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14 hours ago, RobbieB said:

CYC-SC is a $25k initiation fee.

I’ve never understood the large, non-refundable ‘initiation fees’ common at many American YCs. They must deter more than a few prospective new members from joining (especially given the transient nature of today’s workforce. Nobody likes wasting their money). Obviously that’s not a problem if you have a long queue of people clamouring to get in, but how many clubs can really say that?

Some YCs claim that their initiation fees represent reasonable contributions towards the value of their fixed assets ... but that rationale falls apart when - as is not infrequently the case - such assets are badly deteriorated, and/or have been renovated through huge loans that have to be paid down via debt amortization (‘capital levy’) payments.

It is a dirty little secret at many YCs that initiation fees are not segregated in a capital improvement/replacement reserve but are used to pay current operating expenses. While that approach may work in the short-term, it is unsustainable, as well as unattractive from the perspective of anyone thinking of joining.

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9 minutes ago, Svanen said:

I’ve never understood the large, non-refundable ‘initiation fees’ common at many American YCs.

We do it to get a better class of people joining. It weeds out much of the riffraff

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30 minutes ago, Svanen said:

I’ve never understood the large, non-refundable ‘initiation fees’ common at many American YCs. They must deter more than a few prospective new members from joining (especially given the transient nature of today’s workforce. Nobody likes wasting their money). Obviously that’s not a problem if you have a long queue of people clamouring to get in, but how many clubs can really say that?

Some YCs claim that their initiation fees represent reasonable contributions towards the value of their fixed assets ... but that rationale falls apart when - as is not infrequently the case - such assets are badly deteriorated, and/or have been renovated through huge loans that have to be paid down via debt amortization (‘capital levy’) payments.

It is a dirty little secret at many YCs that initiation fees are not segregated in a capital improvement/replacement reserve but are used to pay current operating expenses. While that approach may work in the short-term, it is unsustainable, as well as unattractive from the perspective of anyone thinking of joining.

Another name for it is a Ponzie scheme

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18 hours ago, onepointfivethumbs said:

Many, many people seem to be interested in starting sailing, but between cost, time, and accessibility, and not knowing where the fuck to start keeps a lot of potential sailors away.

I don't know about that.  My response is based on a single anecdote, which is not data, but is telling. 

I was at a summer cottage that was located on a very nice lake.  The cottage had a dinghy that had been abandoned for some years.  So, just for fun, I found all the parts, rigged it, put it in the water and went sailing.  It was a pleasant summer day, 5 - 10 kts of wind, the sun was shining, the water was warm.  It was perfect!

A bunch of millenials were lounging on the cottage dock.  I sailed the boat up to the dock and said "Anyone want to learn to sail?  Grab a lifejacket and hop in."  The only effort required was putting down their phones, putting on a life jacket and getting in the boat to try sailing. 

Not one person moved.  

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1 hour ago, bugger said:

I don't know about that.  My response is based on a single anecdote, which is not data, but is telling. 

I was at a summer cottage that was located on a very nice lake.  The cottage had a dinghy that had been abandoned for some years.  So, just for fun, I found all the parts, rigged it, put it in the water and went sailing.  It was a pleasant summer day, 5 - 10 kts of wind, the sun was shining, the water was warm.  It was perfect!

A bunch of millenials were lounging on the cottage dock.  I sailed the boat up to the dock and said "Anyone want to learn to sail?  Grab a lifejacket and hop in."  The only effort required was putting down their phones, putting on a life jacket and getting in the boat to try sailing. 

Not one person moved.  

Optics are a thing, people would run away if you drive around a rusty windowless van and offer leftover halloween candy to children, and some random guy rolling up in a beater dinghy probably didn't pique anyone's interest  [Mods I am not insinuating anything]

Relative to the population sailors in general are a small bunch, so if (generously) 10% of my age cohort has even the slightest interest that's only a pool of about 4,000,000; subtract those who are already sailing and the probability of recruiting bystanders is quite slim.

 

 

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1 hour ago, onepointfivethumbs said:

Optics are a thing, people would run away if you drive around a rusty windowless van and offer leftover halloween candy to children, and some random guy rolling up in a beater dinghy probably didn't pique anyone's interest  [Mods I am not insinuating anything]

It's a cottage.  I was staying at a cottage.  I thought it apparent these millennials were all friends and family of the people who own the cottage.  Not strangers.  

