Cost of Regattas

You guys bitching about regatta costs. What are YOU doing to keep costs down at YOUR club? Is your house full of visiting sailors when you host a regatta? Are you in the kitchen making dinner and cleaning up afterwards? Are you helping to maintain marks and other gear? Do you look for anchors and chain at yard sales and pick them up for the club? If you have one, do you lend out your powerboat for regattas? Are you helping with planning the details and hundreds of hours that go into making a successful event?
Yes to all of the above. An Doug, where do you think dinner came from after the last regatta? Racing is growing in our area, slowly, but it is growing.

 
Lewdicrous Speed said:
I would like to apologize for my fellow clueless North Carolinian's:

Claims of having run a regatta that doesn't even exist (Lightning nationals)

Insinuations of impropriety of a non profit (asking who they are in regards to you being an accountant like you could assess their credibility)

Straw man arguments that CRW has said anything negative about participation

Please quit embarrassing the rest of us,

Thanks!
Thanks for the thoughtful response. If it is a non-profit you can pull up their 990 and see where their money came and went, but I don't believe it is a NFP as there is nothing about it on the CRW site. I pulled up CORAs most recent 990 and they received about $4K from regatta fees. I believe Steam Flyer actually ran that race in another state. Get in your RV and drive on.

 

Foxy

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What the fuck is wrong with some feedback about costs? It is important. Making a regatta successful requires that you as an organizer take to heart that the participants do this for FUN and that they don't *have* to come---unlike having to buy food or a consumer electronic device etc.
Nothing wrong with finding out what it costs to run a regatta. In a previous message I offered to give my spreadsheet for running a Masters midwinter's last year to anyone who PM.'d me. So far, only one person has done that. I'm happy that other people do still pitch in to keep costs down. Sailors need to support those venues if thats what they want.

As to finding out what the sailors want, I often work with a local US Sailing Center that does 7 major regattas each winter. We tailor each regatta to what the class association tells us it wants. Its often requirements of the class association that run up costs. How much for example do you suppose it costs to bring in 6 judges from around the country for OTW rule 42 enforcement?

Last year I was PRO for the Sunfish International Masters at a 50 member club in central Florida. They don't even have a clubhouse and yet put on a great 3 day regatta for 60 boats that cost something like $90/boat. They had breakfast, sandwich fixings and dinners each night along with a keg. The club housed myself and the judge, but we paid our own travel expenses and I brought the signal boat and a lot of the equipment used.

 

Steam Flyer

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You guys bitching about regatta costs. What are YOU doing to keep costs down at YOUR club? Is your house full of visiting sailors when you host a regatta? Are you in the kitchen making dinner and cleaning up afterwards? Are you helping to maintain marks and other gear? Do you look for anchors and chain at yard sales and pick them up for the club? If you have one, do you lend out your powerboat for regattas? Are you helping with planning the details and hundreds of hours that go into making a successful event?
Yes to all of the above. An Doug, where do you think dinner came from after the last regatta? Racing is growing in our area, slowly, but it is growing.
We brought some, and took away the dirty dishes. Didn't mean to cut you short bro; it's great to have a such a place for the social too

FB- Doug

 
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Steam Flyer

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Lewdicrous Speed said:
I would like to apologize for my fellow clueless North Carolinian's:

Claims of having run a regatta that doesn't even exist (Lightning nationals)

Insinuations of impropriety of a non profit (asking who they are in regards to you being an accountant like you could assess their credibility)

Straw man arguments that CRW has said anything negative about participation

Please quit embarrassing the rest of us,

Thanks!
Learn to fucking read before you start spewing apologies, dickweed

Please quote where anybody, least of all me, claimed to have run a Lightning Nationals.

FB- Doug

 
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O

One of Five

Guest
It's not the first time and not the last that we hear of complaints about regattas getting out of hand. It seems to me that the more low-key events are just as fun and well organized as major events for significantly less cost. On the other hand the logistics get infinitely more complicated with bigger and more numerous fleets, but in many cases it seems to be excessively expensive (to the point of being a limiting factor).

As sailors we're stuck with the short stick, if we want to compete in the big name event(s) we have to pony up. So long as we're willing to pay whatever they ask for the events, the organizing club will keep charging. Most clubs will jump at any chance they get to run a money-making event.
HPDO has always been considered a true value for the money - that's why we keep on getting 100+ boats each year. That and the conditions are almost always supremo.

