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

BrightAyes

Member
248
72
Well this wasn't a poll, but if it were, US Sailing would need be renamed US sAiling. Some pun intended.
 

BrightAyes

Member
248
72
Not sticking it in the eye of US Sailing, but our little club is suffering terribly from lack of racing, motivation and energy. Couple of us "hard core" racers (we bother to fly the kite) have kept the race program on life support, but majority of club could give a shit. They mostly want private access to the lake, pool and amenities. Sailing and comradery be damned. Can't help but think a visit from some mucky muck is USS might kick start the program again. We have a high ranking officer from USS member, so its not like he/they are unaware of the need. Would serve them well to hold a series of virtual town halls with their clubs and see what the issues are and try and help fix them. No medals awarded, however. :)
 

arcpix

Member
206
54
Earth
I'm not sure that the call that 'everything should be free' will be very persuasive.

I think more fundamental questions should be along the lines of:
Who does US Sailing represent?
Who are the President and Board accountable to?
Should the President and Board be elected or appointed?
Should nominations for the Board come from the members and member organizations... or from the Board?

When there is only one candidate nominated for each role, then it is not an election, it is an appointment. When the candidates for the Board are nominated by the Board.....then the Board effectively appoints itself and is accountable to itself.

For example you might not get very far complaining about courses and certification, if the person in overall charge of the organization you are complaining to is the person who designed those certification courses.

It would be a bit like complaining to the US Department of Treasury about the malpractice of Goldman Sachs, only to discover that the Secretary of US Treasury is a partner at Goldman Sachs......Oh Wait!

However.......despite the potential flaws in governorship, I will stand up and say a few good things about the output of USS.

Our club values knowing that when we interview certified instructors or pay for new recruits to get certified that they are all trained to a minimum standard that is appropriate.
When we decided to provide adult sailing lessons, the course and hurdles to become accredited seemed appropriate and suitably demanding. The members and non-members attending those classes are entitled to expect a minimum duty of care and skill level. We don't mind paying the cost of that training and we certainly dont expect the rank and file membership of US Sailing to pay for the cost of our training at our club.

I have extensive rules experience and have sat on dozens of local protest committees. I have always been a competitor first and foremost so I never got certified as a judge. More recently I thought it would be useful to get certified to give some time back to the sport I love. I attended an advanced judging course in Annapolis and have completed the various online tests. I cannot remember how much it cost but it seemed reasonable and I was happy to cover the cost. I dont think other US sailing members should pay for my education. I found the course to be fun, interesting and useful. I enjoyed networking with a great group of people.

So my experience of the work of US Sailing in terms of training volunteers and professionals has generally been favorable. Sorry if that does not fit with the narrative of this thread.
I too am an outlier here. Sure USS could be more responsive to everyday members but they do provide a basic set of standards that we can all race under and expect as fair a competition as reasonable. The price for a club PRO or club Judge class is less than $50 and is managed by volunteers who are well trained and understand the expectations. I have been in club PRO, Advanced Race Management and club Judge classes and came away with a lot more than I went into them with. I don’t think it was a waste of money and I believe that more sailors should take these classes. It will make you a better competitor.
 
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/.)

View attachment 540105
In order to understand the allocation of expenses , we also have to understand the sources of income. Only $ 2 million of the $ 17 million expenditure comes from member dues.
The nature of US sailing accounting is that it is hard to deduce from the audited financial statements how much of US Sailings income comes from the IOC , sponsorship for the Olympic team and grants/donations dedicated to the Olympic effort. We can see that $1m was received from the US Olympic Ctee in 2021 but this is very lumpy and was $1.5 million in the previous 2 years. We can see that total sponsorship totaled $2 million, We dont know how much of the grants were for Olympic athletes or how much of the assets released from restrictions were directed to the Olympics.

What we can observe is that USS expenses have climbed from 11m pre pandemic to 17 m last year. If the USS is going to sustain $ 8m per year on Olympic programs then USS needs to find a major sponsor very quickly. 2021 was an Olympic year so expenses might have been higher than usual.

