What's Right (or Wrong) with US Sailing?

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
How about the offshore office? No leadership when it comes to PHRF and little ability process ORC certificates.
Sing us the song of woes about your side. USS gave up completely on Portsmouth and foisted it onto RYA, with whom my first contact was positive. Can RYA start offering their services in the US and take over for USS? That'd be nice.
 

EYESAILOR

Super Anarchist
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Then there’s the notion that one has to be lectured to about being alone behind closed doors with an underage athlete before one can be a certified race officer. And have to got through background screening.
I would rather not know what you were doing behind closed doors with an underage athlete that warranted a lecture.

However there is a federal statute called the "Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017" which requires US Sailing (and other sports authorities) to impose training requirements on coaches and officials. If you want to be a certified race officer, it is the law that you pass a Safe Sport course.

This is not a USS "notion". It is the law of the land. If you think the law is misplaced, then take it up with your congressman. Good luck with that. It was passed by an overwhelming bi-partisan majority.
 

Howler

Member
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Then there’s the notion that one has to be lectured to about being alone behind closed doors with an underage athlete before one can be a certified race officer. And have to got through background screening.
I'm a volunteer instructor. The background screening consisted of me providing my name, date of birth, and residential address to the organization with whom I volunteer, so that they could do a check of criminal offender and sexual offender registries. I don't find this in the slightest bit intrusive into my privacy (since what they were checking was public records) nor administratively burdensome.

Not being alone behind closed doors with underage athletes ought to be common sense, but evidently enough people didn't get it that we all now need to go through training to remind us. Just as every safety regulation is written in somebody's blood, the rules regarding interaction between coaches and young athletes are written in the violated childhoods and broken spirits of abuse victims.
 
This is what USS has always done well, connect with the Olympic path of youth racing that utilizes Opti's and C420's, but then what?

US Sailing seems to be focused on chasing the maximum funding for the above program, the rest of us do not represent the cash potential of the Olympic path nor the heart warming and high profile activities related to youth sailing.
There is some truth to this and it is unfortunate.
At its last stakeholders summit, US Sailing stated that first amongst its three primary goals is to improve our results at the Olympics.

There are two possible causes:

1. The US Olympic results in sailing have been so bad and USS is under all kinds of pressure to do something about it.
2. The USS constitution requires that at least 1/3rd of the board shall be sailor athletes A and B, which means a lot of current and former Olympians. They have a powerful voice.

I am sympathetic to #1 and USS is responsible for developing the path for elite sailing athletes and they have to do better at it. But not at the expense of of the vast grass roots of the sport and activity of sailing which represents 98% of sailors.

My personal , subjective criticism of youth sailing in the US is that the junior programs at our yacht clubs, sailing clubs and community sailing centers place way too much emphasis on racing. We start them in Optimists and we start them by racing. If you impart a love of sailing then a young person will be a sailor for life. If you only teach them to race, then they have a high probability of dropping out from the sport if they are not winning races , or when racing finishes after college.


They seem to have gotten themselves stuck to that pathway and because too many of the regular sailors barely know what USS is, they are stuck. I've also read from their reports that they are hurting for volunteers, but that's a can of worms into itself.

Sorta done with USS. My kid will not follow any silly racing path USS currently has in mind. He will get a functional degree in something and play on boats in his spare time, chasing the Olympics would only hinder him in life. I'll make sure he has access to fun modern boats with as much carbon fibre as I can afford, that keep him in sailing. The added bonus of that is he will be unlikely to be interested in a C420 in his teenage years. USS needs a complete rethink from the ground up. The Olympics are a pyre of good intentions turned in something terrible. USS needs to diversify and all they need to do is look at RYA which seems to really have most of the pieces in place.
Sounds like a good kid. Hey, if he/she turns out to have an extraordinary talent and chooses of his own accord to allocate a chapter of his life to chasing the Olympic dream...then that is cool and I suspect you would support him/her in pursuing a dream....but it should not be the only pathway. Hopefully you will offer him many pathways that include messing around in sailing boats because it is a wonderful pastime and there are few gifts as wonderful as sailing with your kids.
About USS funding. Pay your dues, they are cheap and nearly come with a free subscription to a sailing magazine. I will cotninue to pay my dues regardless of how I feel about USS. It takes money to train RC volunteers and that alone is worth the price. Otherwise I'm just hoping USS changes in my life time but I see nothing to indicate it will.
I agree with this. It is kinda my attitude.
I also feel that if someone feels passionately about making changes, they should volunteer to help make those changes. My only reservation is "How does the passionate agent of change volunteer get elected, if the Board appoints its own succesors?"
 

