursuits, I'm thinking paddle boarding, when it comes to watersport still actively engage interest, but again, not really competitively. There are 'race' events but they're pretty mindless braun over brains affairs, so nothing you could really compare with sail racing. Our issue is and has always been lack of active marketing of the cranial aspect of the sport, and half the folk doing it don't always fully understand the depth of what we've got to sell. Boat builders flog their boats, clubs sell their water and facilities, Schools sell their 'how to do half of it' courses. So unless you're someones kids, forced through the ringer, you don't actually get the fun other bits sold to you and by the time the kids have come through, its a bit like innoculation against doing the sport for actual fun for some time, until maybe they return, once they find out how crap life can end up being and actually, getting out on the water and having to think about what the wind, water and the other idiots are doing is actually an excellent panacea for lifes other stresses.

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Posted By: eric_c
Date Posted: 09 Nov 19 at 5:40am
How about looking beyond the UK?

I don't want to start a Brexit debate (at least not here), but it amazes me how people in the UK can be so disconnected from the rest of Europe.

Looking back there's endless threads on here knocking the RYA and banging on about UK participation, criticising UK retailers, clubs and builders etc. Barely a word about what's happening in the rest of the EU, let alone beyond that.


Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 09 Nov 19 at 10:49am
Endless threads by probably one person, RYA always helped my club.
European sailing scene nothing like UK scene, Apple's and Pears, UK always been insular, probably due to having been at war with most of Europe at one time or another.

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Robert


Posted By: Oinks
Date Posted: 09 Nov 19 at 11:00am
There is a decline in sports participation generally, with one or two exceptions. In the past 12 months or so I have heard spokespeople for rugby, football, and cricket bemoaning a decline in grassroots participation. We are also (allegedly) emerging from a long period of "austerity" and it isn't hard to see the impact that has probably had on sports like sailing where there is a strong perception that it is very expensive.


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 09 Nov 19 at 11:23am
Golf clubs closing up and down the country too...


Posted By: turnturtle
Date Posted: 09 Nov 19 at 11:45am
Time heavy sports will take a hit.... family life is distributed these days, and for the blokes reading, we need to pony-up our time to take our share of the responsibilities.

The flip is that when the nest empties, the collective nouns of SWMBO will be more than happy getting the grumpy old gits out of their armchairs and down to some pond somewhere.... either to murder fish or race bathtubs, she really won't give a toss.


Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 09 Nov 19 at 1:55pm
Seeing as iGRF is being environmentally conscious I will follow his lead 

Small boat sailing and Small boat racing are both, long and short term, on the increases  https://www.rya.org.uk/SiteCollectionDocuments/sportsdevelopment/2018-watersports-study-exec-summary-final.pdf" rel="nofollow -

Having the attended the last two Optimist nationals attendance will be a lot to do with venue and where people are willing to travel, including from over seas, there are also limits on the number entrants also which may be new. If you drew a trend line the decline would be much less. The Topper drop of is purely the growth of the Tera, the total Topper and Tera trend line is pretty stable and again venue has a lot to do with it. 



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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 09 Nov 19 at 2:04pm
Originally posted by 423zero

Endless threads by probably one person, RYA always helped my club.
European sailing scene nothing like UK scene, Apple's and Pears, UK always been insular, probably due to having been at war with most of Europe at one time or another.

Agree with the one person, and RYA helped my old club new boats etc. Events like push the boat out are massive successes.

It so easy to see the negatives and forget all the positives, which are many. 


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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 09 Nov 19 at 7:32pm
Just looked at the difference in finishers between the 2008 and 2019 slow handicap Sunday morning finishers...........

UP 12%  

EDIT 

Just looked at fast handicap 

UP 68% 




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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: ian.r.mcdonald
Date Posted: 09 Nov 19 at 9:10pm
That's great news. As long as the growth hasnt been achieved by a similar drop in fleet racing entrants.


Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 09 Nov 19 at 9:22pm
Originally posted by ian.r.mcdonald

That's great news. As long as the growth hasnt been achieved by a similar drop in fleet racing entrants.

Oops 

New to the club and hadn’t realised the format in 2008. So looking at briefly will have been a small drop in the fast and bigger drop in the slow, there was a large laser fleet in 2008 (slow). 


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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: ian.r.mcdonald
Date Posted: 09 Nov 19 at 10:02pm
And the shift in your club is mirrored in mine and 90% of all others.

And even if that is seen as a bad thing, we didnt have an answer to avoid it.

And people out sailing ( in whichever boat) is better than the same people watching a screen instead.


Posted By: zeon
Date Posted: 09 Nov 19 at 11:40pm
Have sailed for 30 years . Have been a member of four clubs in that time . The only time I have class raced is at open meetings. I have enjoyed doing both. I just enjoy sailing.
The biggest change at the club I have been a member of for the last 15 years is the amount of people switching from fast boats to slow boats. 


Posted By: Sussex Lad
Date Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 5:31pm
......getting older maybe?

There was a thread on here 12/13 yrs ago discussing the decline in participation. The forumites of the time had a hard time accepting the idea, not all but most........there lies most of the problem.

Clubs that are in good health at the moment need to consolidate their positions and be prepared for higher levels of economic competition with neighboring clubs because a lot of them will go to the wall. I can drive to 4 clubs, all within a 35 minute radius. They are all good friendly clubs but some of them are tenants, renting from the local authority. As the economic pinch goes on these authorities will need to maximise their incomes from property/land, clubs with declining membership will not be able to keep up.

Clubs can boost their membership with adult learners doing the 1 & 2 courses. Maybe target other watersport enthusiasts (including jet skiiers? Lol) these new members do tend to be transient but some do stick and many have kids that get the bug. The downside of relying on adult learners though is a drop in volunteer skill level, the ability to host opens, set courses and run the club decreases.

IMO a clubs priorities now should be financial consolidation, big efforts to pass on skills more effectively and get ready for the sailing dystopia Wink


Posted By: ian.r.mcdonald
Date Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 5:56pm
I went on my first sailing lesson at school 52 years ago. Sailing has changed my life and these early lessons were vital.

But training needs to be done carefully. The draw on members time, funds and just basic dinghy park space can quickly take over. I have seen several clubs turned into training centres with the normal sailing club activities all but abandoned. Fantastic and essential to get kids into sailing, but almost certainly the majority will end up at other clubs.

Its vital, it can be done positively ( like at my club) but a balance needs to be maintained.




Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 6:21pm
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.

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Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 6:57pm
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 can’t see how these parents will be able to facilitate their child’s 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.





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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 7:44pm
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 


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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: eric_c
Date 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.


Posted By: sargesail
Date 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 can’t see how these parents will be able to facilitate their child’s 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!


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date 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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Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"


Posted By: iGRF
Date 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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Posted By: ian.r.mcdonald
Date 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.


Posted By: ian.r.mcdonald
Date 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.


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 10:07pm
Yup, and that's true of nearly everything in our H&S/litigation obsessed society.

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Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"


Posted By: ian.r.mcdonald
Date 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.


Posted By: iGRF
Date 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'?

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Posted By: davidyacht
Date 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 don’t 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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Happily living in the past


Posted By: zeon
Date Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 11:21pm
Originally posted by Sam.Spoons

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


This is just silly tosh .

At my club nobody now has up to date rya accreditation for training. Does this stop us organising training for new members , NO IT DOESNT.

Perhaps if people stopped blaming H&S  and the RYA in the online world and did things in the real world our sport would be a better and more welcoming place .




Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 11:35pm
Originally posted by davidyacht

]Even if the RYA were a 100% on message I really don’t see how they can turn this tide.
]


Yeah, and in all seriousness it's not really their job, it's the job of the 'Industry' such that it is, it's their market, they should be coming upwith initiatives to stimulate it, rather like the Laser and their club edition, which is all very well, but they need to do a bit more 'pull effect' marketing.

They should produce the 'how to race this boat brochure' tie in a social media campaign with an effort to bring clubs on board sell the boat with a course on how to race it to seniors, incentivise local fleets, that sort of thing...

There is no 'big idea' there is only slog, go out, find bodys to buy boats and then go race them.

They've relied on the RYA and club class system for so long they've missed the essentials.

None of these other sports work like that, there were no paddlesport clubs, no kitesurf clubs these businesses had to create their own infrastructure, promote their sports, persuade folk to sell the products incentivised with a profit margin, it's a bit where the dinghy vertical market aint helping them in this day and age.

But ultimately it's their job and probably ours to nudge them into doing more.



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Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 10 Nov 19 at 11:36pm
Originally posted by zeon

Originally posted by Sam.Spoons

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


This is just silly tosh .

At my club nobody now has up to date rya accreditation for training. Does this stop us organising training for new members , NO IT DOESNT.

Perhaps if people stopped blaming H&S  and the RYA in the online world and did things in the real world our sport would be a better and more welcoming place .



And no it shouldn't but in most places it does.

Everybody is frightened of being sued 'cos little Johnnie bruised his finger on the jib cleat. Ok that's a wild exaggeration but it cannot be argued that we live in a very risk averse society and it is acting against people who might want to get involved 'action sports' like sailing.

I learned to sail by being pushed off on an Oppy and allowed to work it out for myself, I would walk a mile down to the beach and go sailing with no more cover than the fact that the club members who were around knew who I was and kept a weather eye on me. I was 11 years old at the time and that freedom was a huge attraction that kindled a love of sailing that I still have 55 years later.


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Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"


Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 11 Nov 19 at 7:01am
The RYA training system is too onerous for instructors and chief instructors and it is a massive time commitment. Once the new sailors are trained the instructors, rightly, just want to go off to race. The newbies are left to ‘casual sail’ too scared to race. One excellent club on the North Yorkshire moors has a full time development officer who runs an intro to racing course to stop drop out of newly qualified sailors. 

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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 11 Nov 19 at 7:14am
Dear dear, you must sail at some miserable clubs,my club may be small, new members or old members come to that, get advice and practical help.


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Robert


Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 11 Nov 19 at 7:16am
Originally posted by iGRF

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.

Boats wise there is no middle ground, it is either a roto plastic thing that no serious sail wants or a high tech build trying to compete on the last gram of performance or small classes manufactured expensively by artisans. There as to be a market for a well made production boat design for GRP focusing on cost. Obviously there is now the laser club as an example but what if a new / or existing OD was developed to fit into this space. 


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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 11 Nov 19 at 7:57am
Blimey, lots of sad depressed people last night spouting doom and gloom.

To hand out RYA certificates, you need to be an RYA instructor working somewhere which is an RYA training centre. Does any other organisation do things any other way?

As a class multiple champion, running coaching sessions, you don't need to be an RYA coach or instructor (though the courses might help the structure), you just can't run RYA Start Racing. As this isn't the aim, what's the problem?

Billy can teach his mates to sail. Chances are, most clubs would object to Billy having his mates pay him to do this, but again, this isn't the point. Billy can even teach his mate's mates to sail. But what if Billy knot only knew how to sail, but got taught how to teach, too? He might pick up some hints and tips to teach his mates and their mates to sail better? Still no certificates allowed, but that's not the point, right?

But now, people want to pay Billy to teach them to sail. Suddenly, the game changes. They might want proof of his expertise, a piece of paper at the end of it to show that they learned. Billy might want the reassurance of insurance cover if something goes wrong. Maybe he could teach sailing through his club structure and get all that?

Or carry on teaching his mates, quite happily.

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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: H2
Date Posted: 11 Nov 19 at 9:23am
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 

My experience of clubs making returns to the RYA is that only handicap results are submitted and any fleet races are not submitted as they have no bearing in the PY calcs so the 138,000 number in 2019 is the number of races completed in handicap events. The RYA probably adds to that the number of races completed in fleet races as well as races from clubs that do not submit returns in order to estimate that 216,000 participate in races. That is just my guess!