The point still stands that not one of them was interested in sailing.  Not one.  

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1 hour ago, bugger said:

It's a cottage.  I was staying at a cottage.  I thought it apparent these millennials were all friends and family of the people who own the cottage.  Not strangers.  

The point still stands that not one of them was interested in sailing.  Not one.  

Did you consider that none of them had a waterproof case for their phone?

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A somewhat different, but very successful, angle for individuals who want to make a contribution; a sort of one more member at a time approach, although it can be club transforming.

I've been involved in teaching sailing on a volunteer basis for some 25 years. Like most I started with first helping and then organising the club's learn to sail program.

It sort of worked, and was satisfying, but the fact was retention rates were poor, even after I introduced a 'transitional sailing' program designed to let graduates from the LTS keep practicing and just hang around the club until they were motivated to buy a boat or got themselves a crew position. 

My kids grew up and therefore my motivation for teaching juniors and families waned somewhat, especially after our National Body more or less told us they didn't want volunteers trainers for accredited programs, charged us to accredit trainers thus further discouraged volunteers and said should in any case do it completely differently; thus pretty well killing club programs [lets's think about it, do professional trainers - even those contracted with clubs - have any real motivation to say 'right guys, you don't need me any more, time to buy a boat and go club sailing. Go enjoy it.']. 

Anyway I got involved in high performance skiffs in an area with a shortage of crews, but a University and lots of surfers. So I started a program where I taught non sailing millennials (20 to 39yo's) to crew on these boats. A 15 minutes shore drill and they were straight on the water, on the trapeze, playing the main and setting the kite. In other words, straight into the thrilling parts of sailing.

The retention rate is several multiples of any training/ teaching I've done before. The limitation now is finding enough boats to feed them into, even though I'm willing to carry the running cost of an extra boat or two and some of them crew on other boats in the club (even cats!) or buy less high performance ones for themselves.

After two or three years of them crewing, I start teaching them to skipper and give them a (brave) more recently trained crew.

And because the first group came back at the end of the season with the comment 'we know what to do, but not why', during winter I run a very detailed and technical theoretical training course too (because by this time they've had a year of it and in any case they are old enough to take it in).

Here's a link to the Facebook page I run for it https://www.facebook.com/SVs-Mr-Bond-The-Ballina-Skiff-Sail-Training-Group-110226546310465/?view_public_for=110226546310465

Yes, it is one on one training, so resources are limited (but since I'm retired and my kids have grown up, not as limited as they might be).

Surprisingly initially (but not any more), women are the keenest participants, as will be obvious from the FB page. I get more coming through and a higher retention rate with them. A good number of trainees are surfers (who come with good balance and water skills).

The program has transformed the demographics of the club; both by age and gender. And boosted membership too.

 

 

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On 10/30/2019 at 12:20 AM, bugger said:

I don't know about that.  My response is based on a single anecdote, which is not data, but is telling. 

I was at a summer cottage that was located on a very nice lake.  The cottage had a dinghy that had been abandoned for some years.  So, just for fun, I found all the parts, rigged it, put it in the water and went sailing.  It was a pleasant summer day, 5 - 10 kts of wind, the sun was shining, the water was warm.  It was perfect!

A bunch of millenials were lounging on the cottage dock.  I sailed the boat up to the dock and said "Anyone want to learn to sail?  Grab a lifejacket and hop in."  The only effort required was putting down their phones, putting on a life jacket and getting in the boat to try sailing. 

Not one person moved.  

there you have your reason.  They would have reacted the same way if you asked them to go on a bushwalk or bike ride.

 

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On 10/29/2019 at 8:20 AM, bugger said:

I don't know about that.  My response is based on a single anecdote, which is not data, but is telling. 

I was at a summer cottage that was located on a very nice lake.  The cottage had a dinghy that had been abandoned for some years.  So, just for fun, I found all the parts, rigged it, put it in the water and went sailing.  It was a pleasant summer day, 5 - 10 kts of wind, the sun was shining, the water was warm.  It was perfect!

A bunch of millenials were lounging on the cottage dock.  I sailed the boat up to the dock and said "Anyone want to learn to sail?  Grab a lifejacket and hop in."  The only effort required was putting down their phones, putting on a life jacket and getting in the boat to try sailing. 

