zero the hero

jhc

Super Anarchist
2,359
218
Ha, ha. Raise taxes on the wealthy. That will stop all this nonsense! Waaaay too many fun tickets available. (a joke)

 

theworm13

Member
336
2
Hard to compare the situation with sailing to cycling or masters swimming. As someone who has participated in all of these, there simply is no difference.

Swimming is simple...there is no advantage to being a coach vs a normal swimmer. It is all about physical performance and time in the pool practicing. The coach will possibly gain more of that, but there is no limitation. You could argue a self employed person would also have an advantage in swimming because they could have more time to train.

With cycling it is much easier. There is a rating system (category) that you move up or down (rarely). Yes, everyone gets stuck at cat 3 which is a problem, but again the cat system moves people up if they are successful. It is impossible to "hide" as you will be moved eventually. So a pro can't hide or get "paid" to race...just does not exist.

The reality in sailing is that there are 2 groups. True Corinthian sailors and non-Corinthian. The non-Corinthian includes those who "pay to play". Long term for the success of both they really cannot race together, or more correct cannot be "scored" together. The advantages of being a pro sailor vs Corinthian are measurable. Unlike swimming where a 1-2 hour per day commitment will return measurable dividends, most Corinthian sailors might get once per week in the summer and no sailing in the winter. Industry professionals might be out 4-5 days year round. That ability really underscores the differences.

I don't think the issue is the pay, but the difference in the ability from even a top Corinthian to a professional (in the industry). I know I have consistently beaten some pros...so it can be done...but the real differentiation is the time allowances to sail (practice) is vastly different.

Perhaps sailing should have a classification system like cycling. At some point paid sailing is "allowed" but it really is based on performance and results vs paid/not. A national/international database could be created recording all scores, similar to tennis and cycling, and rating moves based on that rating. Team results would also come into play, so yes sailing with a top notch program would affect everyone's rating on that boat.. Events would have multiple "classes" with 1 start, allowing everyone to compete on their level vs against ones that are classed up.

Other sports have the same types of issues/complaints

Weekend warrior cyclist is going up against bike store mechanics

Weekend warrior masters swimmer is going up against age group swim coaches

It's not the end of the world
 

Norcal

Member
110
52
The Group 1 and 3 designation for amateur and pro sailors has been with us for a couple of decades. It is by no means a perfect system, but it serves a purpose. I played a role in getting this list created. When the system was first introduced, it also included the nether-world of group 2 sailors who were neither fish or fowl, it was based on the honor system of self declaring. Of course, there was not enough honor among thieves, and cheating was rampant. This was evident at various regattas where one week a sailor would be deemed a Group 2 by that event, and the next week a Group 3, then back to a 2 the following week. There was no way to insure consistency, and favoritism happened frequently.

At the time, I was President of the US Professional Sailing Association. I was sailing mostly in Southern California where PHRF had created the Marine Industry Racer rule so as to keep

sail lofts from loading up a boat with staff for a weekend regatta. Dave Ullman was particularly vocal in support of this rule, far more so than any other sailmaker. Dave even wrote an article for Sailing World titled something like "Get The Pro's Out Of Sailing". I was sailing with Dave a fair amount then, and we'd talk about this issue from time to time.

Eventually I wrote an article for Sailing World about the need to create a uniform list of Group 2 and 3 sailors. It was not well received initially, but eventually Dave Irish warmed to the idea, and as he termed out as President of US Sailing, he created the job of Eligibility Chairman for himself and got the list up and running. Eventually ISAF took over control on a global basis.

There is no question that a big part of the decline in participation in racing, perhaps especially the last five years or so, is because of the cost of hiring people to sail. It's great to say you competed against the best, but if you are a weekend warrior on a budget how much fun is it really to never have clean air and be sailing in the cheap seats for a week? Clearly, regatta participation is decreasing because of the escalating cost of pro sailors. Ullman was, unfortunately, a visionary and has been proven correct.

If a class decides they want to allow unrestricted talent, then everyone knows what they are getting into. These classes seem come and go only to replaced by yet the next shiny object, at least here in the US.

