Hi Folks, What are the things that we need to do to promote our sport? Cat sailing is just as sexy and exciting as or more than typical mono/dinghy so why are we suffering? There must be some marketing type that can help us with a few things we need to do.
I see the biggest issue being public access to the sport both to view races and to get out to try it. We are planning an event that will do everything we can to include the public including:
1.Leeward mark close to shore so poeple can watch the race 2.Public access to the beach to view us rigging and launching. 3. Making the time to talk to the public and offer rides 4. Helping people new to the sport feel welcome.
Also a lot of clubs that I see are gated and a newcomer can't even get in to see what is going on unless they know someone.
Are you trying to promote cat sailing or cat racing? I think we need to get more cat sailors first. I propose more fun events. In thinking about this question, I would also tie it into another thread asking why cat sailors don't join yacht clubs. Most people don't join yacht clubs for racing. They join for the social aspect and may race a couple of times a year. I believe we need to learn from this and attract more people to sailing cats. Racing attracts far fewer people than just seeing people out grinning from ear to ear while day sailing.
My wife crews for me during races, but she would enjoy things far more if we were just out with some other sailors cruising around and playing games. There are lots of ideas out there and a lot of them were used during the hey days of cat sailing a couple of decades ago. Is it a surprise there are fewer "fun" events and fewer participants? I do not think so. Fun events will increase participation which will lead to increased racers.
I wholeheartedly agree with the idea of marks closer to shore. I had some friends come to a race earlier in the year to watch. When we got back to shore, they had left and gone shopping. Why? They couldn't tell what was going on and we were so far away, it was hard to tell where we were. Would you go watch a football game or a car race if it were 1/2 mile away from your seat?? Move the marks in, it is the same advantage/disadvantage for everyone.
Hello, My wife and I are recreational sailors, fairly new to the sport, and love to just go out and cruise. We don't want to get involved in racing but would like to sail with other people sometimes. I think that if someone organized an event in more of a non-competive style, we would consider attending. One possibility would be to style it after the motorcycle "poker run" rallies. You have designated stops where you pick up a card and at the end of the day, the best hand wins. This usually involves refreshments at the stops. Maybe this example won't work out well with cats, but you get the idea. Just getting together to sail with other sailors who aren't screaming "starboard" at you would be great for us. I realize that there are many competive sailors out there who wouldn't want to be involved in an event like this, but there are also many of us who aren't interested in racing. Jack Hoying P18 Fort Loramie, Ohio
new to sailing and i know of no cat sailing clubs in my area. i have tried to contact, for membership info, the sailing clubs in my area and when they found out i had a cat they lost interest. back to your post; promotion promotion promotion. one or two individuals who desire getting some club together can promote our interest and using the phiolosphy 'build it they will come' should do very well. as for me i enjoy going traveling to different lakes and comparing them to my closest lake. i might enjoy club membership, if i was given the chance
On personal level, the best way I have found to get people into the sport is, take them sailing. Maybe 1 in 5 will actually become involved but it's better than nothing.
It also helps not to scare them and let them sail the boat. We have 2 catamarans, a Wave and a Tornado. When I take them out on the Tornado I get, "that was nice" or "that was fun". On the Wave I get, "that was fun, I bet I could do that, where can I buy one".
I can relate, in the late 70's I was at a college race where we shared the course with Tornado's. After the races I was offered a chance to sail a Tornado. It scared the hell out me. I wasn't even sure this was fun, there was no way I was going to buy one.
Here in Socal, I would say it's all about visibility. When I kept my boat on the beach, along with many others, there wasn't one weekend when someone didn't come up and say "how do I get one of those?" The problem is that we had to battle to get the County of L.A. to allow beach launching, what with safety and liability issues. Makes sense, of course.
So, most cats end up taking off from public ramps in Marinas in L.A.
San Diego has a much better turnout because of Mission Bay; easy lauching, grass areas, etc. I wish we had that!
Yes, more cat sailing and less cat racing if you wish to entice more participants to our favorite enjoyment.
I have just received an old Hobie ad (1973) from Yachting magazine for framing in my den. The ad reads the following, which is the enticement, needed to attract more common folk people
Shimmering lagoons swaying palms and girls To caress your brow. You can own an island of Your own and the natives are always friendly. Even neighbors become friendly when they Learn of isle of paradise. They'll want to join The over 12,000 islanders you gather with When you attend any over 500 feasts held Yearly by the natives (among Hobie catters Around the world regatta is a custom)
Why don't you join the natives and spend some Time basking in the freedom and your own island, We can promise excitement, exhalation, and friendship And paradise it's a way of life.
Now look at today's way of Hobie, somehow its spirit has been lost partially due to Commercialism and one-upmanship via racing and gadgets.