The RYA accounts present an interesting contrast . The RYA basically transfers its UK Sports grants straight through to the Olympic effort and at first glance it does not seem so much more than we spent on our Olympic team this year. The larger difference is that the RYA spends around 5m on the grass roots , which is not waht I expected to find.

FWIW, the RYA is on a much sounder financial footing than either USS or World sailing, and it is not due to the lottery as I had previously been led to believe.
 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
44,204
9,586
Eastern NC
Not sticking it in the eye of US Sailing, but our little club is suffering terribly from lack of racing, motivation and energy. Couple of us "hard core" racers (we bother to fly the kite) have kept the race program on life support, but majority of club could give a shit. They mostly want private access to the lake, pool and amenities. Sailing and comradery be damned. Can't help but think a visit from some mucky muck is USS might kick start the program again. We have a high ranking officer from USS member, so its not like he/they are unaware of the need. Would serve them well to hold a series of virtual town halls with their clubs and see what the issues are and try and help fix them. No medals awarded, however. :)

Racing is dead here, in all but name. Right now there are still a couple of events, with declining participation and dependent on attracting out-of-towners. The only "racing" here is PHRF cruising class pursuit starts. The youth program is going fairly well, and while there is some demand for adult classes I don't see any actual work going into supplying that. We have RC and rules seminars attended by the same old usual suspects, and they hail this as a great sign of success. It has never occurred to any of them to invite new people, to study what the barriers are, and work at increasing participation.
 

BrightAyes

Member
248
72
Racing is dead here, in all but name. Right now there are still a couple of events, with declining participation and dependent on attracting out-of-towners. The only "racing" here is PHRF cruising class pursuit starts. The youth program is going fairly well, and while there is some demand for adult classes I don't see any actual work going into supplying that. We have RC and rules seminars attended by the same old usual suspects, and they hail this as a great sign of success. It has never occurred to any of them to invite new people, to study what the barriers are, and work at increasing participation.
OMG. We must belong to the same club...at least in spirit.
 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
44,204
9,586
Eastern NC
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?

Getting hit with a pie sounds like fun for all. More stuff like that has got to be a good thing, as long you don't charge too much
:cool:
 

bgytr

Super Anarchist
5,000
622
I'm not in favor of free stuff. But shaking down volunteers for everything you can squeeze, so that they can work for you for free, is not a good long-term business model.
It seems to work pretty well for the DeVos and Amway!
 

EYESAILOR

Super Anarchist
3,505
1,937
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.
It sounds like you either did not sit through the safe sport online course, or were not paying attention. It explains exactly why coaches and race officials need this training.
50% of the course content might seem like common sense to you....but if you are a race official for long enough, one day someone is going to come up to you or a colleague. Then, in addition to the racing rules of sailing, you are going to want to know the law of the land as it applies to sports.
 

EYESAILOR

Super Anarchist
3,505
1,937
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.
There are tons of volunteer roles where USS does not offer or recommend training.

But for certain key roles, training is helpful. It is not only sailing that discovered this. It ranges from setting good start lines to avoiding young kids drowning or getting chopped up by props, and not taking bribes. It also includes safesport training as gymnastics found out.

Sailing , more than many other sports, includes a lot of kids.
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.

Okay, so now we agree that there should be a charge for the service and all we are dickering about is whether it should be $25 or $50 ?
 

Howler

Member
172
169
Jeez people… The point was one shouldn’t have to sit through a SafeSport lecture about something obvious just to run races.
No, you shouldn't have to sit through a SafeSport lecture about something obvious, just as factories shouldn't need to be told to do something obvious like provide protective equipment for their workers, nor should it be necessary for the law to step in and require ships to do something obvious like carry enough lifeboats. ... and yet, here we are.
 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
44,204
9,586
Eastern NC
Look at it from the viewpoint of a parent.

Would you want your child, particularly an adolescent or teen, in a class where they will be subjected to the influence and actions of a person who reacted so negatively to the requirement that they have anti-abuse training?

When I was running youth classes, this kind of thing was not yet standard and I drew from several sources to provide my assistants with material on this topic; I also made sure they understood & agreed with the standards I held them to. Over 15 years there was only one person who fell short in their behavior toward students, I think he was just odd & seemed a bit creepy without meaning anything rather than a threat but we politely moved him away from working directly with students.

