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Forum Index: .: Dock Talk:
How to Make Sailboat Racing Work for More People
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Chris Woods
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Sep 13, 2006, 8:20 AM

Post #1 of 8 (12186 views)
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Frederic Berg's letter in Monday's (9/11) Scuttlebutt, seems to hit the nail on the head in so many ways:

If we’re really intent on increasing participation, then our focus should be on creating demand. Let's start where demand starts - with our youth. If we were to refocus 50% of our current overall US Sailing effort on creating programs for middle school and high school students that are not associated with yacht clubs, the result in ten years would be astonishing, in twenty years we would be scratching our heads saying "what were we thinking?!"

A basic set of rules these new youth converts can take with them for the rest of their lives to which ever fleet or class they participate in would give everyone a common fiber to weave interest and friendship. Anyone who thinks the rules are simple now should poll their fleets members on what they would do when approaching the windward mark with three boats on starboard and three on port within three boat lengths of each other.



Chris
NYYC Team Racing




SailTrim
*****

Sep 14, 2006, 10:48 AM

Post #2 of 8 (12164 views)
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I sure hope more folks pipe in on this one (thank you Chris). So . . if someone where to have a drafted out campign idea who's whole focus was to introduce non-sailing youth to the sport of sailing . . who would you first send this too?

SailTrim

www.sailtrim.org


baublesailor
**

Oct 20, 2006, 5:22 PM

Post #3 of 8 (12032 views)
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When attempting to interest folks in anything with which they were not familiar, I have always found the KISS system (Keep It Sweet and Simple) worked best to suck them in.

Sailboat racing rules and regulations for youngsters are anything but sweet or simple.

The voluminous bible of the sea, "The Rules of the Road" can be condensed to two words: "avoid collisions".

Why not develop a class rule that says just that; avoid collisions. If you have a clean start and finish first, you win. If, at any point, you hit another boat, you're disqualified. The kids will have no trouble understanding that and will quickly adapt, adopt, absorb, and adjust to it.

A quote attributed to General George S. Patton is, ""Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." Who am I to argue with "Old Blood and Guts"?


Surfer
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Nov 15, 2006, 3:01 PM

Post #4 of 8 (11904 views)
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The Rules of Yacht Racing have evolved over centuries out of necessity. Dumbing down racing rules will only hurt the young sailors as they try to progress into the more 'serious' fleets and races.

I feel the focus should be in developing fast/fun/affordable/simple single & double hand'ers making the sport of yacht racing accessible and motivating for young people to participate in.

For me, the complexity of the racing rules is a positive, not a negative, because it allows for the resolution of complex situations and reduces the likelihood of blatant unfairness by overly aggressive racers.

Just my opinion...YMMV.

-Surfer


Frederic
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Nov 17, 2006, 1:45 AM

Post #5 of 8 (11880 views)
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Thank you Chris, for starting this thread. I agree that the rules have evolved over time due to aggressive use of the rules. Corinthian sailors of days past were more interested in winning in the water than in the protest room and chose not to push the rules envelope. The stakes however are being raised with professionalism introduced to the sport and with it pressure on the rules envelope. I question the wisdom in subjecting new entrants to our sport with the full brunt of rules written to accommodate highly competitive and sophisticated professionals. Can’t we find a middle ground with out dumbing the rules down to the point of anarchy on the first day out?

Here’s a simple start:

Rule no. 1) no hitting other boats, obstructions or otherwise causing damage to your boat.
Rule no. 2) if the wind is coming from the right side of the boat you have right of way over boats that do not have the wind coming from the right side of the boat.
Rule no. 3) a boat in front has right of way over a boat behind it.
Rule no. 4) a boat to leeward has right of way over a boat to windward.
Rule no. 5) never cause a boat to violate Rule no. 1.
Rule no. 6) if you haven’t caught up to the boat in front of you by the time it is ready to go around a mark, go outside of it.

As the days pass by an instructor could bring meaning to what “in front of” or “ready to go around the mark”, etc. as appropriate and introduce higher level rules concepts as his charges progress.

Frederic Berg
Kaneohe Yacht Club


baublesailor
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Nov 19, 2006, 7:22 AM

Post #6 of 8 (11848 views)
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I understand your ties to the traditional past. However, if one looks at the current crop of kids, one must concede that they are anything but traditionalists.

In their world of instant everything, made possible by the miracle of modern electronics, they quickly sense the shortest route between points "A" and "B". Anything percieved as extraneous or an impediment to their progress is immediately ignored or shunted aside.

You can't get these kids on your terms. They respond solely on their own terms.


PaulK
****


Nov 20, 2006, 2:54 PM

Post #7 of 8 (11836 views)
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If one is trying to increase participation by focusing on Middle and High school youth, perahps we would do well to emulate ISSA. (http://www.highschoolsailingusa.org/ ) They focus on high school sailing and have, it appears, constantly growing numbers of fleets and teams competing. They do not do it by creating new versions of the RRS. They seem to do it by making sailing look fun, competitive, and (by the way) co-ed. Wonder why they're doing so well...





trough
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Nov 22, 2006, 5:05 AM

Post #8 of 8 (11812 views)
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Yeah, it looks like the HS sailing scene is doing well. Seems around here it is parents drive to add to low-season use of YC facilities that is the trick. Not sure where these kids go in the Summer.

How do you see the process for sailors today?

Opti->laser/blueJay->HS - College...?

Where are the entry points and is there a set path forward that someone from the outside can understand?


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