Pick up the phone and touch someone

Published on October 6th, 2014

by Glenn McCarthy
The internet is easy, too easy, and I’m convinced not too terribly effective for building sailing participation. Sure the internet makes it easy to send email blasts, post Notices of Race,
Sailing Instructions and party notices. But with all of this ease, one must take a step backwards and ask, “Is it working?” I’ll ask again, “Is it working?”

In many venues this year I have seen reduced participation. With this one-way communication distribution system we don’t necessarily learn why boats of the past aren’t joining us. They just don’t show up.

What if we went “old school” and tried the “personal touch?” Let’s first turn the question on ourselves. What if someone called me and asked me to enter their regatta or event? Would that call have a different impact on me? Would I think more highly of entering their event because they actually called me and asked me to enter? Would they be open to suggestions about things I would want and would they consider making minor changes to their event that would be better for them, my crew and my boat?

Calling the entire fleet can’t be done by one person, oh-no. And it can’t be done for every race. That is an overwhelming thought. But what if the fleet held a meeting during midwinter or early spring? What if everyone who is participating comes to the meeting with charged up cell phones? What if the Fleet Captain had collected the names and phone numbers of all boat owners in the area? Then the fleet members who come to the meetings are handed suggested questions on a sheet, start calling those fellow boat owners one at a time, find out what it will take to get them back out racing, take notes, and provided the needed feedback to the clubs so that success can occur?

Just give up one evening so that you have more competitors all season long. Yes, this is not as easy as doing an email blast. Yes this takes effort. But which system do you think will get more boats on the starting line?

Source: Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation

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