I have conversed with Hobities and surfer dudes of days past, and there were weekends in which 100's of Hobies could be seen on beach from Friday to Sunday, with participants partying the night away. I ask where is that performed today, I am certain all of us knows a beach where we could do the days of old.
Somehow this has been totally lost; I am willing to fax ad. Please send an email with fax number.
Its not lost we do this 40 weekends a year. We camp, day sail, night sail,(Two weeks ago we went out at 2am and didn't get back until after sunrise) We party,sit around fires,and we invite people to go along.
We do what your talking about all the time. It happens right on the Dunedin Causeway and the adjacent islands.
Mike Catley M6.0 "NICE PAIR"
PS.(Forgive me for borrowing your line) Hell, I don't need no vacation I live one FLA. #1
A couple of points about Fun events versus racing regattas from the point of view of a racing sailor.
Every year at CRAC's organizational meetings the question is posed... Why don't we have more fun events?.... Some background, CRAC is a paper club of mostly racing sailors which organizes or runs several regattas around the Chesapeake Bay. We trailer our boats to every event.
History has shown us that we (crac) simply cannot run a beach party with catamarans.... For just about everyone these days, ... time is limited. ... The racing sailor would rather use our sailing time for racing events. The regional regatta schedule of New Jersy, Deleware, MD and Virgina has two day racing events about every other weekend or so. So... even finding a date for a fun event will impact on someones regatta and most importantly, the racers want to go racing.... not to a beach party. The casual or recreational sailors are not organized enough to create these fun type events.
Secondly... None of the racers really want to organize and run a beach party. .. And if we do schedule an event... its like pulling teeth to get the racers to bring their boats to the party. Remember, that we must trailer and rig the boats for every event on the schedule.
There is only one paper catamaran club (Dog Town in Richmond) in the region who's mission it is to run fun events... very few folks are members of both kinds of clubs.
I agree with all of the comments that growing cat sailing is dependent on building fun events for families and non racers and creating a critical mass for a fun energetic social atmosphere around cat sailing/racing. Unfortuanetly, the racing crowd is unlikely to take the lead here. I believe the solution is for cat racers and sailors to join or build yacht clubs with adequate facilities. This kind of enviorment can foster a racing, social and kids program that offers something for eveyone and encourages the racers to relax on the beach and the cruisers' to try a little racing and so forth. The down side of my perscription is that it costs each sailor a significant piece of change in order to join and keep these clubs viable and active.
Please inform us of your average weekend, I will assume it is like the days of old. The party starts on Friday nite with die hards sleeping on the beach (weather permitting) or older participants in motels. The day is filled with everybody sailing together, liquid librations and socializing. The night filled with barbecues etc etc.
I recall my first ride on a T after which I ordered one the next day from Sailcraft of Canada. It is a different breed of cat and was much more so in the early 1970s. I took alot of people [off the beach] for rides and not one bought a T. In the seven years I sailed that boat I know of one person that bought a cat. It turned out they liked going for rides but didn't want the expense of ownership or the learning curve. Now you can buy a cat for the cost of a new jib so the expense problem has gone away with all the used boats that are around today. So where are these guys? I believe that some tried it and didn't get the "instant results" they were looking for and parked it. There is a difference between sailing with someone that has applied themselves and over time has the ability to make a cat sail to its maximum capabilities and the guy that comes out twice a month and can't get around...
I was told one day that I was deceptive because I let a friend sail my T. The first few minutes were filled with constant instructions. He asked "how can this be so simple when you steer the boat and difficult when I just touch the tiller"? After awhile he was going to windward without almost putting us in capsize mode.
Its been my experience since the middle 1960s that catsailing has the appearance of being alot of work. As long as the work factor outweighs the fun factor I don't think catsailing is going to grow that much. Especially with the "I don't want to turn over" or "I don't want to get wet" prevails.
When you compare sports like cycling to catsailing theres really no comparison in the numbers of participants at races. An upper level bike will cost around $5000 max. There are rallys year round and for this area the Hotter than Hell drew thousands of people the last few years. The work factor is far greater than sailing but the skill factor is less. That maybe the key factor that stops many people from staying with the sport. The fact that it may take years before someone is an acomplished catsailor while it takes far less to be competitive in other sports.
I understand what your taking about. There were a bunch of us who would go to as many of the Hobie division races as we could, almost every other weekend. While racing was important,the fun was the main thing. After all when you have 200+ boats at a event there's a large number of people going home with out a trophy. We don't organize fun events. We just go to the beach and if you show up great, if you don't, You get to listen to what you missed the next time you come.I think its to bad that people have to set up FUN events. To me, either it is or it ain't. Believe me there are plenty of people around here that do what you do. I enjoy racing and do well at it but because of where I am I enjoy so much more being out goofing around with friends.