But if a class or regatta does have restrictions how do you really penalize the guy who gets paid to sail but yet registers with ISAF Sailor as a Group 1, especially when they are being paid under the table? And what of the owner who knowingly pays people yet registers them as a Group 1? We all know they exist, but proving the case is very difficult. Even if there are no restrictions on Group 3 sailors, it would be nice to know if you are competing against a boatload of paid sailors.

The ISAF Sailor Group system is easy to use. It's not exactly up to date on some classes or events where paid sailors compete, but that would be a simple thing for World Sailing to fix if the staff was paying attention. To be clear, I have no problem with people paying or being paid to sail, it's the lying about it that's the issue.

What can or should be done about people who lie about being paid to race when they register with ISAF Sailor, and the owners who falsely register sailors they pay as Group 1 sailors? What are the flaws in the system? Would there be a better system and if so what would it be?
The problem that you are going in about isn't pro sailors, pros are pros and get paid to sail and hide nothing. Your complaint and the issue is amateurs who badger owners into paying them under the table to sail. These amateurs are wannabes who think they are good enough to be a pro (and a very few of them are) but if they were to quit their day job they would find finding work as a real pro very difficult and would be in the soup line in no time.
The belief that pro sailors are running people out of the sport is bullshit, the constraints on free time, competing interests, arms race, etc have more to do with it than professionals who sail on a boat and help to lift everyone's game.

Ullman has always harped on pros..... unless he is the one getting paid. That contradiction has been around for decades, but he hides behind double-speak.

So you should quit bagging on honest professionals, and go after the owners and their sailing managers who pay the cat 1 wannabes under the table, it has been this way forever and does not seem like anything is going to change.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

ALGEDI

Member
52
2
My local has 50 active yachts over 3 divisions which do a combination of Wednesday afternoon for non golfers, Summer twilight, and weekend inshore and offshore. Many are clients in another way. They offer a weeks pocket money for my attendance if they can claim a podium position to receive a bottle of $10 red. I do my form, rate each boat, and based on the conditions choose who I sail with on any given day. Guaranteed result, dinner and drinks always included. What level does that make me?

 

Dude

Anarchist
Of the questions asked:

1. What can or should be done about people who lie about being paid to race when they register with ISAF Sailor.

2 The owners who falsely register sailors they pay as Group 1 sailors?

3. What are the flaws in the system?

4. Would there be a better system and if so what would it be?

I feel strong class rules have come the closest to answering most of these questions.

The definition of a professional sailor should be defined clearly in the class rules, rather than differing to an outside authority.

An owner driver rule along with a crew participation rule during fleet or championship regattas might solve many of these questions. For the major regattas the owner would submit his crew list, for example the crew would have had to sailed in four regattas that season to participate in the major events. Should the owner need to fill an open spot they would petition the class board to allow the perspective crew members.

This concept will increase participation throughout the sailing season by allowing the lower skilled crew members to participate in the major events and keep owners from stacking their crew. Which I feel is the flaw in the system.

​It still comes down to getting involved with your local fleets be it one-design, handicapped racing or volunteering for race management.

 

Crash

Super Anarchist
5,074
1,007
SoCal
The Group 1 and 3 designation for amateur and pro sailors has been with us for a couple of decades. It is by no means a perfect system, but it serves a purpose. I played a role in getting this list created. When the system was first introduced, it also included the nether-world of group 2 sailors who were neither fish or fowl, it was based on the honor system of self declaring. Of course, there was not enough honor among thieves, and cheating was rampant. This was evident at various regattas where one week a sailor would be deemed a Group 2 by that event, and the next week a Group 3, then back to a 2 the following week. There was no way to insure consistency, and favoritism happened frequently.

At the time, I was President of the US Professional Sailing Association. I was sailing mostly in Southern California where PHRF had created the Marine Industry Racer rule so as to keep

sail lofts from loading up a boat with staff for a weekend regatta. Dave Ullman was particularly vocal in support of this rule, far more so than any other sailmaker. Dave even wrote an article for Sailing World titled something like "Get The Pro's Out Of Sailing". I was sailing with Dave a fair amount then, and we'd talk about this issue from time to time.

Eventually I wrote an article for Sailing World about the need to create a uniform list of Group 2 and 3 sailors. It was not well received initially, but eventually Dave Irish warmed to the idea, and as he termed out as President of US Sailing, he created the job of Eligibility Chairman for himself and got the list up and running. Eventually ISAF took over control on a global basis.