Not one person moved.  

Nothing like a cottage on a lake, with a sailboat tied to the dock, begging for a sail. 

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We're in our early-mid 30s, own a J/105, actively "race" it (12-15 regattas a year, we're in the bottom 1/5th every time), interested in joining a club in San Francisco, I think the fees for the clubs here are :

  • St Francis: Five figure$
  • GGYC: Mid four figure$
  • Bayview Boat Club: Probably the club with the most character in the city, no idea what their fees are but their dock only has 4' draft at high tide

The admiral and I both have great jobs, we have a boat we actively race for several seasons now, that would make us the ideal members, active sailing members, not just social members; but joining a local club is not in the cards right now, almost entirely due to high initiation fees. That pretty much locks us out of socializing with other members of the boating community (outside of raft-up events like GVR) and finding crew that we don't need to train up from scratch.

OYC and EYC in the Alameda Estuary, we saw they had a membership drive tent up at the boat event last month, that's great to see. I think their initiation fees are under $1200 which is somewhat reasonable. EYC looks like a great club especially for kids with that giant pool but they are about an hour's drive from the city each way over the bridge even though they are 7 miles away.

I grew up in a sailing family, was able to actively crew and eventually afford my own boat, but initiation fees are locking us out of taking the next step that lets us recruit the next generation of sailors. The lack of off-the-water boaters events makes it hard to even network with club members to get the invite to join which makes it a harder sell to the admiral.

Looking at Regatta Pro winter series, right now 7/37 (almost 20%) of skippers are either registered as N/A club affiliation, or SSS. Sausalito YC recently added a double-hander class to their winter series which is open to all. If yacht clubs are critical to the sailing ecosystem, initiation fees are definitely a major problem.

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I figure some pictures tell a thousand words, so to trace the journey of just one student -

What has become the traditional shore drill welcome photo (not sure if this will all be in order when posted).

 

To her second ever sail in about 15 knots

To a beautiful shot of her a year later, crewing in a very professionally looking manner, for another of the students who has now moved into skippering.

 

IMG_0477.JPG

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12 years ago we began a now popular program of racing club owned boats at Gibson Island Yacht Squadron in Maryland. The boats we chose a nice sailing classics - the International 210 class. They are 30' long but seem more like 24 'and sail beautifully with blade jibs. They are shallow draft  (3', 10" but stable.) and have nice cockpit seats. The skinny, easily driven hulls are very light so only a small rig is needed. The real selling point is that we were able to find a lot of relatively inexpensive boats and after putting a lot of sweat equity into them were able to establish an 8 boat fleet.

They are 3 person boats but as we all know, if you ever got everyone to show up it would be a miracle. So dues for the fleet are based on signing up approximately 6 members / boat. That works very well (in fact we are usually light on crews to fill the boats and could expand the number of members). So we charge $500. per member and we get $24,000. a year to maintain and purchase the boats (pay back original purchasers) and to buy better boats. Moorings are donated by the Club. 

WE sail in sort of a "Sandlot" style where we choose up teams from whoever shows up each Sunday. Works pretty well as you get to sail with new people and that generates a nice comradery. 

This program has had a big part in re invigorating our Clubs sailing program. 

210broom20151.JPG

210broom20152.JPG

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These kids have put their phones away and are out racing round robin races in 40degree weather on the 20 new FJ’s and the 420’s a bunch of Optis. 

Their parents are dumb enough to sit around watching their kids participating in a dying sport. 

It’s good to see this much activity in the youth sailing scene around here

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5 hours ago, justsomeguy! said:

Someone might benefit from reading the US flag code.

But I like seeing the burgee flying above the stars and bars.

image.jpeg

Yes, I think you definitely would benefit from reading basic flag etiquette.

FYI, the American flag is flying from the jackstaff, which is the premier place of honour, the burgee is flying from the masthead on a pig stick, exactly where it’s supposed to be. 

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13 hours ago, justsomeguy! said:

Someone might benefit from reading the US flag code.

But I like seeing the burgee flying above the stars and bars.

image.jpeg

Umm, that's not the stars and bars.

