JimBowie

Paradigm Shift...or Same Ole Same Ole?

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We all know the system.  Been in place since at least the 80s heydays.  Old guy with enough $$$ buys the boat, sails, beer, crew apparel, etc.  Youthful talent seeking easy gig clambers on-board to pull strings, reap rewards.  Old guy gets older, crew gets bored, fades away.  Old guy finally throws in the towel, joins his golfing buddies he always swore to never do.  Pool of available ride shrinks, numbers of crew shrinks, regatta attendance shrinks, whole scene stinks.  Not exactly sustainable model for another generation or two.

Then.  Something new arrives.  A professional sailing league.  A fleet of cheaply-had club boats, like the RS-21, becomes available to former crew whores seeking own stick to wiggle (without the Daddy Warbucks wallet).  New blood is infused into the old body of sailing.  Regatta participation slowly creeps upward.  Social events become worth attending once more.  Local PHRF lords have conniption fits as they losing control over the former hodge-podge of shitboxes and their most-favored-son gift ratings.  Now the platforms are all the same.  The club makes fleet purchases of sails.  All the same.  No need to hire former Corinthian gods, cum sail sell-reps.  The Sun Also Rises...

So.  Which version is it gonna be?  Old.  Or. New?

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I have thought for a long time that a 'JOG' class for offshore sailing based upon this model would be a really good thing. Is it better or worse that the race takes a day longer and is more epic because you are in smaller, slower boats?

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Sadly....I fear...Old.

"Cheap" is a relative thing....time is tighter than ever.....professional leagues are driven by $$'s.....YA's hate start ups threatening their dominance.....WS wont sanction or support anything that threatens "Lympic pathways"....clubs are parochial...the list is long....

But I deeply wish I was wrong.....

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34 minutes ago, Leeroy Jenkins said:

I thought this thread was about a certain Canadian's boat.... 

Say what?

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Well even the aRSe salesman described the 21 to me as a shitter for old geezers... However I understand the point you're trying to make.

 

I believe that model one will continue indefinitely.  When the old guy first buys his boat he doesn't realise he's an old guy, he still thinks that he's a young guy who's made his money quick enough to buy a boat and still be involved.

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Shoot me already. I see small, incremental changes here and there.  By in large though, same old same old.  Hate to see it shrink, along with everything else!

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How about a club team racing league...    each club hosts x number of events and provides the boats..  round robin through the clubs a couple of times..  the rivalry between clubs drives the competition and interest..    doesn't have to be pro..  

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More like the boat gets bigger proportional to the owner's income, holds at a certain size and then is downsized as the joys of writing the big checks and dealing with crews fades. 

We have a lot of fun racing local PHRF in a non-spinnaker fleet, it's a "small pond" but we have our fun beating up on the sloops. 

Moving up to the spinnaker fleet and racing boats that are 55 yrs younger can always be done, but doesn't appeal. 

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It occurs to me that this is a piece of a topic that's been bandied about here several times, i.e., "What can we do to increase participation in our beloved sport sailing?" I wouldn't be too surprised if folks that loved chariot racing and jousting had somewhat similar concerns and conversations in days gone by. Sport popularity seems to ebb and flow - there's similar teeth gnashing going on about tennis in the US. Sailing in France seems fairly healthy, but in the US the financial and time investments required, coupled with the large array of alternative sports to participate in and watch have kind of choked off the supply of fresh blood I think. I've wondered about the impact of video gaming on sports participation. I'd guess that sailing will go on as a specialized sport, enjoyed by many, but followed and participated in by a small percentage of the population. Foiling may rope in a few more spectators and young participants. 100 years ago competitive rowing (crew) was immensely popular and closely followed in newspapers. It's still going strong actually, but these days it's a niche sport in the grand scheme of things...

Old crew.jpg

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I thought that sports boats were going to draw tremendous interest and crowds of enthusiastic young sailors

No wait, it was foiling.... foiling boats were going to draw tremendous interest and crowds of enthusiastic young sailors

Hmmm

FB- Doug

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Like all things, money is required.

At my home club, CBYC in Los Angeles, we have our own marina that we built, with a couple of hundred slips. That means the club has a reliable and substantial revenue stream.

So we have very good and frequent social events, with live music once or twice a week year round. It’s such a fun social scene that we attract and retain social members who don’t own boats!

Also, the club has been able to successfully navigate the relentless movement to powerboats. CBYC used to be by far the most active sail racing club that hosted more than half of all races on the SCYA calendar, and still hosts several high profile, well run races per year. Our “Cruiser Club” has at least a dozen cruises per year. And the junior program has hundreds of different kids through the summer school vacation. 

So while the original 100% focus on sail racing has faded somewhat, the activity within the club is much higher than when it was so focused.

Summary: Still plenty of interest in sailing, but things do change. Having sufficient revenue enables the necessary change.

