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What is “grassroots” sailing?


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There has been some debate over what constitutes the grassroots in sailing. In my opinion I would consider this the local club scene. Evening racing, club regattas and the like. You?

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Grass roots generally means leading up to something "better" so I'd agree with Bill5. Although there are club members who don't compete but can take part in or use any  facilities and events.

Non racing , is a pastime that doesn't normally lead to anything else.

Also with grass roots I'd say my club is a perfect example. The club is entirely voluntary manned, no paid staff, no non sailing related facilities. No commercial bar, but we have a bar when we have social occasions. We have our accredited sailing school, again volunteer manned. We've run sailing trips for a school for the disabled , The club is currently reorganising to be a registered charity.. 

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49 minutes ago, ojfd said:

Exclude racing from that, it's not obligatory. Just sailing, socializing and learning sailing skills. IMO, any sort of competition tends to produce tension between some club members.

That’s a very interesting point of view and it’s a view some yacht owners in the uk would agree with , as they think of sailing as a pastime not a sport. 

 

 

BUT as far as dinghy scene in the uk goes, racing is the main reason the clubs exist .

Yes our clubs do other things, training , social sailing , social events even paddle boarding .

But none of these things would happen if there was no racing .
The bottom line is , our dinghy clubs exist to provide dinghy racing .

 

I would say grass roots sailing is all sailing up to and including open meetings .

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11 hours ago, Bill5 said:

There has been some debate over what constitutes the grassroots in sailing. In my opinion I would consider this the local club scene. Evening racing, club regattas and the like. You?

Not what I mean by grass roots.  To me grass roots is everything that ILCA is not (presently) and everything Laser used to be back in the day. To me grass roots sailing is affordable and robust boats, and easily accessible racing.  Its fun and not bureaucratic.  Not mired in class or club politics.  Its controlled from the bottom up and not the top down. Hobie cats used to have it as near perfect as anything I have ever seen or done in the sailing world.  . 

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1 hour ago, Wess said:

Not what I mean by grass roots.  To me grass roots is everything that ILCA is not (presently) and everything Laser used to be back in the day. To me grass roots sailing is affordable and robust boats, and easily accessible racing.  Its fun and not bureaucratic.  Not mired in class or club politics.  Its controlled from the bottom up and not the top down. Hobie cats used to have it as near perfect as anything I have ever seen or done in the sailing world.  . 

So there is no grassroots sailing in more expensive boats? 

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1 hour ago, Bill5 said:

So there is no grassroots sailing in more expensive boats? 

Not how I think of it; no.  I am thinking about how to et folks that otherwise would not or could not get out sailing... out sailing or racing.  About knocking down barriers.  About NOT ripping people off.  IMHO, if you need $10K to compete on an equal footing it ain't grass roots.  Its a stacked deck where most money wins. 

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9 hours ago, Wess said:

Not what I mean by grass roots.  To me grass roots is everything that ILCA is not (presently) and everything Laser used to be back in the day. To me grass roots sailing is affordable and robust boats, and easily accessible racing.  Its fun and not bureaucratic.  Not mired in class or club politics.  Its controlled from the bottom up and not the top down. Hobie cats used to have it as near perfect as anything I have ever seen or done in the sailing world.  . 

 

7 hours ago, Bill5 said:

So there is no grassroots sailing in more expensive boats? 

I believe there is, at least in the skiff world in Australia.

Really the skiff sailors course we do at our club and the good active fleet of twin wire skiffs that have come out of it is grass roots at the grass roots level.

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1 hour ago, Rambler said:

 

I believe there is, at least in the skiff world in Australia.

Really the skiff sailors course we do at our club and the good active fleet of twin wire skiffs that have come out of it is grass roots at the grass roots level.

So true. 

There's no doubt that there are many grass roots fleets and grass roots classes all over the world that are genuinely grass roots at the grass roots level in spite of the naysayers who don't understand what it is to be grass roots.

As Louis Armstrong said about jazz, "If you have to ask what grass roots is, then you'll never know."

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20 hours ago, Wess said:

Not what I mean by grass roots.  To me grass roots is everything that ILCA is not (presently) and everything Laser used to be back in the day. To me grass roots sailing is affordable and robust boats, and easily accessible racing.  Its fun and not bureaucratic.  Not mired in class or club politics.  Its controlled from the bottom up and not the top down. Hobie cats used to have it as near perfect as anything I have ever seen or done in the sailing world.  . 

What killed the Hobie class?  I agree it was an awesome boat having owned a 16 for a few years, but by the time I got in the racing was over.   As you know I'm thankful for the ILCA getting control away from LP.  Otherwise we'd be in the same situation as the Sunfish class, (which from a cost perspective is the only boat that currently fits your under $10k new definition).   The Laser/ILCA is still very strong in grass roots as you can get a used, class legal, competitive set up for $2,500.00.  My boat is 20yrs old and can still take bullets in regional/District level competitive fleets, (up against new ZIM and PSA ILCA's). which speaks volumes to the dated but stout construction. You can have a strict OD managed class and still have a grass roots element to it and the super hard core folks all living in harmony sailing in local club and District level events.  That's how we do it in D12 anyway.  

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If the emphasis is on getting more people out having fun I'd call it grass roots.  If you duck to let a boat cross on port because your excited to see a new boat out its probably grass roots.  If you are protesting your buddy as you're in contention for the club championship its probably not grass roots anymore.  

Access to the water is expensive in the US.  Owning a home near the water even more so.  Focusing on cheap old boats might be misguided.  We need to make it easy for people to enjoy the game before subjecting them to the reality of boat maintenance and upkeep.    Same with the rules.  Let them get to know the comradery we enjoy before yelling at each other.

 

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On 10/15/2021 at 2:02 PM, Fretz said:

If the emphasis is on getting more people out having fun I'd call it grass roots.  If you duck to let a boat cross on port because your excited to see a new boat out its probably grass roots.  If you are protesting your buddy as you're in contention for the club championship its probably not grass roots anymore.  

Access to the water is expensive in the US.  Owning a home near the water even more so.  Focusing on cheap old boats might be misguided.  We need to make it easy for people to enjoy the game before subjecting them to the reality of boat maintenance and upkeep.    Same with the rules.  Let them get to know the comradery we enjoy before yelling at each other.

 

Spot on- loss of access is doing more harm to sailing than anything else....I live that here in Charleston.  

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