News Home Video Gallery Newsletters Photo Gallery Cruising Int
Sail-World.com : Racing and sailing not the same? The future of sailing
Racing and sailing not the same? The future of sailing


'Are they sailing or racing?'    .

Long time cruising sailor, Captain Alex Blackwell here ponders the future of sailing and why almost all sailing clubs in every established sailing nation in the world find their numbers in decline. He quotes, memorably, a Velux 5 Oceans race leader who said that at one point during the race he was 'more sailing than racing'. So sailing and racing are not the same? Read on...

In most parts of the world, people lament the decline in enthusiasm for sailing. And yes, we do see so very, very many boats that never seem to leave the harbor. We have heard many tales of youth sailing programs that have serious rates of attrition from one year to another. Yacht clubs everywhere are relying more and more on so called social members to keep their membership numbers up, while hoping to convert these non sailors to sailing.

It is interesting to note that people have many different ideas of what ‘sailing’ is. National organizations such as US Sailing and many yacht clubs view racing in a regatta as what sailing is all about. Yes, these same groups also pay lip service to other aspects of ‘the sport’, but by defining sailing as a sport, they do indeed contradict themselves right at the outset.

Velux 5 Oceans race leader, (October 25, 2006) Bernard Stamm was astonished on hearing that most of his opponents had returned to shore in a storm: 'I was quite unhappy with the way I was doing on the race course. I was being so careful that I had the feeling I was more sailing than racing. So, to discover that I am leading is a really good surprise. It is really sad to hear that the others had to stop but, anyway, I am not going to wait for them!' So, this is a dyed in the wool racer, who clearly sees racing and sailing as not being one and the same, yet revels in both.

There are also the cruisers among us, who consider our lifestyles as true sailing and look down on those who race in circles around the buoys. And what about the rift between blow boat and stink pot owners. The boating industry seems quite fragmented, and its members quite insular. It is a small wonder then, that the US has such a hard time fielding a winning Olympic sailing team. With all the boaters interested in their small world instead of being excited at being out on the water, and enthusiastic about others enjoying this as well, we simply have no cohesive base. But these are just the symptoms, and just like in medicine, you can try and treat the symptoms, or you can try and get to the root of the problem and perhaps find an actual cure for the disease.

In a self perpetuating spiral of stress and forced activity, peer pressure and resulting busy schedules force parents to bring their offspring from one planned and organized activity to another, with no time for the kids to just be kids.

Spending a whole day just messing around in the yard or in a boat just does not fit in a ‘program’. Consequently it is a small wonder that young people drop out of organized programs because they are tired of being organized and it ceases to be fun.

Messing about in boats - introducing kids to the fun -  .. .  

I believe that the root of the problem in building interest in any activity or sport is making it too stressful and competitive at an early age. How different would it all be if the youngest kids (and then progressing onwards through their life) were to be shown just how much fun it is to go out in a boat.

Would kids not then provide a large pool of young adults clamoring to crew on a race (or cruise), or buy their own boat(s) as their formative childhood memories taught them a deep love for being out on the water? Would these same young enthusiastic adults not perhaps then grow up into potential sponsors and supporters of a thriving Olympic fleet - elevating this into a real matter of national pride?

Perhaps a cure for the problem of a lack of enthusiasm for sailing or any other activity is just to learn to relax, to 'smell the roses', to enjoy a sunset at anchor, in short, to learn to live. Let the kids discover stuff for themselves

The kids are our future and the future is theirs. Though it may run contrary to current convention and also to popular belief, perhaps we might just let the kids be kids. Give them access to a boat and let them find out where it takes them. If we spend less time stressing over their prowess on a race course, we may even start to enjoy sailing more ourselves.

Messing about in boats - fun first and a love of sailing, then competition for those who wish -  .. .  

We actively lobbied our yacht club to change its junior program and include pleasure sailing as well as racing. We had heard from numerous parents that their child had dropped out due to the pressures of the constant competition. In fact their attrition rate bordered on 30% per anum. One also always puts the racing successes up on the pedestal and not the 'Joy of Sailing'.

They then added a program of messing about in boats parallel to the racing program. What was the result? Zero attrition, a succession of Olympians, a dramatic increase in junior members of the club, and plenty of young and enthusiastic crew for the big boats.

Originally published in Coastal Boating

Messing about in boats - the original -  .. .  


by Alex Blackwell, Coastalboating.net/Sail-World

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=110256

8:51 PM Thu 6 Jun 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







Cruising USA











4.8 million Legos all at sea by Adam Clark Estes,




Dredging activity near corals can increase frequency of diseases by ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies,




Understanding the Ocean's role in Greenland Glacier melt by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI),




Three Defensive Docking Strategies for Sailors by Captain John Jamieson, Florida


Revealing report on Search for American yacht Nina released *Feature by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team,














Baby Nemos finding their way home by ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies,










The real ‘Supermoon’ story by Sail-world.com,




Sailor rescued after Facebook call for rescue by RNLI/Sail-World Cruising,










The Galley Guys' favourite shrimp recipe by Andy Adams and John Armstrong,




BoatUS speaks out about 'Ethanol-at-all-cost Agenda'
Tidal current installations will increase boating hazards
Eco-Sailboat of the future - Catherine Chabaud at work
Calling yachts in the South Pacific - rally to New Zealand
The final touch - which wax should I use on my boat?
ARC Baltic sets sail to discover Europe's 'east sea'
Another boom death. Australian sailor dies, hit by swinging boom
Galley Guru vital to the life of the cruising sailor
'Boat Handling in Marinas' by Rob Gibson - and how to get it reliably
Heart-stopping moment as whale capsizes Zodiac
If we stop killing parrotfish we can bring back Caribbean coral reefs
Climate change could stop fish finding their friends
Vanuatu ups their welcome to cruising sailors with new approach
Criminal charges mooted for owners of sunk HMS Bounty
Red faces after authorities inadvertently aid boat thief to get away
Mobiles drive traffic - 72% increase in Sail-World.com page view *Feature
Sail Estonia: a VERY new idea
Tie This 'Lifesaving' Bowline in Seconds - the easy way!
A Beer Bummel on the Thames River
Online weather routing - possible? Predict Wind says yes
Why Boats Sink: Ten best tips on prevention   
The North West Passage calls: Who will answer this year?   
Polish adventure sailor in second try at North West Passage   
Whale research - new techniques expand for non-lethal methods   
Jessica Watson, solo sailing star, four years on...   
Americas solo non-stop circumnavigator crosses Pacific for research   
What is an El Niño and how will it affect my sailing? (Part 1)   
The Dinghy Nav Light Solution- a brilliantly dumb idea   
Spike in water temperatures evidence of ‘irreversible’ El Nino *Feature   
Sailing crew's battle to save yacht lost in the Indian Ocean   
Five Top Tips for selecting the best boatyard   
Tips for selecting the best boatyard   
Predictwind unlocks more features on free accounts   
Composite Rigging launches new campaign for ECsix   
When is a Captain not a Captain?   
Free app for managing your yacht   
Amazing MOB survival - 13 hours floating, rescued by fishermen   
Boater hit by lightning survives: 'It was the worst pain ever'   
Inauguration of the new Yacht Club Monaco - Images by Carlo Borlenghi   
Lessons for sailing clubs - how does YOURS rate?   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW Cru USA
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT