A Revolution Is Needed

Published on January 8th, 2018

In this report in the Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation publication, Glenn McCarthy shares a troubling observation of the boating landscape.


Here’s an old kid’s joke: Every time I say something, you say, “Pea Green Soup.”

Whadjya have for breakfast? Pea Green Soup.
Whadjya have for lunch? Pea Green Soup.
Whadjya have for dinner? Pea Green Soup.
Whadjya do all night long? Pea Green Soup.

Here’s a thought… if we put a bunch of young vivacious hipsters in charge of putting a party together, what would you expect their party goers to look like? How about some young vivacious hipsters?

As I keep looking around at how we design and organize the sport of racing, just who do we see on committees and boards? Pretty much “Old White Guys.” So who comes racing? Old White Guys. Who goes to the sailing parties? Old White Guys. This is not to discount those women, young people or minorities who get a seat or two at the table. We know, the majority rules.

While a revolution is sorely needed, revolutions commonly begin with young people tired of the way the Old White Guys have done things. However, there are so few young hipsters in sailing and they’d rather head on over to what their fellow hipsters are doing that they consider fun, than taking on the Old White Guys in charge of sailing.

If Old White Guys think that it won’t work diversifying their boards and committees, or they’re omnipotent and know all, then they need to go on a road trip and see Oakcliff Sailing in New York run by Dawn Riley, up to Milwaukee for the Midwest Women’s Sailing Conference, or even close by in Chicago at Jackson Park Yacht Club, Museum Shores Yacht Club or Southern Shore Yacht Club with large, and growing African American boater and sailing memberships.

These are all extremely successful programs not run by Old White Guys.

Some statistics:
• 25% of first graders in the United States are Hispanic. In a short 15 years they will be out of college and gaining the capacity to buy boats.
• 51% of the population are women. We keep looking around the room and do not see similar proportions, or even fledgling or growing participation in these groups.

Is sailing working on planned obsolescence? According to Wikipedia:
“Planned obsolescence, is a policy of planning with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete (that is, unfashionable or no longer functional) after a certain period of time. The rationale behind the strategy is to generate long-term sales volume by reducing the time between repeat purchases. Planned obsolescence tends to work best when a producer has at least an oligopoly.”

Now I’m not talking about the product of sailboat racing in terms of “planned obsolescence,” I am talking about Old White Guys, as they are planning their own obsolescence.

Pea Green Soup.

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