 

fastyacht

Super Anarchist
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Good chance of windy weather? Check.

Fantastic old-line yacht club with real dinghy resources and a very friendly welcoming atmosphere? Check

Great dinner--great food? Check.

Heineken? Check.

Gracious offer of places to stay? Check.

Thoughtful, very engaging and incredibly effective race management? Check.

Lots and lots of great boats, and super sailors? Check.

Pretty amazing photographs? Check.

What's not to like? Legendary.

 
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Steam Flyer

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Lewdicrous Speed said:
have run a bunch of other regattas from the NC Governor's Cup (back when it was a couple hundred boats) to Lightning districts to nationals...
there you go... maybe you meant "lighting districts to [some other class's] nationals"? sorry I read your post the way you wrote it...

only reason I checked back on this was I happened to come across you doing a nice job embarrassing yourself further in the old boat pics thread...

No embarrassment here.

Guy buys a boat, he can name it what he wants to

If he has no sense of history, or if he'd rather curry favor with his kids than teach -them- a sense of history, it's his business.

If some rich guy bought the USS Constitution and renamed it something like "Sea Ya" or maybe "Sails Call," I'd make about the same comments as I did about renaming Intrepid.

Back to the subject of regattas- I am comfortable with getting up a group of friends to volunteer, and working out the details to put on a big regatta. The chase boats might be old Bayliners but the event can still be perfectly run. That seems to be a rather quaint old fashioned idea, lots of people believe it has to be expensive to be any good.

FB- Doug

 

L Z

Reporters
Wow... it always amazes me that everyone thinks that running regattas is a cheap proposition and that everyone (or the Clubs) is making any money on it, lining their pockets, filling their coffers. Nothing is further from the truth.

Yes, I've run a few a few regattas and have been involved in many (too many) and could tell you how much it costs. And it ain't cheap. Your entry fees for a larger regatta, not your "run on the beach" or your casual club race, is only but a portion of the expenses it takes to run the event. A lot of times it's somewhere around 25-30% of that it costs. Hence the need for sponsorship which is also getting harder and harder to find in the current state of the economy.

I think most of you also forget that when you're running a small, local event, few entries, etc most will volunteer their time, boats, fuel, housing, offer food, ice, etc and just do it for the fun of being involved. Everyone gathers to make it happen and have fun. As the regatta grows and requires more time, effort, food, gas, boats, equipments, hotels, etc, some one has to cover these costs and the past volunteers can no longer afford ($) to simply donate them. Here comes your entry fee cost and rise.

When you take your time and expenses to go to regattas:

If you don't have a good RC group, you complain of bad race management. But to bring in the good ones, costs money.

If you don't have a good Jury panel, they won't address your protest properly and you'll be frustrated. So bring in good Judges, cost money.

If the RC doesn't have the proper equipment, boats and personnel, it provides bad race management. So add boats, add fuel, add people add equipment, cost money.

If the trophies aren't up to your "standards" and they seem cheap, you'll not be happy. So lets offer better bigger trophies, cost money.

If the venue isn't up to par, it can provide the space and parties you would expect. So move to a bigger venue, cost money

If the event offers host dogs, chilly, simple and cheap food, some will complain that it is poor/cheap food. So up the level and quality and... it cost money.

Do I need to continue with the list? And who do you think should pick up, cover these costs and how?

What I really don't understand is why everyone in this sport thinks that regattas should be run for free which would make everyone volunteering their time to put the event together incur the expense for you. The only think you will ever want that will pay you, is a Job! Everything else is going to cost you money!

One of these days I'll find some time and create an outline of all of the items needed to run a race and how much it all costs. You'll be surprised.

DriverEd is complaining about less then $1,000 for the season to race in 5 regattas? On a 21 footer? 3 People? That's $60/person for each event and all the fun they'll have. Not bad at all. Hard to get T-Time for that little.

Cheers

 

MR.CLEAN

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If you made the right friends in Charleston, you wouldn't be paying for housing there either.
I haven't had to "make the right friends" to find a way to stay with a club member at other regattas--the clubs graciously offer that and I think they quite enjoy having the company, otherwise they don't do it.

