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#137218 - 03/20/08 07:32 PM Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please tak  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 127
Hogshead Offline
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Hogshead  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2007
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Florida
Maybe it is the cost, certainly not the desire to compete, but there is definitely a reluctance to commit. Maybe it is that old issue of convincing the other half that another race is the best thing to do. Race organizers only publish a NOR and then sit back and wait for race day. They certainly do not have to keep the boat clean, replace worn or broken hardware or practice and hone their skills. They may not have to talk mama into another weekend near the water, with nothing to do but watch the kids. They do not have to come up with the funds to pay the entry fee or repair the boat. Sailors do have the rough time in just getting to the race, hooking up the trailer, making sure nothing is left behind, finding ground crew for distance races, paying more than $3 for gas and the hotels do cost so much.

Maybe race organizers just need to understand that chasing down the trophies, purchasing liability insurance, establishing the venue, organizing and training the race committee, getting the paraphernalia to manage a race, and setting up enjoyable social functions for sailors and family, finding, negotiating hotel rates, finding sponsors, and etc., etc., just is not important, time consuming or expensive. Just why in the world would the race organizer want early commitment to race or at least notification of intent? Itís just not reasonable, right? Just quit worrying that no one will show up. But even race organizers do have to put in extra time, get there early, write and publish sailing instructions, make an extra early trip or two and be ready to eat the cost if no one does show up.

-- Have You Seen This? --
#137219 - 03/20/08 07:58 PM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please tak [Re: Hogshead]  
Joined: Jan 2005
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writer Offline
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writer  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2005
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Florida west coast
I raced for many years. (First trophy 1953) Now I do RC work mostly. I'd say that before an event where I'm the PRO there is just about as much preparation as when racing an FD, A-Cat or F16. A difference is that if I goof up a race, sail the wrong course, go through the finish line before the prescribed number of laps or capsize (we've done all of this, once in one race!) it is just me that is embarassed. When running a team that is staging a race, there are many crews that are affected by any bad moves. I get just as 'tight' during a count down to a start when on the RC boat as I do with a 100-boat Laser start.
The one good thing about RC duty is that I don't have to pay the high and accellerating entry fees. When I do race it is as crew, again due to the expense.
Dave Ellis

#137220 - 03/20/08 08:38 PM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please tak [Re: Hogshead]  
Joined: Apr 2007
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JACKFLASH Offline
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JACKFLASH  Offline
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I can tell your planning and organizing the 2007 F18 NA's would have been alot easier if we knew how many were coming. We even found it difficult to negotiate hotel prices with out being able to give a head count. In the end it went well. We planned for more than we had, net result, we wasted a little money, but I would rather do that than run out of food at say the awards banquet.


Collin Casey
Infusion Platform + C2 rig and rags = one fast cookie
#137221 - 03/21/08 05:45 AM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: Hogshead]  
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Cheshirecatman Offline
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Cheshirecatman  Offline
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UK
Been there, seen it, done it. Complete with evening entertainment and a virtual no show. Also here in the UK we have fuel at $9/gallon(US), so I'm sorry but little sympathy on that score. Sailors tend to look at the weather forecast before committing and choose between fewer select events.

Cheshirecatman

#137222 - 03/21/08 07:21 AM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: Hogshead]  
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tami Offline
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tami  Offline
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Gulf Coast
While that is true, as organisers, our job is to try to work out imaginative ways to keep our costs low whilst giving perks. Then, should the turnout be low, we can absorb that financial hit and be able to offer the race again next year.

Cheap homemade or low-cost knickknack trophies
home cooked food, or sponsored food and drink
One or two-color Tshirts
Lots and lots of prior legwork getting sponsorship, which means something to put in the goodie-bags, we never get money
VOLUNTEERS, and try to keep them happy as possible

#137223 - 03/21/08 07:47 AM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: tami]  
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brucat Offline
Carpal Tunnel
brucat  Offline
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It's about paradigms.

Cat sailors are used to not having to pre-register for weekend regattas, and we're used to low-cost regattas ($50 for a weekend of racing for a two-person boat is cheap).

YCs and mono events almost always require pre-registration for events, and they charge a lot more (say $100 for a weekend Opti event).

Until it becomes common practice to require pre-registration across most of our events, this won't change. A case can be made that we can't afford to do this if there is a chance it will reduce turnout any further; an equal case can be made that we will run out of venues if we hit fleets with more money-losing events.

Mike

#137224 - 03/21/08 08:34 AM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: brucat]  
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Mary Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Mary  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 5,558
Key Largo, FL & Put-in-Bay, OH...
I know I'm VERY old-fashioned (read OLD), but when I go to a regatta, I don't care about t-shirts or giveaways, and I don't expect the entry fee to include food or free beer. I just want a venue and a race committee to put on good races. Why do we have to bribe people with all these perqs? Either you want to come to race or you don't.

#137225 - 03/21/08 08:37 AM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: brucat]  
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_flatlander_ Offline
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Quote
A case can be made that we can't afford to do this if there is a chance it will reduce turnout any further;
Are you saying pre-registration will potentially turn people off? I'm currently trying to encourage people to do so for our upcoming event with some luck. I wonder to myself if there's a fine line, I'm in jeopardy of crossing, (pissing people off) by harping on the pre-reg. We considered offering a pre-reg discount, but if you're guessing at totals to begin with, how do you figure a discount?

I fully understand there's people that sail every event regardless of forescasts, and then there's the fair weather group. I can only hope pre-reg becomes common place in our world.


John H16, H14
#137226 - 03/21/08 09:31 AM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: brucat]  
Joined: May 2003
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MarkMT Offline
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MarkMT  Offline
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Lake Zurich, IL
Pre-registration is the norm at CRAW - and there is a regatta discount to encourage that. And speaking for myself I find it much more convenient to be able to use paypal from home than worry about paying at the regatta site. And I like to see who else is coming too.

However, I would say attendance at CRAW regattas is pretty strong and fairly consistent from event to event, which I put down to two things - (i) events are not so frequent that people would want to miss one - with so much invested in our boats and with the season being relatively constrained I think people are strongly motivated to show up, and (ii) the friendships in the group are well-established and strong, and people are very friendly towards newcomers, which again I think creates positive motivation towards attendance.

#137227 - 03/21/08 09:40 AM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: MarkMT]  

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I understand Mary's points, but look at how many people have t-shirts and other colectables in the "Memorabilia... whattya got?" forum... people love that stuff (myself included).

Heck, I have a 20 year old t-shirt from a race. This was from when I was in the USN stationed in Crete Greece that all the bar-maids and friends signed. I still look at it and remember great times.

And beer???? ... ummmm.... goes hand in hand with.... ummmmm... drinking??? lol, just kidding (i don't even drink) but it is a nice perk to have all the racers sitting around a table with a hotdog and beer (or tea) afterwords.

#137228 - 03/21/08 10:39 AM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: ]  
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brucat Offline
Carpal Tunnel
brucat  Offline
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The free food, beer and T-shirts definitely help, especially with the cost of gas, etc. The trouble is, most cat sailors don't think like Mary or mono sailors, they want to "see" something that they're getting for their money.

OK, the REAL problem is, many of these folks have never helped put together an event, or not in a very long time, so they have absolutely no appreciation for the real costs and headaches associated with putting it together. Otherwise, they'd register way in advance and send in extra money...

John, yes that's exactly what I was saying. The danger of a late fee (in reality, that's what an early discount is) is that if people didn't pre-register, that's one MORE reason not to come if the weather forecast is bad, or they don't have crew, etc. Some of us will go no matter what (I can't count how many regattas I've attended with no crew and in the pouring rain), but we're a rare breed.

Mike

#137229 - 03/21/08 11:32 AM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: brucat]  
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Karl_Brogger Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Karl_Brogger  Offline
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Posts: 4,109
Northfield Mn
I haven't been sailing very long, but I don't think I've missed a regatta yet because of unfavorable weather. Which is probably the biggest deterent for most people. Or at least with fuel pricing being so high they are less likely to go if they aren't sure they'll be racing. I've made alot of friends through sailing and whether or not the weather is good I still go to hang out with the people.

How many miles a year does the typical beach cat sailor travel? Its gotta be huge. Just a guess, but I bet last year I drove close to 4000 miles to get to regatta's. Including getting to NY for NA's. That's alot of expense. To me sailing is fun, but it doesn't really come into its own until racing.

