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HOW TO ANSWER: "HOW EXPENSIVE IS SAILING?"



The Publisher
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Mar 6, 2013, 8:13 AM


Views: 32735
HOW TO ANSWER: "HOW EXPENSIVE IS SAILING?"

By Glenn T. McCarthy, LMSRF
It might be a social occasion or a news reporter brings about THE QUESTION. The worst thing anyone of us can do is perpetuate the myth that sailing is for millionaires. We all know it's not and we only can identify a small number of sailors who actually are millionaires. So, what does each of us need to have in mind when this question is asked? You already know THE QUESTION is coming, you just don't know when.

Answer it the way politicians answer all of their questions want to give that is not the answer to the question. What is the answer you want to give to help kill the myth?

Be ready to answer that, "Teachers, plumbers, fire from all walks of life sail. It is not a millionaire's game Most everyone can afford to go sailboat racing, with a variety of affordable levels to play in. drive a car to the store and how many drive open wheel Indy cars? There are a lot more sailors who drive a sailboat whose cost is equivalent to a car taken to the grocery store than drive sailboats equal to open wheel Indy cars!"

In that answer, didn't you just say that sailing is for everyone? Didn't you just help destroy the myth? That is one way to answer when this inevitable question comes up. Keep this answer in mind.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has media programs to teach their dealers and spokespersons how to answer this and other common questions that the media asks. We, as sailors, need prepared answers too!

Personally I believe the America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and Olympic Games damage the image of club racing. They leave everyone believing it is a sport for Kings or the third richest guy in the world (Larry Ellison - AC72, Oracle). They do discuss how much money these teams spend. No common person can play these games. It is way out of their reach, and out of the reach of every sailor I know, too. They look at it like watching an NFL game, thinking they have no chance in trying out for an NFL team. They never hear about the college sailing teams, high school sailing teams or youth/junior sailing programs like they are familiar with college, high school and pee-wee football. We need to educate the public and describe how access to sailing is very achievable for all levels of affordability.

Be prepared with a short canned answer that is not a direct answer they are looking for! Give the pre-canned indirect answer! -- Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation, http://www.lmsrf.org/...s/2013_02_LMSuRF.pdf


The Publisher
*****


Mar 6, 2013, 8:14 AM


Views: 32732
Re: [The Publisher] HOW TO ANSWER: "HOW EXPENSIVE IS SAILING?"

From Henry Filter:
In reference to the question "How expensive is sailing?", it was said by Mr. McCarthy that we should "Answer it the way politicians answer all of their questions - with answer you want to give that is not the answer to the question."

Are you kidding me? Really? I can't believe somebody would print that! If that is your solution our sport is truly doomed! With all due respect to Mr. McCarthy, it is that logic that has our country almost 17 trillion dollars in debt, roughly 100% of GDP and almost past the point of no return.

I got an idea, how about answering with the truth? Sailing is for everyone of all social and economic levels; just find the boat that fits your budget, work hard, set goals and you'll find yourself enjoying the water on a regular basis. Community boating access programs are growing all around the country giving more and more people access that didn't have it before.

Most of my friends didn't have boats 30 years ago when getting out of college, trade school or service to the military. But they worked hard, saved, bought a used something, and got out on the water. Today's 20 somethings face an even more difficult economic environment. We need to provide them a way to get out on the water and ultimately find a way to own their own boat.

Our sport is for life and should be presented that way. Let's be realistic and honest with people. The America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, and Olympics are the extremes. The average sailor does not need to be in that camp, but it still takes money. After all, doesn't everything?


From John Sweeney:
In response to Mr McCarthy's OpEd, if he believes that sailing isn't a millionaires' only club, surely there is a better response to the 'Question' than obfuscating, like a politician. Like any sport, pastime or hobby, there are costs associated with participation. And there is no escaping that a lot of people spend a lot of money to participate on their chosen level.

If asked, I prefer a direct and factual answer more along the line that, sailing can be and is every bit as affordable as what some people choose to spend on bowling, golf, hunting, mountain climbing, biking, buying a weekend-only sports car or even motor boating. Counter to the old adage, sailing is a sport where one can ask what it costs to join - and be pleasantly surprised at the answer - and counter to the Woody Allen line, it's a world-wide club everyone should be proud to claim membership of.