Even in college sailing, we did that. We were billeted by the USNA sailing coach's family one year. And we were the smallest and least "important" team in the regatta. Remember, it is supposed to be fun.
That works great when you have a few hundred folks come to town. Not so much when there are a couple thousand. Best regatta trend for major multi-class regattas over the past decade? RVs. Charleston has a nice spot to park one.

 

MR.CLEAN

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The chase boats might be old Bayliners but the event can still be perfectly run. That seems to be a rather quaint old fashioned idea, lots of people believe it has to be expensive to be any good.

FB- Doug
I don't think that is quaint at all, and some of my favorite races have been run with sea-wall starts or competitor-set lines with automatic horns.

What's quaint is the idea that you can run a major regatta for hundreds of boats out of a big resort and three different yacht clubs without spending serious money. Things don't scale that way.

 

Steam Flyer

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Eastern NC
Wow... it always amazes me that everyone thinks that running regattas is a cheap proposition and that everyone (or the Clubs) is making any money on it, lining their pockets, filling their coffers. Nothing is further from the truth.

Yes, I've run a few a few regattas and have been involved in many (too many) and could tell you how much it costs. And it ain't cheap. Your entry fees for a larger regatta, not your "run on the beach" or your casual club race, is only but a portion of the expenses it takes to run the event. A lot of times it's somewhere around 25-30% of that it costs. Hence the need for sponsorship which is also getting harder and harder to find in the current state of the economy.

I think most of you also forget that when you're running a small, local event, few entries, etc most will volunteer their time, boats, fuel, housing, offer food, ice, etc and just do it for the fun of being involved. Everyone gathers to make it happen and have fun. As the regatta grows and requires more time, effort, food, gas, boats, equipments, hotels, etc, some one has to cover these costs and the past volunteers can no longer afford ($) to simply donate them. Here comes your entry fee cost and rise.

When you take your time and expenses to go to regattas:

If you don't have a good RC group, you complain of bad race management. But to bring in the good ones, costs money.

If you don't have a good Jury panel, they won't address your protest properly and you'll be frustrated. So bring in good Judges, cost money.

... ...
What you're saying here is that clubs no longer have people capable of running races or hearing protests. If that's true, then the problem needs to be addressed closer to home.

A lot of what I see is a cultural shift, people are so full of themselves that they cannot swallow a DSQ from ol' Charlie they need to hear it from an International Judge (although in many cases, the Int'l Judge is no more an expert than Charlie). As for complaints about the running of races, I've seen more in the past 10 years... and that at some high profile events... than in the previous 30. "Serious sailors" seem to want windward-leewards with no current and no wind shifts, and it's the PRO's fault if they aren't quite sure what button to push on their starting computer. And yeah, if you want to be a PITA to the RC over and over, then you need to pay for that.

FWIW I don't think clubs are lining their pockets. Over the past two years I've had very similar discussions with a bunch of small-boat sailors about events here; even a much much lower fee is deemed "too expensive" by many, and our club has a policy of carefully managing costs, utilizing volunteers, and neither subsidizing nor profiting from our regattas.

The other event I have been running will probably be discontinued because so many people said that it was too expensive, and the organization was losing money on the event; which is a shame because it was a lot of fun and big boost for junior sailing in this area.

FB- Doug

 

MR.CLEAN

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One of these days I'll find some time and create an outline of all of the items needed to run a race and how much it all costs. You'll be surprised.
It would be fun to create a modern budget template LZ. Let's do it.

 

L Z

Reporters
What you're saying here is that clubs no longer have people capable of running races or hearing protests. If that's true, then the problem needs to be addressed closer to home.
Not exactly. But what is it happening though and I see this at various places is that the volunteers are getting "tired" after so many years of giving their time - and many, a lot of their own $ to support the event. The younger generation isn't quite stepping up to the plate to do Race Committee work - although they do like to complain a lot!.

So the clubs are indeed getting and running short on volunteers. They just don't have all the hands needed to fill all of the RC positions needed as the events grow and as it does, more equipment is required. The Jury panel has minimum requirements (whether international or not) and can't (and shouldn't be) all from your club or from the local area (which would create a biased perception and more complaints).

