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The drama within the management of the US Olympic sailing program has exposed the real flaw within the structure of US Sailing.

The Board restructuring about 10 years ago and the clear emphasis on promoting all things training over yacht racing now requires a wholesale change of some sort. Those who say the Sailing Team should be spun off are wrong, primarily because the only reason US Sailing is the congressionally approved NGB for the sport is precisely because of the Olympics.

Two things need to happen, first, the entire Training division needs to be spun off into a wholly-owned for-profit subsidiary of US Sailing, and moved to its own facility in a warm weather place where you could actually teach sailing lessons instead of just being a licensing entity. There is precedent for this structure as that is how the US Professional Sailing Association was set up in the mid-80s. The second thing that needs to happen is that given the CEO knows nothing about yacht racing, there needs to be a Director of Yacht Racing who has knowledge, experience, and relationships within the wide spectrum of the sport. What we have now is the equivalent as if the Professional Ski Instructors of America running the US Ski Team.

There is an abject lack of leadership and accountability from the President and the CEO. I do not know either of these people, and that’s because they make almost no attempt to become part of the family of racing sailors in the US. That neither of them has come front and center during this time of crisis speaks to their inability to provide the necessary leadership to right the US Sailing ship, Olympic or otherwise.

Issuing an unattributed, typical too many words without saying much at all, bland, boring corporate PR-speak press release had exactly the opposite effect of your intention. The President let the former ExDir of the Olympic Sailing Team kick the organization’s ass on the way out the door, thereby controlling the narrative. Good luck regaining the tiny semblance of credibility you had. It did not have to happen this way for either side.

The Sailing team issues will sort themselves out soon enough. I have spoken with several Board members in the last few days, and I am confident that the young people who are leading the field triage will insure that the current sailing team members will have all the support they had expected throughout the year. Maybe best of all out of this chaos is that I see some young Board members who will lead the sport into the future. But these young Board members cannot lead the sport of yacht racing if they have the burden of managing things that have no bearing whatsoever on racing.


Riddle me this, riddler: If US Sailing is the NGB of yacht racing, and the Olympics are the very reason for their existence, why is there currently no listing at all on the organization’s website for the members of the Olympic Sailing Committee? In fact, there is no longer even a link to that committee on the National Governing Body website.

US Sailing wants to promote “diversity, equity and inclusion”, except when it comes to former members of US Sailing. The legendary boat builder and Shipwright for the US Sailing Team, Carl Eichenlaub, took me to my first USYRU meeting in 1986, saying I should get involved, so I did. For 10 years I went to every meeting and spent hundreds of hours on various committees over the years. When the organizational structure changed, it eliminated a large chunk of institutional memory.

The leadership of US Sailing does not like Sailing Anarchy (and has never liked SA) because there is too much criticism and negativity. This is a failure of their marketing efforts, they do not seem to realize the denizens of the SA forums, many like me, spent considerable time helping the organization, and/or the sport, and we were told to go away, so we did. All many of us want to do is help, but the President and CEO seem totally uninterested in recapturing lapsed members and allowing for them to have meaningful input.

Complain all you want about SA, and Ehman’s show, but you screwed up so badly that now even Scuttlebutt, who never met a US Sailing press release he didn’t gush glowingly over, has turned against you. The most ridiculous part of US Sailing’s resistance to engaging with SA is that the guy who controls the home page is about as liberal as they come and would be your best way to promote DEI within the yacht racing community.

But no, you work to exclude anyone that says even a hint of anything negative rather than listen to those with decades of history with the organization and sport. Why should we be members of what is now in effect a private company with a primary business of selling learn-to-sail licenses? ASA is a far better business model for those who want to learn to sail, as is Steve Colgate’s school.

USYRU used to be an organization that enabled the common competitive standards of the sport by bringing together people from all over the country who worked collectively to make the sport of yacht racing better. Now, it is all staff driven, with the primary purpose being to sell more memberships and sailing school licenses.

US Sailing as it stands today is a necessary but annoying inconvenience for racing sailors led by two guys who avoid taking the helm when the weather gets rough. Like Gen. Patton said, "Either lead, follow, or get out of the way”. President Jepsen, you are not providing the necessary leadership for the sport of yacht racing, so are you going to follow, or get out of the way?

Peter Huston
 

Pollination

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Please see my previous posts. There needs to be qualified, vetted individuals in these top positions.

- Have you owned and race a yacht competitively?
- For at least a few decades?
- What other clubs do you belong to and how long have you been a member?
- Did you spend at least 20% of each year on the water?