The Publisher
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Mar 6, 2013, 8:15 AM


Views: 32730
Re: [The Publisher] HOW TO ANSWER: "HOW EXPENSIVE IS SAILING?"

From Mike Brown - Chicago:
In response to Mr McCarthy's OpEd, if he believes that sailing is a millionaire's club then he can get a look at my W-2! I have taught and raced and cruised...for 30 years...while I maintain an hourly job that buys me the essentials in life, and maintains my minimalistic approach to the path I have carved out day to day. Lake Michigan sailing is ever-changing and an attitude that reflects "elitism" when it comes to sailing will get you fewer and fewer participants in your weekly regattas and beer cans.


From John Graham:
Sailing expensive? Not for the 50 to 80% who sail as crew and don't own a boat. The cost of equipment to sail as crew is less than the cost to go skiing, cycling, surfing, etc. Costs about the same as playing soccer, tennis, squash, etc.




The Publisher
*****


Mar 6, 2013, 8:16 AM


Views: 32728
Re: [The Publisher] HOW TO ANSWER: "HOW EXPENSIVE IS SAILING?"

From Frederic Berg:
In response to the question, How expensive is sailing?", I remember getting a used Laser in 1976, sailing at least twice a week and selling it in 1981. Here are the hard numbers: Yacht club dues ($120), storage fees ($120), new sails (2 @ $100), new upper mast section ($75), replacing broken equipment (est. $100), purchase price ($600) and resale ($900), total cost $315.

With that I learned a lifelong skill, sailed all my college sailing team practices and learned fiberglass repair. At that time bowling cost about $.50 per game and shoes were $.75. Assuming two games and one shoe rental per bowling session, bowling over the same five years would have cost: $1.75 X 2 times per week X 52 weeks per year X 5 years or $910. Today, I can go anywhere in the world and find a "ride" for free - priceless!


From Mike Esposito, Chicago:
Am I the only one who read all the words in Glenn McCarthy's opinion item? His point was to have an answer ready to explain why sailing is NOT (at least not entirely) a millionaire pursuit, and how there are price points for nearly anyone who wants to go sailing.

It's similar to something I wrote in the July 29, 2009, Chicago Tribune explaining who is attracted to the Chicago to Mackinac Race: "You never know who might be on the starting line. In the crowd you could find doctors, lawyers, teachers, firefighters, chefs, truck drivers, stock brokers and even professional sailors."


The Publisher
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Mar 6, 2013, 8:17 AM


Views: 32727
Re: [The Publisher] HOW TO ANSWER: "HOW EXPENSIVE IS SAILING?"

From John Lambert:
Having read several follow-up comments to Mr. McCarthy's "How expensive is sailing?" and his conclusion that it's for millionaires - but don't admit it, I am unable to resist noting the irony of that edition also announcing the Rolex U.S. sailors of the year; not the Timex or Casio sailors of the year, but Rolex. We associate our "sailor of the year" with conspicuous consumption?

Despite the sport of sailboat racing (not sailing, really a different activity) struggling to sustain its numbers at the adult level, our sport's stewards seek out branding opportunities like Rolex to reinforce the association of racing and wealth (It ain't the "Kia Melges 20", it's the "Audi Melges 20").

Stewardship is not, however, content with only such branding. Just weeks ago, it was announced that the U.S. Youth Championship, now governed by the Olympic Development Cmtee - part of the Olympic development process - a path that less than 1% of US sailors have chosen - will include even more expensive classes and that, in at least one instance, virtually nobody owns (the F16 US Class Assn doesn't even have a website).

Hey, here's a plan to grow the sport: for kids, let's use expensive boats that are hard to find in the US or better yet, boats like the F16 that nobody owns. Sure the plan will disenfranchise many kids, but it will make it more likely that those who do race, will be kids who can buy Rolexes.

As for the other kids, let them eat cake.


From Eric Sorenson:
I know what my boat (Catalina 42) costs and it is too much, but the boat adds a purpose to my life since I don't have kids. You cannot take it with you and I take a large crew out racing with me as much as possible. We had 12 bodies, mostly under 30, for the Winter Shaw Island race here in the San Juans.