All of these needs and requirements to run a proper event so you feel you got your money's worth for your racing, costs money and can no longer be simply handled by volunteers.

And let's not even get into what it costs to run a Match Race event!!!... You'd fall off your chair.

 

Steam Flyer

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What you're saying here is that clubs no longer have people capable of running races or hearing protests. If that's true, then the problem needs to be addressed closer to home.
Not exactly. But what is it happening though and I see this at various places is that the volunteers are getting "tired" after so many years of giving their time - and many, a lot of their own $ to support the event. The younger generation isn't quite stepping up to the plate to do Race Committee work - although they do like to complain a lot!.

So the clubs are indeed getting and running short on volunteers. They just don't have all the hands needed to fill all of the RC positions needed as the events grow and as it does, more equipment is required. The Jury panel has minimum requirements (whether international or not) and can't (and shouldn't be) all from your club or from the local area (which would create a biased perception and more complaints).

All of these needs and requirements to run a proper event so you feel you got your money's worth for your racing, costs money and can no longer be simply handled by volunteers.

And let's not even get into what it costs to run a Match Race event!!!... You'd fall off your chair.
I'd love to see a good outline & budget plan for a good big-time regatta. You'd be doing all the rest of us a big favor!

And it's easy to believe that many clubs are suffering a decline in volunteers. 1stly nobody has any time any more; then while Gouv's complaint that the young people are shunted off to the side, I just haven't seen any younger volunteers filling in the gaps.

One club I am a member of here, runs few races and those are relatively small, but in the past few years we have deliberately tried to open it up and encourage/assist more volunteers. This is largely a group of retired folk, and is a mixed batch of cruisers, racers, fishermen, trawlers, etc. Excellent respnse from a number of new-ish members using their center-consoles for chase boats, saying it's actually fun and racing sailboats is more interesting than they thought (it helps to know everybody on all the boats) this is the opposite of a hi-profile event but shows what's possible.

FB- Doug

 

Foxy

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Not exactly. But what is it happening though and I see this at various places is that the volunteers are getting "tired" after so many years of giving their time - and many, a lot of their own $ to support the event. The younger generation isn't quite stepping up to the plate to do Race Committee work - although they do like to complain a lot!.

So the clubs are indeed getting and running short on volunteers. They just don't have all the hands needed to fill all of the RC positions needed as the events grow and as it does, more equipment is required. The Jury panel has minimum requirements (whether international or not) and can't (and shouldn't be) all from your club or from the local area (which would create a biased perception and more complaints).

All of these needs and requirements to run a proper event so you feel you got your money's worth for your racing, costs money and can no longer be simply handled by volunteers.

And let's not even get into what it costs to run a Match Race event!!!... You'd fall off your chair.
As a regional race officer I've been around to quite a few clubs. You get great co-operation when the members want to put on a good event and feel that the outside person is there to help them do it. In general, people want to be part of working a well organized and well run event. They clubs that do on their own have no end of people wanting to help out. On the other hand, if your RC's idea of running a regatta has been to throw out some marks and then sit back and drink all afternoon, people soon loose interest in helping or attending.

There are some recruiting and management skills required to gather the club behind an event. If you send out a general E-mail to the membership asking for volunteers, you get few responses. OTOH, when you familiarize yourself with the members and figure out their talents you can approach them one by one with a specific task in mind. Most of the time you will get a yes or they will offer their services in some other way.

While doing the same job over and over suits some people and they get good at it, you have to build a team that can cover for each other when someone can't be there. Moving people around to various jobs and letting them learn from each other makes a better team in the long run.

There are times to bring in outside help, but when volunteers get the idea that some are being paid big bucks (true or not) they start feeling foolish for giving up their free time. As the outside person, you really must believe and foster the perception that you are there to make them better and not because they are not capable. They have the ability, but they need some more experience.

Sadly, it is sometimes easier, but more expensive, to bring in a whole professional crew to run a big event. But then the local people don't learn anything, don't feel a valuable part of it, and don't want to do it again.

 

left hook

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As part of the "up and coming generation" I'm sitting here and reading intently about things to do to help run a good/reasonable regatta. As we're discussing this perhaps you lot could add more insight about things that people like to see, things they don't like, what costs them the most money, etc. In other words - if an organizer has the ability to spend money in certain areas to help improve the competitors experience then where should they focus?

