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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 NAMSA?

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 of sanctioning.

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 Cat racing?
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 Pitt policy)
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, et al.

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?
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 classes?
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 need.

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 them.

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 world)?
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 us.
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 and rule-making.

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 on).
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 very moment.
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.

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