Frequently Asked Questions about NAMSA
Please check the Frequently Ask Questions. These are questions from REAL
SAILORS and NAMSA's response:
Is this simply a NOT-NAHCA thing?
The goal is certainly not an anti-NAHCA thing. NAMSA has been in existence
for a number of years long before Hobie Alter even thought of sailing.
It was the organizing body in North America in the 50's and 60's. The
revival of NAMSA has been discussed for years, but there was simply no
interest -- after all NAHCA had indeed put a strong infrastructure in
place one that we all have enjoyed. Many of us were not Hobie sailors
from the get-go because there were no Hobies. For example, Rick White
was first a Shark, then Tornado, then Laser sailor. And back then, National
and Midwinter Nationals were governed by NAMSA.
By the way, NAHCA's infrastructure has set a good example for all of us.
It has worked very well for Hobie Cats but that is far as they wish to
extend that system. NAMSA does intend to emulate just such an infrastructure..,
but for ALL multihulls.
Our organization was founded twenty-some years ago. Currently has
about 40 members
with numerous types of boats. We are very happy as is, so why do we need
The Shark Class has been in North America now for 42 years or longer and
still have about the same numbers you have.., and that is great. While
your organization and the Shark Class have long-standing health, there
are a number of other organizations that have been and still are struggling
with many aspects of keeping a group together.
The big thing with groups like yours is there are a few that are strong
catalysts that really glue the group together. What happens when the catalysts
loses interest and is no longer there to bond the association? Most groups
just fall apart. That is why it is rare to have an association like yours
lasting so long.
Our goal is to not only to unite organizations into NAMSA, but to unite
more individuals into local organizations. We are not soliciting individual
membership, rather soliciting individuals to join their local association.
That would make your organization and others like yours even stronger
with less chance of failing due to one or some of the leaders dropping
out for one reason or another. And we hope to offer any organizational
help that organizations might need, i.e., legal, insurance, etc. information.
Do we need an organization to speak for us to US Sailing?
Just a little more about NAHCA. With the 2002 incoming president's views
the catamaran world suddenly realized there was a need for an umbrella
organization. We all said, "What? NAHCA doesn't want the responsibility
for all cats?" Of course they don't! And in one issue of Catamaran
Sailor Magazine there was a piece by then Chair of the US Sailing Multihull
Council, Gordon Isco entitled "MHC: What It Is, What It Ain't."
Therein, he very clearly pointed out that MHC does not want that job either.
So, yes, as an aggregate of all the clubs, associations, fleets, etc.
of multihull sailors from around North America, we would have a lot more
say to US Sailing. For example, we would be in a position of NOT being
denied a cat in the Youth Championships by US Sailing as we have been
repeatedly year after year.
Will NAMSA be in competition with US Sailing and Multihull Council?
Absolutely not. We want nothing more than to help the MHC have a stronger
voice with US Sailing. NAMSA is in the process now of joining US Sailing,
and as soon as the funding becomes solid, we intend to donate funds specifically
to the Multihull Council.
Do we need an organization to run national championship events?
NAMSA will sanction events of all kinds, i.e., North Americans, Nationals,
Midwinter Nationals (possibly east and west) or whatever. But there will
be no interference with all the classes or organizations having their
own major events. NAMSA would be happy to sanction major events of various
classes, thereby allowing them better insurance rates, and other benefits
Do we need greater coordination on scheduling in regions? Nationally?
Of course. The only resource now is Catamaran Sailor Magazine it
presently seeks out and publishes schedules from all parts of the country,
which is not an easy task each year. Hopefully, NAMSA could take over
that task and make those all sanctioned events.
Does the fact that Hobie Fleets organize and put on the vast majority
of cat racing in the US and are a monopoly in many areas help or hurt
Many of the organizations that were once considered and named Hobie Fleets,
have now combined with other catamaran classes and have formed associations
of their own, i.e., Hobie Fleet 36 is now Catamaran Assn. of Biscayne
Bay (CABB). At their last regatta only 33% of the 109 boats in attendance
were Hobies, and the independent Wave Class made up 33% of those Hobies.
So, the question of NAHCA monopolizing multihull racing is in doubt.
Since NAHCA rightly does not want the overall responsibility, we would
hope they would be strong supporters of NAMSA and would submit their regattas
to the NAMSA schedules. If they wanted designation of "Hobie Only,"
then so be it it is certainly their right. And certainly most larger
fleets of all organizations would not want open cats at their particular
nationals, i.e., the Wave Nationals would not want Inter 20s there, nor
H16 want Taipans sailing with them, etc.