There is no question that a big part of the decline in participation in racing, perhaps especially the last five years or so, is because of the cost of hiring people to sail. It's great to say you competed against the best, but if you are a weekend warrior on a budget how much fun is it really to never have clean air and be sailing in the cheap seats for a week? Clearly, regatta participation is decreasing because of the escalating cost of pro sailors. Ullman was, unfortunately, a visionary and has been proven correct.

If a class decides they want to allow unrestricted talent, then everyone knows what they are getting into. These classes seem come and go only to replaced by yet the next shiny object, at least here in the US.

But if a class or regatta does have restrictions how do you really penalize the guy who gets paid to sail but yet registers with ISAF Sailor as a Group 1, especially when they are being paid under the table? And what of the owner who knowingly pays people yet registers them as a Group 1? We all know they exist, but proving the case is very difficult. Even if there are no restrictions on Group 3 sailors, it would be nice to know if you are competing against a boatload of paid sailors.

The ISAF Sailor Group system is easy to use. It's not exactly up to date on some classes or events where paid sailors compete, but that would be a simple thing for World Sailing to fix if the staff was paying attention. To be clear, I have no problem with people paying or being paid to sail, it's the lying about it that's the issue.

What can or should be done about people who lie about being paid to race when they register with ISAF Sailor, and the owners who falsely register sailors they pay as Group 1 sailors? What are the flaws in the system? Would there be a better system and if so what would it be?
The problem that you are going in about isn't pro sailors, pros are pros and get paid to sail and hide nothing. Your complaint and the issue is amateurs who badger owners into paying them under the table to sail. These amateurs are wannabes who think they are good enough to be a pro (and a very few of them are) but if they were to quit their day job they would find finding work as a real pro very difficult and would be in the soup line in no time.
The belief that pro sailors are running people out of the sport is bullshit, the constraints on free time, competing interests, arms race, etc have more to do with it than professionals who sail on a boat and help to lift everyone's game.

Ullman has always harped on pros..... unless he is the one getting paid. That contradiction has been around for decades, but he hides behind double-speak.

So you should quit bagging on honest professionals, and go after the owners and their sailing managers who pay the cat 1 wannabes under the table, it has been this way forever and does not seem like anything is going to change.
It depends on how you define "pro" now doesn't it. If you're getting paid to sail, (whether under or over the table) then by one definition you are a pro...so by this definition the "amateur wannabes" are "pros".

The other definition applies to the real pro's..people who make their livelihood sailing or in the sailing industry (sailmakers, coaches, etc)...as you've pointed out, there are a lot less of those guys, and they can genuinely help lift everyone's game...though sailing on the TP52 pro series in the Med only indirectly lifts anyone's game...

The root of the problem is owners who have decided winning is most important...and so are willing to pay crew if it makes it more likely that they will win...and the owners haven't really figured out yet that they are slowly killing off the sport they are paying so much to play.

We can make all the excuses we want, about less free time, about less disposable income, about millennials, etc. If sailing was fun and enjoyable, people would make the time and spend the money...just look at a ski hill. Its cold, expensive, takes a bunch of time, and is a lot of physical work. Yet there are plenty of people out skiing...alot more then are out sailboat racing...

The owners who engage ever more in the arms race...whether sails, or crew, or newest, slightly faster, shiniest new toy...because winning matters most to them, they (and many of us are they) are the ones who are slowly killing the sport...

 

Crash

Super Anarchist
5,074
1,007
SoCal
Of the questions asked:

1. What can or should be done about people who lie about being paid to race when they register with ISAF Sailor.

2 The owners who falsely register sailors they pay as Group 1 sailors?

3. What are the flaws in the system?

4. Would there be a better system and if so what would it be?

I feel strong class rules have come the closest to answering most of these questions.

The definition of a professional sailor should be defined clearly in the class rules, rather than differing to an outside authority.

An owner driver rule along with a crew participation rule during fleet or championship regattas might solve many of these questions. For the major regattas the owner would submit his crew list, for example the crew would have had to sailed in four regattas that season to participate in the major events. Should the owner need to fill an open spot they would petition the class board to allow the perspective crew members.