 
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Brass

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First, let me say that I am aware that L Z, like a few other high level race officials earns his living by providing race management services to events, and let me also say that I am pretty sure that L Z, like the others, puts considerable time and effort into the sport for which they do not get paid, and have the interests of the sport at heart.

But you can hardly expect L Z to break his own ricebowl.

The issue of costs of events can be approached from two opposite points of view: INCLUSIVENESS and EXCLUSIVITY.

From the point of view of INCLUSIVENESS, we would expect Organising Authorities (OA), in order to make events accessible to the maximum breadth of competitors and thus grow the sport, to make serious efforts to contain costs, by all means available. Of course, we would like to think that most OA are committed to inclusiveness and accessibility.

On the other hand, there are some (hopefully few) individuals, and some snooty nosed OA that are quite fans of exclusivity, and believe that if you have to ask how much it costs you don’t belong.

OA that tend towards inclusiveness should be expected to have the efficient cost of running the event as the primary driver in setting entry fees, and the willingness to pay of entrants only a distant secondary consideration.

If you are into exclusivity, then the willingness to pay of your fellow uber-rich in setting regatta entry fees is a good way to keep out the riff-raff.

I don’t for one moment suggest that L Z or his fellow race management professionals are committed to exclusivity, but it is obviously in his best interests to work for people who are happy to splash their money around rather than those with a serious and ongoing commitment to cost minimisation, and it is surely inevitable that they will directly or indirectly promote their paid-for services as in some ways better or having advantages over services provided by unpaid volunteers.

Far be it for me to criticise these professionals for doing what is natural and sensible for the management of their businesses. It’s just the way it is.

It’s an axiom that the more money there is in the budget the more money is wasted.

And I can’t help a sneaking suspicion that most sponsorship money gets spent on sponsorship bullshit like flags and signage and sponsors cocktail parties and sponsors event management people and publicists, which has no beneficial event on sailing races.

Wow... it always amazes me that everyone thinks that running regattas is a cheap proposition and that everyone (or the Clubs) is making any money on it, lining their pockets, filling their coffers. Nothing is further from the truth.

That may be true about clubs and associations, and nobody is suggesting that clubs or associations should run regattas at a loss as a charitable venture, but where a club engages a Regatta Management Corporation to run an event, you’d better believe that someone is making a profit, and a fairly substantial one, otherwise the corporation wouldn’t be in business.

Yes, I've run a few a few regattas and have been involved in many (too many) and could tell you how much it costs. And it ain't cheap. Your entry fees for a larger regatta, not your "run on the beach" or your casual club race, is only but a portion of the expenses it takes to run the event. A lot of times it's somewhere around 25-30% of that it costs. Hence the need for sponsorship which is also getting harder and harder to find in the current state of the economy.

I’m astonished at this 25-30% claim, unless you are talking about AmCup or International Match Racing circuit events which derive serious revenue from TV rights and (in some cases) government subsidies.

In any event, I would strongly suspect that unrecovered costs of this magnitude would be substantially incurred in sponsorship-related, rather than useful race management expenditure.

I think most of you also forget that when you're running a small, local event, few entries, etc most will volunteer their time, boats, fuel, housing, offer food, ice, etc and just do it for the fun of being involved. Everyone gathers to make it happen and have fun. As the regatta grows and requires more time, effort, food, gas, boats, equipments, hotels, etc, some one has to cover these costs and the past volunteers can no longer afford ($) to simply donate them. Here comes your entry fee cost and rise.

For club-level events resources are provided gratis by ‘club regulars’. As the size of an event increases the surplus capacity of club regulars to provide resources will be used up and resources will need to be acquired from outside.

Additional resources can be acquired by buying them at retail rates (goods over the counter, fly-in race officers, additional employees, or:

• ‘Buying wholesale’: deals and discounts;

• Recruiting ‘club regulars’ from other nearby or distant clubs

• Recruiting volunteers from the general community (possibly through service clubs like Rotary, Lions, Apex)

• Soliciting deals and donations/sponsorship in kind.