Winter racing in the NW breeds a tough set of sailors as that is when the wind blows and it is cold. The summers are all about light winds and getting boat speed from nothing. I contend that an hour of racing equals 2-3 weeks of cruising for learning how to make one's boat go.

More cruisers should get out on the race course and enter into the regattas and distance races or at least the beer can races in the evening. Take out your friends, spouses, and shore support to allow as many as possible exposure to one of life's greatest pleasures, sailing.


CWeaver
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Mar 6, 2013, 11:18 AM


Views: 32724
Re: [The Publisher] HOW TO ANSWER: "HOW EXPENSIVE IS SAILING?"

Perhaps the answer to the question, "How expensive is sailing?" should be another question, "How cheap can sailing be?"

My 21-year-old son bought a Columbia 28 for $2,000. It is in good condition, perfectly suited for daysailing or club racing, plus the interior is roomy and nice enough for a young bachelor to live aboard. For $500 every TWO months, he has a place of his own in a very expensive metropolitan area. Once he gets an apartment, his cost to berth the boat will go down to $400 for two months.

At a yacht club yard sale, we bought a perfectly good DeWitt Dinghy with a great sail for $250. We probably could have got it for less, since the price was quoted as, "Make an offer." For $11 a month we keep it on a rack a few steps from the water. How cheap is sailing? Pretty darn cheap!





Glenn McCarthy
**

Mar 6, 2013, 12:23 PM


Views: 32722
Re: [CWeaver] HOW TO ANSWER: "HOW EXPENSIVE IS SAILING?"

I have zero training as a writer (I'm an engineer by education), and have been highly amused by this latest attempt. What I learned is:
  • What I think does not come out in writing the way I thought it did.
  • Do not ever compare sailors to politicians - Snap.
  • As the article was interpreted so far off the mark of what I thought I wrote, I will write another version called "Take 2" at some point in the future!

What I thought I wrote was that the general non-sailing public has an image of sailors that it is extremely expensive and out of reach for them. I have some research data that I should have used to back that statement up, and will use it in Take 2. The point I was trying to make is that all of us have to work as hard as possible to dispel that myth. We have a long road ahead of us to change public opinion, but the worst any of us who sail, or sell in the industry can do is perpetuate the myth. I know this sport is for people of all financial abilities, which is the point all of us MUST make when being asked at anytime we are being asked - What's the most expensive boat at this club, harbor, boat show, etc. If you answer that with a direct response with the dollar amount, you will have succeeded at perpetuating the myth.

Oh well................


The Publisher
*****


Mar 7, 2013, 2:18 PM


Views: 32691
Re: [The Publisher] HOW TO ANSWER: "HOW EXPENSIVE IS SAILING?"


In Reply To
From John Lambert:
Having read several follow-up comments to Mr. McCarthy's "How expensive is sailing?" and his conclusion that it's for millionaires - but don't admit it, I am unable to resist noting the irony of that edition also announcing the Rolex U.S. sailors of the year; not the Timex or Casio sailors of the year, but Rolex. We associate our "sailor of the year" with conspicuous consumption?

Despite the sport of sailboat racing (not sailing, really a different activity) struggling to sustain its numbers at the adult level, our sport's stewards seek out branding opportunities like Rolex to reinforce the association of racing and wealth (It ain't the "Kia Melges 20", it's the "Audi Melges 20").

Stewardship is not, however, content with only such branding. Just weeks ago, it was announced that the U.S. Youth Championship, now governed by the Olympic Development Cmtee - part of the Olympic development process - a path that less than 1% of US sailors have chosen - will include even more expensive classes and that, in at least one instance, virtually nobody owns (the F16 US Class Assn doesn't even have a website).

Hey, here's a plan to grow the sport: for kids, let's use expensive boats that are hard to find in the US or better yet, boats like the F16 that nobody owns. Sure the plan will disenfranchise many kids, but it will make it more likely that those who do race, will be kids who can buy Rolexes.

As for the other kids, let them eat cake.


From Malinda Crain, Chair, US Sailing Youth Championships Committee:
We would like to thank John Lambert for his note, as it provides us another opportunity to share information about the upcoming 2013 US Sailing Youth Championships, to be held in Corpus Christi, TX, August 12-16, and to provide some details about the event that may have been overlooked.

