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Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

A call to action from the organisers of the Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series

by Andy Rice 27 May 2023 12:00 BST
The Oxford Blue - Seldén SailJuice Winter Series 2022-23 finale © Tim Olin /


Where is dinghy racing in the UK headed and how can we make it better than it is today? That was the broad question addressed in a recent Zoom call which attracted a live audience to discuss the issues facing the sport in the fast-changing times we're living in.

Hosted by the co-organisers of the Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series, Simon Lovesey and Andy Rice, the aim was to find out what are the roadblocks to greater participation in small-boat racing, and also to find out some of the best practices so that they can be shared more widely across clubs and classes in the UK.

Around 60 participants showed up to share their views. There was a huge amount of useful feedback on the 60-minute call. One of the themes that kept on coming up was fragmentation. Too many small events with small turnouts that don't really work for anyone.

Class Associations Group: interested?

Simon Lovesey is looking to form a Class Associations Group, so if you're on your class committee would like to explore potential collaboration with other classes sign up here for the next online meeting on Zoom

Meanwhile, here are ten points that emerged out of the previous Zoom call...


1. Foster Collaboration among Different Classes

  • Urge classes with limited boat numbers to work together on scheduling and organising open meetings.
  • Make event planning a collective effort to ensure best use of resources.

2. Embrace Diversity in Boat Selection

  • Choose diverse groups of boats, such as Flying 15, Europe, and 600.
  • Create more interesting and inclusive events that appeal to a wider range of sailors.

3. Address Fragmentation by holding more Multi-Class Events

  • Combat declining participation by promoting multi-class events.
  • Shift the focus from single-class events, making multi-class events the norm.

4. Harness the power of 'Influencers'

  • The fortunes of particular clubs and classes tend to ebb and flow depending on the drive and enthusiasm of 'influencers'. People in the fleet or the club who inspire others to get on the water more, and to contribute more to the community.
  • Identify the influencers and give them the tools to do their job of leadership even more effectively.
  • Build templates of the work required to run an organisation effectively, so that when key people move on, others are better equipped to pick up the baton and carry on the vital work.

5. Prioritise Participant Needs

  • Identify what sailors want in events and tailor offerings accordingly.
  • Ensure the success and satisfaction of participants through customised event experiences.

6. Adapt and Innovate

  • Recognise that preferences and needs evolve over time. Tried and tested formats don't necessarily appeal to the next generation of sailors, or even to the older sailors whose priorities have changed.
  • Continuously adapt and innovate to remain relevant and maintain engagement.

7. Promote Change in Established Fleets and Events

  • Introduce new strategies and locations to improve collaboration.
  • Foster a spirit of cooperation among different sailing classes and associations.

8. Harness the Power of Volunteer Enthusiasm

  • Learn from classes like the Scorpion where rejuvenation has come down partly to the impact of dedicated volunteers.
  • Encourage and support volunteer involvement to revitalise struggling classes.

9. Experiment with Alternative Racing Formats

  • Reduce dependence on volunteers by embracing modern technology.
  • Explore new racing styles, such as time trials, speed trials, and orienteering, to attract more participants.

10. Conduct Surveys for Continuous Improvement

  • Gather feedback on event agendas and collaboration initiatives.
  • Use survey results to drive improvements in the sailing community.

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