How class associations can help

April 11, 2017 § Leave a comment

Following a fine night sharing #gosailing ideas at the Willamette Sailing Club, member Kerry Poe, Lido sailor and sailmaker, wondered:

Great talk. Nice to look outside of our often too locked in racing perspective. [I’ve seen] many clubs focus on pushing for members that will race. The reasoning was that if you look at all of the volunteers and most active people, they are racers. The inactive cruisers tied up limited dock and lot spaces and to the most part did not contribute much personal time to the club.

Maybe having some shared club owned boats allow us to bring in these new sailors without tying up our limited space.

… and then:

I am a board member for the National Lido 14 class association. We have monthly phone board meeting and most of the time there is some discussions on how as a board we can help the growth of the class.
The Lido is the type of boat that is very stable and easy to sail. Some will find it a great entry boat with its bench seats, stability, ease to sail and can take a bunch of people on it. Others like it because you can race with your spouse in a short course college style racing. The range of talent is huge from complete beginners to National caliber sailors.
Overall the National class is in decline. Here in Portland our fleet had 30 boats on the line back in the late 70’s. About 5 years ago our fleet was down to 3 boats on the line. I jumped in thinking that it was a good platform for us older guys who want to sail with our spouse in close tactical racing. Our fleet now get 12 boats on the line with a large range of talent.
Most of the other fleets are pretty small and struggling. From what I have seen around Portland is that the strong fleets always have at least one person that is a spark plug to build the fleet. What I don’t know is how a National association can help individual fleets become more active and grow.

I suggested:

Off the cuff, I’d connect the dots between this question and your idea in your earlier email. Why not have class associations be the fundraising and grant-giving organizations that seed, if not create the shared fleets?

It’s a strategic move: all members chip in a few bucks each to help make or expand a fleet where it’s necessary, thereby broadening the base and deepening the membership. And like you, I tend to think that the local work done by the dynamic volunteers isn’t something the larger org should try to do. They’re not connected. But, but granting fleets, they would leverage the volunteer’s hours with access to boats and time on the water for more.

Thanks, Kerry, for adding to the conversation!

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