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L192444 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote L192444 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Open Meetings
    Posted: 23 May 22 at 4:55pm
Open meeting attendances have been on the slide for years ... since Covid it seems the momentum has really been lost and I'm seeing very poor attendances ...

I guess during Covid people found other ways to enjoy themselves and perhaps getting back on the circuit isn't as attractive as it once was.

Add into that the fuel price increases and the general squeeze on inflation is the concept that was so popular in the 80s and 90s no past?

Do we need to now focus on building class racing at clubs? 
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Paramedic View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Paramedic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 22 at 6:03pm
Yes - partly at least, but its not quite that simple - it never is!

You can't have a successful class without a base at grass roots. So to breed back decent national attendances we need to sail our boats at our clubs and promote our classes. If there is one a local open meeting circuit is a cracking place for the newly blooded club racers to cut their teeth travelling before moving onto bigger things like championships. 

Classes without a good club base are heading for trouble in the immediate/short term in my opinion.
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eric_c View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote eric_c Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 22 at 6:14pm
Personally I'd say the dust hasn'tsettled from covid yet, people were not able to reliably plan their year until quite recently. Also I don't think the wind has been kind?



 I would like to do a few open events, but I don't currently own the boat I'd want to do them in, and I have a backlog of catchng up with family etc, the year is flying by. I don't think fuel price is all that, maybe people are more conscious of it, but a weekend away is not a big cost for someone who's spent £5k or whatever on a boat. I'm not focused enough to want to do that many events and I don't want to spend ages in the car getting to some 'orrible pond with no wind when I've got sea sailing on tap. You need to think about what you are trying to sell and who you expect to buy it. Being a middling club sailor some of the best events I've done have been fairly local, not too big, but with a spread of talent so club sailors will learn something. Some 'inter-club' events have been good too, a few neighbouring clubs joining up sometimes to boost fleets and ring the changes a little.

I have a Laser, but I'd struggle to be sure it's class compliant and I don't want to go and be outclassed by a bunch of near-olympians with a boat that's older than some of the sailors. In my other class, the boats which travel all seem to be somewhat newer than mine.

I can also say I've been put off a few clubs (and class associations....) by money grabbing and indifferent quality events especially when they run multi-class opens.

I think circuit sailing will continue gravitate towards a few select classes, with some other classes having strong regional events. It prbably looks differet if you live in the middle of the country with an event in day-trip distance most weekends?
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GybeFunny View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GybeFunny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 22 at 8:24am
I used to travel a lot on circuits and would think nothing of a 4 hour drive for a weekend event but as I get older with a family now I look for more local 1 day events. Unfortunately the classes I would like to sail at my home club dont have any local 1 day events so I end up just club racing. Also I would check forecasts very carefully before travelling as I dont want to travel if its likely that no racing would happen.
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davidyacht View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 22 at 9:35am
Tend to find that a lot of people on the open circuits are attending because the club racing at home is not challenging enough, we had 20 Solos club racing on Saturday, so why go anywhere else?  

The exception is bigger regional and national championship events, but in time I get more selective, and increasingly prioritise the off water experience ... I really don't need a week holiday in Hayling or Pwllheli anymore.

Classes like the Solo and the Merlin have pursued a route to have less, but bigger class supported events, no doubt identifying this need.

Maybe the ageing demographic will impact Open Meeting attendance, as might fuel prices.


Happily living in the past
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Old Timer View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Old Timer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 22 at 4:43pm
On the flip side will clubs still be willing to host?

With people looking at forecasts, if it’s bad the event could be a total flop for the hosts. 

Running an event requires lining up loads of volunteers… how many time will clubs continue to do this for a handful of visitors. 
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mole View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mole Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 22 at 5:26pm
As a single teenage apprentice I was often at open meetings every other weekend in the 70's. The fuel price hike was similar to now, as was inflation, but I didn't have a mobile phone, laptop, etc.
My sailing kit was basic but functional, We didn't have fashion in sailing clothing in those days. I often had just enough to live the rest of the week after entry fees, fuel and beer. Accommodation was in the Costa del Cortina, food was from the club. Some of the best fun I had in my life, at that time. If you ever went to Hornet open in those days, you'll know what I mean
Life was simpler the fun was more appreciated.
It seems now so much is paid for boats, equipment and useless paraphernalia, that there is little left in the budget to get to the club, sail and socialise.
Many have been hooked on the marketing of the latest one design giving the best value whilst eliminating cheque book (oops credit card) competitive sailing
But Rs's, Lasers, etc cost 1000's new and just look at the cost of a Moth! That used to be the cheapest performance boat, but they lost their identity in the belief foils are some how better and is actually still sailing. Leave it to the speed record seekers.

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eric_c View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote eric_c Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 22 at 6:48pm
Originally posted by Old Timer

On the flip side will clubs still be willing to host?

With people looking at forecasts, if it’s bad the event could be a total flop for the hosts. 

Running an event requires lining up loads of volunteers… how many time will clubs continue to do this for a handful of visitors. 


It seems to me clubs make a lot of song and dance about some of these 'events', maybe we need something closer to simply inviting some visiting boats to join our racing? An extra start sequence, one more safety boat and an extra 'galley slave'.
If it's not a 505 Worlds Qualifying event, does it matter if the courses etc are just club standard, the point is to have extra boats for your own boats to race against, put your club 'on the map' , make friends etc. Keep the entry fee cheap, make a bit on the bar, keep the impact on club sailing low.

Obviously if you want people to drive 200 miles and have B&B costs etc, you need to up your game, but a lot of clubs could do something useful without anyone coming from a different county.
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The Q View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Q Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 22 at 7:53am
Here in Norfolk and northern Suffolk, you used to be able to go from club to club throughout the School summer holidays and race every single day at the open regattas, I've just looked up the open regattas and it's not far off still being the case (see http://www.thegreenbook.org.uk/ click on green book then affiliated clubs open regatta details.. That's in a distance of 60 miles(by flying crow)
 that's 9 Clubs + North Norfolk week a group of another 7 clubs).
 There are many other open regattas /event throughout the summer season and some in the winter I see no shortage of clubs holding open events, My own Club Horning has 8 in a summer season..
Still sailing in circles
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Gordon 1430 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gordon 1430 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 22 at 12:30pm
As the open co ordinater for a club that runs a few Open event including last weekends very successful one for the 400 fleet, its a major hassle trying to get enough people who know what there doing to run a decent event.
As a sea club with no moorings of our own finding an owner of a committee boat, minimum of 3 rib crews to lay marks and cover safety. Plus all the paper works including risk assessments for QHM 
NOR SI's and organise food for all including Saturday night.
At one point the Thursday before the event we had 4 entries and in the end 25 so it was all OK.
The forecast was good for the Saturday so I am sure that helped the turnout. But to put the whole thing together and say get 5 or 6 boats  would do me in,. never mind the grief for the club sailors missing out on there sailing.
If people want to have open meetings the class needs to ensure a decent turnout or clubs wont run them.
Gordon
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