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What would it take for you to join US SAILING?


Hobie Anarchy

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This is a question that has been put forth at the US SAILING Spring Meeting.

 

Lower membership fees?

Goodies?

 

Really - what would it take for those of you who are not US SAILING members to join?

 

Please keep this somewhat serious - information here will go back to Jim Capron (US SAILING President) and the US SAILING Board of Directors.

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Oh ok, I'm being somewhat serious right now.

 

Oh wait, how long do i need to be somewhat serious for?

 

Crap, I'm not somewhat serious now. Does that mean I can't answer your question?

 

Bugger.

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It was a mandated requirement to register for Screwpile this year.....so I joined. Lower fees and goodies might have made me feel better about it. A better website about their new big boat insuracne program, and expanding the one design section to include all the 30ish size boats might also draw people in.

 

This is a question that has been put forth at the US SAILING Spring Meeting.

 

Lower membership fees?

Goodies?

 

Really - what would it take for those of you who are not US SAILING members to join?

 

Please keep this somewhat serious - information here will go back to Jim Capron (US SAILING President) and the US SAILING Board of Directors.

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Umm, I dunno... maybe a reason to join?

 

OK - Your membership gives you $25,000 of excess medical insurance if you're hurt while sailing. (This is a benefit already in place.)

 

There are others, but this is one that I found out about just now.

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I, for one, would like an organization that is in-tune with their membership. One that supports the implementation of a global rule, not undermining the process with a series of rules focused on an objective that is inconsistant with why most of us sail.

 

I would like a leadership that is visionary, not sitting in an ivory tower focused on feathering their own beds.

 

I would like an organization that deals with the critical issues facing owners, and as a result, sailors: insurance...for one.

 

I would like an organization that supports keel boat sailing, not one that constantly tries to undermine it.

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This is a question that has been put forth at the US SAILING Spring Meeting.

 

Lower membership fees?

Goodies?

 

Really - what would it take for those of you who are not US SAILING members to join?

 

Please keep this somewhat serious - information here will go back to Jim Capron (US SAILING President) and the US SAILING Board of Directors.

 

 

Better humble leadership and direction on US Sailing side. Their lack of producing sizable quality sponsorship for our youth & Olympic sailing is very troubling. I believe they think in there own minds (Dean Brenner) that they're the best at what they do but at the same time we don't see great results. Without producing the sponsorship money we need so desperately, they essentially have tied there hands behind there backs. Just go to Europe and look at there programs, they're way ahead of us and better structured. We have fallen behind but you don't hear anyone admitting it. They need to raise more money.

 

We also don't see a long term broad scale scope on how to help & produce youth sailing in our country. It needs national branding, solid identity & structure to better help/direct parents and youths who are possibly interested in sailing.

 

US Sailing needs to identify areas that the present sailing community is interested in and try to build on them. For instance, team racing and youth match racing is hot right now in the younger age groups (18-35yrs old) . I know US Sailing tries but it's fragmented.

 

Big boats is tough and more complicated but US Sailing can get more involved to produce better regatta's by helping Yacht clubs & organizations finding sponsorships and consulting in race management issues (scoring & software, insurance, budgeting cost and judging). If we can produce solid & polished run regatta's on a regular basis, I believe we will get more repeat customers and sailors in general more willing to invest back into there sailing programs because they see a solid platform.

 

US Sailing does supply good instruction for judges and umpires but I think they need to start pushing younger people to get involved and certified. Our judges and umpires are aging and retiring at an alarming rate. We need to offset that and find people who are current & presently sailing in today's boats and fleets that better understand them.

 

These are just some of the issues but when it comes to paying dues it's hard to feel good about writing that check to US Sailing when we are seeing little coming from it.

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This is a question that has been put forth at the US SAILING Spring Meeting.

 

Lower membership fees?

Goodies?

 

Really - what would it take for those of you who are not US SAILING members to join?

 

Please keep this somewhat serious - information here will go back to Jim Capron (US SAILING President) and the US SAILING Board of Directors.

 

US Sailing Membership is a great deal if you own a boat: you get discounts on insurance, regattas and so forth. I think sometimes clubs need to be more responsible in making sure people actually are members when they say so. This is not just about the $15 discount you get, but this is an insurance issue for a club. So, have someone at registration check online whether all people actually are members when they say so.

I have been at regatta's where they actually did this and asked $60 extra if you were not a member (the same amount to become a ussailing member). This might sound to some of you as bullshit, but the money is used for insurance purposes.

 

In short, I would say, make sure this is enforced at the club level. People will not sign up if there is not an obvious advantage.

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US Sailing Membership is a great deal if you own a boat: you get discounts on insurance, regattas and so forth. I think sometimes clubs need to be more responsible in making sure people actually are members when they say so. This is not just about the $15 discount you get, but this is an insurance issue for a club. So, have someone at registration check online whether all people actually are members when they say so.

I have been at regatta's where they actually did this and asked $60 extra if you were not a member (the same amount to become a ussailing member). This might sound to some of you as bullshit, but the money is used for insurance purposes.

 

In short, I would say, make sure this is enforced at the club level. People will not sign up if there is not an obvious advantage.

 

You miss the point. There are fewer and fewer insurers willing to cover offshore racing. At the same time, demand for this activity is way up. But US Sailing has done nothing to proactively increase the pool and work with insurers to bring it to the fore.

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Total transparency.

An honest explanation of how the multihull voting mess went down - again, transparency.

Real initiative toward funding "learn to sail" inititiatives.

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My return on investment in US sailing was .05% in 2001 and .0725% in 2002. If they could do something to boost that number closer to 1%, I would be very pleased.

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A lot of people will disagree with me (if not most people), but I would feel better about the dues money I send in every year if USSA would take a good chunk of it and put it into the damn Olympic team. It is pathetic how our Olympic team is run in comparison to the UK, Australia and some of the other top teams. Sure, I know that I can donate and I have, but why can't we use the model that the UK has given us and put together a development program that will pay off not only for the people who make the Olympic team, but for any and all of us that want to participate in that kind of sailing?

 

jmo RD

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I go through this with "why join the class association?" as well.

 

Instead of looking for a return on investment, perhaps you should consider how you are using services that need to be paid for.

services such as an established Rules of Sailing, trained race committees, an appeals system and really, an entire established sport which you didn't invent, and which didnt form spontaneously just as you started getting interested in it.

 

now maybe US Sailing should give alot of money to the olympic team, or what have you but in order for that to happen ALOT of people who are now not paying dues would have to pay dues.

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This is a question that has been put forth at the US SAILING Spring Meeting.

 

Lower membership fees?

Goodies?

 

Really - what would it take for those of you who are not US SAILING members to join?

 

Please keep this somewhat serious - information here will go back to Jim Capron (US SAILING President) and the US SAILING Board of Directors.

From someone who knows nothing about US Sailing, but listens to US sailors...

1 - Access to practical/theory courses

2 - Access to affordable sailing in winter

Thats just off the top of my head

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May I suggest you have asked the wrong question?

 

To me the right question is "what market need is US Sailing trying to fill?" I certainly don't know.

 

Consider that some of the most basic market needs don't get filled:

 

1. Universal US regatta schedule

2. Uuniversal crew exchange bulletin board

3. Some formalized relationship and outreach with the various class associations.

4. Some formalized relationship and outreach to PHRF and other rating associations

5. Boat US (a, as best I can tell, for profit enterprise) does a better job of providing services needed by boaters - marina discounts,

towing coverage, rebates at West Marine, etc. Some of these things don't fit a sailing organization but some do.

6. Sorry LZ and others who have invested time and money building businesses but web sites for racing, online race registration and scoring programs free to members and member clubs. The key thing about software is that it costs almost exactly the same amount to provide it to one user and 1 million users (yes, the hardware costs more, but the program written once is written and paid for.

7. Some QA on services - when I went looking for a measurer 1/3 of the web site links were broken.

 

I sense - rightly or wrongly - that US Sailing is more concerned with what I will politically incorrectly call the "edges" of the sport than the center. Supporting a Olympic Team is nice, supporting handicapped sailing is nice, mac and pac racing is nice, but the core consitutancy (those that are going to sign up in any large numbers and fund the place) are wednesday night "beer can" racers. There is nothing on the US Sailing web site (the way most of us interact with them) that supports this "core."

