Oct 3, 2012, 11:34 AM
WHAT DO THE INGREDIENTS OF BEER HAVE TO DO WITH SAILING?
Sailing has become too segregated
By Glenn McCarthy, Lake Michigan SuRF Newsletter
Put hops, malt, barley and water in four concrete steel reinforced silos
and do not mix them, what do you get? Nothing good! Mix them together and
you get beer, something real good.
We broke off Junior Sailing/ Sailing Schools into their own silo. These
programs are growing, everyone involved is enthusiastic. We broke off High
School sailing into its own silo. It is one of the greatest success stories
in sailing today, more and more High Schools are signing up and competing
against one another. Collegiate Sailing is in its own silo. While more
mature, it is also growing today. Adult sailing is in its own silo. Just
like the Beer example, we leave these four ingredients in their own silos
and do not mix them. And what do we have? Nothing good at the end of the
day! Adult sailing is struggling at most levels.
There are 300,000 juniors between the ages of 5 and 21 in their three silos
in this country. By age 22, 95% of them have quit sailing. Why? It is all
about "peers." They see their peers quit without ramification, and so they
quit too - no loss (see the related story on growing your yacht club
membership through your sailing school, there is a golden lining). We have
been justifying that when sailors get out of college they are busy
establishing themselves in the working world, changing jobs frequently,
getting housing, moving regularly to get better deals, dating, going to
weddings, getting married themselves, having children, etc. Wait a moment
there, isn't that the exact same stuff we did at that age and didn't we
keep sailing? Why is this now an excuse not to sail?
We (I'm a boomer) kept sailing because when we were juniors, we sailed with
adults. They were part of our peer group. We saw sailors in their 20's,
30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and a few hanger-ons in their 90's who
all sailed. We knew that they were part of our peers. We knew that we, too,
would be sailing for a lifetime. This cycle has been broken.
It was never an intention to segregate the age groups, we enjoyed racing
with all ages on board. I remember sailing on Inferno in the early 1970's,
a red C&C 52 owned by Jim McHugh (McHugh Construction Company) when I was
about 12. This was the days of RDF, before Loran or GPS. It was a long
distance single-day course race in which we were the lead boat. The
navigator hailed to the crew "I owe a beer to whoever can spot the mark." I
said, "It's right up ahead, a little to the right of our course."
All of the crew looked and looked and couldn't see it and started to
disbelieve me. I said, "It is white on top, orange in the middle and white
on the bottom." The navigator knew the colors of the mark and said there
was no way I could have guessed that and I must be seeing it. We sailed to
it and rounded it; it was our mark. The point being, I was helpful to the
team at age 12, they understood I contributed to the team, and I became one
of them right at that moment, having earned my spot. (To the Inferno
navigator: I forgot your name, I'm old enough now and you still owe me that
beer. Call me).
If the silo system for young sailors was in place back then, I would not
have been on Inferno, I would have been at some Opti or 420 regatta
somewhere, with helicopter parents shuttling me around. Read on: