COMMENTARY: If I Was In Charge of the Sport

Published on May 22nd, 2013

The sport of sailing lives in the free market. Demand drives the bus, with new boats, handicap rules, and events entering the sport – often without consideration with how they affect the big picture.

There are many examples of when organic growth is great, but there are other times when it would be nice if someone was in charge. Too many one design classes mean smaller class sizes; too many handicap rules leads to confusion and dissension, too many events leads to burnout.

Governing bodies are mostly reactionary…jumping in after the damage is done. But even then their reach is limited. So the onus is on the sailing enthusiasts to ‘not screw things up’. We are only borrowing the sport from the next generation. It would be nice to leave it in better shape than when we used it.

So the question got posted on the Scuttlebutt Facebook page, “If I were in charge of the sport of sailing, the first things I would do are….

Here are some of the comments:

Liam Kelly Make it more accessible for kids.

Rick Tears Fire the ISAF and put Buddy Melges in charge!

Ed Oh make life-jackets mandatory on the water and on the docks… it just sets a good

Ryan Wood After going sailing, I would-
1) Get rid of professional coaching during major regattas
2) Bring it back to being a family sport by promoting family events
3) Encourage kids to do their best and have as much fun as they can
4) Grow the sport with programs designed to bring outsiders in
5) Lower the expense of getting on the water

Kathy Belanger-Barber Relax have fun and sail faster

David Quesada Make it faster, more affordable, bring high tech back to am/pro am. Encourage one design in order to eliminate the corrupt PHRF boards. Teach kids on foilers. We need hundreds of the next generation foiling around the harbor. Then it ruins them on their parent’s boats. It will revolutionize power and sail boating…

Andrew Dolly Divola Make it attractive for kids with modern fun training boats. Sorry but a box with a gaff rigged sail doesn’t cut it.

Alexander Meller Redo the administration so that class associations and maybe individual sailors have a direct vote and real say at the ISAF level. Push ISAF to focus on mainstream racing rather than the Olympics, which they do partly because so much of their revenue comes from running the Olympic sailing event.

Anne Rogers Bring back traditional monohulls to America’s Cup so that more regular sailors can relate.

Joe Saad Follow the example of Cortez Racing Association of San Diego Where the racing is easily accessible, the dues are extremely reasonable, the trophies are highly desirable and the after-race parties are very popular. Need I say more?

Coach Hamm Get rid of the uptight guys and bring more fun into it. Make it more fun for the back of the fleet so they stay in the sport. Increase participation at all costs. Quit listening to those who say it won’t work. I have already started that last one! Sail fast, often, and have fun!!!

Jeanne Walker Sinclair Connect people of all ages, skills, and means to the waters through educational and recreational sailing programs, with hopes to stimulate personal growth and an enduring respect and enjoyment of the sea.

There are many more comments. Click here to read them.

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