 

That all said my personal experiences with the staff of US Sailing (in particular the Offshore Office) have been terrific. They are very attunded to customer service, calmed my N00b nerves about rating certificates, walked me thru lots of stuff I didnt' understand. I like them a lot and again think they provided me great support and service.

 

In summary I just don't think US Sailing really knows its purpose in life beyond a very banal "We are the US sanctioning body for sailboat racing" or whatever it is their mission statement says.

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US Sailing does supply good instruction for judges and umpires but I think they need to start pushing younger people to get involved and certified. Our judges and umpires are aging and retiring at an alarming rate. We need to offset that and find people who are current & presently sailing in today's boats and fleets that better understand them.

 

 

I do not see this happening soon. I went through the certification process after almost three years of trying. My experience was one of vast confusion. It started with attempting to get my results of the certification test that I took. A call to US Sailing (after ten business days) looking for my score was met with blatant RUDENESS by the person on the other end of the phone. For the next two years I thought I was going in the right direction only to be told that I would have to jump through a few more hoops. Whatever. For a while I thought my age was a factor. I started going through the process at 28 and had been involved in this type of stuff since college. I am now 32 and am convinced that it has more to do with red tape and personalities than anything else.

 

The current process is not going to get anyone involved. My particular certification class had an overwhelming majority of people that were north of 50 yoa...I was the only person under 30. This is not helping. Not only that but there was virtually NO recruiting for the class. Judges are definately a vanishing breed.

 

My 3 cents.

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I never personally interact with US Sailing and I only hear bad stuff about how our olympic candidates are funded. So I don't have a very good impression of them. I like what CW says below. And it would be nice for them to do a better job with the olympics. If I just had some sort of positive impression of the organization it would be a lot easier to write a check.

 

And I don't want extra crap (aka goodies).

 

May I suggest you have asked the wrong question?

 

To me the right question is "what market need is US Sailing trying to fill?" I certainly don't know.

 

Consider that some of the most basic market needs don't get filled:

 

1. Universal US regatta schedule

2. Uuniversal crew exchange bulletin board

3. Some formalized relationship and outreach with the various class associations.

4. Some formalized relationship and outreach to PHRF and other rating associations

5. Boat US (a, as best I can tell, for profit enterprise) does a better job of providing services needed by boaters - marina discounts,

towing coverage, rebates at West Marine, etc. Some of these things don't fit a sailing organization but some do.

6. Sorry LZ and others who have invested time and money building businesses but web sites for racing, online race registration and scoring programs free to members and member clubs. The key thing about software is that it costs almost exactly the same amount to provide it to one user and 1 million users (yes, the hardware costs more, but the program written once is written and paid for.

7. Some QA on services - when I went looking for a measurer 1/3 of the web site links were broken.

 

I sense - rightly or wrongly - that US Sailing is more concerned with what I will politically incorrectly call the "edges" of the sport than the center. Supporting a Olympic Team is nice, supporting handicapped sailing is nice, mac and pac racing is nice, but the core consitutancy (those that are going to sign up in any large numbers and fund the place) are wednesday night "beer can" racers. There is nothing on the US Sailing web site (the way most of us interact with them) that supports this "core."

 

That all said my personal experiences with the staff of US Sailing (in particular the Offshore Office) have been terrific. They are very attunded to customer service, calmed my N00b nerves about rating certificates, walked me thru lots of stuff I didnt' understand. I like them a lot and again think they provided me great support and service.

 

In summary I just don't think US Sailing really knows its purpose in life beyond a very banal "We are the US sanctioning body for sailboat racing" or whatever it is their mission statement says.

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Big boats is tough and more complicated but US Sailing can get more involved to produce better regatta's by helping Yacht clubs & organizations finding sponsorships and consulting in race management issues (scoring & software, insurance, budgeting cost and judging). If we can produce solid & polished run regatta's on a regular basis, I believe we will get more repeat customers and sailors in general more willing to invest back into there sailing programs because they see a solid platform.

 

These are just some of the issues but when it comes to paying dues it's hard to feel good about writing that check to US Sailing when we are seeing little coming from it.

 

I'm a PHRF boat racer for 30 years and in the past have been a member of USYRU/USSailing for most of that time. Dropped my membership a year or two ago and to be truthful I don't think that I've missed out on anything. From a purely dollars and sense perspective, membership didn't save me enough on entry fees to offset the cost and there wasn't anything else of their services that I would use that was apparent and available to me as a member that was not still available to me as a non-member. USSailing is involved with the fringes of sailing in the US: Olympics, one-design, even handicap racing. Most sailors today don't race, what does USSailing do for them? In this day and age of decreasing resources and increasing demands, I don't see USSailing offering much for the majority of the sailing public.

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Making it possible to join ! Yes, that's correct. Going back as far as 2001, I have paid money, had checks

cashed, but never been listed as a member. Never been able to take advantage of membership programs, etc.

How can you have a membership organization when people aren't allowed to join.

 

Finally, after complaining about the situation all the way up to the then President, about 3 years ago, I finally

got a membership card and number, late last fall.

 

I know I'm not the only person who has experienced this. I too was told when organizing a regatta, that I could

"pay" to have someone come into the office at US Sailing, and check the membership records during regatta

registration.

 

There is a reason the organization is often referred to as US Flailing out here in the rest of the country.

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US Sailing Membership is a great deal if you own a boat: you get discounts on insurance, regattas and so forth. I think sometimes clubs need to be more responsible in making sure people actually are members when they say so. This is not just about the $15 discount you get, but this is an insurance issue for a club. So, have someone at registration check online whether all people actually are members when they say so.

I have been at regatta's where they actually did this and asked $60 extra if you were not a member (the same amount to become a ussailing member). This might sound to some of you as bullshit, but the money is used for insurance purposes.

 

In short, I would say, make sure this is enforced at the club level. People will not sign up if there is not an obvious advantage.

 

Insurance is becoming a very expensive issue. As far as I know the only benefit US Sailing provides is a link that directs you to one agency (Gowrie) who I already use. I 'm not getting any discount. It looks like nothing more than a marketing deal. Maybe Dopo knows more about it.

 

Regatta disocunts

We have held a membership for many years, but I do not know of one regatta where they checked to see if we were actually members. Even on Regatta Manager. I think the best benefit I ever got was a free subscription to Sailing World.

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Make a deal with Compete-At Sailing

that provides boat websites and makes entering on-line easier and a whole lote more.

Maybe USSAILING membership would include the compete-at sailing website for a adjusted fee.

One stop rating renewals...

Click to buy the certificate of boats...

 

Just an idea, and no, I' don't work for Compete-At.com

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Just compare www.ussailing.org with www.rya.org.uk / night and day in my opinion. Who does the NGB report to? I think its time for a congressional hearing or two. One for the apparent rigging of the protest hearings at the trials and another for the catamaran disenfranchisement. There is a very clear reason why the youth of this country is turned off from sailing... and our NGB has some very tough questions to answer. As taxpayers and sailors we deserve way better than what we are getting! The elitist nature of sailors mainly comes from insecurities built up over an education gap. Our sports knowledge base should be free to all!

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Get rid of the Colgates. They act like they represent US Sailing and not well at all. They both act like the crap doesn't stink. They're the first ones to slam any other organization for any number of reasons, all of them questionable. The whole elitest slant of US Sailing puts off a lot of people. They are out of touch with their audience, IMO

 

This is a question that has been put forth at the US SAILING Spring Meeting.

 

Lower membership fees?

Goodies?

 

Really - what would it take for those of you who are not US SAILING members to join?

 

Please keep this somewhat serious - information here will go back to Jim Capron (US SAILING President) and the US SAILING Board of Directors.

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I've been truly disappointed in the role USSA played in kicking the Tornado out of the Olympics. I will not renew because of it. I always viewed my dues more as a donation so it's no skin off my back not sending the money this year.