Having said that - the 211,000 number from 2012 and 138,000 in 2019 are probably directly comparable and do show a trend of less boats out racing!


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H2 #115


Posted By: H2
Date Posted: 11 Nov 19 at 9:26am
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.

But how hard is it for a class to submit 100 races? I mean, I am out every weekend and do at least two races per weekend albeit some of those are not submitted to the RYA as they are Great Lakes events or nationals / opens which I doubt get submitted so I probably do 80 to 90 races at my club which are submitted over an average year!


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H2 #115


Posted By: H2
Date Posted: 11 Nov 19 at 9:34am
I do agree with some of what is being said on this post, I am especially concerned by the number of new boats that seem to be sold which I sense is overall in decline and the average age of those sailing which is getting older.

However - our Frostbite series started six weeks ago and we have had 56 different boats take part with more than 20 boats out each race except for one weekend that had only 12. The most we had was 31 boats on the start line. This is a small pond in the Cotswolds rather than some big fancy club; my point is that people are still out there having fun!


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H2 #115


Posted By: eric_c
Date Posted: 11 Nov 19 at 9:48am
Originally posted by iGRF

Originally posted by davidyacht

]Even if the RYA were a 100% on message I really don’t see how they can turn this tide.
]


Yeah, and in all seriousness it's not really their job, it's the job of the 'Industry' such that it is, it's their market, they should be coming upwith initiatives to stimulate it, rather like the Laser and their club edition, which is all very well, but they need to do a bit more 'pull effect' marketing.

They should produce the 'how to race this boat brochure' tie in a social media campaign with an effort to bring clubs on board sell the boat with a course on how to race it to seniors, incentivise local fleets, that sort of thing...

There is no 'big idea' there is only slog, go out, find bodys to buy boats and then go race them.

They've relied on the RYA and club class system for so long they've missed the essentials.

None of these other sports work like that, there were no paddlesport clubs, no kitesurf clubs these businesses had to create their own infrastructure, promote their sports, persuade folk to sell the products incentivised with a profit margin, it's a bit where the dinghy vertical market aint helping them in this day and age.

But ultimately it's their job and probably ours to nudge them into doing more.


We don't need any 'industry' to supply the boats.
The boats are already out there, for sale on ebay/facebook/apolloduck and everywhere else.

You don't need a new boat to do club racing.

The 'industry' flogging people 'learner boats' for 2/3 the price of a new 'racing boat' sometimes seems to do a lot of damage. I've seen people buy rotobaths at boatshows, trail the fleet around for a season, then lose too much money. They'd have been better off buying a £2k example of whatever class is biggest in the club.Or £1k for  a Laser.


Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 11 Nov 19 at 9:50am
Rightly or wrongly the clubs that I have been involved work on a class by class basis; in the clubs that have successful classes there has been a class captain and a small cohort supporting him/her to make stuff happen.  In addition it requires 6-10 sailors to turn out rain or shine, so that the less committed know that when they turn up they will get a good race.

We organise an annual coaching session, this year run by a couple of front of the fleet sailors, but we have had Charlie Cumbley, Jim Hunt and Mark Rushall run training sessions in the past.

We also enjoy a collective beer or two after racing.

The result is a "on the books" fleet of 50 Solos, of which between 10-15 turn out most weekends.

The fundamental bit of this is that there is a focus on class racing;  It is hard to see how this can be rolled out to handicap racing, however good the PY system is.


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Happily living in the past


Posted By: DiscoBall
Date Posted: 11 Nov 19 at 11:23am
Originally posted by davidyacht

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 don’t 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.


+1

I wonder what non-racing participation was during the dinghy boom?

We hear a lot about the huge championships but was the whole thing was underpinned by a far bigger group of potterers/cruisers - but as this group often aren't club/class members much of it went unrecorded? I can't believe that national newspapers were pushing kits with racing as the primary purpose.

It seems now, with so much focus on racing/high performance that the movers and shakers of the sport believe that a pyramid is built from the top down (presumably with the help of aliens). Rebuild the (non-racing) base and it seems likely the rest of the sport would benefit.



Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 11 Nov 19 at 12:39pm
RYA launched another foiling vid today ‘can you deliver pizza by foil?’ Clear where their focus is

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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: KazRob
Date Posted: 11 Nov 19 at 12:50pm
The same conversation is happening at sailing clubs up and down the country. In Scotland on the back of many FB conversations, there are a few of us from all over the country planning to come together for a meeting soon to discuss this and kick ideas around about what can be done. The 'squads' definitely get blamed for dragging kids away from club racing up here - made worse as they get better by the need to regularly drive to the south coast, sometime on consecutive weekends. This might not be true, but that is the general impression most have.
If you want to improve attendance at clubs don't look at the RYA - that's not really what they do. Any initiative to boost grassroots sailing can only come from the grassroots IMO


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OK 2139 & 2148


Posted By: AlanH
Date Posted: 11 Nov 19 at 12:51pm
Here is an interesting intiative in Ireland. https://afloat.ie/sail/team-racing/item/44570-demand-for-team-racing-increases.
There's a number of things to like about it. Team Racing can teach a lot about racing. Apart from that, it uses Fireflies, which are boats which are very simple, cheap, and easily repairable. That fleet of Fireflies could equally easily go round clubs, and be used to let ppl learn fleet racing. Racing enthusiasts in UK have gone down the wrong route in wanting to always sail in boats which are faster, more complicated and more expensive. Instead we should be going for boats, which like SUPs, can be mastered quickly, and learners/ newcomers can then get on with learning to race. Newcomers should not be sold successive RYA courses/ certificates, eg there's no need to learn spinnakers, trapezes etc. Just learn the basics, then get out there and practise in club boats or buy your own. You can learn plenty in two sail boats like Fireflies, just forget about learning spinnakers etc. I agree that for manufacturers in UK, selling rotamoulds was also the wrong way to go if you are trying to sell ppl lifelong sailing. While rotamoulds might be tolerable for learning, no one would choose to buy one for personal use, especially if that included racing. So having done an RYA course or two, they aren't an attractive proposition to buy. Also agree we should be prioritising two person boats, not singlehanders. Moving onto RYA, it has a huge handbrake turn to execute if it wishes to reform to promote participation in dinghy sailing. Two out of three of its main income sources/ business areas need major reform. Those are Training as well as high performance/ squads. These account for about two thirds of RYA income, and have a very large workforce of instructors/ coaches etc nationwide who depend on the existing structures. Not to mention their own staff/ structures within RYA. It won't be easy first persuading RYA at top of need to reform, then trying to implement such a changed strategy. But much change is needed, far less ppl are entering the sport, and far less are staying with it.


Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 11 Nov 19 at 1:20pm
I used to really enjoy Team Racing, but I genuinely gave up participating when the mast abeam rule was dropped ... I always considered luffing and hailing mast abeam to be an important aspect of the game.

Something that I note with the squad system is that it takes keen 40-50 year old sailors away from the club while they drive around supporting their kids.  

I am not sure whether we are blaming the squad system for other failures in the socioeconomic system that we have today.

One of the reasons why there were so many 20 somethings sailing in the seventies and eighties was that it was quite liberating to have weekends away sailing back then ... 


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Happily living in the past


Posted By: Oli
Date Posted: 11 Nov 19 at 1:39pm

From what I see at my local clubs is actually rather positive in regards to growth, more adults taking up the sport because the clubs have fostered an environment that allows for one on one training (officially and unofficially) and these adults have formed into several tiers themselves as they progress and start helping out the newcomers and indeed start racing within initially the slower handicap fleets but usually have formed their own fleet into a more beginner friendly racing format where on the water coaching is allowed from the ribs and fellow sailors.

 

This is a relatively stable model with not much turnover, where I see a huge turnover is in the youth sections, where when following the RYA scheme of its all serious sailing and racing where a few will progress and disappear off to events, those left follow a path of uni and gone forever. 

 

The non racing youth only remain if its a family led activity.

 

where this sits with the current generation of 30-70 year olds who do race currently seems to be at polar opposites. and they’re pulling further apart with "our" version getting smaller and "theirs" getting larger, which in time will split down and form whatever it is is needed for the clubs.  the trick is for the clubs to recognise this early on and adapt, sticking to what is and has been is a sure fire way to kill a club.  

 

Its not that any group in particular is right, its just that we need to be more flexible about the change that is occurring.

 




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RS800 868
Marconi SC


Posted By: andymck
Date Posted: 12 Nov 19 at 12:27am
Originally posted by davidyacht

I used to really enjoy Team Racing, but I genuinely gave up participating when the mast abeam rule was dropped ... I always considered luffing and hailing mast abeam to be an important aspect of the game.
Something that I note with the squad system is that it takes keen 40-50 year old sailors away from the club while they drive around supporting their kids.  
I am not sure whether we are blaming the squad system for other failures in the socioeconomic system that we have today.
One of the reasons why there were so many 20 somethings sailing in the seventies and eighties was that it was quite liberating to have weekends away sailing back then ... 


I have got back into team racing in the last few years.
We had over 30 members of differing abilities team racing last weekend at Rutland. That is more than we’re club racing on Sunday. We had a mix of fireflies and fevas.
We are lucky to have the support of some local schools, and experienced club members to keep this going. Along with a increasingly active junior and youth scene. It has been part of a concerted effort to keep things local. The emphasis being on fun, sailing lots of different boats and going to fewer but specific events. One of our teams won the ET and not a single active squad sailor among them.
Be assured luffing is still a massive part of the game. It’s just that we now play clear ahead and time and opportunity, which is clearer and fairer than the early 90’s rules. We also have umpires which make things much better than reds and greens.

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Andy Mck


Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 12 Nov 19 at 10:24am
Originally posted by eric_c


We don't need any 'industry' to supply the boats.
The boats are already out there, for sale on ebay/facebook/apolloduck and everywhere else.
You don't need a new boat to do club racing.
The 'industry' flogging people 'learner boats' for 2/3 the price of a new 'racing boat' sometimes seems to do a lot of damage. I've seen people buy rotobaths at boatshows, trail the fleet around for a season, then lose too much money. They'd have been better off buying a £2k example of whatever class is biggest in the club.Or £1k for  a Laser.


You are of course right, but it wouldn't do any harm if they did up their game, or at least help finance an initiative if one were to come about.

Originally posted by KazRob

The same conversation is happening at sailing clubs up and down the country. In Scotland on the back of many FB conversations, there are a few of us from all over the country planning to come together for a meeting soon to discuss this and kick ideas around about what can be done. The 'squads' definitely get blamed for dragging kids away from club racing up here - made worse as they get better by the need to regularly drive to the south coast, sometime on consecutive weekends. This might not be true, but that is the general impression most have.
If you want to improve attendance at clubs don't look at the RYA - that's not really what they do. Any initiative to boost grassroots sailing can only come from the grassroots IMO


Also true and good news that it's being discussed elsewhere. So, it all needs co-ordinating, then promoting and to that end as I said elsewhere, we need at the very least an 'interest group' or grassroots organisation forming, I might have a germ of an idea, where are all these facebook conversations?