Nowadays I consider a resistance to training and investigation and standards to be a red flag.
 

bloodshot

Super Anarchist
1,598
130
United States
No, you shouldn't have to sit through a SafeSport lecture about something obvious, just as factories shouldn't need to be told to do something obvious like provide protective equipment for their workers, nor should it be necessary for the law to step in and require ships to do something obvious like carry enough lifeboats. ... and yet, here we are.
take it up with Congress, not US Sailing
 

Glenn McCarthy

Super Anarchist
1,825
274
Elmhurst, IL
How about a US Sailing where volunteers come together, share ideas, their ideas are heard in various committees, circulated during 3 or 4 day meetings where 300 to 400 volunteers from around the country come together, those ideas are percolated, and come up to a 53 person Board of Directors who pass the item, then it is sent to the professional staff in the office to execute? All areas of sailing represented. All voices heard. Many important awards made for excellence - Sportsmanship, Rescues, Teaching, Race Committee, Judges, etc.

This used to exist, the process was called bottoms up management. This is the US Sailing I believe all of you wish for today.
 

EYESAILOR

Super Anarchist
3,505
1,937
How about a US Sailing where volunteers come together, share ideas, their ideas are heard in various committees, circulated during 3 or 4 day meetings where 300 to 400 volunteers from around the country come together, those ideas are percolated, and come up to a 53 person Board of Directors who pass the item, then it is sent to the professional staff in the office to execute? All areas of sailing represented. All voices heard. Many important awards made for excellence - Sportsmanship, Rescues, Teaching, Race Committee, Judges, etc.

This used to exist, the process was called bottoms up management. This is the US Sailing I believe all of you wish for today.
Indeed.

I dont know whether we need a Board of 53 again. That might be a bit unwieldy but perhaps there could be a senate of approx 50 representatives of the various stakeholders, who the Board is accountable to. If we have a 10 person board, then the board members should be elected , and the nominees should not be appointed by the existing board.
 

Glenn McCarthy

Super Anarchist
1,825
274
Elmhurst, IL
Ahhhh Grasshopper.......

You see, by giving 53 people a responsible position, you get a plethora of people volunteering to travel twice a year to meetings that are 3 to 4 days long. Once they were all fired, they all stopped going to the meetings and the public lost their touch with the organization.

53 Board members was a bit unwieldy and a bit dysfunctional at times, however, it did work with a lot of good results.


Indeed.

I dont know whether we need a Board of 53 again. That might be a bit unwieldy but perhaps there could be a senate of approx 50 representatives of the various stakeholders, who the Board is accountable to. If we have a 10 person board, then the board members should be elected , and the nominees should not be appointed by the existing board.
 

Pollination

Member
108
22
EC
US Sailing

They mail out Stickers (Plastic) and ID Cards (Plastic) as well. They also send out letters for donation requests (Paper) add the carbon footprint of the trucks delivering the letters. Not a very eco friendly organization. I remember USYRU ... you had a paper card and you better have it on you if required at registration. Heck, if you give US Sailing an extra donation you get a cool flag to fly off your boat. (non eco friendly nylon and ink )

Very hypocritical operation. Oh wait and there are cocktail parties and receptions to raise funds. I know the kids vying for spots on the teams, they see little of the funds donated. I think it would be very appropriate to publish the salaries of the top staff at US Sailing.

When you are Flag Officer at any Yacht Club you volunteer your time to better the club and the sport. Not to mention the RC and the rest of Committees and Trustees.

Local Yacht Clubs provide services for their communities and members and Jr's, mostly derived for the membership dues and private donations.

All of the athletes that I speak with express concern over the lack of funding from US Sailing. They must reach out for alternative training funding donations. It has to be said that without a very wealthy family or independent support network, your chances of an olympic medal are slim. Some have potential , the right attitude and discipline.

Without private donations they do not stand a chance. Yet they are limited to be paid for services related to the industry. Ok....cut my lawn or paint my house ...I'll give you some funds.

But you should be out practicing.
 




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