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Ask the question: Who's getting on the water these days? I ain't sailors, it's PWC throttle jockeys. It don't take much to twist a throttle now, does it? The learning curve is shallow for PWCs--ten minutes on a rental and you're a showoff thirty feet from the beach; not so for sailing (the perception, anyway).

 

US Sailing! HELLO!!!! Anybody home?!!!

 

Ya gotta grow the sport from the bottom up, i.e., kids. ADD/ADHD translates to throttle jockeys, not sailors. Teaching programs need to address this. It's that simple.

 

/rant

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How much of the USSailing budget goes into the administrations salaries?

Interesting how they were able to put in place the regatta entry fee deal where entry fees are higher unless you join.

I love the ploy about joining so that you can get free sailing world magazine..... In 7 years have yet to ever receive a copy, have written in asking Jim what gives.... but never a reply!

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A few random thoughts

 

1-I don't appreciate being stiff armed and having it be a requirement to be a US sailing member in order to get my local PHRF cert.

 

2-unlike one of the earlier posters I think free useful stuff is actually good, so if they want to throw in a free t-shirt of something I would at least feel like I was getting something, I did get the rule book and a few stickers, so I see some value there-perhaps 15-20 bucks.

 

3-I completely agree with the bottom up comment rather than top down and serving more of the "average" crowd (read perhaps like beer can racers).

If they are to be true to name ("US SAILING") then I think more needs to be done for inclusion at very low levels of sailing-I think many people still see sailing as way too inclusive/elitist/"clubby" and I don't see US SAILING doing anything to break that stereotype-my perception is that it is this staid kind organization run very much by folks with stereo type yacht club mentality. In my mind, get people excited about sailing period-take a bunch of non sailing types out for a wed night beer can race, serve a few adult beverages, let them pull a few strings, in short get them out there and involved and let them see what the rest of us get so excited about-after all I think even an average SA'er (if there such a thing) has a pretty strong passion for sailing and if we can get others to see what it is that gets us all so excited about the sport (other than MSG's money shot although that was nice too!) then more people will get into sailing and US SAILING if they played a part in this introduction.

 

4-Although I think the olympic comments have some truth to them, I think at the end of the day olympians represent the pinnacle of our sport and among other things need money and lots of it to compete on a level playing field with their counterparts from other countries. The reality I think is that although I bitch about getting charged 60 bucks and feel like I am getting nothing, the amount they deal with annually in income could no way begin to address that need. Sponsorship is probably what is needed on a much greater level and they only way I could see US SAILING attracting that kind of money would be to show them a membership many times what it is now-getting those member numbers though I think gets back to comment#3-plain and simple-get more people sailing in an enjoyable manner.

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This is a question that has been put forth at the US SAILING Spring Meeting.

 

 

Really - what would it take for those of you who are not US SAILING members to join?

 

Okay, as a PITA for US Sailing, I'll make an attempt here:

 

1) Provide a reason to join.

Many sailing enthusiast clubs run events without US Sailing. It's just as fun. Explain the benefits of having a membership with US Sailing. As embarassing as it may sound for US Sailing, what membership mean to the guy at the Friday beer can races? A magazine? A Sticker? Who cares !! Furthermore, anything that *requires* US Sailing for official status is viewed as more of an impediment than it is an inducement for gaining a wider audience. What do you bring to the table? What's in it for me?

 

 

2) US Sailing rules, and leadership are viewed (I have no numbers, but I'd say) by 'most' sailors as exclusive, out of touch and cloistered. As the staid gentry say at the old clubs; "some new blood is needed". While your minutes and procedures are all nicely notated, most people could not care less about the latest interpretation of some odd class rule. Your web site could be a little more, ummm, exciting. Don't just flap-jaw news. Start an RSS feed on racing tips performance, news, within your scope. Get in touch, show a presence, by visiting and commenting in things like SA forums . Include a monthly executive commentary that takes the high ground, says clearly and concisely what EC is thinking on a topic in a sound bite or two. Be genuine.

 

3) Show, and **demonstrate** a vision for sailing that looks forward, not backward.

 

Support youth boat classes in a way that demonstrates a vision for the future of yachting, rather than holding 'votes and ballots' as your reason for existence. Allowing your governance to be driven by process allows it to be corrupted by foolish short-sighted interests.

 

4) Tradition is nice, keeping yachting alive, even better.

 

Sailing is about the only sport that has a constituency that consistantly rejects innovation in the guise of tradition. Imagine playing golf with persimmon woods, balata balls. Imagine playing tennis with a wooden racquet. Imagine today's NFL players wearing/playing in circa 1900's equipment. US Sailing needs to work against the perception that innovation is just "exotic x-game equipment" and that "sailing is an exclusive sport for the wealthy" Show a positive attitude about sailing innovations, bold attempts, how Fast can be Fun, and no fossil fuels!

 

 

5) Reach out, for Pete's sake! Get your head out of the boat (club) and find 'other' sailors on the beaches, at schools, fun sail events, etc.

Let them know how you can help them to organize more formal events, sanction meets, cups, classes etc. Offer the 'hot event races' some sort of token assistance or support. Be more visible. Invite these folks to some of your nice talks.

 

Even come to your own sanctioned events!!!

At last year's at an area A, B Alter Cup qualifier, nary one rep from US Sailing bothered to show up. For all of area A/B, one person sailed for the national event, about 40 others/the rest sailed the match as a fun event. US Sailing just blew it off. Sheesh! The 'winner' went home after the first 2 races! One sailor, once world ranked, commented how appalling it was that US Sailing never shows up at any events. A Golden opportunity for US Sailing to ask what they could do, and to engage those sailors as to why they were not interested in US Sailing's National event, (and pitch your cause!) was missed by US Sailing. It had the appearance of a snub (ON BOTH SIDES).

 

6) Finally, a 'Mea Culpa' on the Olympic equipment mess:

Quick, clear and forthright contrition for US Sailing's role in creating the problem, and a transparant and expeditious plan for what is going to happen next, to remedy the situation, with no 'buts' or 'howevers' or pedantic interpretations of process. Doing so will boost the legitimacy of US Sailing's image and role as a world leader in governance of the youth classes, not only with your prospective constuents, but the world Olympic community as well.

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I have not belonged in a few years but here are some random observations:

 

USSA is not listed on CharityNavigator.com but http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?...&orgid=4621 is and their admin overhead is about 20% which aint too hot. Get transparent and invite an analysis please from the CN folks.

 

I ordered the faggoted up Christmas cards one year and they keep mailing me samples every year and all the designs suck luke warm diarhea through a dirty tube sock with a hole in the toe. Stop mailing this crap please.

 

The must have sold my name to every nautical jewelry and other worthless crap purveyor on the planet.

 

I renewed more than once just to get SW. Good job in taking away the only incentive for me to renew!

 

I love many of the suggestions above, they could ID what's working and support those programs. They could ID member needs and try to meet them rather than IDing their need for more members and asking us what it would take to join. Wrong question, wrong perspective.

 

A plane ticket to London isn't that expensive, go see Lloyds and negotiate a great deal and quit referring the business to someone who marks it up.

 

Lastly, they should do a survey like that yacht club did recently wherein they got some great data....anyone have a link to the thread? I appreciate Hobieanarchy's inquiry but it begs the question of why the fuck aint USSA spending a small bit of coin to ask the right people the right questions and do the right analysis?

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I do not see this happening soon. I went through the certification process after almost three years of trying. My experience was one of vast confusion. It started with attempting to get my results of the certification test that I took. A call to US Sailing (after ten business days) looking for my score was met with blatant RUDENESS by the person on the other end of the phone. For the next two years I thought I was going in the right direction only to be told that I would have to jump through a few more hoops. Whatever. For a while I thought my age was a factor. I started going through the process at 28 and had been involved in this type of stuff since college. I am now 32 and am convinced that it has more to do with red tape and personalities than anything else.

 

The current process is not going to get anyone involved. My particular certification class had an overwhelming majority of people that were north of 50 yoa...I was the only person under 30. This is not helping. Not only that but there was virtually NO recruiting for the class. Judges are definately a vanishing breed.

 

My 3 cents.

 

 

Agreed, there is a very tight group that limit the progress of youth or anyone else for that matter who are interested in pursuing certification in Race Management including Judging. It is easier to gain membership into a top country club.