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22 hours ago, sugarbird said:

It occurs to me that this is a piece of a topic that's been bandied about here several times, i.e., "What can we do to increase participation in our beloved sport sailing?" I wouldn't be too surprised if folks that loved chariot racing and jousting had somewhat similar concerns and conversations in days gone by. Sport popularity seems to ebb and flow - there's similar teeth gnashing going on about tennis in the US. Sailing in France seems fairly healthy, but in the US the financial and time investments required, coupled with the large array of alternative sports to participate in and watch have kind of choked off the supply of fresh blood I think. I've wondered about the impact of video gaming on sports participation. I'd guess that sailing will go on as a specialized sport, enjoyed by many, but followed and participated in by a small percentage of the population. Foiling may rope in a few more spectators and young participants. 100 years ago competitive rowing (crew) was immensely popular and closely followed in newspapers. It's still going strong actually, but these days it's a niche sport in the grand scheme of things...

Old crew.jpg

I often wonder how much the crash in the popularity of rowing had to do with the switch to "wager boats" or "shells". Lots of people used to row around; did the sport's shift to specialised racing craft mean that the average Joe could no longer appreciate the sport? Was it going to fade away anyway as powerboats hit the scene?

Down in Oz some sports historians reckon that race fixing and the problem of making rowing a real spectator sport killed off professional rowing. Certainly the latter is still a problem for sailing, and basically always will be until they run it in enclosed stadiums

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21 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

I thought that sports boats were going to draw tremendous interest and crowds of enthusiastic young sailors

No wait, it was foiling.... foiling boats were going to draw tremendous interest and crowds of enthusiastic young sailors

Hmmm

FB- Doug

And before that, it was skiffs.....and high performance cats before that.....and the ProSail series, and the Ultimate Yacht Race, and Formula 40.

Ever since the sport started to chase ways to draw crowds, it's lost popularity.

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1 minute ago, Curious said:

And before that, it was skiffs.....and high performance cats before that.....and the ProSail series, and the Ultimate Yacht Race, and Formula 40.

Ever since the sport started to chase ways to draw crowds, it's lost popularity.

I have wondered about this too. I can watch old AC racing or modern TP-52's and imagine myself in those situations making those decisions on my boat. The foiling boats not so much. I don't dislike the foiling boats racing and will find a way to watch the upcoming AC races, but it probably will not make me want to go jump on my boat and go out for a sail. 

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On 10/2/2019 at 12:32 PM, JimBowie said:

We all know the system.  Been in place since at least the 80s heydays.  Old guy with enough $$$ buys the boat, sails, beer, crew apparel, etc.  Youthful talent seeking easy gig clambers on-board to pull strings, reap rewards.  Old guy gets older, crew gets bored, fades away.  Old guy finally throws in the towel, joins his golfing buddies he always swore to never do.  Pool of available ride shrinks, numbers of crew shrinks, regatta attendance shrinks, whole scene stinks.  Not exactly sustainable model for another generation or two.

Then.  Something new arrives.  A professional sailing league.  A fleet of cheaply-had club boats, like the RS-21, becomes available to former crew whores seeking own stick to wiggle (without the Daddy Warbucks wallet).  New blood is infused into the old body of sailing.  Regatta participation slowly creeps upward.  Social events become worth attending once more.  Local PHRF lords have conniption fits as they losing control over the former hodge-podge of shitboxes and their most-favored-son gift ratings.  Now the platforms are all the same.  The club makes fleet purchases of sails.  All the same.  No need to hire former Corinthian gods, cum sail sell-reps.  The Sun Also Rises...

So.  Which version is it gonna be?  Old.  Or. New?

Actually, that's not really "the system" everywhere. In times and places where the sport was doing well, the system was that guys with average $$$ would buy the boat and sails. Their crew would buy the beer and crew apparel. The "old guy with enough $$$" was not dragging crew away from the guy with fewer bucks but more talent, and not pricing the scene out of the reach of the crew themselves, who could go out and buy their own boat like many of us did when I were a lad.

A "professional sailing league", depending on definition, is not a new idea but one about 170 years old. It's never been really sustainable in a large scale. Even the notion that most clubs could own a fleet of "cheap" boats shows how our sport has become fixated on a big-dollar model; I've never been a member of a club that could afford such a thing.

Why not a new system where people just go out and buy dinghies, beach cats and small yachts and race their own boat, and the industry concentrates on selling the sport to the typical person instead of rich guys and rich clubs?

 

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2 hours ago, Curious said:

Why not a new system where people just go out and buy dinghies, beach cats and small yachts and race their own boat, and the industry concentrates on selling the sport to the typical person instead of rich guys and rich clubs?

 

 

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4 hours ago, Curious said:
On 10/7/2019 at 7:41 AM, Steam Flyer said:

I thought that sports boats were going to draw tremendous interest and crowds of enthusiastic young sailors

No wait, it was foiling.... foiling boats were going to draw tremendous interest and crowds of enthusiastic young sailors

Hmmm

And before that, it was skiffs.....and high performance cats before that.....and the ProSail series, and the Ultimate Yacht Race, and Formula 40.