The US Sailing Youth Championship Committee works hard to ensure that the US Youth Champs is the premier youth sailing event in the country. We are constantly evaluating the criteria for selection, the equipment to be included, the venues and the economic value for the sailors and their families. As examples of this, three years ago we moved the event from June to August, so the sailors could be at their best; and two years ago we voted to include the I-420 in the event, in addition to the C-420, beginning in 2013.

As a committee, we are cooperating with the Olympic Sailing Committee to make Youth Champs a stepping stone on the Olympic Pathway, should a sailor be interested in this pursuit. This year, the US Youth Championship will also be a qualifying event for the 2014 ISAF Youth Worlds Team. With this addition, it is necessary to include the equipment that ISAF has chosen for the Youth World Championship.

We have expanded the number of classes from 4 to 7 by adding the I-420 (which we were doing in any event), the F-16 multihull and boys and girls RS:X windsurfers. We have not removed any equipment from the event and will also include Lasers, Laser Radials, Club 420s and 29ers as in previous years. Additionally, our maximum number of selected sailors has been increased from 150 to 170 to accommodate the expanded number of classes. Free housing and free coaching by the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider coaches are available to all participants. Sailing grants (sailorships) based on financial need to support travel to a US Sailing junior or youth championship are also available.

The US Youth Championships is all about providing our best youth sailors with a competitive experience unlike any other available in the USA, and we expect this year's event will provide our top youth sailors with a chance to compete against the very best while exposing them to other types of equipment and opportunities. We are especially pleased that for the first time, all of the small boat-types will be in our event dinghies, skiffs, sailboards and multi-hulls! The sailors who attend the 2013 US Sailing Youth Championship will be strengthening the future of sailing in the USA by gaining both experience and knowledge of the many facets of our sport.

Applications will close at midnight on March 22, 2013 and are available online at http://championships.ussailing.org/.../US_Youth_Champs.htm




The Publisher
*****


Mar 7, 2013, 3:49 PM


Views: 32687
Re: [The Publisher] HOW TO ANSWER: "HOW EXPENSIVE IS SAILING?"

From Jan Visser:
In regards to Glenn McCarthy's comments and the expense of sailing. He is right on every point but I don't know of a youngster that is going out with the intent of buying a 70' whatever.

In 1991, I was looking for something for my son to do to keep him busy when I stumbled upon an ad in the local newspaper for a sailing program. I investigated and signed him up, and off we went one of the wildest ride that I have ever encountered and am still on. I did run into a bit of noses in the air, not to worry, it was only a couple of weeks that summer. The next summer was spent from the day school was out until the end of that summer sailing.

The third year was the same with one exception. The noses in the air got a little worse, and when the summer ended, there were thoughts running around in my head that really did not make a whole lot of sense. Regardless, on the 2nd of January the following year I filed Articles of Incorporation and in June I launched a summer sailing program.

No boats, dock or any idea where they would come from. Here I was, a single mom working 40 hours a week, making things work. Boats were donated to us, a couple of used Lasers were bought, and I found some Level 1 US Sailing Certified instructors. There was a new game in town and we are still at it.

Just recently, I received a call from one of my High Schoolers who thanked me for the coaching and opportunity given for her son; that it has been a life changing experience for him. That gives one a lump in the throat but to look at all the kids that have come through the program, they are the best of the best; no one turned away.

Glenn McCarthy and his dad Gene were inspirations and always encouraging; those are the folks we need to give courage at the dock side. And of all the youngsters that have sailed with our program, no one is in jail and in these days that is pretty darn good. I am preaching to the choir but support your clubs and community organizations everyone; kids are fantastic. And yes, kids do grow up and my dinghy sailors are now buying big boats, sail on!


The Publisher
*****


Mar 7, 2013, 3:49 PM


Views: 32686
Re: [The Publisher] HOW TO ANSWER: "HOW EXPENSIVE IS SAILING?"

From Ray Tostado:
When I withdrew from "serious racing" to "fun racing", what factored in to my decision was that to maintain a top of the line IOR boat, back in the '80s, was no longer justified to my life style and income. It was a matter that the replacement cost of my original sail inventory of 14 bags to be competitive, had climbed 400% from the original package, in 8 years. Nearly equivalent to the original launch cost for my CF 41 two-tonner Juarez itself.


