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Thread: Sailing will continue to die until we target the lower income brackets.

  1. #1

    Sailing will continue to die until we target the lower income brackets.

    Yep. I said it. It's time for sailing community to stop perpetuating the stereotypical Biff and Muffy upper class bullshit and start targeting the other 90% of the population.

    The first step is getting clubs to actually get involved with their community and try to grow the sport at ALL levels, not just the uber money travel opti and laser regattas. I live just a few miles from a private club that insists on perpetuating the "ahoy paloy" perception of sailing. They do not open their doors to the local schools to promote sailing. This club is owned by a well known AC player. It baffles me that they continue to operate in this fashion. They could be a huge force in promoting sailing to youth in an area where you can't drive a mile without running into a lake. Can't have that though.... might have to share the locker room with the son a plumber instead of the son of the guy who owns the plumbing company. Just to race a boat in their local series the owner has to be a member of the club. They have no reciprocity with other clubs, so you are forced to buy in if you want to race. Yeah, that'll grow the sport.

    My own club is not innocent. Both the junior and adult sailing programs we offer are very reasonable, but probably out of the reach of your average middle class family and definitely not an option for the lower class. Exclusivity is deliberately maintained with the structure of the membership levels, and our club is one of the most reasonable in the area.

    I guess I've just gotten annoyed with people looking at me like I have three heads when I tell them I race sailboats. Nearly everyone outside of this sport views it as an exclusive hobby for the rich and for the most part they're right. Donating a few bucks now and then or giving a few disadvantaged kids a ride once/yr isn't going to cut it. This sport is fucked if we don't change our image. I know there's plenty of people who don't want to hear that, but too bad.

    discuss..
    Whizzo Butter: "Absolutely indistinguishable from a dead crab."

  2. #2
    PNW Editor Ballard Sailor's Avatar
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    The problem has always been there, its the solution that is elusive. What can a yacht club do to help out is the question.
    A little disorganization goes a long way toward fun sailing.

  3. #3
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    There are plenty of programs to introduce the masses to sailing. After sitting in way too many "Sailing Renassaince" meetings we finally convinced the powers at be to create this:

    http://www.gosailingsf.org/

    Which is great, but you still have to deliver to the masses...

    So we created this:

    http://www.gosailingsf.org/celebritymediaregatta.html

    Which worked out pretty damn well, however for the media reps to get involved and endorse it,
    they need a charity of some sort to rally behind...we pitched it to the Luekemia folks but they did not want to expend any energy into it, but requested we send them out media contacts anyways...

    We are now looking at working with the Sarcoma Cup folks...hopefully that works out..

    Problem is some one has to spend heaps of time coordinating vounteers, donations and resources. Talk is cheap, and I found out many of the yeah "great idea folk" disappear into the wood work when
    time comes to put any time, energy or money into it...even sailors, burned out from too hectic of a regatta schedule find it easy to say, naw, too many people sailing already anyways...

    However, on the cheap, you CAN build a site like gosailingsf.org for your area, and seek modest donations from local sailing business's to help pay the cost's, and then pimp the programs via the internets and to local organizations and media and hope for the best...
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  4. #4
    Mogul Masher Kris O's Avatar
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    Personally I liked the LAT 38 crewlist party when I first moved to SF. Its not for advanced racers or the easily intimidated, but if you are willing to walk up to people and introduce yourself, then its a great way to get hooked up with people who want to go sailing. Many many years ago (BI ,before internet) there was a chandlery in Chicago called Chicago Yachting and Navigation that had a crewlist in the store. You just had to walk in and fill out the form. This is how I got into racing. I was called by a boat owner who had a Hunter 30 and the rest is history....in fact MANY of that crew who were all newbies are still racing today and are regular contributors to SA. I am the product of and engineer and a nurse. I am the only one in my family who sails and I started to learn how to sail in my mid-20's.

  5. #5
    Kame at Pineapple makes a point of taking youth out on certain events. Maybe if there were more regattas designated to bring out kids or virgin sailors that would help?

  6. #6
    the junior program i coach is open to anyone, membership of the club is encouraged but not required. boats and storage are available at a discounted rate and a 16 week winter program costs $150 not including hot meals (which are $5 per day). i have noticed many kids from different walks of life joining the program


    they are out there in some places, just not enough

  7. #7
    COO of Unauthorized Sailing Divisions! war dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IOR Geezer View Post
    Kame at Pineapple makes a point of taking youth out on certain events. Maybe if there were more regattas designated to bring out kids or virgin sailors that would help?
    I few of us were discussing this at the YRA awards meeting and one idea that came up was to give a credit to boats with new sailors or kids on board. I could see this working around some of the “Fun” races and possibly a beer can series. I see it working something like this bring a novice but able body adult (say less than 6 races) get a 3 second phrf credit then 6-10 race experience a 2 second credit a kid under 14 same experience brackets but a 4 and 3 credit……………well some thing like that it would have to be self policing I but could see it working on the right races.

  8. #8
    J/92 Ragtime!
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    The local crew lists are filled with novices wanting to sail. In my experience most of them are looking for a pleasant afternoon boat ride and aren't interested in any kind of commitment. No harm adding to that group but it's a huge transition from there to buying and maintaining your own boat, let alone racing it competitively. It's also a big transition from there to being an effective member of a winning racing crew.

    Yet that's what we need - more competitive boats on the line, with effective crews committed to their teams/programs. Speaking as an owner, it's insane to put thousands into bottom jobs, good sails, etc. when there are maybe two or three other competitive boats in your division. I gave up about eight years ago and started racing shorthanded (mostly singlehanded). The shorthanded fleets seem to be growing so I think my experience isn't unique.

  9. #9
    I think if we properly market small boat and dinghy programs as something that can be done at the same cost of playing soccer or hockey the big boat stuff will follow.
    Whizzo Butter: "Absolutely indistinguishable from a dead crab."

  10. #10
    J/92 Ragtime!
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    We have several good, inexpensive community sailing programs here plus lots of sailing school graduates (as stated in their crew list profiles), yet the big boat stuff is dying. The transition isn't happening. It takes a commitment that most aren't willing to make.

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