Ever since the sport started to chase ways to draw crowds, it's lost popularity.

I dunno if it's the chasing of crowds, I tend to think it's shifting patterns of economics and access. In the US in the 1960s, there was a huge wave of movement away from working waterfronts with all sorts of business from small shippers to fish shacks, and all this area became almost free waterfront suitable for boats. More public parks with launch ramps, docks, and beaches.

Now all that is going away. Waterfront property is the preserve of the wealthy. Access is more limited. Less leisure time, plus a shift in culture away from traditional, difficult and demanding activities. Less outdoor activity of all types, and what there is left has become professionalized.

Personally I'm fighting it by doing this: http://nbnjrotc-sail.blogspot.com/ but it seems to have relatively slight effect other than on the individuals participating. Note that the boats involved are dumpy little work-wagons.

FB- Doug

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On 10/1/2019 at 10:32 PM, JimBowie said:

We all know the system.  Been in place since at least the 80s heydays.  Old guy with enough $$$ buys the boat, sails, beer, crew apparel, etc.  Youthful talent seeking easy gig clambers on-board to pull strings, reap rewards.  Old guy gets older, crew gets bored, fades away.  Old guy finally throws in the towel, joins his golfing buddies he always swore to never do.  Pool of available ride shrinks, numbers of crew shrinks, regatta attendance shrinks, whole scene stinks.  Not exactly sustainable model for another generation or two.

Then.  Something new arrives.  A professional sailing league.  A fleet of cheaply-had club boats, like the RS-21, becomes available to former crew whores seeking own stick to wiggle (without the Daddy Warbucks wallet).  New blood is infused into the old body of sailing.  Regatta participation slowly creeps upward.  Social events become worth attending once more.  Local PHRF lords have conniption fits as they losing control over the former hodge-podge of shitboxes and their most-favored-son gift ratings.  Now the platforms are all the same.  The club makes fleet purchases of sails.  All the same.  No need to hire former Corinthian gods, cum sail sell-reps.  The Sun Also Rises...

So.  Which version is it gonna be?  Old.  Or. New?

You are making a LARGE assumption there is some large pool of might-be racers waiting for the right class. There are a TON of cheap boats around right now no one is racing anymore and the "PHRF hodgepodge" you all seem to being your best to kill off got more sailors and boats on the line than everything that has come since - combined.

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35 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

You are making a LARGE assumption there is some large pool of might-be racers waiting for the right class. There are a TON of cheap boats around right now no one is racing anymore and the "PHRF hodgepodge" you all seem to being your best to kill off got more sailors and boats on the line than everything that has come since - combined.

^ truth ^

But those boats are aging and need injections of money and skilled labor. Same thing that is a barrier to entry fro sailing in small boats: cheap but not sailable boats are taken up by newbies who might at first think wow it's less $$ than I thought. Then they either realize that th eboat needs fixing-up and it's difficult & precarious in it's current state. They either give up or they start spending money then give up.

FB- Doug

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On 10/8/2019 at 2:04 AM, danstanford said:

I have wondered about this too. I can watch old AC racing or modern TP-52's and imagine myself in those situations making those decisions on my boat. The foiling boats not so much. I don't dislike the foiling boats racing and will find a way to watch the upcoming AC races, but it probably will not make me want to go jump on my boat and go out for a sail. 

It sounds like you have never tried Ice or Land Sailing.
I have never done Ice because I hate the cold. Sometimes in the desert it gets pretty cold.

But like I have said before, Once you go 40knts around the leeward mark, your perspective on sailing will change forever.
Also, you learn that a  second of hesitation will cost the race. Decisions and reactions have to be quick at 30 to 50 knts of speed when you get a 2 degree shift , if you can even detect it. Some can, some can't. I used knts because my speed puck goes from my boat to my Blokart and I do not want to change the settings. Those are the speeds the little ones make. The winged craft I posted earlier is capable of 90 to 100 mph, imagine that. Bring some extra undies.

I can picture my self, in a Superfioler because it is smaller, maybe not in an F50. And I also love watching the old 12 meter and ACC monos race. Sail changes are part of sailing, the starts are fun and the tactics are much different.

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On 10/8/2019 at 9:36 AM, kent_island_sailor said:

You are making a LARGE assumption there is some large pool of might-be racers waiting for the right class. There are a TON of cheap boats around right now no one is racing anymore and the "PHRF hodgepodge" you all seem to being your best to kill off got more sailors and boats on the line than everything that has come since - combined.

You got it all assbackwards.  I didn't mention killing anything.  I've proudly raced PHRF my entire 36 year career.  In fact, I plan to studiously avoid high level one design since too many damn pros spoil the class.

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