Thom's right, almost weekly someone will watch me set up my boat and when I'm done they'll say "Wow, sure is a lot of work" and to those people I want to say so is sex, isn't it worth it? I do my small part to promote what I love. But they need to show me they have passion for it before I give up what I know. To those that don"t, "excuse me Its blowing the dogs off the chains....got to go".
Having the right place to do it is so important. If I had to deal with clubs and such I might find something else to do. Those of us in this area are very lucky to have what we do. I can set up fri. after work,sail out to a island,set up camp and enjoy. It costs nothing to park on the beach. There is a public bathroom with outside shower and a place to buy hot dogs and such.
Mike, we hang on the island and sail. Sometimes we head to Clearwater beach or to some islands north out in the Gulf. We just get out there and do what the wind and tide will let us. About 20 of us are doing thanksgiving out there. We'll have everything a person could want Fried turkey etc.,TV for the football games and the best part, a group of friendly like-minded people.
I agree with you. With complex boats I completly agree with you. However, my wife's Wave has been a aouther story. Of the 25 or so people we took out this summer: one bought a new boat, one is looking for a good used one and one will buy one when her little monohull sells.
These are incredible numbers. I am beginning to suspect that that novices need a novice boat. Something that does not scare them or hurt them and is quick and easy to rig so that it is easy to get what they need, time on the water.
Don't get me wrong, all the qualities that make this a great boat for novices, make racing it about as exciting as watching paint dry(until the wind gets to 18-20 kts). But, there is a place for simple, easy to rig, novice level boats to get people hooked on sailing and as second boat so we can have fun at the beach, the way we used to, without messing up our race boat.
There is a niche for the simple design boat for everyone no matter what the skill level. Look at Rick White! When I was coming back from Key West last year I stopped off at their place. He said then that he really liked the Wave and Mary told me before I ordered my ARC22 [May2000] that she felt things were turning to more simple boats. My 22 is about as simple to sail as a Wave with its self-tacking jib, wide beam, etc. The only thing you have to do extra is raise the boards. But putting it together as well taking it down is a curse. With my Tornado I had a tilit trailer. You can't do that with the 22 because the mast is too long and heavy. Thats the best part of the simplier boats that can be assembled by almost anyone; they don't require someone else to sail. I have my 22 on the trailer all up about 100 yards from the ramp but that lake is small and boring to sail on with that boat because of the speed you seem to tack about every 20 minutes. My F25c goes togther in less than an hour and is fairly quick.
Another point for the simplier boats is the safety aspect of less speed. Speed is great in the right hands but if it gets wild out there and a sunfish pulls in front in a channel/tight area there can be carnage. For example I was on my SC20 with a novice [first date/first time on a cat] and some teenagers manuvered their Sunfish right in front of me. I was going at least 15mph and there was absolutely no where to go. I could either run over them or fly over them. We were on a broad reach after we tacked to come out of the cove and discover several motor boats had come in behind us. It was so crowded. If I fell off I would cause some to run into me, if dumped the sails we would roll over them, and the power boat going my way decided to come up and talk while I was in the cove. The teenagers in front wanted to see the catamaran. I ended up going up [into the wind] to catch some extra thrust, hauled in the main [went from braod reach to close reach] and flew the hull over the top of the Sunfish in between two power boats. I almost capsized the boat [low rudder came out of the water] but we cleared the Sunfish mast because my crew pulled up the high board when I asked her. I was amazed how easily it came up because it usually jammed alittle. She thought that was fun; all I thought was I'm glad no one is dead...
Thats why I don't like bouy racing with all the boats starting at the same time in large events. The faster boats need more breathing room. I'm sure you have come up on slower boat and wondered if you can stop the T if they jump in front of you??? Especially with a new crew. Once I jumped off the back of my T to slow it down to avoid a collision with a J24. Climbing back up after being dragged from the rear beam is tiring at the least.
Dropping someone into a fast boat with no experience on the slower ones could easily lead to disaster. There is no way to control which boat someone buys but if other catsailors take the time to explain the differences more people could come into the ranks [minus the bad experiences] and make the sport grow. The only reason I was able to avoid the disaster i mentioned above is because I had been sailing cats for fifteen years at that time  and had capsized/pitchpoled many times.
Yes, I have sailed off of Dunedin about 10 years ago and I thought it was a great sailing venue back then... (although you Florida sailors seemed to call it quits when the temps dropped below 75 F). Sadly we don't have such a public facility in the mid atlantic. There is no public beach that you could take your cat to and have a reasonable chance of meeting another catsailor, much less a group of friends to go play with. (These beaches still are accessible eg Sandy Point State Park however few sailors are trailering their boats and going sailing.) I firmly believe that such a low key activity is how people get hooked on sailing cats and the skill to handle them in all conditions. My proposed solution is to build such a group at an existing club or marina. It will cost each sailor money for storage etc however the hope is that you can create the social/fun atmosphere again. Competitive sailors can then participate in the regional Hobie regattas or start a club racing program and a junior program.