If not, no need to apply.
 

Goodvibes

under the southern cross I stand ...
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Please see my previous posts. There needs to be qualified, vetted individuals in these top positions.

- Have you owned and race a yacht competitively?
- For at least a few decades?
- What other clubs do you belong to and how long have you been a member?
- Did you spend at least 20% of each year on the water?

If not, no need to apply.

And there you have the problem.

Good sailors do not always make good managers.
 

highlander709

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As someone who is actively involved in another NGB, the thoughts of Peter Huston are spot on. Due to the issues with the USG, Nassar and Michigan St., the USOPC now requires the Boards of NGB's to be composed of 33.3% athletes, typically defined as persons who have competed in international competition within a certain time frame. The US Sailing Board has these Athlete Directors. They need to step forward and demand change to get US Sailing's focus back on developing sailing athletes. US Sailing needs to promote sailing competition and athlete development, rather than things like Adult Certification courses or Power Boat courses.
 

Curious2

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As someone who is actively involved in another NGB, the thoughts of Peter Huston are spot on. Due to the issues with the USG, Nassar and Michigan St., the USOPC now requires the Boards of NGB's to be composed of 33.3% athletes, typically defined as persons who have competed in international competition within a certain time frame. The US Sailing Board has these Athlete Directors. They need to step forward and demand change to get US Sailing's focus back on developing sailing athletes. US Sailing needs to promote sailing competition and athlete development, rather than things like Adult Certification courses or Power Boat courses.

On the other hand, why does the ability to sail fast when that it your full-time job necessarily relate to the ability to motivate local club volunteers, understand marketing, get to grip with legal structures and know how to run introductory courses? The least-liked administrator I know (among those who have worked with him) is a multiple world champ and a selfish, poisonous sociopath.

A national or international champion can be a great administrator and a winning record normally brings with it a level of respect that gives cred, but the qualities required in a top athlete arguably have very little to do with the ability to run an organisation.

The fact that many pro sports now have programmes to allow ex-athletes to run a normal life after their career is over surely shows that sporting excellence does not necessarily translate at all to excellence in other forms of life.
 

PeterHuston

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I ready to help @PeterHuston in any way get this ship righted.
Thanks. US Sailing is not worth the time to engage with, unless it is some sort of requirement. It is now run on a day to day basis by a guy who does not sail. Why should the yacht racing community listen to a single thing he has to say? Many people have talked about forming something new, and a couple of years ago a former US Sailing Board member actually did create a legal entity called NAYRU with the idea that maybe we should all just recreate NAYRU. Fundamentally, NAYRU was just a bunch of club, yra, and classes getting together, all as volunteers with minimal staff to make it all work. I'm not much interested in spending the energy to do that, though I do think it would be pretty easy to do. In many ways, this place is already sort of that. This freak-zone is were a huge amount of information about all things yacht racing gets shared.

Probably the best thing you can do is just keep doing what you do locally. If we had a couple of guys like you at each club, the sport would be in much better shape. Get a couple of people to follow in your footsteps, and get a person or two at other clubs in your area to push even half as hard as you do.
 

Rum Runner

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The CEO of Apple doesn't code either.

There are many many problems with USSA, and none of them are the fact that the boss don't sail.
The biggest problem seems to be that USSailing takes no responsibility to how they spend the members' money. They, like the Government generally believe it is theirs to use as they please.
 

Pollination

Member
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EC
There is a solution. On race day, each owner should pay a premium based on the prevailing wind strength. This will be calculated about a month after the race and invoiced to the owner. Of course, this calculation will be based on the ORC wind range used for scoring that day.(So you can be sure it is wrong) Or the average performance for the participating yacht for the previous season under similar conditions under PHRF.

If it's blowing 20 for an hour, you pay $100.00 bucks to US Sailing for wind usage.
 

Go Left

Super Anarchist
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The CEO of Apple doesn't code either.

There are many many problems with USSA, and none of them are the fact that the boss don't sail.
This is not a really good comparison. Tim Cook may not code (who knows?), but he is definitely a daily user of his company's products and services and thoroughly understands their use and their value.

Thats like saying that What'shisface at USSailing isn't a good rigger. Far more relevant is that it is quite evident he doesn't understand the use or the value of the services and products he's supposed to be guiding and promoting.

That is at the core of the problem.
 

Pollination

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USSA needs to "go the extra mile, it's never crowded there". This is why we are all here on this thread, unhappy and disappointed customers. We don't have our hands out for anything except value.
 
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