Kingsley
**


Mar 8, 2013, 3:12 PM


Views: 32349
Re: [The Publisher] HOW TO ANSWER: "HOW EXPENSIVE IS SAILING?"

From Jan Visser:
...
Just recently, I received a call from one of my High Schoolers who thanked me for the coaching and opportunity given for her son; that it has been a life changing experience for him. That gives one a lump in the throat but to look at all the kids that have come through the program, they are the best of the best; no one turned away.

...
_____________
Great job Jan

You are right, sailing can be for anyone.

It can be tough: frustrating, new language, easy to make mistakes and make a fool of yourself etc
It can be brilliant: life long skills, perseverence, confidence, working with others, asking and receiving help etc

Does not require much money, while people watch from $Multi Mill$ houses we can play in their view for a $few hundred$ or less.

Love to give you a full copy of my sailing simulator game ... play in browser on PC or Mac, please register at 2sail .net

And to the Question: Is sailing Expensive?
Answer: nope, doesn't have to be.

Just love getting out on the water.
and coaching
http://www.2sail.net

Not so keen on getting wet though. Smile


Tcatman
**

Mar 11, 2013, 8:51 AM


Views: 32129
Re: [Kingsley] HOW TO ANSWER: "HOW EXPENSIVE IS SAILING?"

Tough thread to read... because it is all over the map.

Posters point to America's Cup Racing Campaigns to recycled boats to sail and live-in to support their argument that sailing IS or IS NOT expensive.
Posters complain about, a resume required elite competition (US Sailing Youth Champs) specifically about the cost of the equipment specified while others point to high school sailing for this same group of sailors and comment like Jan Visser "no one turned away".

Whining about "Expensive", IE the cost of sailing is a silly argument!... there is nothing we can do about the economic cost of boats, waterfront property or TIME. Equally silly is to compare the value of racing with the value of sailing. Moreover, the amount of community organization needed to go racing with the organization to enjoy the past time of sailing is vastly different.

What we can make arguments for (or against) is the VALUE we attach to the specific programs we organize. US Sailing once upon a time the US Yacht RACING Union has a major purpose to organize programs for RACING.

How valuable is a High School program that stands for .... "no one turned away"... versus a program for the top HS athletes (eg football) versus no program at all for HS. Is clearly one of ... YMMV! Other nations certainly value racing in school differently!

Multihull sailors faced (for us at least) an existential crisis when the Tornado Open Multihull was dropped from the Olympics. Multihull sailors world wide organized around the value proposition that Olympic representation was critical for the health of the multihull racing sport. The Sailing world agreed and the new event is Mixed Multihull and will be sailed on Nacra17 multihulls (Note to editor... not skiffs). The next step is to build a US Sailing program that reflects this world wide value. The US Sailing Youth champs is for elite sailors who aspire to to be the best. So, to reflect the value of Olympic Sailing, US Sailing incorporated the F16 equipment in the regatta. Lower levels of the sport like individual Yacht clubs and parents will make their own value judgements in supporting multihull racing going forward. Multihull sailors, fleets, classes are supporting the young sailors who value the path to Olympic excellence.

Opining that this effort is "too expensive" probably means that you have very different values.

This thread demonstrates the usual pitfall... people are conflating the values underlying Racing (Americas Cup, Olympic Multihull, non existent multihull High school racing, multihull club racing with "Sailing", then they highlight the $$$ and opine... a pox on __________ !

We are all in one boat together (Racers and Sailors) under US Sailing and we make progress in growing the sport and the pastime when we form consensus and partnership.


tanyaroy
**

Sep 6, 2013, 3:51 AM


Views: 25935
Re: [The Publisher] HOW TO ANSWER: "HOW EXPENSIVE IS SAILING?"

The answer completely depends on the level at which you participate.

Club racing, Competitive racing, casual occasional sailing and many more... there are many ways and types in which you can be involved.


moris
*

Oct 8, 2013, 1:10 AM


Views: 24888
Re: [tanyaroy] HOW TO ANSWER: "HOW EXPENSIVE IS SAILING?"


In Reply To
The answer completely depends on the level at which you participate.

Club racing, Competitive racing, casual occasional sailing and many more... there are many ways and types in which you can be involved.


Totally agree. Many of the above have spoken too hard. Not easy to understand.