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Posted By: KazRob
Date Posted: 12 Nov 19 at 12:14pm
Originally posted by iGRF


Also true and good news that it's being discussed elsewhere. So, it all needs co-ordinating, then promoting and to that end as I said elsewhere, we need at the very least an 'interest group' or grassroots organisation forming, I might have a germ of an idea, where are all these facebook conversations?
Ours are here, but it's still in the very early stages. We're planning a initial meeting early December to kick ideas around 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/468655580187984/permalink/937612373292300?sfns=mo" rel="nofollow - https://www.facebook.com/groups/468655580187984/permalink/937612373292300?sfns=mo

https://www.facebook.com/groups/468655580187984/permalink/944873855899485?sfns=mo" rel="nofollow - https://www.facebook.com/groups/468655580187984/permalink/944873855899485?sfns=mo

But also -  https://www.facebook.com/742365393/posts/10162445420290394?d=n&sfns=mo" rel="nofollow - https://www.facebook.com/742365393/posts/10162445420290394?d=n&sfns=mo


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OK 2139 & 2148


Posted By: ChrisI
Date Posted: 12 Nov 19 at 1:29pm
Thanks for posting. This is a really excellent article by Ian Walker which summarises as well as anything I've seen what the problems are.
I would only add one more thing.... the extent to which the voluntary structure of clubs (compared to commercially constituted centres) is either hindering or helping change.

(And just to record.... that it was a stunningly beautiful morning sailing this Sunday on the Thames at Hammersmith, and with an excellent fleet out, albeit of mostly single handers!).


Posted By: KazRob
Date Posted: 12 Nov 19 at 2:13pm
Originally posted by ChrisI


I would only add one more thing.... the extent to which the voluntary structure of clubs (compared to commercially constituted centres) is either hindering or helping change.

I think you have to play with what you’ve got. The commercial model of big clubs doesn’t work in Scotland as even our biggest dinghy clubs are small in comparisons to Grafham, Queen Mary etc but that doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons to  be learned from them. The pay-and-play model is possible using club boats once a person is a member. Membership can be spread into monthly fees using apps like GoCardless, WebCollect etc which means joining can be near painless (£10/month is much more palatable than being asked for £120 in one lump) and continuing membership is likely, just the same as gyms get you to join and then bank on you forgetting to cancel. Clubs can diversify into SUPs, coastal rowing and the like and then hope to bring those new people into the sailing side of things. In the long term we have no option but to work together and try to find new approaches till we find something that works for our clubs. Otherwise they will inevitably close sooner or later.

Bottom line for me is we have to do it for ourselves and not expect some perfect solution to be handed down from on high from the RYa – “We’re from the Government and we’re here to help you” as they say in the US




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OK 2139 & 2148


Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 12 Nov 19 at 3:20pm
Originally posted by KazRob


>Bottom line for me is we have to do it for ourselves and not
expect some perfect solution to be handed down from on high from the RYa – “We’re from the Government and we’re here to
help you
” as they say in the US

<p ="Msonormal"><o:p></o:p>





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Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 12 Nov 19 at 6:26pm
Originally posted by KazRob

Originally posted by ChrisI


I would only add one more thing.... the extent to which the voluntary structure of clubs (compared to commercially constituted centres) is either hindering or helping change.

I think you have to play with what you’ve got. The commercial model of big clubs doesn’t work in Scotland as even our biggest dinghy clubs are small in comparisons to Grafham, Queen Mary etc but that doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons to  be learned from them. The pay-and-play model is possible using club boats once a person is a member. Membership can be spread into monthly fees using apps like GoCardless, WebCollect etc which means joining can be near painless (£10/month is much more palatable than being asked for £120 in one lump) and continuing membership is likely, just the same as gyms get you to join and then bank on you forgetting to cancel. Clubs can diversify into SUPs, coastal rowing and the like and then hope to bring those new people into the sailing side of things. In the long term we have no option but to work together and try to find new approaches till we find something that works for our clubs. Otherwise they will inevitably close sooner or later.

Bottom line for me is we have to do it for ourselves and not expect some perfect solution to be handed down from on high from the RYa – “We’re from the Government and we’re here to help you” as they say in the US


Pay to play has a few issues of its own 
The payees must be a minimum of RYA Level 2, no one wants some damaging either the club boat or members boat - demands on instructors 
The boats have to be maintained - demands on members 


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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: KazRob
Date Posted: 12 Nov 19 at 8:02pm
Tink that is true but if a club wants to bring new people into the sport they need to find reasons to try things and not reasons not to try things. I know the club boats (from Oppies up to L2000s) get used every week at ASYC. They don’t pay for their way as such but they do bring new people into the club and get them sailing very cheaply so they are investments in the future rather than a profit centre (and they have to join to be able to use them). The L2000s are really good in getting adult friends and colleagues out sailing for the first time and we even have a few students at the local Unis who get to keep sailing while they are away from their own club. It’s not a silver bullet but it can be made to work even for a small club like ASYC
It won’t suit every club of course so they’ll need to find other ways. 

Edit - ASYC club boat list is at http://asyc.org.uk/club-information/" rel="nofollow - https://asyc.org.uk/club-information/ (if anybody cares Smile). I understand the biggest problem with breakages is bits like bungs and blocks go missing from Lasers and Toppers which is a pain but the club is working on making them less desirable to nick!


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OK 2139 & 2148


Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 12 Nov 19 at 8:36pm
There are many models and what works at one club won’t necessarily work at another.

With many sailors time poor and choosing minimal maintenance boats it would be hard to find someone willing to put the effort in to revive the fleet of old wayfarers. Obviously there are plastic boats but that requires investment and choose the right boats for the potential sailors is a tough choice. 




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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: ian.r.mcdonald
Date Posted: 12 Nov 19 at 8:45pm
The downside of easy access is that exit is also easy.

Getting someone to join with a boat is harder, but their commitment is likely to keep them involved when the colder weather arrives rather than just moving on to the next "fad"


Posted By: eric_c
Date Posted: 12 Nov 19 at 8:53pm
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...



Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 12 Nov 19 at 9:13pm
What ? Theirs something over the water ! Watch you don't fall off.

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Robert


Posted By: tink
Date 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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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: Brass
Date 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.



Posted By: davidyacht
Date 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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Happily living in the past


Posted By: sargesail
Date 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?