All of these things, except for buying retail are things that professional ‘event managers’ don’t want to do. They take time (including substantial lead-times) that fly-in fly-out regatta managers don't have and effort that they might not get paid for. What professional ‘event mangers’ want, and usually make a condition of their engagement, is an ample budget to buy what is necessary at short notice off the shelf.

When you take your time and expenses to go to regattas:

If you don't have a good RC group, you complain of bad race management. But to bring in the good ones, costs money.

Maybe, but there may be cheaper ways of bring in better race management resources than flying in Regatta Management Inc and an entourage of rock-star race officers.

How about investing, over a period of time, in developing and practicing your own race management team? Sure it will take time and effort, but at least you will be left with an enduring better standard, instead of a lot of pissed off, disrespected local volunteers.

If you don't have a good Jury panel, they won't address your protest properly and you'll be frustrated. So bring in good Judges, cost money.

Why does it cost money? If one of my fellow judges asks me to come interstate to make up the out of towners on his National Jury and offers me a bed at his place, then I can probably find a hundred bucks or so for airfares: net cost to OA: A regatta shirt and a dinner ticket.

If your local judges don't have a network of buddies to ask, then how about investing in getting your judges along to some National Seminars where they can gain some skills and contacts.

If the RC doesn't have the proper equipment, boats and personnel, it provides bad race management. So add boats, add fuel, add people add equipment, cost money.

A bit of cooperation goes a long way. At one of our racing areas, a couple of emails and a few emails (in good time) gets the resources of six sailing clubs plus the state association on the water for a regatta. Each of those clubs has boats, boat crews, marks, ground tackle and so on. Yes, a now flag set here and there, and an open fuel account at the local dock keeps them sweet, but you get a lot of resources for a bit of effort.

If the trophies aren't up to your "standards" and they seem cheap, you'll not be happy. So lets offer better bigger trophies, cost money.

Can’t knock this one, but I've seen some greatly prized toilet seats, boat parts and mast sections, that didn't cost all that much..

If the venue isn't up to par, it can provide the space and parties you would expect. So move to a bigger venue, cost money

Has no effect whatsoever on sailboat racing. Demand what you want, pay what you want.

If the event offers hot dogs, chilly, simple and cheap food, some will complain that it is poor/cheap food. So up the level and quality and... it cost money.

Same as above.

Do I need to continue with the list? And who do you think should pick up, cover these costs and how?

Nobody but the racers, for sure.

But they have a right to expect that the OA will try its best to keep costs down, not indulge in this Top Dollar Buy it Retail mentality.
 

Foxy

Member
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0
Sebastian FL
As part of the "up and coming generation" I'm sitting here and reading intently about things to do to help run a good/reasonable regatta. As we're discussing this perhaps you lot could add more insight about things that people like to see, things they don't like, what costs them the most money, etc. In other words - if an organizer has the ability to spend money in certain areas to help improve the competitors experience then where should they focus?
In one design racing, your class association is the place to start. The Class publishes a set of guidelines that the OA is expected to follow. There is often sample NOR's and SI's and some guidance on the social events. Some of them do it well, but some don't. Some are quite strict about what the expect and some leave almost everything up to the OA.

If you go to the USODA website, there is a quite extensive publication on exactly how they expect you to run an OPTI event. I believe that the J-70 class already similar information on their website. In other cases, information will come directly from the class officers who negotiate the event with you.

It is up to the class to decide what is important to them and how much they are willing to pay. For example, the US Team Racing Association, (using Vanguard 15's decided some years ago to skip bringing in Umpires and Judges to their midwinter's. I'm not sure about other events. In a protest situation each side mutually agrees on another competitor as a judge. They have a 3 minute hearing (similar to RRS appendix T section C). In the initial rounds, they can wait until they get to shore for this, but in the final stages the parties and judge hop into a RIB and decide it on the water. They make it work because they all have great respect for each other and their knowledge of the rules. Other groups find that approach unacceptable and are willing/able to pay for umpires and judges to come in.

It may be a different story at multiclass events, but I would imagine that a big fleet could choose as a group which events to attend and collectively negotiate what they want VS the cost of having it.

Some of this you can figure out yourself. What does it cost you to fly halfway across the country? How much does renting a car, a room, and eating cost. Multiply that by the number of officials that need to be brought in. Food is a big variable depending on who prepares and serves it. Burgers on the grill or catered dinner in a fancy dining room? Awards? I've seen some pretty creative ideas that came across quite well. Ie. wine from a local vineyard with custom labels printed on a Laser printer.