This concept will increase participation throughout the sailing season by allowing the lower skilled crew members to participate in the major events and keep owners from stacking their crew. Which I feel is the flaw in the system.

​It still comes down to getting involved with your local fleets be it one-design, handicapped racing or volunteering for race management.
How do class rules help PHRF, ORC, etc? Not everyone being paid to sail (to win) is sailing OD...

 

us7070

Super Anarchist
10,229
243
There is no question that a big part of the decline in participation in racing, perhaps especially the last five years or so, is because of the cost of hiring people to sail.
this is not even remotely true...

what % of sailboat racers even want to race with hired pro sailors? I think it's pretty small

i am not taking about hiring a pro occasionally as a coach.., i am asking about having paid pro's as a regular part of the team.

anyway.., even if that statement is true.., having a better way of enforcing the current rules/definitions and /or cheaper pro's wouldn't even solve the problem suggested - the cost of pro's being too high, resulting in less participation!

it's not like most owners are saying something like:

"I know my competition is cheating by paying a pro under the table.., I sure wish Pro's were cheaper so I could afford to cheat too"

 
Last edited by a moderator:

RATM

Anarchist
852
45
Let me elaborate on my original point. I'll use the bike store mechanic as an example but you'll see were I'm going.

A bike store mechanic is basically an industry professional. They'll typically have employee discounts, access to state of the art tools and if they're racing in the shop's kit, a pretty flexible schedule. These are HUGE advantages in a sport like cycling. The cherry on top is that they're being paid by the cycling industry. They may not be pros in the sense of being paid to race but there are advantages of being in the industry.

Hard to compare the situation with sailing to cycling or masters swimming. As someone who has participated in all of these, there simply is no difference.

Swimming is simple...there is no advantage to being a coach vs a normal swimmer. It is all about physical performance and time in the pool practicing. The coach will possibly gain more of that, but there is no limitation. You could argue a self employed person would also have an advantage in swimming because they could have more time to train.

With cycling it is much easier. There is a rating system (category) that you move up or down (rarely). Yes, everyone gets stuck at cat 3 which is a problem, but again the cat system moves people up if they are successful. It is impossible to "hide" as you will be moved eventually. So a pro can't hide or get "paid" to race...just does not exist.

The reality in sailing is that there are 2 groups. True Corinthian sailors and non-Corinthian. The non-Corinthian includes those who "pay to play". Long term for the success of both they really cannot race together, or more correct cannot be "scored" together. The advantages of being a pro sailor vs Corinthian are measurable. Unlike swimming where a 1-2 hour per day commitment will return measurable dividends, most Corinthian sailors might get once per week in the summer and no sailing in the winter. Industry professionals might be out 4-5 days year round. That ability really underscores the differences.

I don't think the issue is the pay, but the difference in the ability from even a top Corinthian to a professional (in the industry). I know I have consistently beaten some pros...so it can be done...but the real differentiation is the time allowances to sail (practice) is vastly different.

Perhaps sailing should have a classification system like cycling. At some point paid sailing is "allowed" but it really is based on performance and results vs paid/not. A national/international database could be created recording all scores, similar to tennis and cycling, and rating moves based on that rating. Team results would also come into play, so yes sailing with a top notch program would affect everyone's rating on that boat.. Events would have multiple "classes" with 1 start, allowing everyone to compete on their level vs against ones that are classed up.

Other sports have the same types of issues/complaints

Weekend warrior cyclist is going up against bike store mechanics

Weekend warrior masters swimmer is going up against age group swim coaches

It's not the end of the world
 

fufkin

Super Anarchist
Whining about not winning, putting prize before process...runs counter to Corinthian spirit in the first place. Those owners or crew that are supposedly getting so twisted at seeing the stern of the stacked boat ahead of them should figure out why their getting beat.

If they can't figure it out on their own maybe approach one of these ghost pros in the bar afterward and instead of worrying so much about some unscrupulous owner throwing them a few bucks under the table, just ask them what they did right that day out on the course...a lesson paid for by your friendly class mate who really, really needs another engraved mug on his shelf.