Roller Skates

Super Anarchist
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Yes, it is an assload of work.

Way to show respect for volunteers.

This is why I dropped out of US Sailing years ago, and won't be back. You're welcome.
I think volunteers deserve to be paid, so yes, I do respect them. If we value labor and effort those should be rewarded.

How on earth is that disrespecting volunteers and their energy?
 

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
Sounds like a good kid. Hey, if he/she turns out to have an extraordinary talent and chooses of his own accord to allocate a chapter of his life to chasing the Olympic dream...then that is cool and I suspect you would support him/her in pursuing a dream....but it should not be the only pathway. Hopefully you will offer him many pathways that include messing around in sailing boats because it is a wonderful pastime and there are few gifts as wonderful as sailing with your kids.
Yeah, I will not push him to race like I have done. He will be given many opportunities by both of his racing parents to experience the adventure of sailing. And racing will always be a means to enjoy the social experience of those who also race, the parties, the meetings, the campground racing venues, crashing with friends in far away places, seeing new places, sailing on lakes, rivers, bays, and oceans. He'll also learn a nice cruising boat with a working head, a stove, and a dry place to put your head. Sailing is so much more than racing even if it is 90% of what I do. His mother races in an older class full of very fun people that care more about the social aspects of their events. Balance.

You are correct, USS has a balance issue. I doubt the board knows how to make sailing fun for youth sailors.
 

Roller Skates

Super Anarchist
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My comment was poorly phrased, and I sincerely apologize. Unfortunately, US sailing only cares about completing that course. Please answer this honestly. Do you think that someone who learned from experience instead, is unqualified? Many of those learning hours were spent working for folks like Peter Reggio. He seemed like he knew what he was doing and I just absorbed every little bit of advice he shared. I’ve probably got a few thousand hours of running races at this point. Instructors are absolutely valuable, but perhaps US Sailing could just let folks like me take their test without shelling out the cash for the course. And no, I won’t pay for the course just to donate my time.

Our organization offered to pay for it. Nope. That just means an expense kicked down the road to the sailors.
I don’t have a good handle on a lot of the courses, I’m solely in small boat IT land.

From dipping my toes into judging and official certs, I wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t great for new folks, or experienced folks. A well designed course can engage both. Right now it feels like a frustrating lecture series that doesn’t support anyone.

There are problems for sure, and a general lack of cohesiveness is one of the highlights. I think it’s what makes the RYA schemes so amazing. From my understanding though, RYA relies more on paid positions than volunteers, no? Especially for scheme and track content? I feel like volunteer created tracks at USS have led to separations, digging heels in, and letting egos design courses.

Just trying to keep being a part of changing it and making a mark through it. No hate for those who did and can’t anymore.
 

Roller Skates

Super Anarchist
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You are correct, USS has a balance issue. I doubt the board knows how to make sailing fun for youth sailors.
No doubt, I was frustrated to see the new direction and see pretty much all I cared about off the list. Looks all like marketing and no action.


That said I got the youth racing manager to live insta cameo from an inflatable seahorse windward mark at an open skiff event. And later had a kid hit him with a pie. So maybe there’s a light in there? And the redirect of JO events (away from champ status) has been really fun this year?
 

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
No doubt, I was frustrated to see the new direction and see pretty much all I cared about off the list. Looks all like marketing and no action.


