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Support for club-level Flying Fifteen sailors

by Jeremy Arnold 11 Apr 14:51 BST
Flying Fifteens set for the RYA Dinghy Show 2019 © David Harding / UKFFA

The UK Flying Fifteen Association - as is typical for all class associations - inevitably finds that much of its effort and output each year goes towards organising championships and the other big, glamorous National events which only a relatively small sub-set of the overall membership will ever attend.

At UKFFA's AGM last year it was decided that a greater emphasis should be placed on supporting local events and club-level Flying Fifteen sailing - in other words the 'grass-roots' of the class upon which everything else is built.

As part of this UKFFA for 2019 have created five (yes, count them, FIVE!) new publicity leaflets for the class which were first distributed at the dinghy show last month and are now being sent-out directly to 50+ clubs and fleet captains in order to be distributed at a local level.

Three of the leaflets promote the Lakeland, Northern and Southern Traveller series respectively, with each of these regional open meeting circuits being aimed specifically at club-level sailors and providing what is perhaps a less-daunting competitive experience than can sometimes be the case at the big National events.

Next we have the "Isn't it time you Flew a Fifteen?" leaflet, which deliberately targets sailors from other classes! We know the Flying Fifteen as a boat and as a class is widely admired by dinghy sailors generally, and in many cases is even seen as being "aspirational" in the same way that a Jaguar car for example is seen as being aspirational by the drivers of more mundane brands. But, and again the Jaguar analogy holds true, all-too-often potential Flying Fifteen converts are held-back by their misconceptions about the class (difficult to launch / old man's boat / too powerful for lightweights etc etc) and the "Isn't it time you Flew a Fifteen" leaflet specifically aims to challenge these misconceptions and direct potential owners to the new Trial Sail programme that the class established last year.

The final leaflet on the other hand is aimed squarely at existing Flying Fifteen owners - but those who haven't yet joined UKFFA! Although we all know - at an intellectual level at least - that there's a strong class association behind every strong class, it can sometimes be difficult to make the case to club-level sailors why they should join their own class association and thus support the organisation that supports them. UKFFA's final leaflet is aimed at such sailors and gently points-out some of the direct benefits they would receive in return for their £35 membership subscription.

Time will tell whether this new initiative will bear fruit, and it would be interesting to hear what other classes might have successfully done provide more support to their own club-level sailors.

Finally, just to mention one other small campaign by the Flying Fifteen class that has already proved remarkably successful:- for the RYA Dinghy Show this year we had a small number of large-format posters produced and which were displayed as part of the class stand.

These posters proved so popular with visitors that immediately after the show we had to arrange for a second, larger batch of posters to be printed, and these now grace the walls of various sailing clubs not just in the UK and Europe but as far afield as Canada! Although we're not proposing a third print-run just yet I expect we will arrange for another batch to be produced at some point, and possibly with different photography and in other sizes too - so do bear this in mind if you're looking for more Flying Fifteen publicity material for your club! Or your office, home workshop, man-cave...

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