Leading clubs providing leadership

Published on March 8th, 2020

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
I was recently the keynote speaker for a prominent yacht club in which their Long Range Planning Committee was addressing a far reaching topic, the “Future of Sailing”.

After my presentation, a wide-ranging discussion ensued, with one comment particularly poignant in light of International Women’s Day on March 8. It was in regard to improving the opportunities for women when a male contributor posed the question, “Why don’t we be the leader on this issue?”

This comes to mind as World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, has become the first Olympic sport to sign the UN Women Sport for Generation Equality Declaration. To be the first international sporting federation is impressive, but noticeable change tends not to occur at the top. It happens at the local level.

If you are lucky enough to have a collection of yacht clubs in your area, they all tend to have their own character, but one generally is deemed the leader, perhaps due to the events they host or the tier of membership they attract. While it is a marketing coup to hold that status, with it also comes responsibility.

So when I heard this question, I thought to myself, “Hell yes, you should be the leader on this issue.” It wasn’t that they weren’t already contributing to progress, but it was more about heightening the emphasis.

An element in our sport that is on occasion missing is leadership. Sailing has proven over the past century to be good at evolving, but not so good at recognizing when these changes weaken the sport.

For the pressing issues in sailing, and expanding opportunities for women is one of them, each of these leading clubs should be exhibiting leadership. If you know of any examples of this occurring, for any issue impacting participation, please email them to editor@sailingscuttlebutt.com

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