 

M.

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Was a family member back when the kids were doing ladder events. Otherwise not much incentive to join.

 

They waste to much money on dumbshit stuff like the olympics.

 

Regatta differential fees never came close to paying for the membership. It did tick me off that they forced member clubs to implement that program.

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This is a question that has been put forth at the US SAILING Spring Meeting.

 

Lower membership fees?

Goodies?

 

Really - what would it take for those of you who are not US SAILING members to join?

 

Please keep this somewhat serious - information here will go back to Jim Capron (US SAILING President) and the US SAILING Board of Directors.

 

1. I think their attitude should be "How can we help you?" rather than "Here's a program, let's see it sailors want or use it" - it seems to me that they could help themselves by making their presence known at regattas - I've been at regattas involving hundreds of sailors for 20 years, and have never seen US Sailing doing any outreach to see what the grassroots does, or wants, or needs.

 

2. They should listen to more than just the "class leaders" - they're probably already members - it's the middle-of-the pack guys, or the tail-end Charlies that really form the spine of sailing in the country, and they don't really seem to have that much of a voice.

 

3. My personal opinion is that there is too much emphasis on the Olympics - it's a huge investment for just a few sailors - I think the way to get more championship caliber sailors is to draw from a larger pool, and that means increasing participation across the board.

 

4. They should remember that "perception is reality", and they are perceived to be an "old boys network" of stodgy traditionalists.

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First let me say I for one believe US SAILING does many great things, if nothing else the community of coaches and program organizers who communicate as a result of annual get togethers and the like is invaluable to me personally, and the collection of educational material developed by some really great educators is impressive. I'm not just blowing smoke up anyone's ass, I really believe that.

 

Anyone who sails though has cursed US SAILING at some point or other for it's ineptitude in other areas. It can start by revamping its website, its crammed with confusing navigation and static information that could easily be organized better. Might seem a minor point but as we're all basically living in a giant electronic collective created by the internet, US SAILING HAS to get better at using this tool.

 

Agree with many of the points made, particularly with providing value for membership to adult keelboat sailors, if you're not a youth or olympic sailor or if you don't work in the industry really all you do is pay dues and get "blesssed" with the opportunity to buy a lot of relatively useless (to a keelboat racer at any rate) dosh for a discount. Which would be fine frankly were it not for the fact that US SAILING needs to rely on more of these adult keelboaters to join so as to be able to afford to do stuff.

 

Having been an active member now for over 20 years, as well as being an IT, I, like probably many others like me, can attest that US SAILING has not, is not, and as far as I can tell, will never be, confused for an efficient bureaucracy, though they are better than they used to be. Tightening up things like membership and communication and promotion of champion ships and the like will go a long way toward helping people not to just say "fuck it" because it's often an effort to figure out anything with US SAILING.

 

Finally I think many sailors have a shitty attitude when it comes to US SAILING, if I had a dime for every whine I ever heard about what US SAILING wasn't doing for someone or other...etc. Sailing in this country is an amateur sport still, and US SAILING is largely an organization of volunteers and independent contractors. Which means anyone and everyone can get involved.

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First, my bias - I was very involved with USYRU/US Sailing for about 10 years. Sat on multiple committees, Inshore, General Services, IYRU Events, was President of the wholly owned subsidiary US Professional Sailing Association. Then Pres Bob Hobbs appointed me as "Special Assistant for Sponsorship Affairs". So, I've got a pretty good inside view.

 

To suggest offers of what US Sailing needs to do to attract members, first it helps to understand what USYRU was, and what US Sailing has become.

 

USYRU (and probably even moreso NAYRU before it) was simply an association of people who gather a couple of times of year, coming from all over the country, to talk about common problems and common solutions to help improve the sport of yacht racing.

 

US Sailing has now become, primarily, a regulatory and licensing body for teaching sailing. They have turned the organization upside down, and let the Training Commission dictate rules and procedure for things like the Youth Champs. Ask Peter Johnstone about the headaches he went through last year with the coaching issue for the Youth Champs. US Sailing was so utterly arrogant that they tried to tell everyone that they had a USCG Marine Event permit and could prevent anyone from having access to the water. I know. I spoke with the USCG Sector New Orleans Legal officer, informed him of this, and he told me under no uncertain terms that US Sailing not only did not have a marine event permit for the Youths, as of a month prior to the event, they had not even applied for one. Lets just say he was less than amused with US Sailing. One simple point to illustrate their behavior.

 

The current problems with US Sailing all start and end with the new Bylaws. The New York based lawyer - Ed Williams - who is one of the most experienced sports lawyers in the country - was hired by US Sailing to give his opinion on their Bylaws, and where they should be incorporated (they are a NY based entity, and want to move to some other more "friendly" jurisdiction, which I expect to end up in a place like Panama). They didn't like Ed's answer, so told him to go pack sand.

 

I know from talking to Ed that he gave a talk recently in conjunction with the USOC on NGB's and their Bylaw compliance per the USOC, and State, standards. He cited US Sailing as being one of the four worst offenders of Bylaw infractions of all NGB's in the country.

 

Here's a rhetorical question for all you corporate governance types out there - do you think it right that the immediate past President become the Chairman of the Ethics Committee when their term as President ends. Yup, Janet Baxter was Pres, now she is Chair of Ethics. Which means she gets to sweep any Ethics violation that occured under her regime under the rug.

 

Clean is right, to some extent, about Training. But let me tell you, I was there, in the rooms, when Training was giving a pile of money to go out and create the programs that they have created. There is value in their standardize certification program, but not so much value as to have over taken the primary function of the organization.

 

What should happen is that Training should be spun off into it's own separate company, just like US Professional Sailing Association was.

 

Then, let US Sailing focus only on the sport of yacht racing, providing racing infrastructure services for everything from club racing to our Olympic Trials.

 

On the subject of fundracing via sponsorship - can someone please explain to me why it was beneficial for the Sailing Team to sell their name to a printing company. I'm told it was for a lousy $400,000 per year. Does anyone really think that this is attractive to a new sponsor - what's the pitch - "hi we are the government of sailing in this country, and if you become our second level sponsor, you have to use the name "US Sailing Team Alphagrapics" in all your ads" - in other words, you've got to pollute your ad message to support Alphagrapics.

 

Dean Brenner thinks his job is to win medals now, and only now. Whatever success he has this year is only going to be because of life long commitment the sailors on the team have had to the sport, not because Dean signed up a new title sponsor. Let's judge Dean's results in another five years. And oh yeah, is the rumor true that he is now being paid to be the Committee Chairman of the Olympic Sailing Cmte? I have never previously heard of a volunteer committee chairman being paid to run the committee.

 

So - back to the question - what would it take to join - well, let's see US Sailing come clean with a hard core audit of their finances going back at least five years. Ask someone from the USOC to pick an auditor and look through the books. That is step one.

 

Step two - someone hire Ed Williams to rip through US Sailing's Bylaws. I know there are a couple of ways to get USOC to pay attention to this - and perhaps a couple of initiatives already under way that could make this happen whether US Sailing likes it or not.

 

Step three - fire Chuck Leighton as the Executive Director. The guy is just out of touch with the sport, Period. Arrogant. Self-serving. Isloated. I'm told he does not even have a computer on his desk, and does not read his own email. And those are the nice things I have to say about him.

 

Step three - make Jim Capron give bi-weekly email reports. The guy is the most invisible of any President ever.

 

Here's a question - what part of the sport of yacht racing is more healthy today than it was 20 years because of things that US Sailing has done?

 

Would you even join if US Sailing was free?

 

Why would we want US Sailing to run anything other than the rules and judges committees, and somewhat related infrastructure.

 

Why is have a giant, unresponsive monolithic governing body a good thing for sailing?

 

Peter Huston

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The post by RexDenton pretty well nails it. Number 5 on his list is a big one... "Reach out, for Pete's sake!"

 

Develop something of interest and value to the million or so 'recreational' sailors out there.

Establish an E-Z path program to allow high schools and colleges to easily start or expand sailing programs.

