by Dan Holman
It is the committee's mission to improve i14 participation, building on the tremendous 36 boat POW week in Falmouth. Whether it be getting boats out of the reeds and onto the water, making sure that nobody misses racing because of a lack of helm/crew/boat, or getting new sailors into the class or tempting former sailors back, everyone can help to improve the game.
We have a few initiatives starting up to get sailors into the class, based largely on the philosophy of: 'Targeted Recruitment'
Whilst it may sound draconian, we are not talking about frequenting public houses and dropping the queen's shilling into tankards before frog marching the victim around to Itchenor for an enforced life at sea.
Most people who sail 14s have friends or acquaintances outside the class who have expressed a credible interest in getting involved.
With new boats being built and on order from a couple of builders, and the second hand market strong, there has not been a better time to get involved.
As such, we would like to identify and target these individuals on the fringes and invite them to a 'Try a 14 day' where in a fairly controlled environment they can be introduced to sailing 14s with experienced sailors, and be offered the hospitality of the full Itchenor experience.
This event is looking likely to occur in the spring in order to prepare correctly and build a decent list of these candidates.
If you know people who you think would be interested seriously - i.e. not tyre kickers / joyriders - please forward their details and a short paragraph re: sailing background /levels of interest etc to me at: email@example.com, and will manage a database and ensure that we can offer them a great experience and thus expect a decent conversion rate in the spring. Remember - it is all of our responsibilities to maximise participation and increase the quality of 'the game.'
In the meantime, please take advantage of your contacts and remaining club racing / Itchenor Perry pot series to get these individuals a taste.
In other news, having gauged the opinions of several new entrants into the fleet, we are going to reinstate the 'I14 training weekend.'
We already have agreed coaching support from:
Archie Massey - needs no introduction as prolific 4 x world champion
Harvey Hillary - Head of 'High performance and innovation' at the RYA
Dave Dobreijevic - Former i14 European champ, highly successful sailmaker in the class
This event is currently scheduled for one the weekends preceding the easter tray. With the coaching lineup on offer, dressed to swap in and out of boats, and full video debrief, it should be a great opportunity to get to the bottom of the mysteries of i14 boat tuning, handling and racing.
UK i14 website