Posted By: Rupert
Date 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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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: H2
Date 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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H2 #115


Posted By: KazRob
Date 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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OK 2139 & 2148


Posted By: Sussex Lad
Date 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 ;-)


Posted By: CT249
Date 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. 


Posted By: JimC
Date 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...


Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 13 Nov 19 at 10:34am
Depends on the water; I think that two people are expected in a rescue boat these days (frankly if there is only one I will politely ask them to go away if I need rescuing).  

At school the rescue boat was an unmanned rowing boat, and one of us had to sail in to use it!

I am happy to run a Wednesday evening race on my own.  However this is quite demanding, especially if times need to be recorded and therefore onerous for the inexperienced RO, in fact two in the box allows new people to be trained up.  I have done Wednesday evening races in the past with no RO where the first finisher scribbles the times down of the other finishers.

It is also known for us to email around after a period of blown off races, and race unofficially in our harbour with rabbit starts and little rescue cover , nominating random marks and restarting when the fleet has settled into an order ... actually good fun.  So I guess that you don’t need anyone if you are happy to sail at your own risk.


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Happily living in the past


Posted By: ian.r.mcdonald
Date Posted: 13 Nov 19 at 10:43am
There are two types of person involved in club racing.

The involved group, willing to drop out from racing if windy to support rescue. And happy to volunteer 4 times a year to keep it all going.

The "takers" group, who just turn up and race ( and winge if all is not 100%). And to be fair the beginners who hopefully will move to the other group once trained. Support racing under protest.

Group 1 is diminishing and I dont have any ideas how best to move group 2 into helping!


Posted By: A2Z
Date Posted: 13 Nov 19 at 11:18am
We have 9 people on duty on a Sunday (Officer of the Day + 2 assistants, Race Officer + 1 assistant, 2 RIBs with helm and crew each). On a Weds evening we don’t have an OOD (or assistants) but we have an extra helper with the RO, so 7 to run the racing. I always thought this was too many, but with 3 or 4 fleets to start, 25 Laser numbers to record and 50 handicap times to take it isn’t easy even with three running the race!


Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 13 Nov 19 at 8:59pm
Originally posted by H2

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!

Recently moved from up North to within 40 mins to an hour from the south coast - the dinghy racing on offer was poor at best, some at ridiculous times and I couldn’t find any where I could race at the same time as my daughter. Luckily we are close to a good inland club


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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 13 Nov 19 at 9:06pm
Originally posted by KazRob

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

Our Wednesday night well attended considering generally poor wind, Sunday morning popular but much poorer in afternoon. We have  professional catering and a lonnnng lunch and I think this effects the afternoon racers - best wind is always over lunch. Old club no catering, four races on a Sunday, attendance for the last one dropped off if it was blowing a bit. 


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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 13 Nov 19 at 9:21pm
Originally posted by davidyacht

Depends on the water; I think that two people are expected in a rescue boat these days (frankly if there is only one I will politely ask them to go away if I need rescuing).  

At school the rescue boat was an unmanned rowing boat, and one of us had to sail in to use it!

I am happy to run a Wednesday evening race on my own.  However this is quite demanding, especially if times need to be recorded and therefore onerous for the inexperienced RO, in fact two in the box allows new people to be trained up.  I have done Wednesday evening races in the past with no RO where the first finisher scribbles the times down of the other finishers.

It is also known for us to email around after a period of blown off races, and race unofficially in our harbour with rabbit starts and little rescue cover , nominating random marks and restarting when the fleet has settled into an order ... actually good fun.  So I guess that you don’t need anyone if you are happy to sail at your own risk.

The problem with safety cover is it needs to be in place before the day and therefore by default manned for the worst conditions and the biggest fleet. A normally light wind, shifty lake will have far more capsizes when if is F4 than a coastal club in a F4. As your light wind lake sailors don’t need to generally be as fit they will struggle when capsized. I recently rescued 3 such people who simply couldn’t get back in their boats.  


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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: eric_c
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 4:49am
Originally posted by tink

...

Recently moved from up North to within 40 mins to an hour from the south coast - the dinghy racing on offer was poor at best, some at ridiculous times and I couldn’t find any where I could race at the same time as my daughter. Luckily we are close to a good inland club


I don't know where on the South Coast  you can't find any decent racing?
Obviously, it's the sea,some places are tidal.
My old club mostly races at high tide, you get used to racing at different times each week, it allows you to slot other activities around sailing, and every week is not the same rut.
Some venues are not great for younger kids, that's true.

There are so many clubs on the South Coast that many are a bit 'village'.
You have to pick a club where the ethos matches what you want.
Some only dabble in dinghy sailing in between yacht cruising or racing.

The remark 'luckily we are close to a good inland club' seems quite bizarre to me, I moved to the coast to go sailing 30-odd years ago and wouldn't consider moving house without serious investigation of the clubs in the area. The traffic in the South is such that I don't want to be driving more than 20 minutes to go sailing, and that doesn't get you far.


Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 5:58am
Originally posted by eric_c


Originally posted by tink

...
Recently moved from up North to within 40 mins to an hour from the south coast - the dinghy racing on offer was poor at best, some at ridiculous times and I couldn’t find any where I could race at the same time as my daughter. Luckily we are close to a good inland club
I don't know where on the South Coast  you can't find any decent racing?
Obviously, it's the sea,some places are tidal.
My old club mostly races at high tide, you get used to racing at different times each week, it allows you to slot other activities around sailing, and every week is not the same rut.
Some venues are not great for younger kids, that's true.
There are so many clubs on the South Coast that many are a bit 'village'.
You have to pick a club where the ethos matches what you want.
Some only dabble in dinghy sailing in between yacht cruising or racing.
The remark 'luckily we are close to a good inland club' seems quite bizarre to me, I moved to the coast to go sailing 30-odd years ago and wouldn't consider moving house without serious investigation of the clubs in the area. The traffic in the South is such that I don't want to be driving more than 20 minutes to go sailing, and that doesn't get you far.