One other point I would make is that the entry fee is often the cheap part of the equation. You have to transport the boat and crew. You have to house and feed everyone. It all adds up.

 

L Z

Reporters
Brass,

You're preaching to the choir. BTW, every event I have ever been a part of and worked with does pretty much everything you outlined below. There is no such thing as a "Regatta Management Corporation or Inc." that is hired to run it for them. There are no Clubs that I know of that would invite or even consider paying an outside company to come run their event at their club when they have their members and capable volunteers that want to help. However, they still cost money. Some of them volunteer every single weekend to work events. It is only fair that they get reimbursed for their expenses - not a payment for services, reimbursed.

I don't do Race Management. I don't offer race management. I offer a service, a software to help them manage ans score the event that in essence saves them a ton of money in printing, some advertising and countless hours of work. For that service, which has costs associated with it on my end plus countless hours of support for any of them that need, I charge them a fee ($10/entry).

All of the other items that you outlined below, are pretty much scrutinized by every club that organizes events. None have an unlimited budget, they all want to at a minimum break even and yes, some of the sponsorship money has to go to some advertizing, banner, sponsor promotion, etc. That is what the sponsor expects, why they put money into it and what it takes to get them to spend their money on your event. Think ROI.

You were invited to go help another event and you found $100 to go help. Good got you. We all do that. But how many $100 are you willing to spend to go "help" regattas? At some point you're going to run out and will be asking for reimbursement, which is only fair, but adds to the budget.

We all want to provide events that are inclusive of everyone. The more, the merrier. But it all has costs associated with it.

Unfortunately I'm tight for time as I leave on Thursday. Wish I had time to put together a basic spreadsheet of event costs. When I find some time, I'll see what I can do, maybe on the plane trip.

Cheers

First, let me say that I am aware that L Z, like a few other high level race officials earns his living by providing race management services to events, and let me also say that I am pretty sure that L Z, like the others, puts considerable time and effort into the sport for which they do not get paid, and have the interests of the sport at heart.

But you can hardly expect L Z to break his own ricebowl.

The issue of costs of events can be approached from two opposite points of view: INCLUSIVENESS and EXCLUSIVITY.

From the point of view of INCLUSIVENESS, we would expect Organising Authorities (OA), in order to make events accessible to the maximum breadth of competitors and thus grow the sport, to make serious efforts to contain costs, by all means available. Of course, we would like to think that most OA are committed to inclusiveness and accessibility.

On the other hand, there are some (hopefully few) individuals, and some snooty nosed OA that are quite fans of exclusivity, and believe that if you have to ask how much it costs you don’t belong.

OA that tend towards inclusiveness should be expected to have the efficient cost of running the event as the primary driver in setting entry fees, and the willingness to pay of entrants only a distant secondary consideration.

If you are into exclusivity, then the willingness to pay of your fellow uber-rich in setting regatta entry fees is a good way to keep out the riff-raff.

I don’t for one moment suggest that L Z or his fellow race management professionals are committed to exclusivity, but it is obviously in his best interests to work for people who are happy to splash their money around rather than those with a serious and ongoing commitment to cost minimisation, and it is surely inevitable that they will directly or indirectly promote their paid-for services as in some ways better or having advantages over services provided by unpaid volunteers.

Far be it for me to criticise these professionals for doing what is natural and sensible for the management of their businesses. It’s just the way it is.

It’s an axiom that the more money there is in the budget the more money is wasted.

And I can’t help a sneaking suspicion that most sponsorship money gets spent on sponsorship bullshit like flags and signage and sponsors cocktail parties and sponsors event management people and publicists, which has no beneficial event on sailing races.

Wow... it always amazes me that everyone thinks that running regattas is a cheap proposition and that everyone (or the Clubs) is making any money on it, lining their pockets, filling their coffers. Nothing is further from the truth.

That may be true about clubs and associations, and nobody is suggesting that clubs or associations should run regattas at a loss as a charitable venture, but where a club engages a Regatta Management Corporation to run an event, you’d better believe that someone is making a profit, and a fairly substantial one, otherwise the corporation wouldn’t be in business.