And flying the national flag from the gaff is 100% kosher, at least according to the US Navy and Chapman. For a mast on shore, the gaff should be pointed AWAY from the sea, on the assumption that if it were on a vessel then the bow would be pointed toward the sea.

Flag ettiquette is kind of a dead language

FB- Doug

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10 minutes ago, justsomeguy! said:
14 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

Umm, that's not the stars and bars.

Once again I find my ignorance displayed for all. Back to "no flags at all".

I apologize for causing bad feelings. I'm just trying to help!

FB- Doug

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Well, cribbed from the pages of that "other" sailing website, yet another example of "Build it and they will come".  Simply adding couple shitty old beater boats to a community sailing program is kickstarting yet another non-descript yacht club in another no-name location.  Great work fellas...and thanks to Scuttlebutt for publishing (apologies to Scooter)

https://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2019/11/10/forgotten-boats-are-now-the-rock-stars/ 

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8 hours ago, JimBowie said:

Well, cribbed from the pages of that "other" sailing website, yet another example of "Build it and they will come".  Simply adding couple shitty old beater boats to a community sailing program is kickstarting yet another non-descript yacht club in another no-name location.  Great work fellas...and thanks to Scuttlebutt for publishing (apologies to Scooter)

https://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2019/11/10/forgotten-boats-are-now-the-rock-stars/ 

Hmm, I'm very interested in this because we're working on starting a community sailing program here. But this little detail does not sound good... 17' Oday Daysailers were too tippy and capsized too often? Sounds like they need some sailing instructors that actually know how to sail.

FB- Doug

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On 11/4/2019 at 2:56 PM, Hadlock said:

We're in our early-mid 30s, own a J/105, actively "race" it (12-15 regattas a year, we're in the bottom 1/5th every time), interested in joining a club in San Francisco, I think the fees for the clubs here are :

  • GGYC: Mid four figure$

As I said previously, there is “lots of misinformation and misperceptions out there about the high cost of club memberships”.

GGYC is an unpretentious place, and its fees are NOT “mid four figure$”. The dues for a family membership (regular member and spouse/partner) are $150/month = $1,800 per year. That information is easily accessible on the club’s website, if you had bothered to check rather than guessing.

On 11/4/2019 at 2:56 PM, Hadlock said:

The admiral and I both have great jobs, we have a boat we actively race for several seasons now, that would make us the ideal members, active sailing members, not just social members; but joining a local club is not in the cards right now, almost entirely due to high initiation fees.

I grew up in a sailing family, was able to actively crew and eventually afford my own boat, but initiation fees are locking us out of taking the next step that lets us recruit the next generation of sailors....

 If yacht clubs are critical to the sailing ecosystem, initiation fees are definitely a major problem.

 

41lbTmBG6iL._SX466_.jpg

The initiation fee at GGYC is currently $2,500. That amount should be manageable for any couple with “great jobs”.

If you simply don’t want to pay initiation dues, I don’t blame you: IMO they are an outdated concept. But please don’t pretend that a one-time fee of $2,500 is some sort of insurmountable obstacle; it is a rounding error compared to the other costs of owning and racing your J/105.

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On 10/28/2019 at 8:37 PM, onepointfivethumbs said:

The Junior Sailing pipeline has worked for a very long time

^^^ Has it? ^^^

Many YCs devote a large share of resources to their ‘junior programs’, without much ROI (relatively few youngsters subsequently go on to become club members).

A model that may work better is the ‘academy’, targeting sailors in their late teens to mid 20s and offering a path to competitive keelboat racing. Most academicians join their respective clubs and continue to sail as they age out of these programs.

Some academies are well-funded and provide organized training programs, e.g.:

Royal London (Etchells)

Royal Thames (Fireflies, J/70s, J/80s)

Others are a bit more casual, e.g.:

Royal Southern (access to J/70s)

Royal Temple (IRC racing on members’ boats)

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22 hours ago, Svanen said:

Many YCs devote a large share of resources to their ‘junior programs’, without much ROI (relatively few youngsters subsequently go on to become club members).

A model that may work better is the ‘academy’, targeting sailors in their late teens to mid 20s and offering a path to competitive keelboat racing. Most academicians join their respective clubs and continue to sail as they age out of these programs.