#137230 - 03/21/08 11:54 AM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: Karl_Brogger]  
Joined: Sep 2007
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FasterDamnit Offline
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FasterDamnit  Offline
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Lake Murray SC
I happen to agree with Mary. Make the race fee small and then have optional costs for beer tickets, BBQ, T-shirts, etc. If I want the other stuff, I will buy it. I enjoy the social part but first and foremost I want to go fast while racing other cats.


Race cheap, race faster, Damnit!

E-Scow
24' ULDB

18HT hulls plus Gcat 5.7 rig = 18GT!
#137231 - 03/21/08 12:10 PM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: FasterDamnit]  
Joined: Jun 2004
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pbisesi Offline
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pbisesi  Offline
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Syracuse,N.Y
The Madcatter has done very well over the years.
I would say that it is a great place to come and pay a small fee for lots of food, free beer, rums squalls, good music,free t-shirts and lots of trophies were an occasional sail boat race breaks out between parties.
People don't come to Syracuse in May for warm weather or water. We can have some of the best racing available if the weather does cooperate.
Don't under estimate the importance of the social scene and give aways.


Pat Bisesi Fleet 204
#137232 - 03/21/08 12:32 PM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: pbisesi]  
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_flatlander_ Offline
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Pat,

I know in the past you have sold advertising in a publication to be distributed at the event? Has this continued to be your primary means of reducing costs? What was the double handed entry fee last year?


John H16, H14
#137233 - 03/21/08 01:01 PM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: _flatlander_]  
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pbisesi Offline
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pbisesi  Offline
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Syracuse,N.Y
We sell ads, find sponsors for specific things, have raffles, work with the local Hobie dealer.
This year double hand boat is $40. Probably the same last year.


Pat Bisesi Fleet 204
#137234 - 03/21/08 02:07 PM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: ]  
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 176
palmwolfe Offline
member
palmwolfe  Offline
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Posts: 176
Palm Beach Gardens. FL
A few answers for you; first remember many cats are up at Spring fever this weekend, so you may want to bump this post up next week.

There are not enough weekends in a month, the weekend of your race is also the Alter Cup and the Tampa Regatta. That takes up most of the traveling racers right there.

If you just want die-hard racers you probably don't need food, beer and prizes but I think if you want to attract new sailors you need these things.

Also need to keep in mind that a lot of sailors do not surf the web at all so those ones would not preregister, I do preregister as I know it helps greatly with the planning.

There are so many regattas on the schedule that we cannot possibly afford to do all of them, when I choose which ones I also look at the venue for things that the rest of the family would like, ex. beach, pool, BMX ramps! I think this would not pertain to all racers depending on age, family status etc... I sometimes travel without the family.

We know that Race organizers put in a lot of hours, we thank you for that.

#137235 - 03/21/08 02:21 PM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: Mary]  
Joined: Jul 2006
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warbird Offline
old hand
warbird  Offline
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Bay of Islands, NZ
Quote
I know I'm VERY old-fashioned (read OLD), but when I go to a regatta, I don't care about t-shirts or giveaways, and I don't expect the entry fee to include food or free beer. I just want a venue and a race committee to put on good races. Why do we have to bribe people with all these perqs? Either you want to come to race or you don't.


Sailing is just that for me. I don't care about anything but my boat, weather conditions, fellowship on the water and good music for the road.....and if there is no fellowship, that's okay too.

#137236 - 03/21/08 02:25 PM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: warbird]  
Joined: Aug 2007
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brucat Offline
Carpal Tunnel
brucat  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

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Quote
.....and if there is no fellowship, that's okay too.


WOW! I've never understood this. I've seen it with big-boat races, where they meet at a buoy and there's a starting line waiting for them, but WOW... no club, no party, trophies at the end of the year... what's the fun in that???

Mike

#137237 - 03/21/08 02:36 PM Re: Sailors, a conundrum for consideration, please [Re: brucat]  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 117
mike220 Offline
member
mike220  Offline
member

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 117
Sail Sand Point, Seattle
Myself I prefer the pre-registration. It is even beter when it can be done online and I can pay online via credit card or Pay Pal.

Much easier.


Mike Hensel
Hobie Tiger
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