 

The end of the cheap petrochemical era coupled with global warming concerns provides an excellent opportunity for promoting a 'low carbon' sport. Sailing may be on the verge of a new 'golden era'.

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One thing I have noticed is that sailing gets absolutely no recognition in the sports section of the local newspapers. (Exception for the good coverage of Nick Scandone in OC) They miss an opportunity to educate the public that a local person is in contention to go to the Olympics, for instance, by not sending out press releases to the newspapers. There should be a US Sailing press presence at all major regattas, inviting the local papers/tv to come see what sailing is about and at the same time introduce them to the local community sailing program, give them a free sailing lesson-put a local tv reporter in a boat, etc. USSailing should have a process in place to publicize the winners of the Junior Olympics and other national events. It is silly that when a local sailor is in the Olympic trials-or actually qualifies, the information does not get beyond the individual's home YC. As a national organization they should have the clout and ability to bring recognition of what individual sailors are doing to the local level.

Yes, the website sucks. Crew bank/Employee bank is useless. Better and easier to buy an ad on SA

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Typed Sailing into Google News this morning and found US Sailing press releases at BYM

 

Harman Hawkins Trophy for excellence in Race Administration to Bill Bentsen (Chicago, Ill.) link

 

(I don't know anything about Bill Bensten other than he's from Chicago and just won a trophy but included it because it came up)

 

 

New financial aid program aimed at providing financial assistance to junior sailors between the ages of 13 and 19 link

 

The amounts awarded through the Sailorships program will vary from $100-$500 per person per year based on need. Awards may be requested prior to or after a 2008 or 2009 event, but only one award per year may be granted per sailor.
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So the initial question on this thread was well timed. Check out the US Sailing website for an interview with Jim Capron which talks about the requirement for all racing kippers to be members.

 

http://www.ussailing.org/News/2008/capron_interview.asp

 

I particvularly like the sports he refers to as requiring membership. Since they are sports that provide infrastructure ( ice rinks, tennis courts etc. ), one might suppose that US Sailing will be providing boats and water as part of the membership.

 

In reference to Peter's post, I was in a meeting with Mr. Leighton and asked what US Sailing provided and why do we need US Sailing to run races. He didn't seem to realize that many parts of the country are running their programs without any help from US Sailing.

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So the initial question on this thread was well timed. Check out the US Sailing website for an interview with Jim Capron which talks about the requirement for all racing kippers to be members.

 

http://www.ussailing.org/News/2008/capron_interview.asp

 

I particvularly like the sports he refers to as requiring membership. Since they are sports that provide infrastructure ( ice rinks, tennis courts etc. ), one might suppose that US Sailing will be providing boats and water as part of the membership.

 

In reference to Peter's post, I was in a meeting with Mr. Leighton and asked what US Sailing provided and why do we need US Sailing to run races. He didn't seem to realize that many parts of the country are running their programs without any help from US Sailing.

I particularly liked this quote from the interview:

 

"There is also a consensus among the Board of Directors that, in fairness to everyone, those who participate in the competitive aspect of our sport and benefit from these services, should be members of US SAILING."

 

 

I bet there is a consensus among the Republican National Committee that everyone should vote Republican and there is a consensus among the Democratic National Committee that everyone should vote Democrat. Of course in the political arena too the RNC and DNC think that we "benefit from these services." LOL

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Umm, I dunno... maybe a reason to join?

 

This is a winner, that I'll take one step further. Right now they get ~$3.5M in dues. If they keep the same dues structure, and if everyone who races in the U.S. joins what would they do with $87.5M? Really, they don't offer crap today for an individual (the injury insurance is a joke because they know that most who can afford sailing probably have health insurance and this benefit they include doesn't pay a penny until your health insurance is used up, and if you use up your health insurance, tell me, what is $25,000 going to do for you at that point?

 

Let's hear from U.S. Sailing what the would do with the money should the participants give it to them.

 

Right now, it looks like a plan for highway robbery. Those who pay $50 a year now don't get squat. Make more suckers pay it, and suddenly you'll have 25 times squat?

 

They'll have to step up to the plate in a very big way and be throwing things at our feet in order for this to fly.

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the one and only reason i joined US Sailing is because membership is required to get Level 1 instructor certified. and then after paying both fees for the annual membership and the class, i was expecting the membership card to have been of higher quality than the $25/year surfrider membership card. also with surfrider, you get a free shirt! then, there was the whole sticker issue... im being totally and completely serious too. more goodies and a lower fee at least for those already willing to pay for certification. i believe im in the target demographic too, so please listen.

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In reference to Peter's post, I was in a meeting with Mr. Leighton and asked what US Sailing provided and why do we need US Sailing to run races. He didn't seem to realize that many parts of the country are running their programs without any help from US Sailing.

 

 

GREAT POINT!

 

Up until this year I had been involved with my RSA at a fairly high level. If my involvement had shown me anything, it was that ANY and ALL programs in my RSA could run without any help at all from US Sailing. Furthermore, many parents of the junior sailors saw US Sailing as a PITA more than anything else. Personally, I think that US Sailing is driving RSAs to the brink of obselesence (sp?) as more services are being consolidated... the appeals process for one.

 

I do not think the NGB will recover from their image crisis. It would take a serious overhaul. Look for more events (small and large) to drop their US Sailing membership requirement.

 

3 more of my cents.

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So the initial question on this thread was well timed. Check out the US Sailing website for an interview with Jim Capron which talks about the requirement for all racing kippers to be members.

 

http://www.ussailing.org/News/2008/capron_interview.asp

 

I particvularly like the sports he refers to as requiring membership. Since they are sports that provide infrastructure ( ice rinks, tennis courts etc. ), one might suppose that US Sailing will be providing boats and water as part of the membership.

 

In reference to Peter's post, I was in a meeting with Mr. Leighton and asked what US Sailing provided and why do we need US Sailing to run races. He didn't seem to realize that many parts of the country are running their programs without any help from US Sailing.

 

I’ve had all I can stands, I can stands no more.

 

It's time for EVERYONE to walk out on US SAILING! I will not compete in ANY regatta that requires US SAILING membership.

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Really - what would it take for those of you who are not US SAILING members to join?

 

 

I have been racing on several different OD and PHRF boats for the past thirty years in the US, and I have never been a member of US Sailing. I race 50 to 60 days a year, and I feel the clubs/programs I sail with currently, offer an excellent venue. I don't need the additional liability or medical insurance. I don't need the discounts to the magazines or West Marine. I certainly don't need another credit card! And I don't need a copy of the rules. I have been tempted to race in US Sailing membership-required races, but have decided not to race it, because I didn't want to spend the additional $$ to do the race. Frankly, based on the list of US Sailing membership benefits, I am at a loss as to what I would gain if I became a member.

 

For me to join US Sailing, I would need to have some reason a bit more tangable than a few little trinkets that US Sailing offers. And for those of you who feel that you are required to join this club, just to enjoy the sport of sailboat racing, I am truly sorry for you.

 

If you feel that I have missed the point and I completely don't understand the mission of US Sailing, please PM me and explain. I am happy to listen and maybe converted.

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USSA is an has to much overhead. Spends to much time working on stuff that does not effect the averagel sailor and does not listen to the average sailor.

 

It spends time working on Olympic events and worring about a worthless rating system. How does that effect me or any of my crew? Nope Nothing. I was a member for many years, Now I figured out that was a complete waste of time, money and paper. So we are just be envirormently and cutting the fat out of a programs that do not affect our program. US Sailing is one of those fat programs that fits this bill. So we made a direct donation to a local junior program. This will do more to help our local programs, than paying for some fat cat to go some some meetings and make rulings that only effects a FEW!

 

US Sailing has listen to itself so long it believes it is doing a good job!

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I have been involved in sailing for over 20 years now and have only been a member 1 of those 20 years and that was to be able to race a certain regatta. Personally I really see no reason to join, I race/sail close to 100 days per year some being internationally and even with all this sailing have no idea why I should join....

 

If they would provide me with a explanation of where the money went and how I could have some return on my investment I would be happy to join, provided there was representation when major issues we're to be decided upon.

