Strategic plan grows one design fleets

Published on March 4th, 2015

British publication Yachts & Yachting had given its ‘Club of the Year‘ award for 2014 to Hayling Island Sailing Club (HISC) in Hamphire, UK, in part due to their management and hosting of the Moth National and World Championships. But the club is also focused on its grass roots activity, and is seeing a strategic growth plan payoff.

HISC is one of the few sailing clubs to defy current trends by creating significant growth in two of its one design fleets: Fireball (16-foot, doublehanded, trapeze, dinghy) and RS Elite (24-foot, triplehanded, no hiking, keelboat). Leadership, strategic plans and the strength of the class captains are being cited as some of the reasons behind the recent unprecedented growth of these fleets at the club.

Strategic growth plans were drawn up by both fleets and include activities such as special racing weekends, training weekends, crew swaps, youth recruitment, crew databases, social events and specific marketing and communications to target new recruits from both members and non-members. In addition a number of ‘Elite Ambassadors’ have been created who will be available to answer questions, assist newcomers and champion the fleet throughout the season.

Another reason being cited for resurgence in the RS Elite fleet is the naturally sociable nature of day keelboat racing which enables participants to enjoy competitive sailing whilst remaining dry and upright! The fleet at HISC is attracting strong interest from couples, and is seeing many women returning to competitive sailing after moving on from dinghies. The modern performance design of the RS Elite lends itself to exciting and competitive day racing with the additional benefit of minimal maintenance.

“Both the Fireball and RS Elite fleets have put a lot of hard work and effort into building their fleets and it’s really encouraging to see those efforts rewarded with such excellent growth in numbers,” HISC Rear Commodore Racing Andy Partington said. “Both classes are looking forward to an excellent season of competitive racing on the water matched by lively and sociable events off the water.”

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