 

trimfast

Anarchist
593
87
There is no question that a big part of the decline in participation in racing, perhaps especially the last five years or so, is because of the cost of hiring people to sail.
this is not even remotely true...

what % of sailboat racers even want to race with hired pro sailors? I think it's pretty small

i am not taking about hiring a pro occasionally as a coach.., i am asking about having paid pro's as a regular part of the team.

anyway.., even if that statement is true.., having a better way of enforcing the current rules/definitions and /or cheaper pro's wouldn't even solve the problem suggested - the cost of pro's being too high, resulting in less participation!

it's not like most owners are saying something like:

"I know my competition is cheating by paying a pro under the table.., I sure wish Pro's were cheaper so I could afford to cheat too"
The bolded section... It really depends on the fleet. 70s I would say a lot, go up against the best. But racing a boat like a J35 and a boat that shows up with 3 pros for the weekend to race, not so much.

 

axolotl

Super Anarchist
1,656
183
San Diego
I get a chuckle out of the mid to bottom of the fleet owners who hire a pro for one or two regattas or races a year, win first places and then brag on it in social media for months. Meanwhile they were second to last last weekend and any posts on social media? Crickets.

One very good reason to hire a pro for one race is they can advise concerning any equipment deficits, and if your boat skyrockets to first place on that one race, you know it ain't an equipment problem. But it's sad to see the pro continuously whispering "up- down" into the driver's ear, calling for "car forward-back" "jib in an inch- ease an inch", "travellor up-down", etc., on the upwind legs, and similar instructions on the downwind leg. It's as if the crew are automatons.

I've had the good fortune to crew aboard a few boats where Dennis Conner was the unpaid pro for a day's racing, as a friend of the owner. There was a lot of prerace activity concerning adding telltales, throwing unnecessary sails and equipment on the dock, etc. During the race he was more an advisor than a director. For example he say things like: "Try being a bit less active on the wheel, conditions are quite stable and light today and moving the wheel a lot is slowing the boat down." "It's quite shifty today so try being much more active with the pole; help the trimmer keep the kite trimmed by moving the pole back and forth in the apparent shifts." "We're running down a slower boat in a few minutes, let's decide now whether to foot a bit and go beneath him or pinch a lot and pass several boatlengths above him so he won't be tempted to luff us." "Let's forgo the beers till after the finish line; we'll all need both hands during the race." "Why don't we bunch all the hikers forward and tight behind the shrouds; it might get our stern a bit more out of the water." "We're slowly getting lifted as we approach shore, but the adverse current is considerable today and it's really shallow over there; why don't we carry on till we're tight on the shore, then gybe and have a nice long leg in less current." All in a calm and measured voice and he never touched a winch or line. Bill Fortenberry was a good pro to have aboard too.

Other pros, not so much; they're so intent on a podium finish they lose their temper when there's even a minor foulup, or even worse run up on the bow, push aside the bowman and fix it themselves, or grab a sheet out of a trimmer's hands because they're "fucking up."

 
I am a group 3 because of my business. I am classed in the same group as Jimmy Spithill. Really? This pretty much knocks me out of crewing on any amateur only event. I am talking about going sailing and not getting paid. Disqualified.

I think it should be performance based, and the rules should account for those who are paid a daily rate to sail vs. those (me) who work on boats, race boats, occasionally coach crews, etc. I think it could be a simple % of income. If you get say 80% of your income to SAIL (not sand, sew, splice, etc) then you are a 3. If you work in the industry, you could be a 2. That way each class can set rules on how many pros, Minor leaguers, and amateurs can race. If I built Bats and Gloves and was a batting coach for a local farm team I should not be classed the same as A Rod.

 

Dude

Anarchist
Of the questions asked:

1. What can or should be done about people who lie about being paid to race when they register with ISAF Sailor.

2 The owners who falsely register sailors they pay as Group 1 sailors?

3. What are the flaws in the system?

4. Would there be a better system and if so what would it be?

I feel strong class rules have come the closest to answering most of these questions.

The definition of a professional sailor should be defined clearly in the class rules, rather than differing to an outside authority.

An owner driver rule along with a crew participation rule during fleet or championship regattas might solve many of these questions. For the major regattas the owner would submit his crew list, for example the crew would have had to sailed in four regattas that season to participate in the major events. Should the owner need to fill an open spot they would petition the class board to allow the perspective crew members.

This concept will increase participation throughout the sailing season by allowing the lower skilled crew members to participate in the major events and keep owners from stacking their crew. Which I feel is the flaw in the system.