That said I got the youth racing manager to live insta cameo from an inflatable seahorse windward mark at an open skiff event. And later had a kid hit him with a pie. So maybe there’s a light in there? And the redirect of JO events (away from champ status) has been really fun this year?
The last page, Sailor Services, you are correct in that it is just marketing with nothing new on offer. Yeah, good luck everyone, I'm outta this thread. USS continues to disappoint and it is beyond frustrating.
 

Bump-n-Grind

Get off my lawn.
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RedBeans

New member
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I think the funding allocations by category probably accurately represent the organization's priorities. I'm happy that so many people at US Sailing give their time, energy, careers, and hearts to sailing. However, if I were king I'd probably choose different budget allocations, shifting funds towards grassroots programs.

(The table below is pulled from the 2021 financial report found here: https://www.ussailing.org/about/our-organization/financials/.)

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BobJ

Super Anarchist
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Mambo Kings wrote: "I'm not sure that the call that 'everything should be free' will be very persuasive."

I'm not saying the materials should be free, but the schools should be able to buy them at US Sailing's cost. The content hasn't changed in years so the development costs were amortized long ago. And there didn't used to be a fee to renew my instructor certification, why is there one now? The US Sailing schools may be the primary source of new members. If the revenue adjustment must be booked, move it over to the marketing budget.
 
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sea2ocean

New member
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Sailing should be inclusive to anyone who wants to participate. That said, Diversity and Equity are both racist constructs and if US Sailing is pushing them, they can fornicate themselves.
 

KnockedDown

Member
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Then there’s the notion that one has to be lectured to about being alone behind closed doors with an underage athlete before one can be a certified race officer. And have to got through background screening.
Jeez people… The point was one shouldn’t have to sit through a SafeSport lecture about something obvious just to run races. Not for having gotten lectured for actually doing it.
 
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bloodshot

Super Anarchist
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Jeez people… The point was one shouldn’t have to sit through a SafeSport lecture about something obvious just to run races. Not for having gotten lectured for actually doing it.
SafeSport is online and "free". There is no SafeSport lecture at a US Sailing seminar. It's also a federal law that US Sailing has zero influence on.

I get why US Sailing focuses on the Olympics (its the only measurable metric for their "success") and perhaps they should go back to just being USYRU and just being about racing.

Devil's advocate: US Sailing has zero role in retaining child sailing students and making them into adult racers. That is the individual instructors, clubs and sailing schools jobs. No one harps at US Lacrosse, soccer or baseball why little Bobby didn't become a hot shot beer league softball player.
 

AHoleMel

Member
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Volunteering for something is taking away from someone's free time. Along with having the audacity to insist that I have to pony up to do so.. Then Race Committee - A thankless job in itself - I'd rather be mowing the lawn.

to US Sailing... LQQK Left.
 

BGeff

Super Anarchist
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Ann Arbor, MI
I'm not sure what or where the disconnect is with US Ailing. USTA (Triathlon), USTF (Track and Field), and so many others all the way to USA Ultimate, or USGA, or any of the others one can come up with seem to "mostly" get it right. While US Ailing continues to fall flat on it's face year after year after year for going on several decades.
 

Monkey

Super Anarchist
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I feel better now. I woke up this morning and saw a pile of notifications about responses to this thread. I ignored them all day figuring I was getting torn apart. I’m pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong. I fully understand that instructors teaching the various US Sailing courses should be compensated. I paid my annual membership to support just that. What bothers me is that there are tons of volunteers out there that don’t need the training. Based on the sheer amount of youth regattas we run, I’m fully on board with background checks and the associated cost. I’d be cool with something like a $25 fee to apply where you just take the final test. They could even have an option for “non-profit” certifications for the various roles. I’ve never charged a dime for my work. Last weekend I was working in the sketchiest conditions I’ve seen in years for a club 30 miles away even though none of our boats were there. It was interesting because my helper was a fellow RC chairman for his club. He brought up all the same grievances I just did.
 

Monkey

Super Anarchist
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I also just want to mention I’m not a U.S. Sailing hater. I made a very specific point of complimenting some things they’re doing great in its own post before I mentioned what pisses me off.
 




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