 

As well another point I would like to bring up at this point, while I'm on it is the fact that US Sailing NEEDS to get rid of the ORR Rating and conform to the IRC Standard that is held worldwide as the current handicap. To need to have a boat rated ORR and IRC is needless when all it does is create more hassle, paperwork and confusion for all involved.

 

To race both Mac Races this summer one must obtain both ratings one for each race! Absurd! This is the sort of thing that drives someone who may want to participate in the US Sailing organization to think twice about getting involved in the chaos that currently surrounds the sport in this country.

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Yeah, I don't see much personal benefit either. The only reason I join is that I save more in reduced regatta fees than it costs for membership over the course of a season.

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I have to join. There is no regatta for disabled sailors that I can think of that does not require membership. I wonder if USS is offering some kind of extra insurance. If they are maybe they should tell the West Coast YC's so some might think of hosting a regatta :D

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What the heck does US Sailing *do*?

 

I spend nearly every weekend racing at a fairly competitive amateur level on boats of all sizes here in California. Mostly inshore, but I have several thousand miles of offshore racing on my resume too. And I even spend a fair amount of money on it because I like to be warm and dry and to go fast. Despite all of these things ... I don't know enough about what the organization does to make me want to join. I'm not saying they don't do anything, but if they do I don't know about it.

 

I know they have insurance discounts, but Boat US was cheaper for me so I went with Boat US for my dinghy.

 

I know they claim to be the "regulatory body" for sailing in the US, but as far as I can tell the Race Committee at the organizing yacht club has the real control over my weekend.

 

So I say to US Sailing:

 

Tell me what you do, and explain to me why my weekends (I'm never going to be a pro and if I ever go to the Olympics it'll be as a spectator) are better because of it. Preferably, do this without spending huge amounts of members' money to produce TV commercials or paying a Madison Avenue marketing firm to produce some overpriced, overglossy, under-meaningful poster or trinket for my desk at work.

 

Explain to me why it's better for me to pay for you to do it than to trust that it will happen -- as I gather it did for many many years -- on a volunteer basis.

 

Then I might join.

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1. Returning my phone calls would be a nice start. I have left 5 messages for the person who manages the assignment of sail numbers. Three times I was assured she was in the office that day and she would return my calls.

 

2. Fix bugs on web-site. I tried to understand one of the upper memberships, but the links were broken describing them. Then when I went ahead and did it anyhow, instead of being billed the extra amount I was committing too over three years, I was billed all at once.

 

3. Much more money needs to flow to the various youth programs and Olympics. Consider refocusing more staff to infrastructure and activities that vastly increase fund raising efforts. It would be a faboulous fundraising goal to have an amount equal to 10x the membership fee in the hands of youth and olympic programs. How about setting up the ability for industry to purchase "carbon credits" for getting kids on the water, rather than at home playing video games, tv, computer and stereo systems ?

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From the front page: It's hard enough to find crew, and now US Sailing would have us add the requirement of the helmsman being a member also? If it wasn't for the NOOD regatta, I wouldn't be a member of US Sailing. I also read the chaff they mail out and find it's just another bunch of B.S. to raise money for what, I don't know. The Governing Body? A joke. I'm telling you, before long, in order to get an IRC certificate you will be required to be a US Sailing member.

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I am concerned that this "requirement" to belong to US Sailing leaves out the American Sailing Association (ASA) which runs a great on-water instructional program, and is healthy competition for US Sailling.

 

I am not sure how the two are different or the same these days, but I took five courses from ASA and was impressed with them all.

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I don't know a lot about US Sailing. I admit I have had trouble dealing with them - both over the phone, and via the web site. On the other hand, when the screwed up my membership a few years ago, they "comp'd" me a year or two.

 

But, the US does need an MNA - we need consistent RRS across the country, most sailors want the US to be in the Olympics etc.

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Compared to some of the posts above, I think I've been pretty lucky with US Sailing. Anytime I've had to contact a person there with a membership problem the response has been great.

 

Good questions about value for money though... now I'm not sure why I write the check!!!

 

I went through the race officer certification program, took the classes and tests, but found it really tough to navigate the US Sailing site. (Part of the process is to build a resume of events for review by the people who determine whether an applicant is qualified, from a practical experience standpoint, for the certification). I got frustrated with it and bailed on the process - and I'm a technology guy - so I don't think the problem is on my end! I still do the race committee thing, which I enjoy a great deal, but I don't have the formal, US Sailing cert. This disappoints me, but it was not from my lack of trying.

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I originally joined because I needed to get my level 1 and 2 teaching certs back when I taught at Mystic Seaport. I was happy enough to do it because a) I loved teaching and B) I thought their classes were top-notch. When I stopped teaching, I stopped being a member. Now I'm a member again because many of the regattas in my area (boston) require membership in order to participate. I didn't mind too much since I needed a PHRF and a new rule book anyway.

 

However, none of the races I plan to do have on-the-water judging, and none of us are professional sailors, so I'm pretty sure that if I give up the helm on RockIt to someone else on the crew, I'm not asking to see their USSailing certificate first.

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There are a lot of good suggestions in this thread, and some well earned anger. In my own personal situtation, I have always received polite service on the phone, and have not had some of the fulfillment problems that others have had. I also would, from a very far distance, look at the programs for standaradization and competency in Instructors as a real plus, as well as the similar efforts for race management.

 

That being said, I also don't find US Sailing very relevant to my own participation in the sport. I belong, but only because I have to. The following may repeat some prior comments, but the weight of numbers may help convince those involved that there is some reason to change.

  1. Recognize that "we" the sailing public don't need you. You need to find reasons to make yourself relevant and important to each of us, and in ways that are meaningful to the way that each of us choose to approach the sport. Some of us own $5,000 dinghies, and others own $1 million dollar yachts. Some sail 4 or 5 days out of the year and others sail 150 days out of the year. Some cruise and some race. Each element creates a different community within the sport, and to be relevant US Sailing needs to find value-add services that either cut across those communities or addresses specific needs in each community. Look at successful yacht clubs... if they are able to figure out how to address the diverse needs of their own memebers, you should be able to for the national community of sailors.
  2. The leadership needs to recognize that their own personal credibility and that of the organization is compromised. It may or may not be fair, but it is reality. To convince people that true change is going to occur, it may require substantial change of leadership.
  3. Don't force me to join. You are only going to piss me off for no good reason. Any organization that has to require people to join it has failed in making itself relavant.
  4. I don't need additional liability or medical insurance. I do need boat insurance, but your referral program to agency that I already use is useless. As a national sailing authority, you should be able to track accident rates amongst boats in a way that would make marine underwriters green with envy, and thereby become incredibly valuable at being able to help negotiate reasonable and comprehensive coverage across the spectrum of boats and uses. If I want to cover my $40,000 boat for coastal sailing I can go to Progressive. But if I want to cover my $400,000 offshore racing boat to go to Bermuda I am struggling to even be able to find anything short of going to the London markets. When you have groups of sailors starting to talk about how to start up their own buying associations and the word US Sailing never enters into the conversation, you know the organization is failing to capitalize on the opportunities that would make it relevant.
  5. The website is poorly organized, with lots of broken links and incredibly bad navigation.
  6. Abandon the irrational and continued support of Americap / ORR. There is absolutely a place for a VPP based handicap rule in this sport. Unfortunately for US Sailing that rule exists, and it is IRC, a rule that is not without its own flaws but has the virtue of having been adopted on a world wide basis, proven by time, and has boats being designed for and around the rule. ORR is absolutely irrelevant and the only thing that keeps it alive is that 3 high profile races are co-opted by personal politics into using it. To make boat owners pay the time and money necessary to get two certs engenders frustration and anger.
  7. Fix the Olympic funding issue. Set aside, for a moment, the issue of how many funds might (or might not) be available. What funds are available should first work towards encouraging as many youth as possible to compete for the team. The second goal should then be to help those that make it to the team to perform well at the big show. Any properly constructed program needs to do both... it helps build an active and large corp and then gives them heros to strive to emulate.
  8. I have no need for gifts or freebies. Give me a copy of RRS, and then perhaps negotiate discounts and several different sailing magazines so I can have my choice. I might like Seahorse and some one else might like Cruising world.
  9. Stop selling my name to marketers. Every catalog of crappy marine jewlery I get, I blame on US sailing, perhaps unfairly. Make a strong statement that you will never sell my name or details and then I can go blame someone like West Marine for selling my name.
  10. I have still not received my updated copy of RRS from my membership renewal in January. I also can not find any update as to when US Sailing will have managed to print the OSR Cat 0 and Cat 1 rules, which are required for Newport Bermuda. How hard is it to have a previously written document reproduced into a paper bound cover?
  11. As a race organizer and association organizer, US Sailing does not provide any value-added tools that would help in the effort. How about a web publishing tool that could allow a race organizer set up a race web site? Or an internet commerce engine that would allow them to collect fees on-line. For associations, a checklist or manual that would help some one cover all their bases in setting up an association and running it. A web publishing tool that would allow you to easily set up an association web site.
  12. Some sort of national calendar for races
  13. An effective and meaningul tool for finding crew or finding rides.
  14. The loss of the Tornado class is problematic on so many levels, not the least of which was the incredibly poor communication effort on the part of US Sailing.

