Focusing on Building Participation in 2014

Published on October 9th, 2013

What are the variables for maximizing participation at regattas? While there are several factors that impact interest at all types of sailing events, satisfaction with Rating Rule systems is paramount for handicap regattas.

While no rating system is perfect, how often does your sailing area come together with a public forum to address the issue? This is what the San Francisco Bay area is doing this week with a Rating Rule Roundtable hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club.

This gathering of owners, sailmakers, marine professionals, race management leaders and anyone else who’s interested will be held at StFYC on Thursday October 10th at 7pm. The goal is to open the discussion of what rating rule or rules will get more boats out on the race course in 2014 on San Francisco Bay.

From the perspective of StFYC, which hosts the annual Rolex Big Boat Series, they have often led the way in adopting new rating rules – from AmeriCap to HPR – yet they know the numbers participating are far less than what is possible.

The goal of the summit is to find out what it will take to get more boats to cast off the docklines and join us on the racecourse. Participating in StFYC meeting from the US Sailing Offshore/Big Boats Management Committee are Stan Honey and Bill Lee.

What is vital for any such meeting is to stay focused on the goal – regain participants who have become less active. If the people who attend are seeking to serve their own interests, the goal is missed. What might be good to build participation might not be good for the most active teams.

Staying focused on what the middle and bottom of the fleet need, and not what the top third want, is critical to grow the sport.

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