What Works to Activate Participation

Published on July 11th, 2017

In 2016, five of Chicago’s premiere yacht clubs announced the formation of an alliance designed to organize and grow sail racing in Chicago. The new organization, known as the Chicago Area Sail Racing Association (CASRA), has founding members of Burnham Park Yacht Club, Chicago Yacht Club, Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club, Columbia Yacht Club, and Jackson Park Yacht Club.

In its first full season, CASRA’s member clubs have working hard to improve sailboat racing in Chicago and to get more people involved. CASRA has introduced many new initiatives this year, including new events, new website and registration portal, regular e-mail updates and e-blasts of race results, variable section breaks to ensure good, competitive sections, and simplified race documents.

The CASRA calendar very clearly describes the type of racing for each event. To date, participation in CASRA races is up approximately 15 percent from 2016, with a number of new boats joining the fun.

Among the new events launched is the Casual Race Series, which is free to all boats in the Chicago Park District system. Designed for boat owners that may be new to racing, or for active boats wanting a casual race for non-sailing family and friends, it features an easy, low key start, a clear, easy to follow course, and a fun party at the end.

Editor’s note: Are their similar initiatives occurring in other areas? Comprehensive marketing among all area clubs, a simplified information and entry process to get people on the water, and dialing down the intensity when they are on the water is proving to be effective.


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