Good luck. I really do hope that some one at US Sailing is looking at the suggestions on this thread, and looking past some of the anger to see the root causes of that emotion. There is a real need for an effective national body, and US Sailing is missing a lot of the opportunity to be that effective national body.

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I started this thread while in a 2-hour long discussion with Jim Capron, Dick Rose and many others (including some US SAILING Board Members) at the Spring Meeting in Newport this weekend. While it was supposed to be a "Rules Committee" Meeting, it turned into a town meeting on the proposed universal membership requirement. As you might imagine, the topic was highly controversial. Several groups were lighting the torches, warming up the pot of tar and going out to find pitchforks and feathers.

 

On several occasions this weekend, I encouraged Jim to read the comments here and the other forums where I posed exactly the same question. I received an e-mail from him this morning where he assured me he has read this thread, and acknowleged that they need to work harder to get the word out about what US SAILING does, so that members realize the value for their $.

 

In reading this thread, you can see that everyone has their own agenda, but there are some common themes:

- What does US SAILING do for me - the average Joe Sailor?

- US SAILING is out of touch with its constituency base.

- Opererational and financial transparency.

- Customer (member) service is inconsistent.

 

That's what I replied to Jim with - we'll see what happens. Change will not happen overnight.

 

1 piece of information to answer the website detractors:

US SAILING's website is a collective project. Each committee and council has a volunteer "Web Laison" to administer their section of the website. Some are quite experienced, some are not. Some spend hours on their work and some ignore it. The result is a mix-mash of information and quality of presentation.

 

The overall web master left unexpectedly about 2 months ago in the midst of a database transition. They are more or less back on track now to implement a new content management system and a re-design of the whole site - especially the front page. It will take some time. If you want to help, volunteer and get involved with a committee / council.

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This is a winner, that I'll take one step further. Right now they get ~$3.5M in dues. If they keep the same dues structure, and if everyone who races in the U.S. joins what would they do with $87.5M? Really, they don't offer crap today for an individual (the injury insurance is a joke because they know that most who can afford sailing probably have health insurance and this benefit they include doesn't pay a penny until your health insurance is used up, and if you use up your health insurance, tell me, what is $25,000 going to do for you at that point?

 

Let's hear from U.S. Sailing what the would do with the money should the participants give it to them.

 

Right now, it looks like a plan for highway robbery. Those who pay $50 a year now don't get squat. Make more suckers pay it, and suddenly you'll have 25 times squat?

 

They'll have to step up to the plate in a very big way and be throwing things at our feet in order for this to fly.

 

Devils Advocate here... Perhaps if US Sailing had $87.5m they could fund Proper Olympic Campaigns and do all the things we would actually like to see them do.

 

Dunno.

 

I had been a member for years when they offered "Sailing World" as there was a tangible benefit to me as a crew member. Once they stopped doing that I no longer saw the reason, plus Seahorse had been coming for over a year and I liked it better.

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Railmeat - As much as some people can't stand this forum and some of the crap it generates, it has good info some of the time. This thread being a good example. That being said, it would be a first if US Sailing even acknowleged Sailing Anarchy's existance, let alone take advice by forum contributers.

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1 piece of information to answer the website detractors:

US SAILING's website is a collective project. Each committee and council has a volunteer "Web Laison" to administer their section of the website. Some are quite experienced, some are not. Some spend hours on their work and some ignore it. The result is a mix-mash of information and quality of presentation.

 

The overall web master left unexpectedly about 2 months ago in the midst of a database transition. They are more or less back on track now to implement a new content management system and a re-design of the whole site - especially the front page. It will take some time. If you want to help, volunteer and get involved with a committee / council.

[rant]

Why do so many companies make this decision? Would you purchase telephones from volunteers? How about mail delivery? A volunteer run bank? Web sites today are the core of much if not most communication between organizations and their members. Why do they not rate professional funding and operation?

[/rant]

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But the basic problem is not getting the word out so people perceive value. If USS was really listening to the people they purport to represent and doing things those people felt were valuable, that perception would take care of itself. I have never been a USS member in over 30 years of sailing, and see very little value in it. Forcing people to join USS without that perception of value will backfire, and hurt participation even more. To succeed, USS should be a grass roots organization that is responsive and efficient, not an ivory tower mentality that can't even deliver on basic services or fulfill membership obligations.

 

Harsh? Absolutely. Deserved? That too.

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[rant]

Why do so many companies make this decision? Would you purchase telephones from volunteers? How about mail delivery? A volunteer run bank? Web sites today are the core of much if not most communication between organizations and their members. Why do they not rate professional funding and operation?

[/rant]

 

Let's put this in perspective. US SAILING's 2007 un-audited gross income (excluding the Olympics) was $6,314,000.

 

That's a small company. I have apartment properties that generate more gross income than that. Those properties don't have websites with thousands of pages like US SAILING does.

 

The core functions of the website are handled by professionals. However, the vast majority of the information that goes on the website is generated by volunteers. US SAILING recognizes the problem and is trying to institute some order on the chaos. The members cannot afford to have the entire site professionally managed.

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But the basic problem is not getting the word out so people perceive value. If USS was really listening to the people they purport to represent and doing things those people felt were valuable, that perception would take care of itself. I have never been a USS member in over 30 years of sailing, and see very little value in it. Forcing people to join USS without that perception of value will backfire, and hurt participation even more. To succeed, USS should be a grass roots organization that is responsive and efficient, not an ivory tower mentality that can't even deliver on basic services or fulfill membership obligations.

 

Harsh? Absolutely. Deserved? That too.

 

I agree with you completely and I think the powers that be at US SAILING are starting to realize this too.

 

You cannot sucessfully sell a product by telling somebody they are required to buy it. They have to want or need to buy it.

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Could you imagine the implosion of the sport with a mandatory membership?

 

SCENARIOS

Competitors start protesting competitors for not being a member (whether intentionally not a member, just picked a live body off the dock this morning, took co-workers out for a beer can race, etc.). What a great way to win a regatta!

 

Race Management at clubs don't enforce it, and U.S. Sailing comes down on the club with some sort of penalty against the club.

 

Various fleets no doubt would rally against such a move. Then U.S. Sailing sues those groups for using the Racing Rules of Sailing without their authorization. Should they buy U.S. Sailing insurance to protect themselves from U.S. Sailing?

 

I've talked to plenty of decent sailors about U.S. Sailing and the reality is, most weekend warriors say "They're the ones who make the rule book, aren't they???" Many in the sport don't surf the web spending countless hours looking at sailing websites. Many in the sport aren't even sure what a U.S. Sailing is. Can you imagine going up to these people and saying, "You must join U.S. Sailing in order to race today?" What part of "Go fuck yourself" would they not get?

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As a member of USSailing, I find it to be a waste of money. Why? Because essentially I get nothing from membership. What benefits are there that are "tangible"?

 

- Regatta discounts? That is not a USSailing benefit...that is a regatta benefit.

- Insurance - Yes this could be, if I happened to be in that situation, but of course it is secondary to my main insurance...so I still have to get insurance.