The issue as posted in common interest, a club nor organization can accomplish this on a grand scale. This has to start with the simple enjoyment. I saw you posted about beaches, from Sandy Hook to Atlantic City ther must be at least 100 landing area and beaches. If you want to meet other Hobie lovers sail on down to Pt Pleasant, Seaside, Long Beach and surf city on any hot weekend and look for masts. a cat sailor also can enjoy the nooks and crannies many inlets have of dockside liquid enjoyment and music.
A good way of looking at this is kids with the jazzed up cars, there may 100 of them at Seaside on any given weekend summer night. They share a common hobby and enjoyment, much like we did in the early 70's. The use of club or organization not required.
Once again if you need to be around an organizatin to be fullfilled in hobby, perhaps its boring. I enjoy the sailing, companionship of other sailor (mono or multi), surfers, sun worshippers, hardbodies (whew my first mate in bikini on tramp), beach clubs on stop overs, half raw hamburges cooked on driftwood fire, warm beer when ice can't be obtained Jimmy Buffet music on the CD player, 10 shades tanner and a month of tanning and watching the sun come up after partying all night.
You wrote: It's more than a hobby it's a lifestyle.
I understand your point of view... Lifestyles do not need any organization. Cat sailing as a sport though requires some organization... thus yacht clubs and hobie fleets.
I am interested in the sport of cat sailing...(ie maximizing the boats potential... competing against others... watching the pro's compete learning about how the best in the world do it and trying to emulate them myself) To be perfectly honest, I don't give a hoot about the Hobie lifestyle... (Hobie tried to sell me on this hooey in 1987 when I moved from monohulls to cats... ... buy a hobie 16... experience the lifestyle (wrong pitch for me)
IMO, Hobie fleets have done a tremendous job of building and hanging onto a marriage of the beach lifestyle coupled with organized racing. I have argued that as we look towards the future of the sport... not the lifestyle ... that yacht clubs are the best solution for growth of the sport.
I also love to sail recreationally and have a smaller Dart for these purposes. Like Thom... I have found that more people are excited about a ride on my Dart 18 compared to my Tornado with a chute.... So... I use the Dart for friends and family sailing. In the end... I do not need any support from other sailors for this kind of sailing... I look to a community of cat sportsman to create, build and maintain clubs and facilites that promote the sport of cat sailing.
Yes, I agree with your post. I would assume then the following would apply for the thread is how to attract the masses.
A group of racers in which the Hobby is enjoyed. This group would be for racing, organizing, regattas, and events.
Now to grab the masses, let us micro manage this, what will this offer the common folks.
1: A common thought of sailing and being competative. 2: I must have the best equipment. 3: Damm, must learn how to fly. 4: How much is dues and commitment.
A group for the lifestyle. This group would be for organizing let loose parties, barbecues, hangouts, sailing to nowhere, regattas and on the beach concerts.
Now to grab the masses, let us micro manage this, what will this offer the common folks.
1: Hey babe how about hanging out this weekend on the beach. 2: Dammit hole in hull, let me breakout the bondo and sandpaper. 3: Slow leisurely sail to the nightclub on the river. 4: No money no problem, no kids all grown no problem, sunburned no problem, hangover no problem life is good.
The purpose once again will be to attract the masses to the Hobie lifestyle/hobby. Yes, the salesman was correct in pushing the lifestyle; once again it seems to have been forgotten.
Mark, you see the catamaran has split itself into 2 distinct frame of mind ideology.
This is perhaps why the hobby doesn't attract the masses.
I ask the group, how many parties from June-Sept from Friday to Sunday night on the beach, with your cat.
I mean 48-hrs non-stop, with the exception of snuggling in the sleeping bag to grab a few winks.
Mike, Like I said in a previous post on this thread, I'm not into racing and would like to attend an event where non competitive sailing would be promoted. I think your idea of partying your brains out all night on a beach for a weekend will appeal to a smaller amount of sailors than racing would. I'm not against that type of event, but my recovery time isn't as fast as it used to be. Also, I'm sure that there are limited spots on the coast (or lakes) where an activity like this could be held. Maybe someone should start a list of beaches where overnight stays with beachats is allowed. Also, I noticed you used my photo of the Hobiecat banner in your previous posting. No problem with that, but you could of mentioned that it's for sale on Ebay, couldn't you? Later, Jack I don't live a vacation, so I need one soon.