At my Northern club there was racing all day Sunday with up to four races. Some races had different fleets with the later ones on the day all together. All the racing was very inclusive including kids, novices and national champions. It meant that I could sail and my daughter was sailing her optimist at the same time. I could not find a club on the coast between Hayling and Lymington that offered this. The kids sailing is separate from the adult sailing. As a family for us both to sail require me to commit twice the amount of time to sailing.

It appears to me that this way of organising things contributes to the decline. Once they are competent the youth and junior should be sailing with the adults.


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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 6:33am
Presumably the people organising the Oppies also like to go racing?

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Happily living in the past


Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 6:46am
Originally posted by davidyacht

Presumably the people organising the Oppies also like to go racing?

You would think, but many Oppie parents don’t sail or are very infrequent sailors. Clearly there are exemptions but I would say less than half are keen sailors, and obviously they are sailing less. 

The RYA is moving more to regions but I think more community based around clubs has to be better. The RYAs focus is clearly Olympic medals and that’s good but like everything it is all about balance. 


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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com


Posted By: eric_c
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 8:06am
Originally posted by tink

...
At my Northern club there was racing all day Sunday with up to four races. Some races had different fleets with the later ones on the day all together. All the racing was very inclusive including kids, novices and national champions. It meant that I could sail and my daughter was sailing her optimist at the same time. I could not find a club on the coast between Hayling and Lymington that offered this. The kids sailing is separate from the adult sailing. As a family for us both to sail require me to commit twice the amount of time to sailing.

It appears to me that this way of organising things contributes to the decline. Once they are competent the youth and junior should be sailing with the adults.


Oppie racing same time every Sunday with no respect for tide times would be an odd form of child abuse in Solent tides.
People who live locally seem to find a way for their kids to learn to sail, but Oppies are mostly only seen at HW or at places like Emsworth's Mill Pond.
My sometimes Crew's kids started their helming at about 5 in a Sigma 33, not racing I hasten to add.
Toppers and Picos and Fevas etc are more practical for sailing against the tide.

It's the sea, you have to put up with tides and weather. Hence we tend to wind down a bit in Winter or head inland or up harbour.


Posted By: sargesail
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 8:10am
Tink, you probably didn’t find the gem that Is Thorney Idland Sailing Club when you were looking. A good programme of short course and other races, with full integration where possible of all sailors, and On The Water sessions that my two love: messing around in Picos and getting very wet just brilliant.

But it is ‘where possible’. You can’t integrate an Optimist into the longer races due to the effect that tide has on VMG. The environment is also pretty harsh....wind against tide it cuts up rough....capsized Opis pin down patrol boats more than most craft because of the need to standby while they bail.

You can get integrated sailing further up harbour at Dell Quay for example....but it’s a limited tidal window.

So I share your disappointment but I don’t blame the clubs....it’s environmental. You’re lucky to have Burghfield tho.

So I


Posted By: H2
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 8:31am
Originally posted by eric_c

Originally posted by tink

...
At my Northern club there was racing all day Sunday with up to four races. Some races had different fleets with the later ones on the day all together. All the racing was very inclusive including kids, novices and national champions. It meant that I could sail and my daughter was sailing her optimist at the same time. I could not find a club on the coast between Hayling and Lymington that offered this. The kids sailing is separate from the adult sailing. As a family for us both to sail require me to commit twice the amount of time to sailing.

It appears to me that this way of organising things contributes to the decline. Once they are competent the youth and junior should be sailing with the adults.


Oppie racing same time every Sunday with no respect for tide times would be an odd form of child abuse in Solent tides.
People who live locally seem to find a way for their kids to learn to sail, but Oppies are mostly only seen at HW or at places like Emsworth's Mill Pond.
My sometimes Crew's kids started their helming at about 5 in a Sigma 33, not racing I hasten to add.
Toppers and Picos and Fevas etc are more practical for sailing against the tide.

It's the sea, you have to put up with tides and weather. Hence we tend to wind down a bit in Winter or head inland or up harbour.

I also try and live no more than 20 to 30 minutes drive from the club (which is why I sail on a small pond in the Cotswolds) but at some point will have to move to South Coast with work. I went looking for clubs that have 20 boats out racing on a Sunday through the Summer and found surprisingly few, like count them on a few fingers. What club do you use Eric?


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H2 #115


Posted By: Gordon 1430
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 9:06am
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


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Gordon
Phantom 1430


Posted By: ian.r.mcdonald
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 9:44am
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!


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 9:57am
 Thumbs UpThumbs UpThumbs Up



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Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"


Posted By: fleaberto
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 12:22pm
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.




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Lightning368 'All the Gear' (409), Lightning368 'Sprite' (101), Intl 420 ('Little Minx'),Contender 'Mild Oats' (620)


Posted By: Brass
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 12:36pm
Originally posted by sargesail

[QUOTE=Brass]
But if you’ve got your 20? Do you still have to keep growing?

If you're not growing you're dying?


Posted By: eric_c
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 1:03pm
Originally posted by Brass

If you're not growing you're dying?


Or maybe 'mature'.


Posted By: sargesail
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 1:06pm
Originally posted by Brass


Originally posted by sargesail

[QUOTE=Brass]But if you’ve 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 you’ve got your 20 and it sustains then you’re definitely living as far as I’m concerned.


Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 1:17pm
Fleaberto, what acreage lake did club have that stopped racing ?

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Robert


Posted By: eric_c
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 1:17pm
One of my former clubs has been through several periods over the past 100 years or so where it definitely wasn't growing, but it's not dead yet!


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 1:42pm
Growth is overrated, both in sailing clubs and National economies. The expression 'to cut one's cloth' is where it's at, a club needs numbers that fall somewhere between enough to pay the bills and generate sufficient volunteering to run the place at one end of the spectrum and max capacity in premises/boat park at the other. Numbers will vary from year to year but if you can maintain them in that region you have a successful club.

