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Ideas That Would Have a Positive Effect

Published on March 13th, 2017

Depending on what or where you sail, the sport of sailing has evolved into a costly, hyper-competitive endeavor. While once limited to the highest plateau, this high-stakes approach has been trickling down the hill. In these instances, participation can suffer.

Bill Canfield, both well-traveled and well-respected, offers ten whimsical suggestions that would move the ball in a positive direction:

• US Sailing needs to pretend they are a leader and promote the ORC Club system nationally, charge $25 for a certificate and encourage boats to apply. Membership in US Sailing not required as that comes as confidence is restored in our National Authority.

• Now that the second “family cruising foiling” Gunboat has flipped and destroyed itself, it’s time to agree that foiling is not for everyone and concentrate on hulls that stay in contact with the water.

• Take back control of Junior Sailing from the coaches. I’m not suggesting they lose their jobs, just their power. Below the International level, ban on-the-water coaching at regattas. Junior sailing should not be an arms race with the emphasis on biggest, best and most money spent. Promote more reaching and adventure races.

• If we could get the America’s Cup back into monohauls with nationality rules, many positive things happen. First of all, 500 very talented pro sailors get jobs and it takes them out of recreational one designs such as the J/70’s, Melges 20’s, C&C 30’s, etc. This will lower the cost and level the playing field which will, for the boat owners, increase interest in events.

• US boat builders get involved in administering their classes. They actually enforce class rules like fairing bottoms or purchase of extra sails and punish cheating. They encourage classes to attend agreed upon national events and stop holding events that only cater to one brand or class.

• We as sailors give 100% support to nautical (and other) companies that sponsor our regattas. They certainly have earned it.

• Sailmakers should promote events they know give great competition, excellent race committee work, and good conditions.

• We as sailors volunteer to help at regattas as well as participate to keep costs down

• We encourage World Sailing and our National Authorities to focus on the sport as a whole and not just the Olympics.

• Try setting up clinics at your home clubs for team racing and match to keep the sport interesting.

Do you have additional suggestions? Send to

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