Do we need someone to run the handicap system?
No, Darline Hobock of US Sailing does an awesome job for beach cats. And
who would want to subject themselves to the torture she goes through.
However, with the power of all multihull organizations behind us we could
make strong suggestions to the Portsmouth Rating folks.
Also, it might be pointed out that there is presently no North American
uniform rating system for larger multihulls. A Corsair or Stiletto might
show up in Florida at three different events and get three different ratings,
then go to Ohio and get another, and in New England still another. There
needs to be developed a rating system that allows boats the availability
of know what their rating is before going to a regatta.
Has NAHCA mucked up the cat racing so badly with their actions that
we have a compelling reason to bail out of this structure and create NAMSA?
NAHCA has done a fine job over the years and have set a good example for
an infrastructure. NAMSA will probably make effort to use that as a guide
in setting up its infrastructure.
Should NAMSA form and try to compete with NAHCA for membership and clout
in response to NAHCA policy?
Not at all, we want all multihull associations to join NAMSA as associations,
wherein each association will have a representative in its council. NAMSA
can help NAHCA, Performance Classes, CABB, CRAM, CRAW, OCRA, et al, to
have one united voice. We are strongly urging sailors to not sign up as
individual members, but rather join an association or organization of
their choice, and then help ascertain that organization joins as a Charter
Member to NAMSA.
Here is the question for all Hobie Sailors who are considering NAMSA.
Are you better off trying to change NAHCA over time.., or saying to heck
with NAHCA and creating a new organization such as NAMSA? (Obviously Open
class sailors don't care about NAHCA nor do the true believers of Nigel
In the NAMSA constitution we have strongly suggested that we want folks
to join as members of their association (NAHCA, CABB, Tornado Class Assn.,
et al) and that the association join NAMSA. The dues would be based on
the number of members in that association and they would simply add on
some to cover those NAMSA dues and then send the dues moneys to NAMSA.
This would be the primary form of NAMSA funding. But, for the orphan sailor
out in the bush somewhere that has no organization at all to join, they
could join as individuals at a higher price.
Does NAMSA feel that following the international rules is helpful or harmful
to the health of their class in the US and NAMSA would be the organization
to effect change?
As an allied voice in North America, we might be able to match the vocal
power of the Europeans in many matters. Often things that may work just
fine abroad simply do not work here in North America. With NAMSA at least
we have a chance of being heard around the world. Not so if we remain
as lone, island organizations such as CABB, CRAM, CRAW, NAHCA, Performance,
Do the leaders in the new Formula 16, 18, and 20 classes need to agree
on general guidelines, racing events and codify these agreements within
NAMSA will do everything it possibly can to help form classes and help
them stay active. Strong classes and strong organizations make for a stronger,
more unified NAMSA voice.
Do we need an organization to interact with the larger cruising multihull
Absolutely! This is for all Multihulls. A good example of the need for
NAMSA: At Key West Week a few years back and during the race a monohull
hit a catamaran and sunk it. The organizers forbid multihulls from sailing
the regatta after that. Keep in mind, the cat was on starboard, the mono
on port. Event organizers reasoned that multihulls sail different angles..,
but the cat was sailing upwind. In other words, this was pure bias and
discrimination. Had NAMSA existed then, with all of our organizations
joined together, we could have been a strong and powerful voice against
the regatta, Key West, Yachting Magazine (the sponsor), and there would
have been multis sailing the next year.
Also, the larger multihulls are in dire need of a North American standard
rating system. This should be a high-priority task.
Do we need to reconcile MASF, Chesapeake Cruising Multihull, Portsmouth,
PMA and PHRF rating systems for all kinds of multihull racing?
Good question! As stated above, we really don't want to mess with Darline's
work, but some of the other ratings have gotten a bit too diverse. MASF
ratings were the subject of complaints for many years at the SORC regatta
in Miami. There are any number of rating systems out there and all of
them differ from one another still no standardization that we really
Do we need to sponsor training of multihull oriented PRO's and judges
within the US SAILING structure?
Yes, almost all sailing rules and regulations are given to us directly
from monohull sailors. Multihulls do have some idiosyncracies that need
to be addressed and they will never be deliberated by the present hierarchy.