​It still comes down to getting involved with your local fleets be it one-design, handicapped racing or volunteering for race management.
How do class rules help PHRF, ORC, etc? Not everyone being paid to sail (to win) is sailing OD...
I consider PHRF, ORC, and ORR a class that can be governed by their local and district boards.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

trimfast

Anarchist
593
87
I am a group 3 because of my business. I am classed in the same group as Jimmy Spithill. Really? This pretty much knocks me out of crewing on any amateur only event. I am talking about going sailing and not getting paid. Disqualified.

I think it should be performance based, and the rules should account for those who are paid a daily rate to sail vs. those (me) who work on boats, race boats, occasionally coach crews, etc. I think it could be a simple % of income. If you get say 80% of your income to SAIL (not sand, sew, splice, etc) then you are a 3. If you work in the industry, you could be a 2. That way each class can set rules on how many pros, Minor leaguers, and amateurs can race. If I built Bats and Gloves and was a batting coach for a local farm team I should not be classed the same as A Rod.
I thought merely working for a company didn't put you in group 3. However, the coach part would even if it is occasionally.

 

Dude

Anarchist
I am a group 3 because of my business. I am classed in the same group as Jimmy Spithill. Really? This pretty much knocks me out of crewing on any amateur only event. I am talking about going sailing and not getting paid. Disqualified.

I think it should be performance based, and the rules should account for those who are paid a daily rate to sail vs. those (me) who work on boats, race boats, occasionally coach crews, etc. I think it could be a simple % of income. If you get say 80% of your income to SAIL (not sand, sew, splice, etc) then you are a 3. If you work in the industry, you could be a 2. That way each class can set rules on how many pros, Minor leaguers, and amateurs can race. If I built Bats and Gloves and was a batting coach for a local farm team I should not be classed the same as A Rod.
I thought merely working for a company didn't put you in group 3. However, the coach part would even if it is occasionally.
I don't think this answers the OP questions. But this has been my concern with todays World Sailings definition of "Pro Sailor". I sell racing sailboats therefore I am a Cat 3 pro. I also sell Sport fisher power boats and do not know how to bait a hook. Under this example I am also a pro fisherman. This is why I feel the local fleets should define and determine the pro status.

 

theworm13

Member
336
2
I get what you are saying. But as a former pro, and one who worked my way up to that position, the bike means a lot less than people think. A $2k investment in bike and wheels, which is WAY less than many pay, puts you 100% on par with the top pro in the world. Now will a $15k Madone help a Tour rider during a mountain stage compared to his peers...yes potentially. But at that point you are not looking at the differences between a pro and a good "corinthian"...you are comparing pro to pro. At that point, like in sailing, that 5 foot advantage on the first leg might be the difference between 1st and 15th.

The bike industry will spend hours and hours convincing you that you need the best kit and new gear you can. Ultimately the biggest advantage you can find is having the right pressure in your tires and a well lubed chain! Seriously. The advantages you might think are coming from top end gear or "access to tools" simply are not factors in the end. In fact, I spent years working from Cat 5 to Cat 1 on the track using an old Bianchi track bike...with only 4 sets of gears and no disk/aero wheels. Yes I upgraded eventually...but at that point again I was not racing amateurs I was at that point racing other professionals...and by then the tenth of a second I gained, or the slight weight loss I had with a custom frame, at that point it helped.

But like I said...I understand what you are saying/implying.

Actually your example does prove a point. There are really 2 very different "pros" in sailing. There are industry professionals who have access to sails and gear at a rate higher than the typical competitor. And then there are professional crew who have excellent experience in racing that they have gained. There are a lot of "pros" who do not fit in either of these categories, yet are considered pros from a classification standpoint. Just because you work at North does not mean either of the above is true.

Let me elaborate on my original point. I'll use the bike store mechanic as an example but you'll see were I'm going.

A bike store mechanic is basically an industry professional. They'll typically have employee discounts, access to state of the art tools and if they're racing in the shop's kit, a pretty flexible schedule. These are HUGE advantages in a sport like cycling. The cherry on top is that they're being paid by the cycling industry. They may not be pros in the sense of being paid to race but there are advantages of being in the industry

 

Latest posts




Top