Fleaberto, well done for changing the emphasis on your racing. It's the culture amongst the shouty sailors that was bad not the racing itself, as you have proved with your new low key racing. My holiday club runs racing and casual sailing along similar lines, we don't have any shouty sailors but nor do we attract that type 'cos of the way we run our races.


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Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"


Posted By: ian.r.mcdonald
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 1:49pm
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.


What a nice and interesting post! Think it works better on this type of swallows and amazon" type water. Bit tougher to keep focused cruising round a concrete bowl


Posted By: A2Z
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 2:49pm
As a lifelong sailor and the parent of an ambitious tennis son (with no previous family history in that game) I find it interesting to compare the two sports.

Tennis has a much lower barrier to entry – just a pair of trainers and a borrowed racquet, plenty of municipal courts available etc. The amount of training available is also much, much greater and so the overall standards at club level are higher in tennis than in sailing. Most club level players will have professional coaching at least once a week, county standard juniors probably four times a week.

Tennis is quite gladiatorial – one on one, no hiding place. It is tough being beaten 6-0 6-0, and not good for continued participation. Each player has a rating (not a ranking) and to move up you have to beat people of the same or higher rating. Tennis tournaments are therefore graded – grade 6 being open to all with an emphasis on fun, and lower grades tournaments have a minimum rating requirement. This prevent newbies being cannon fodder for seasoned players and ensures you are competing at a standard suitable to your level of skill, fitness and commitment.

One of the god things often espoused about sailing is that the rank amateur has the opportunity to sail against Olympians at Nationals. This is true, but equally when your typical weekend club race involves a seasoned campaigner lapping the Level 2 novice, it ceases to be fun for either, and with coaching so difficult to get it takes a lot of perseverance to stick at it long enough to get near the front.

Perhaps (some) sailing events should be graded? We sort of have that informally – an open is likely to be higher standard than a club race and a championship a higher standard still, but do all of your club races need to be open to everyone? Should puddle-on-the-wold races be equal in stature to Hayling Island races? Should Wineglass races be equal to Merlin Rocket ones?


Posted By: ian.r.mcdonald
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 3:03pm
I think your suggestions are sensible but I dont think that downgrading a national championship for some dinghies would be positive. And my experience is that the " shouty/ not keen on duties " sailors are normally mid fleet and by grading racing we would just exclude the superstars. And lose their input and tuning advice etc,


Posted By: eric_c
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 4:12pm
Originally posted by A2Z

As a lifelong sailor and the parent of an ambitious tennis son (with no previous family history in that game) I find it interesting to compare the two sports.

Tennis has a much lower barrier to entry – just a pair of trainers and a borrowed racquet, plenty of municipal courts available etc. The amount of training available is also much, much greater and so the overall standards at club level are higher in tennis than in sailing. Most club level players will have professional coaching at least once a week, county standard juniors probably four times a week.

Tennis is quite gladiatorial – one on one, no hiding place. It is tough being beaten 6-0 6-0, and not good for continued participation. Each player has a rating (not a ranking) and to move up you have to beat people of the same or higher rating. Tennis tournaments are therefore graded – grade 6 being open to all with an emphasis on fun, and lower grades tournaments have a minimum rating requirement. This prevent newbies being cannon fodder for seasoned players and ensures you are competing at a standard suitable to your level of skill, fitness and commitment.

One of the god things often espoused about sailing is that the rank amateur has the opportunity to sail against Olympians at Nationals. This is true, but equally when your typical weekend club race involves a seasoned campaigner lapping the Level 2 novice, it ceases to be fun for either, and with coaching so difficult to get it takes a lot of perseverance to stick at it long enough to get near the front. ....


Some of my wife's family are into running.
They seem quite keen to get an entry to events like the London Marathon where they will come well down the pack.
Likewise cyclists will have nice day out and come 80% down the event, but feel pleased they've beaten a mate from their club on an affordable bike, or put in what they consider is a decent time for the amount of trainng they've done.
Likewise I've known people enjoy a game of golf and play courses where the pro's get around in half as many hits.

I reckon half the people at my club don't really care where they come, they just want to have a go at each race and enjoy being on the sea. Some will be pleased if they get around the course without too many capsizes and no breakages. It's social, fresh air and being part of the club.
I think some people even buy odd boats so their results are comfortably obscured by the PY system that most don't really care about.
Even some people who've done well at high level 20 years ago are not obsessed with winning now. But they still enjoy a race.


Posted By: A2Z
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 4:54pm
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.


Posted By: Jack Sparrow
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 4:56pm
The decline and fall of '...................'

I think 'Reginald Perrin' would have the answer to this question.

'The rules of the game are too complicated.'

Here's the RYA discussing the subject:

[TUBE]93bWZV3485I[/TUBE]




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Posted By: tink
Date Posted: 14 Nov 19 at 5:06pm
Originally posted by sargesail

Tink, you probably didn’t find the gem that Is Thorney Idland Sailing Club when you were looking. A good programme of short course and other races, with full integration where possible of all sailors, and On The Water sessions that my two love: messing around in Picos and getting very wet just brilliant.

But it is ‘where possible’. You can’t integrate an Optimist into the longer races due to the effect that tide has on VMG. The environment is also pretty harsh....wind against tide it cuts up rough....capsized Opis pin down patrol boats more than most craft because of the need to standby while they bail.

You can get integrated sailing further up harbour at Dell Quay for example....but it’s a limited tidal window.

So I share your disappointment but I don’t blame the clubs....it’s environmental. You’re lucky to have Burghfield tho.

So I

Hope I didn’t come across as blaming the clubs, I have sailed a fair bit on the sea and understand the limitations of the geography. I think what we had up North fitted so well that is was disappointing I couldn’t find similar. That said we would all be wrapped up for four months my now. Burghfield is great, challenging and different and a step learning curve. 


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Tink
https://tinkboats.wordpress.com/

http://proasail.blogspot.com



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