Jun 19, 2009, 11:23 AM
Post #60 of 64
Re: [Glenn McCarthy] If I were president of US SAILING, I would....
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8. Here is a big project for the sport. Simply what it does is standardizes the quality of the experience of racing. When I go event to event, I never know what to expect, as a result my expectations are low. Even repeating the same event from year to year, there is no way to know what you will get. While US SAILING has created all sorts of manuals for the pieces and parts of sailboat racing, it has missed the target by not creating the regatta managers manual. I see this manual with three tiers. Tier 1 is for national and international events. Tier 2 is for regional events. Tier 3 is for club events. Every person put in charge of any event needs to read this manual. It would cover everything. How to appoint race officials (and make the manager aware of the US SAILING manuals associated to it), how to do good web reporting (results and stories), meals available, how to set up parties and socials (which must be a part of any race), how to rent dance bands, coordinate guest housing at members homes, registration set up, etc. etc. etc. Once written, a club could advertise that they are running a Tier 2 event, which would have a "minimum" set of standards (food service, parties, good web reports going out, etc.) and I would then know what to expect from the event. The printed document all sailors see today is the NOR and SIs which advise that none of the stuff mentioned above should be included in them. So race managers leave out the social information in their advertisements and just use the NOR and SIs to promote their events. The sport needs to be fun, if not, people will go to Six Flags, Disney World, Weddings, Weekend Getaways, etc. We are competing against many other aspects of peoples time. If we don't start advertising the social end of events, and only advertise the racing aspect of the events, we will get what we are getting today - less participation. We need to revert to the old days of bringing back the fun and advertising it.
From Mark Schneider:
Interesting point of view and you assign the responsibility to the Yacht Club for the racing and social event and want to grade them as tier 1, 2, or 3 in order to manage sailor expectations according to USSA standards.
Yacht clubs are volunteer organizations that are reciprocating racing privileges with clubs in their area and they do the best they can. I would think that standards established from on high and then grading the YCís efforts on the event would not be seen as welcome. Moreover, a Yacht Club can only manage the facilities that make a social event happen. I think you are missing the real cause of the problems. Your point about expectations is on target: When your expectations are low you canít be upset about what you actually get but your ultimate satisfaction can be limited. Worse, you donít have a reason to schedule the time the following year. Anticipation of the event is a big factor in peopleís appreciation of the regatta.
It seems to me that the fundamental element to reorient is the class management (or lack thereof) and not the Yacht Club. For example, YCís take last yearís NOR and relist the class starts. It does not matter if only two boats raced in PHRF C last year. The result is another dull race for two different boats and no social event and no reason to waste your time showing up next year. Do you blame the YC or do you blame the PHRF C class?
IMO, USSA needs to set some standards up for this class management issue at the local level. USSA must address the expectations game for both racing, (number of boats on the line) and social scene and support their RSAís and YCís in having each class (Handicap or OD) take ownership of the FUN factor. USSA and the RSA could take the leadership on these issues and recommended that Yacht Clubs cancel or not offer starts to classes that donít measure up. The YC would then be able to tell a class ďSorry, we are rolling you into the non spin class or refunding your entry fee because you did not measure upĒ. Forcing a class (Handicap or OD) to generate a consensus and commit to a racing schedule and take ownership of their social event will go a long way to fixing weekend racing. Responsible classes get to choose which events and parties to attend and how often they race as a class etc.
USSA could set the standards and support the RSAís and Yacht clubs in holding the handicap and OD classes to a standard of viability. Low expectations result in the decline of the sport. They are not the basis of a phoenix like rebirth of the sport.