Please select your home edition
Edition
Cruise Village 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Ways into Yacht Racing: Time for sailing to adapt

by Mark Jardine 4 Jan 2017 11:46 GMT 4 January 2017
The sport of sailing is changing © Mark Jardine

There is no doubt about it - the sport of sailing needs to adapt. People's lifestyles are changing, pressures on time seem to be greater than ever before and the finances of everyday people are stretched. Combine these factors together and you have a lethal cocktail for the traditional hobby of sailing's 'weekend warriors'.

Does this spell the death-knell for sailing? Does it mean our sport is in terminal decline? My view is that it doesn't, but the sport will be a shadow of its former self if it doesn't make changes at a fundamental level.

We've published various articles with ideas on increasing sailing participation on YachtsandYachting.com, and I know that clubs up and down the country have implemented schemes based on what they have learnt. This is all well and good, and I take my hat off to the enterprising individuals and committees at those clubs who have worked so hard at getting more people out on the water, but I feel a national scheme and framework is needed to give our sport the boost to increase participation.

So what scheme is needed? What framework will make it easier and more affordable for people to get out sailing? To see the solution, first we need to list three problems...

  • Time - the commitment to go sailing isn't just about the time on the water, the boat needs preparing and maintaining. Modern family life can make it feel like sailing is a chore, when we all know it's the best feeling once you're out on the water.
  • Money - getting on the housing ladder can mean 'big ticket' purchases like a boat are pushed way down the list.
  • Space - most boats aren't small. A garage is a pipe-dream for most and many dinghy parks and moorings have waiting lists.

So what scheme can overcome these problems? My thought is club-owned fleets with either 'Pay as you play' or membership tiers to cover the costs of storage, maintenance and boat ownership. This kind of scheme is working at a club level in Germany, the United States and Australia, and Queen Mary Sailing Club have been working on this in the UK, but if we can do this at a national level, with the framework and financing options laid out simply for clubs then I believe we can give sailing a real shot in the arm.

Tony Bishop at Queen Mary SC gave us his thoughts on the 'Pay as you play' scheme they have in place, "In 2016 we looked after just over 300 'pay and play' visitors hiring boats and windsurfing kit. A further 175 'day sailors' have enjoyed a temporary membership to get on the water this year, with many windsurfers making more than ten visits this way. It reflects about 2% of the income at QMSC so not enough to power a business, but nice lines to help us invest in the club. Looking back, these two income lines they have both nearly doubled since 2007 and, as the price has not changed dramatically, reflects the growth in these areas. We see pay and play as a very important way to keep people active in our sport."

This of course needs the national governing bodies talking to each other, the boat builders, the financing institutions, the insurance industry, and the clubs themselves to 'make it happen'. Is this far-fetched and wishful thinking? No, everyone recognises the problem and this framework can be created. There are some seriously bright minds in our sport and in our industry, and when they are brought together great things will happen. It's time we made our sport change for the better.

About MS Amlin / Haven Knox-Johnston

Run by boating enthusiasts for boating enthusiasts, MS Amlin / Haven Knox-Johnston has grown to become one of the UK's leading providers in boat insurance. All policies are backed by the financial strength and security of MS Amlin Syndicate 2001 one of the largest Syndicates in Lloyd's.

MS Amlin / Haven Knox-Johnston has over 30 years of experience in providing boat insurance for most types of craft including sailing boats and yachts.

MS Amlin / Haven Knox-Johnston is a trading name of MS Amlin Underwriting Services Limited, The Leadenhall Building, 122 Leadenhall Street, London EC3V 4AG which is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.

www.boatinsure.co.uk

Related Articles

Nurture the roots to enjoy the fruit
The grass roots and professional sides of sailing are connected Without doubt, my favourite day on the water all year is when I run the first Junior Sailing session of the year at my local club. Posted on 19 Apr
World Sailing's double problem
IOC concerns on Mixed Offshore Event at Paris 2024 Following on from the International Olympic Committee's six-week notice to World Sailing about their concerns over the Mixed Offshore Event at Paris 2024, the sport's governing body held a Townhall Meeting of their Board and Council. Posted on 16 Apr
Can You Feel It?
Well? Can you? The Jacksons certainly did back in 1980 with this single from their Triumph album. Well? Can you? The Jacksons certainly did back in 1980 with this single from their Triumph album. Some of the names that went into included the exceptionally talented, and most sought after Greg Phillinganes on ivories, and then one Venetta Fields. Posted on 11 Apr
The John Westell Centenary pt.5
FiveOs, fast multi-hulls and faster cars! This fifth and final programme in the series celebrating the centenary of John Westell kicks off with the 5o5, but now with John not so much as the designer but as the first volume builder of GRP FiveOs in the UK. Posted on 9 Apr
Explore. Dream. Discover.
The Easter weekend was a time to get on the water around the globe for many The Easter weekend was a time to get on the water around the globe for many. Lockdown restrictions in the UK have eased somewhat, allowing the return of grassroots sports, and the fine weather resulted in sailors heading to their local clubs. Posted on 6 Apr
AI AC36.5 v1.0
Natural evolution from displacement to foiling to virtual The America's Cup is taking the next logical step in its evolution, with the move from the physical to the virtual world. For continuity, the AC75 rule will be retained, with a few modifications, for what will be known as the 'AI AC36.5 v1.0'. Posted on 31 Mar
America's Cup: Two feet
A unit of measurement, avatar and a couple more often helpful in sailboat racing It can be a unit of measurement. Also the very extremities you use for balance when standing up. Then on March 5 this year, we saw that they can even belong to an avatar assisting you and your cause via reinforcement learning. Posted on 28 Mar
A game for billionaires
The Simpsons and the America's Cup have nothing and everything in common One of my favourite Simpsons episodes, from 1992, is where Homer creates a 'Wonder Bat' from a fallen tree branch, leading to a revival of the Springfield nuclear plant softball team's team fortunes. Posted on 23 Mar
America's Cup: Sliding Doors
If the 2021 America's Cup proves one thing, it's that design and innovation reigns supreme If the 2021 America's Cup proves one thing, it's that design and innovation reigns supreme. It would be easy to focus on large catamarans, even bigger monohulls, perhaps even seeing the Kiwis start foiling the AC72 cats, or their cyclors of Bermuda. Posted on 23 Mar
Whispering Jack
Unabashedly, this title does refer to the Aussie singing icon, John Farnham Unabashedly, this title does wholeheartedly refer to the Aussie singing icon, John Farnham. Not that our subject does in any way whatsoever warble in the same category. Posted on 22 Mar