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The Decline and Fall of our Sport.

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eric_c View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote eric_c Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 9:48am
Originally posted by iGRF

Originally posted by davidyacht

]Even if the RYA were a 100% on message I really don’t see how they can turn this tide.
]


Yeah, and in all seriousness it's not really their job, it's the job of the 'Industry' such that it is, it's their market, they should be coming upwith initiatives to stimulate it, rather like the Laser and their club edition, which is all very well, but they need to do a bit more 'pull effect' marketing.

They should produce the 'how to race this boat brochure' tie in a social media campaign with an effort to bring clubs on board sell the boat with a course on how to race it to seniors, incentivise local fleets, that sort of thing...

There is no 'big idea' there is only slog, go out, find bodys to buy boats and then go race them.

They've relied on the RYA and club class system for so long they've missed the essentials.

None of these other sports work like that, there were no paddlesport clubs, no kitesurf clubs these businesses had to create their own infrastructure, promote their sports, persuade folk to sell the products incentivised with a profit margin, it's a bit where the dinghy vertical market aint helping them in this day and age.

But ultimately it's their job and probably ours to nudge them into doing more.


We don't need any 'industry' to supply the boats.
The boats are already out there, for sale on ebay/facebook/apolloduck and everywhere else.

You don't need a new boat to do club racing.

The 'industry' flogging people 'learner boats' for 2/3 the price of a new 'racing boat' sometimes seems to do a lot of damage. I've seen people buy rotobaths at boatshows, trail the fleet around for a season, then lose too much money. They'd have been better off buying a £2k example of whatever class is biggest in the club.Or £1k for  a Laser.
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davidyacht View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 9:50am
Rightly or wrongly the clubs that I have been involved work on a class by class basis; in the clubs that have successful classes there has been a class captain and a small cohort supporting him/her to make stuff happen.  In addition it requires 6-10 sailors to turn out rain or shine, so that the less committed know that when they turn up they will get a good race.

We organise an annual coaching session, this year run by a couple of front of the fleet sailors, but we have had Charlie Cumbley, Jim Hunt and Mark Rushall run training sessions in the past.

We also enjoy a collective beer or two after racing.

The result is a "on the books" fleet of 50 Solos, of which between 10-15 turn out most weekends.

The fundamental bit of this is that there is a focus on class racing;  It is hard to see how this can be rolled out to handicap racing, however good the PY system is.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote DiscoBall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 11:23am
Originally posted by davidyacht

As the demographics change the support for dinghy racing will ebb and flow.  Demographics have conspired to remove a lot of things that allowed dinghy racing to blossom ... I would suggest weekend working, the 24/7 culture, being mortgage slaves, student loans etc ... on top of that there were some really good things that set up dinghy sailing in the late sixties; Boat Shows, Dinghy Shows, two or three dinghy centric magazines, national Newspapers promoting dinghy classes, a do it yourself culture,  Arthur Ransome .... these are now old hat.
We owe a great deal to the Mirror and the Laser hitting some attractive price points at that time.  On any day in the summer I would see dozens of red sails sailing up and down our estuary for the fun of it.
Even if the RYA were a 100% on message I really don’t see how they can turn this tide.
Dinghies have got too sophisticated and expensive; 
I think the shift from two person boats to single handers will prove to be the ultimate nail on the coffin, because this halves the number of people using clubs and halves the available human resources to make stuff happen.
At sixty I hope that the sport holds on for another fifteen years, and I shall do my level best to put back in what I have taken out, but I really cannot see the big idea that will change things.


+1

I wonder what non-racing participation was during the dinghy boom?

We hear a lot about the huge championships but was the whole thing was underpinned by a far bigger group of potterers/cruisers - but as this group often aren't club/class members much of it went unrecorded? I can't believe that national newspapers were pushing kits with racing as the primary purpose.

It seems now, with so much focus on racing/high performance that the movers and shakers of the sport believe that a pyramid is built from the top down (presumably with the help of aliens). Rebuild the (non-racing) base and it seems likely the rest of the sport would benefit.



Edited by DiscoBall - Yesterday at 1:42pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote tink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 12:39pm
RYA launched another foiling vid today ‘can you deliver pizza by foil?’ Clear where their focus is
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Post Options Post Options   Quote KazRob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 12:50pm
The same conversation is happening at sailing clubs up and down the country. In Scotland on the back of many FB conversations, there are a few of us from all over the country planning to come together for a meeting soon to discuss this and kick ideas around about what can be done. The 'squads' definitely get blamed for dragging kids away from club racing up here - made worse as they get better by the need to regularly drive to the south coast, sometime on consecutive weekends. This might not be true, but that is the general impression most have.
If you want to improve attendance at clubs don't look at the RYA - that's not really what they do. Any initiative to boost grassroots sailing can only come from the grassroots IMO
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Post Options Post Options   Quote AlanH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 12:51pm
Here is an interesting intiative in Ireland. https://afloat.ie/sail/team-racing/item/44570-demand-for-team-racing-increases.
There's a number of things to like about it. Team Racing can teach a lot about racing. Apart from that, it uses Fireflies, which are boats which are very simple, cheap, and easily repairable. That fleet of Fireflies could equally easily go round clubs, and be used to let ppl learn fleet racing. Racing enthusiasts in UK have gone down the wrong route in wanting to always sail in boats which are faster, more complicated and more expensive. Instead we should be going for boats, which like SUPs, can be mastered quickly, and learners/ newcomers can then get on with learning to race. Newcomers should not be sold successive RYA courses/ certificates, eg there's no need to learn spinnakers, trapezes etc. Just learn the basics, then get out there and practise in club boats or buy your own. You can learn plenty in two sail boats like Fireflies, just forget about learning spinnakers etc. I agree that for manufacturers in UK, selling rotamoulds was also the wrong way to go if you are trying to sell ppl lifelong sailing. While rotamoulds might be tolerable for learning, no one would choose to buy one for personal use, especially if that included racing. So having done an RYA course or two, they aren't an attractive proposition to buy. Also agree we should be prioritising two person boats, not singlehanders. Moving onto RYA, it has a huge handbrake turn to execute if it wishes to reform to promote participation in dinghy sailing. Two out of three of its main income sources/ business areas need major reform. Those are Training as well as high performance/ squads. These account for about two thirds of RYA income, and have a very large workforce of instructors/ coaches etc nationwide who depend on the existing structures. Not to mention their own staff/ structures within RYA. It won't be easy first persuading RYA at top of need to reform, then trying to implement such a changed strategy. But much change is needed, far less ppl are entering the sport, and far less are staying with it.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 1:20pm
I used to really enjoy Team Racing, but I genuinely gave up participating when the mast abeam rule was dropped ... I always considered luffing and hailing mast abeam to be an important aspect of the game.