I think a fairly significant percentage of [racing] sailors are alumnae of their local juniors pipeline. Nearly every Olympian, America's Cup, Volvo and Vendee crew went through their nation's variant of learn to sail, learn to race, race locally, etc. Whether they remain members of their juniors club is immaterial.

Is it the sole answer to grow the sport? Probably not, but it is certainly one angle to attack.

The 'academy' or 'training center' or 'apprenticeship' model works well also, provided there is the initial interest that leads people to seek out the programs in the first place.

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I recommend Bob Perry’s review of the Tartan 245 in Sailing Magazine.  It has some answers.  

Let me repeat an earlier thought; for an analogy we don’t teach brand new beginning skiers on Black Diamond runs.  Where are the boats for adults to learn sailing? Vipers are fun, but we need more Ideal 18’s

Another thought, a quote from Randy Pausch, one of the finest educators who ever lived

“When one learns the basics, the hard stuff comes easy”

You can’t learn the basics, when you are hanging on for dear life (in a Very High Performance sailboat.)  

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16 hours ago, Santana20AE said:

Let me repeat an earlier thought; for an analogy we don’t teach brand new beginning skiers on Black Diamond runs.  Where are the boats for adults to learn sailing? Vipers are fun, but we need more Ideal 18’s.

Totally agree.

Colgate 26, Harbor 20, Catalina Capri 22 are a few other options.

16 hours ago, Santana20AE said:

You can’t learn the basics, when you are hanging on for dear life (in a Very High Performance sailboat.)  

+1. Whenever students are in ‘survival mode’, learning is effectively impossible.

Virtually everyone has to learn to walk before they can run. And ‘baby steps’ are especially appropriate for ab initio students.

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17 hours ago, Santana20AE said:

  

Let me repeat an earlier thought; for an analogy we don’t teach brand new beginning skiers on Black Diamond runs.  Where are the boats for adults to learn sailing? Vipers are fun, but we need more Ideal 18’s

..................................................................

21 hours ago, onepointfivethumbs said:

The 'academy' or 'training center' or 'apprenticeship' model works well also, provided there is the initial interest that leads people to seek out the programs in the first place.

You can’t learn the basics, when you are hanging on for dear life (in a Very High Performance sailboat.)  

Having taught extensively (if voluntarily) for 25 years under both what might be regarded as a training center model and and a high performance model, I'd say both these statements are simplistic and might cause you to miss real opportunities to expand sailing.

The practical problem with training academies is their ultimately low retention rate. How many of the students go through to graduate from training programs to finally become boat owners/ regular crew in small or large racing boats (or even just independent sailors). You can keep them involved by running extension training programs forever, but as a way of enlarging club fleets?

And as for adults, it's hopeless. They either learn quickly but learn to become bored or never quite get it and give up. The middle ground is very small.

Medium term (2 year) retention rates no doubt vary, but often 5% is a good result.

Take young adults and teach them in a high performance boat. Retention rate - admitedly of a smaller number - 50%. In fact the main limitation has become sourcing suitable boats and matching them with skippers needing crew for the year or two it takes for them to be uptrained as skippers to continue the expansion. Why, because they can see the excitement in the sport. It might not be for everyone, but that self selects fairly quickly.

 

 

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As I keep saying, our reputation has killed us.

Last week on WGN radio in Chicago (50,000 watt am talk radio reaches Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana and further), 3 people in the studio were reading from a website of gifts for Christmas that are "to do" vs. tchotchke (all the useless crap people buy and put on shelves and stick in closets).  Many were discussed.  You can race a Lamborghini for $380 an hour, or a Ferrari for a mere $315 an hour, learn to fly a helicopter with the first hour $460, or go on a brew pub tour for $65, or a premiere food restaurant tour of $125, or Kayaking in the Chicago river for $50, or, or, or.  Sometimes the talkers would say they had done one of these and commented that they enjoyed it.

Then the guy said, "You can go out on Lake Michigan with Chicago Sailing," the other guy said, "That will be expensive."  Then they went on described other activities.  No price, no follow up, no description of what it is. They "let it hang" that sailing is "expensive" and obviously too expensive to even discuss.

Yup, we have told the public too many times, "If you have to ask, you can afford it." BOAT? Break Out Another Thousand.

But flying a helicopter for $460 an hour is very affordable.

We have found the enemy, and the enemy is us.

Fuck me.

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