Yes, I've run a few a few regattas and have been involved in many (too many) and could tell you how much it costs. And it ain't cheap. Your entry fees for a larger regatta, not your "run on the beach" or your casual club race, is only but a portion of the expenses it takes to run the event. A lot of times it's somewhere around 25-30% of that it costs. Hence the need for sponsorship which is also getting harder and harder to find in the current state of the economy.

I’m astonished at this 25-30% claim, unless you are talking about AmCup or International Match Racing circuit events which derive serious revenue from TV rights and (in some cases) government subsidies.

In any event, I would strongly suspect that unrecovered costs of this magnitude would be substantially incurred in sponsorship-related, rather than useful race management expenditure.

I think most of you also forget that when you're running a small, local event, few entries, etc most will volunteer their time, boats, fuel, housing, offer food, ice, etc and just do it for the fun of being involved. Everyone gathers to make it happen and have fun. As the regatta grows and requires more time, effort, food, gas, boats, equipments, hotels, etc, some one has to cover these costs and the past volunteers can no longer afford ($) to simply donate them. Here comes your entry fee cost and rise.

For club-level events resources are provided gratis by ‘club regulars’. As the size of an event increases the surplus capacity of club regulars to provide resources will be used up and resources will need to be acquired from outside.

Additional resources can be acquired by buying them at retail rates (goods over the counter, fly-in race officers, additional employees, or:
• ‘Buying wholesale’: deals and discounts;
• Recruiting ‘club regulars’ from other nearby or distant clubs
• Recruiting volunteers from the general community (possibly through service clubs like Rotary, Lions, Apex)
• Soliciting deals and donations/sponsorship in kind.


All of these things, except for buying retail are things that professional ‘event managers’ don’t want to do. They take time (including substantial lead-times) that fly-in fly-out regatta managers don't have and effort that they might not get paid for. What professional ‘event mangers’ want, and usually make a condition of their engagement, is an ample budget to buy what is necessary at short notice off the shelf.

When you take your time and expenses to go to regattas:

If you don't have a good RC group, you complain of bad race management. But to bring in the good ones, costs money.

Maybe, but there may be cheaper ways of bring in better race management resources than flying in Regatta Management Inc and an entourage of rock-star race officers.
How about investing, over a period of time, in developing and practicing your own race management team? Sure it will take time and effort, but at least you will be left with an enduring better standard, instead of a lot of pissed off, disrespected local volunteers.


If you don't have a good Jury panel, they won't address your protest properly and you'll be frustrated. So bring in good Judges, cost money.

Why does it cost money? If one of my fellow judges asks me to come interstate to make up the out of towners on his National Jury and offers me a bed at his place, then I can probably find a hundred bucks or so for airfares: net cost to OA: A regatta shirt and a dinner ticket.

If your local judges don't have a network of buddies to ask, then how about investing in getting your judges along to some National Seminars where they can gain some skills and contacts.

If the RC doesn't have the proper equipment, boats and personnel, it provides bad race management. So add boats, add fuel, add people add equipment, cost money.

A bit of cooperation goes a long way. At one of our racing areas, a couple of emails and a few emails (in good time) gets the resources of six sailing clubs plus the state association on the water for a regatta. Each of those clubs has boats, boat crews, marks, ground tackle and so on. Yes, a now flag set here and there, and an open fuel account at the local dock keeps them sweet, but you get a lot of resources for a bit of effort.

If the trophies aren't up to your "standards" and they seem cheap, you'll not be happy. So lets offer better bigger trophies, cost money.

Can’t knock this one, but I've seen some greatly prized toilet seats, boat parts and mast sections, that didn't cost all that much..

If the venue isn't up to par, it can provide the space and parties you would expect. So move to a bigger venue, cost money

Has no effect whatsoever on sailboat racing. Demand what you want, pay what you want.

If the event offers hot dogs, chilly, simple and cheap food, some will complain that it is poor/cheap food. So up the level and quality and... it cost money.

Same as above.

Do I need to continue with the list? And who do you think should pick up, cover these costs and how?

Nobody but the racers, for sure.

But they have a right to expect that the OA will try its best to keep costs down, not indulge in this Top Dollar Buy it Retail mentality.
 
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