Something that I note with the squad system is that it takes keen 40-50 year old sailors away from the club while they drive around supporting their kids.  

I am not sure whether we are blaming the squad system for other failures in the socioeconomic system that we have today.

One of the reasons why there were so many 20 somethings sailing in the seventies and eighties was that it was quite liberating to have weekends away sailing back then ... 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Oli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 1:39pm

From what I see at my local clubs is actually rather positive in regards to growth, more adults taking up the sport because the clubs have fostered an environment that allows for one on one training (officially and unofficially) and these adults have formed into several tiers themselves as they progress and start helping out the newcomers and indeed start racing within initially the slower handicap fleets but usually have formed their own fleet into a more beginner friendly racing format where on the water coaching is allowed from the ribs and fellow sailors.

 

This is a relatively stable model with not much turnover, where I see a huge turnover is in the youth sections, where when following the RYA scheme of its all serious sailing and racing where a few will progress and disappear off to events, those left follow a path of uni and gone forever. 

 

The non racing youth only remain if its a family led activity.

 

where this sits with the current generation of 30-70 year olds who do race currently seems to be at polar opposites. and they’re pulling further apart with "our" version getting smaller and "theirs" getting larger, which in time will split down and form whatever it is is needed for the clubs.  the trick is for the clubs to recognise this early on and adapt, sticking to what is and has been is a sure fire way to kill a club.  

 

Its not that any group in particular is right, its just that we need to be more flexible about the change that is occurring.

 


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Post Options Post Options   Quote andymck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Today at 12:27am
Originally posted by davidyacht

I used to really enjoy Team Racing, but I genuinely gave up participating when the mast abeam rule was dropped ... I always considered luffing and hailing mast abeam to be an important aspect of the game.
Something that I note with the squad system is that it takes keen 40-50 year old sailors away from the club while they drive around supporting their kids.  
I am not sure whether we are blaming the squad system for other failures in the socioeconomic system that we have today.
One of the reasons why there were so many 20 somethings sailing in the seventies and eighties was that it was quite liberating to have weekends away sailing back then ... 


I have got back into team racing in the last few years.
We had over 30 members of differing abilities team racing last weekend at Rutland. That is more than we’re club racing on Sunday. We had a mix of fireflies and fevas.
We are lucky to have the support of some local schools, and experienced club members to keep this going. Along with a increasingly active junior and youth scene. It has been part of a concerted effort to keep things local. The emphasis being on fun, sailing lots of different boats and going to fewer but specific events. One of our teams won the ET and not a single active squad sailor among them.
Be assured luffing is still a massive part of the game. It’s just that we now play clear ahead and time and opportunity, which is clearer and fairer than the early 90’s rules. We also have umpires which make things much better than reds and greens.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Today at 10:24am
Originally posted by eric_c


We don't need any 'industry' to supply the boats.
The boats are already out there, for sale on ebay/facebook/apolloduck and everywhere else.
You don't need a new boat to do club racing.
The 'industry' flogging people 'learner boats' for 2/3 the price of a new 'racing boat' sometimes seems to do a lot of damage. I've seen people buy rotobaths at boatshows, trail the fleet around for a season, then lose too much money. They'd have been better off buying a £2k example of whatever class is biggest in the club.Or £1k for  a Laser.


You are of course right, but it wouldn't do any harm if they did up their game, or at least help finance an initiative if one were to come about.

Originally posted by KazRob

The same conversation is happening at sailing clubs up and down the country. In Scotland on the back of many FB conversations, there are a few of us from all over the country planning to come together for a meeting soon to discuss this and kick ideas around about what can be done. The 'squads' definitely get blamed for dragging kids away from club racing up here - made worse as they get better by the need to regularly drive to the south coast, sometime on consecutive weekends. This might not be true, but that is the general impression most have.
If you want to improve attendance at clubs don't look at the RYA - that's not really what they do. Any initiative to boost grassroots sailing can only come from the grassroots IMO


Also true and good news that it's being discussed elsewhere. So, it all needs co-ordinating, then promoting and to that end as I said elsewhere, we need at the very least an 'interest group' or grassroots organisation forming, I might have a germ of an idea, where are all these facebook conversations?
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