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What Makes a Successful Fleet

Published on February 11th, 2019

The J/105 Class Association has fleets throughout North America, with one of the more active groups located in Toronto, Ontario. Doug Bullock, who races from this fleet and was 2018 Class President, shares his thoughts on what makes a successful fleet.

We have, in the J105, the right boat for our location and demographic of owners with a fleet of 20 one design boats that is going on 20 years. We also have a very strong Class Association with an ever evolving set of rules, however, one element that is huge is that the Class is for Corinthian sailors only.

Given these two key elements, the Right Boat and Corinthian Class Rules, it is then up to each Fleet to develop Best Practices that keep their Fleets healthy, active and exciting. The following are some of our Best Practices that we believe contribute to our success:

1. AGM – We start by having an Annual General Meeting in November of all the Owners where we discuss and agree on the upcoming schedule and any other issues for the next year.

2. Survey – We have an annual survey of all the Owners to use as a tool for discussion during the AGM and to ensure we have a good understanding of everyone’s preferences.

3. Schedule – We produce an active schedule with two regattas per month while ensuring that all long weekends and every other weekend is free of racing.

4. Communications – We have a website for archival information, a FaceBook page for seasonal posting of activities, and a group email for general updates throughout the year.

5. Leadership – We have an energetic Fleet Executive made up of a Fleet Captain, Secretary, Treasurer, and Chief Measurer.

6. Clean Regattas – We actively promote all the regattas we host as Gold Clean Regattas utilizing the Best Practices of Sailors for the Sea.

7. Social Balance – We ensure that all our Regattas have a good social side “off the water” with a well organized BBQ to encourage camaraderie.

8. Ladies & Youth – We actively encourage ladies and youth to join the crew of the Fleet.

9. Clinic & Seminars – We hold a yearly Spring Clinic and several Seminars throughout the off season to share knowledge and improve everyone’s skills.

10. GPS Tracking – We use raceQs for our GPS tracking with about an 85% participation

11. Vendors – We give all the local sail manufactures and other vendors opportunities to intact with the Owners.

12. Sponsors – We have built a good relationship with our sponsors to ensure we have the funds to create added value at all the Regattas.

13. Giving Back – We support the Broad Reach Foundation, a charity helping kids at risk, by introducing them to sailing.

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