NAMSA will offer training for race officers and judges and then Sanction
Do we need to create a Junior Olympic program on our own? Or work
with US SAILING?
Absolutely! No one else is doing much about Junior sailing on multis.
Lots of lip service, no action! And those that are involved, get quickly
un-involved as soon as their kid ages or goes to another sport. Art Stevens,
Chairman of the Multihull Council, started the Fast and Fun Program that
is doing wonders for the youth. But, a lot more needs to be done and said.
Will the bureaucrats listen to one, lone voice, or will they better heed
the united voices of many as NAMSA will do. And NAMSA means to declare
war for our Youth. Work is already underway.
NAMSA will definitely work side by side with the MHC and US Sailing
we are all after similar goals.
Do we need a national policy of trying to move our racing away from
NAHCA run events and to local Yacht clubs (like the rest of the sailing
Beach cats and multihulls have a much better chance of not being nomads,
if we are all allied in NAMSA. In the past Yacht clubs were very instrumental
in forcing cats to the beaches. Some of the earlier multihull designs
were cumbersome, ugly, not that fast, were hard to tack and hard to right.
Often YCs just laughed them away.
And then came Hobie that was formed by a bunch of beach guys and surfers
and said, "Who needs a yacht club?" So cats have since become
the bedouins of the beach. However, the Tornado is still a YC boat and
is usually not shunned due to their Olympic status.
In other words, Yacht Clubs do offer a lot and if we work at it with NAMSA,
we will slowly gain acceptance.
Our organization has no known issues with Beach/Boating access at
current event sites. Why do we need NAMSA?
Many clubs, fleet and organizations never had any problems either a few
years ago. But one-by-one government and other agencies place more and
more restrictions, more and more rules, fewer and fewer places to sail
everywhere in North America. It is great if you are not suffering any
of this at the moment, but it is guaranteed you will in the very near
future. And we presently have NO voice in the matter not as the
multihull community is structured today.
There are hundreds of stories that you hear about in this magazine, but
one close to home is the story in the Florida Keys. Rick White and CABB
used to hold all their events at Plantation Yacht Harbor Resort. It had
inexpensive motel rooms, great beach, good bars, great sailing area with
flat seas and 10-15 mph winds. Who could ask for more?. Then the area
voted in its own village which promptly bought out the Resort for a village
park. Now to put on a regatta for a weekend they want $12,000. This could
happen to you.
Then there was the story of the State of Florida trying to require permits
for regattas and to apply for the permit you had to have the signed and
notarized signature of each property owner on that body of water. What
would Mike Worrell have done with that one? Not to mention the rest of
You cannot sit idly by and watch your freedoms be flushed down the toilet.
We all need a strong and loud voice to speak out against such legislation
After many years of decline, our organization has seen slight growth
over the last few years. So, why do we need NAMSA?
There are many areas where the signs of decline have slightly reversed.
But, that doesn't mean we should stop growth. I remember when in the "pit"
during football practice back in the old college days we would have to
block and push a sled. Once it got moving, you really kept your legs churning
and pushing harder -- you did not want to lose that momentum that you
had already created.
NAMSA can be your coach. And we can build an unbeatable team.
We want to offer affordable insurance for your regattas -- in large groups
insurance costs can come way down. Your organization would have very little
power in acquiring inexpensive insurance coverage. We also wish to expand
that other insurance (boat, auto, health, or whatever we can good rates
I don't know what your organization is doing about Youth sailing, but
we hope to make it a strong national movement to get more kids sailing,
and more kids sailing multihulls. I doubt that your organization can do
it alone. For starters, we hope to have our very first NAMSA Youth Nationals
this summer and have a committee working on the venue and date at this
We also want to establish training camps for Youth. And youth is where
the future of multihull sailing is. The data for Catamaran Sailor Magazine
and Sailing Seminars shows the average age of participants is over 40
years old. Very few youth take the seminar.., the same course that had
coached at least seven teams to Olympic Medals. We need to shake the bushes,
shake the halyards, or just plain shake kids and get them out there sailing
anything.., and hopefully we can get them sailing multihulls.
NAMSA can give your entire group and area uniform documents like scoring
sheets, registrations, NORs, Rules, Uniform Courses, etc. We are working
to get your organization the very best Windows Scoring System software
that will suit every organization, no matter how you score. And we will
over instruction and tech support.
We intend to train and sanction Race Officers and Judges that can interpret
into their jobs the intricacies of multihull sailing.