- Championships - These are a joke. Sorry, but Jim Capron's comments on how other sports require membership. They do that because they have a national ranking and championship "system". The USSailing championships are a joke. Mainly because it is a joke on how to enter. The winners deserve it, but as a member I should be able to compete in some manner or form. Jim's own area (CBYRA) has "resume only" invites for the last several years for the Mallory. I applied, and was turned down...but wait...we ended up in several of those years NOT SENDING ANYONE! The whole system needs to be revamped and not simply promote the select few that have ties or political pull, but should be a transparent system that allows all sailors to compete.

- rules? - Come from ISAF. Sure, USSAiling is a participant, but a small one at that.

- Olympics - Ok, perhaps the only benefit is to the few participants at the Olympic level. Course not a benefit for me. As a former Olympic participant (not in sailing) I do know the sponsorship and financial hassles that exist. They are large. But the Olympics are now a professional event, and in most cases the pros make more than I do as a working class individual. And they have plenty of opportunities to increase their budgets by sailing with any of the super rich on say your local Farr 40. And many/most do. So while it is expensive to run, that is why there are sponsors and the like...my dues should go to something that benefits "me" directly.

 

 

 

This is a question that has been put forth at the US SAILING Spring Meeting.

 

Lower membership fees?

Goodies?

 

Really - what would it take for those of you who are not US SAILING members to join?

 

Please keep this somewhat serious - information here will go back to Jim Capron (US SAILING President) and the US SAILING Board of Directors.

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I started this thread while in a 2-hour long discussion with Jim Capron, Dick Rose and many others (including some US SAILING Board Members) at the Spring Meeting in Newport this weekend. While it was supposed to be a "Rules Committee" Meeting, it turned into a town meeting on the proposed universal membership requirement. As you might imagine, the topic was highly controversial. Several groups were lighting the torches, warming up the pot of tar and going out to find pitchforks and feathers.

 

On several occasions this weekend, I encouraged Jim to read the comments here and the other forums where I posed exactly the same question. I received an e-mail from him this morning where he assured me he has read this thread, and acknowleged that they need to work harder to get the word out about what US SAILING does, so that members realize the value for their $.

 

OK, since Jim's reading this thread...I've been a member for about 15 years, and will continue to be. I think the offshore office (Dan Nowlan, Donna Leary, Jim Teeters) does a great job with very little credit or acknowledgement. THey have an attitude of service to sailors and clubs and work under some incedible time demands without complaint. As a committee member and Measurer for a major event I experience this firsthand and work very closely with them and they do an exemplary job. Beyond the offshore office, I have very little idea what USS does for us and they do truely seem detatched and clueless, as evidenced by even thinking about mandatory membership. Deliver value and service so people will want to join. The very thought of policing such a ridiculous rule is so mind numbing that it demonstrates a complete lack of understanding.

 

THe sport in the US needs to figure out in a hurry how to get new and young people involved and active or mandatory membership will be the least of our worries. I just turned 50 and I'm still one of the younger owners (ok youngest 15%) in my fleet.

 

Jim, Mandatory membership in USS is just a dumb mis-guided idea.

 

rew

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This is a question that has been put forth at the US SAILING Spring Meeting.

 

Lower membership fees?

Goodies?

 

Really - what would it take for those of you who are not US SAILING members to join?

 

Please keep this somewhat serious - information here will go back to Jim Capron (US SAILING President) and the US SAILING Board of Directors.

 

As a past dinghy and sailboard racer and currently multihull racer, I was always fairly consistent paying my US Sailing dues. I will always be grateful to US Sailing in 1994 for giving me a $4,000 grant to purchase a Tornado and start a Tornado Olympic program (we finished 8th of 18 boats at the 1996 trials).

 

I am very disappointed with their recent actions at the November ISAF meeting. By voting in a way to eliminate the multihull discipline and the chance for a women's high performance dinghy, they showed IMO how out of touch they have become with the PEOPLE in this sport. It seems to me they are too busy trying to govern the sport to their own particular agenda rather than being the biggest advocate in this country of the sport. The same can be said of ISAF. This is not good. Both organizations have left a LOT of sailors feeling very disenfranchised. I have not paid my 2008 dues becuase this incident is still so prevalent in my opinion of both organizations.

 

I hope they can "check their egos" a bit and LISTEN to the response of the sailors about their recent actions as this might be a wake up call. Are you listening Mr. Capron? Like many other individuals and organizations, we are beginning to believe we do not NEED US Sailing so why write them a $50 check each year. A fundamental change needs to happen (stress advocacy of the sport as a priority over governance) and I hope the current sense of discord will be a catalyst. If things remain the same, I'd agree with other posters that they have become a very cloistered organization and there is no sense in supporting them further.

 

Bob Hodges

A-Class Catamaran USA 230

Corsair Sprint 750 9

US A-Class Catamaran Association President

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Like many of the rest here, some perception that there is actually value in holding the membership would help. I dropped mine after the subscription to Sailing World disappeared and haven't missed much since. Sure it costs a buck or two more per race/regatta/season entry, but that alone is (obviously) not enough to get me to join. Additionally, the organization does not seem (again, perception) responsive to its largest potential constituency - casual, Corinthian sailors.

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I have thought about this.

 

I have two answers, one serious, and the other smart ass.

 

Serious: I fail to see the value in being a member, outside of it be required for some regattas.

 

Smart ass: It would take them building a swimming pool in my back yard.

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Could you imagine the implosion of the sport with a mandatory membership?

 

More than anything else, it just seems unlikely to work.

 

Problem: Not enough sailors want to join.

Solution: Require them to join!

 

That's like announcing that you're going to flog your crew until their morale improves. :)

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I'm a USSA member (as well as local YRA and club membership as well as several class memberships) and I am working to increase my activity (as well as having taken a USSA race committee course) to become a Club Race Officer and later a Regional Race Officer. I still want to do it which will require that I remain a member in good standing, which I will do. But if some mandatory membership rule starts and I see the clouds forming over the horizon for a fight between USSA and the owners who USSA should be working for, I will pull out. I think that USSA is losing focus on who they work for (us, the sailors) and what they should be doing.

 

To those that believe that USSA does nothing for you, remember that every race officer that is well trained and ensures that your regatta is a well oiled machine, was likely assisted in their training by USSA. You are getting something (and some of you do not even pay for it, you are free-loading on the backs of the rest of us) for the membership. But I do not believe that it is enough. The local YRA's need better support from USSA, Olymipic hopefuls need better support from USSA and USSA needs to become more responsive to all U.S. sailors needs.

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More than anything else, it just seems unlikely to work.

 

Problem: Not enough sailors want to join.

Solution: Require them to join!

 

That's like announcing that you're going to flog your crew until their morale improves. :)

 

I agree, and will take it one step further. It boarders on extorsion.

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This is a question that has been put forth at the US SAILING Spring Meeting.

 

Lower membership fees?

Goodies?

 

Really - what would it take for those of you who are not US SAILING members to join?

 

Please keep this somewhat serious - information here will go back to Jim Capron (US SAILING President) and the US SAILING Board of Directors.

 

I only join because I am required to join.

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But the basic problem is not getting the word out so people perceive value. If USS was really listening to the people they purport to represent and doing things those people felt were valuable, that perception would take care of itself. I have never been a USS member in over 30 years of sailing, and see very little value in it. Forcing people to join USS without that perception of value will backfire, and hurt participation even more. To succeed, USS should be a grass roots organization that is responsive and efficient, not an ivory tower mentality that can't even deliver on basic services or fulfill membership obligations.

 

Harsh? Absolutely. Deserved? That too.

 

 

I couldn't agree more. I always thought I was getting nickel and dimed at regattas that required USSA membership(NOOD) Hence I don't sail in them anymore.

 

This is what my racing fees look like in approx. dollars.

 

CBYRA - $45

Alberg 30 - $30

MRSA - $85

CB PHRF - $40 required for scoring even though the rating has not changed in 25 years.

 

Then lets add

 

USSA - $60 for each crew, because we all drive. Forget it!!!!

 

And I haven't even enter a race yet.

 

It is not the amount, but it seems every time I turn around the sport is requiring another fee. and for what volunteer RC and cups that collect dust in my closet.

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