The Ideal Sailboat for Teaching and Sharing

October 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

The ideal teaching and shared sailboat

The trend towards shared sailing fleets for training and daysailing is unmistakable. Community sailing centers and clubs around the country are collecting a variety of boats on which members often take their first sail along with an experienced sailor, take their first official lessons with an instructor, and then take their independent sail once qualified.

A common theme emerges when you speak with the operators: the ideal shared-fleet teaching designs don’t exist yet. If such designs were available, clubs with broader memberships and community support would raise the money to buy all new fleets. After years of discussions with these wishful folks, I’ve assembled a list of criteria to describe their dream design. This, in Spinsheet’s Oct 2015 issue, is what I’ve heard:

Who will replace sailing’s aging volunteer army?

April 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

Sailing Volunteers

Sailing ranks among country churches, Amish barns and potlucks as institutions substantially built and shaped by volunteers. Their work is all around us: in our clubs, games, safety nets and schools. They deserve a giant shout out. But shout loud and shout fast, because they’re also old. Here’s how to make sure their legacy of altruism isn’t squandered: Read my latest “On the Wind” column in Sailing Magazine.

SailingMag

Aussie sailing club shows how families can #gosailing

December 2, 2013 § 1 Comment

This is what  the Sandrigham Yacht Club – one of Australia’s largest –  is doing to promote sailing, family participation and membership. Perhaps you’ll find a nugget for your own organization. Thanks to Ross Kilborn, a great sailing friend from down-under, for sharing this video.

Three bold moves breathe new life into the “fun” regatta

September 13, 2013 § 1 Comment

About once a week, we get an email from someone who is tired of the sailing status quo and is looking for ideas to make their next event better. In this case, a club on the West Coast struggled with declining participation in a so-called “fun” youth regatta.

——— Reply ———–

Sorry your regatta didn’t go as well as you hoped. In the larger picture, there is no scarcity of kids in sailing. The missing ingredient in sailing is the parent, who, as you have said, is usually relegated to volunteering.

Here are three bold moves that I have seen work miracles in many cities and clubs:

1.) Don’t use the words regatta or fun. One is off-putting. The other is self-evident. “Games” is a good alternative word and solid footing for innovation, but you might think of another. New and different games are the most fun and engaging. Assemble your team to invent new games and try new flavors. Have the players weigh in. Give credit to the inventors and keep refining. Everything is on the table.

2.) Don’t exclude the parent, in fact, make the event family centric, that is, everyone, every age, every skill level, every gender sails. If the kids end up teaching the parents, you’ve just doubled your numbers and created the most lasting memories (and dedicated sailors.) Might you have to try different boats? Sure. Is it hard to get them? Never.

3.) Rethink every outcome. Old social statuses don’t matter anymore. Trophies and podium visits pale in comparison to youtube action clips and personal facebook albums and sailing tweets. The opportunity that sailing organizers have today is mind-blowing: every person sailing can star in their own movie! Some will be funny. Others heroic. Others inspiring. This is the point of ignition for viral marketing and leads to massive gains in interest, participants and more innovation.

Recent research shows that millennials like and want to be with their parents. Studies of adults 30-55 shows that they want to engage their kids and not waste time in cubicles, behind windshelds or screens. The new family unit is ready to trade money for time and purchases for experiences. Sailing is an ideal environment to accomplish both. Design your event to make it possible.

Best of luck to you!

Get ready to #gosailing

Is there cheating in sailing?

July 1, 2012 § 6 Comments

Extreme Kinetics“Is there cheating in sailing?” asked the nationally acclaimed basketball coach.

An odd question, I thought, but logical. He lives in an ultra-competitive world.

“Sure”, I said, “boats can be improved illegally by subtracting weight.”

The Sports Psychologist added that on the race course there are opportunities to cheat when judges can’t see the action, and that there are rules against kinetics that can be hard to enforce.

We were together at the start of the All Instructors Symposium of the Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Sound. I was to speak on mentoring.

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Sailing Country

June 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

This from one of my sailing heroes, Marc Fortune in Nashville, who assembled a top-notch team and broke new ground in sailing advocacy over the winter. It’s starting paying off for kids and families in and around the area.

Now that sailing season has returned for my fellow cheese heads, I am delighted to report that our Regional Summit has fired up the deckhands. Our sailing camp is as popular as ever and we may be adding a remote program to a community 50 miles south of Nashville. “It’s what Nick talked about at the Summit,” the promoter told me.  So, my friend, you are indeed making this a better world – one sailor at a time.

Thanks for all you do for our sport, for what you helped us with in Nashville.

The big bonus: I learned that I have been harboring a secret love of country music. Look up Don Schlitz when you have a moment.

Here are a couple of highlights.

Sailing at the Parthenon

How to find sailing in Nashville: Start at the Parthenon

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Filing a protest

June 9, 2012 § 2 Comments

Filing a protest

First published on SailingAnarchy.com, June 2012.

Never accept a meeting request when the executive’s assistant starts with “he would like to tell you his ideas.” I did it this time and got burned.

These are the ideas of the head of AC-34’s Event Authority, in a nutshell:

  1. The financiers are tiring of the spend.
  2. Professional sailors can’t make a living.
  3. There aren’t enough amateur sailors supporting this pyramid.

So this AC will invent new TV heroes to attract fans to fund year-round professional sailors, take the financiers off of the hook, and transfer the costs to an unwitting couch-bound audience duped into an overpriced hat and a junkmailbox crammed with offers from sponsors. “We’re building a new pyramid.”

Oh, and sailors should sit quiet and be pleased, “’cause you get the trickle down.”

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