Become a Regognized Fleet?

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by Rob B, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    If memory serves, it used to be that "back in the day" you could apply to the class to be a recognized fleet of the laser class. Can you still do this or does this now fall under our district system? I e-mailed the class office with this question, but did not get a reply.
     
  2. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Become a Recognized Fleet?

    Yeah, I went through that last year. The official stuff is below, however, I was told to just organize my group of Laser sailors and call us a fleet, without limitations. I suggest you get your organization going while you wait for the reply, which will come. I was fortunate because we had a fleet number that was "snoozing." I don't think they really do anything with the fleet number anymore, and maybe you can just pick a number that you like. Fleet 666 if you're bad? But maybe I was told all that because my district didn't have a secretary at the time.

    Merrily

    http://www.laserinternational.org/rules/bylaw2.htm

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]3.[/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]FLEET CHARTERS [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1](1)[/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]A fleet may be granted a Fleet Charter upon application to the District Association by six or more persons who are members of the International Laser Class Association and who are individual owners of Lasers within an area or club deemed appropriate having regard to locality where regular racing activity is easily accessible to members of that Fleet.[/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1](2)[/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]Notwithstanding Paragraph (1), a special Fleet may be chartered in any locality for the purposes of accommodating specific members of the armed forces, an educational institution, a junior programme or any other non-profit organisation.[/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1](3)[/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]A Fleet Captain, and such other officers if any as the Fleet may deem necessary, shall be elected annually from among the members of the Fleet in such manner as is prescribed by the Fleet, unless otherwise provided by a By-Law of the District Association, and shall be responsible to the District Association for the organisation of the Fleet and the due compliance by the members of the Fleet with the provisions of the Constitution and By-Laws of the Association.[/SIZE][/FONT]
     
  3. Bradley

    Bradley Administrator Staff Member

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    Regarding your email to the class:
    Their main email admin@laser.org has been done for some time. Your message may not have been received. The class is generally very quick in replying to emails. If you still need to contact the class you can do so at sherri@odmsail.com.
     
  4. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    You need to get a group of buddies to show up regularly to race. Bingo! You got a fleet!
     
  5. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Some issues raised above and a single factual answer for some related "questions" follow.

    1. Feet charters we used to have:

    Nobody currently does that work.

    2. Keeping track of fleets and numbers:

    Nobody currently does that work.

    3. Sending out Fleet Manuals and Charter certificates:

    Nobody currently does that work

    4. Publishing the four times annually updated names of fleets, contacts locations, and a brief personalized description:

    Nobody currently does that work

    5. Maintaining forewording addresses from any recently used official class association email address so that no sailor will be left with the impression we "did not bother to answer" an important email.

    Nobody currently does that work
     
  6. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    I take it that you're just a tad disgruntled w/the class at the moment? Did this occur before/during/after your involvment with the NA administrative side of things?

    Based on your post I'm thinking I sould just not bother. We've got about 10 or so guys that sail fairly actively so why muck it up?
     
  7. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Last things first> FORM THAT FLEET!!! The local fleet is the second most effective tool for making Laser sailing happen. ( The most effective is a dedicated fanatical charismatic well financed Laser dealer.)
    You and your buddies MUST form that fleet and do whatever it takes to get more people out to play and HAVE FUN!!!

    With respect to fleet building: My frustration with the NA Class since 2002 has been it no longer has a trained staff which understands how to and uses its knowledge to support local sailing. There may be some nice folks who are involved in the management of the class. I know and truly enjoy the company of many of our officers and the one class employee with whom I have had the priviledge to spend some time . That likability does not make any of them competent. In fact that likability makes it even harder to suggest we need to toss all of them out before they do more damage. I have long since come to the conclusion we must.

    My understanding of the function of class associations is related to their usefulness to the game. Class associations are like a huge information factory which can be stocked with as many tools as the supporters can afford. There are tools which can be used, left to rust, or even sold off or given away.

    The Laser class tools which were assembled at great expense over a 30 year period of intense study and development, are not being used. The competent technicians were fired and have never been replaced. The tools were lost, abandoned or simply left sitting in the corner because no one understood a need much less their operation.

    For a dozen years our association spent its assets gathering, organizing and disseminating information. That information pertained to who, where, when, why, how, why should you, how to bring others and on and on and on.

    The tools of dissemination have been left to rust since 2002.

    With respect to the more modern media:
    The paid staff no longer constantly updates the website, no longer participates in the email list and forums and rarely grabs attention in places such as Scuttlebutt or Sailing Anarchy.
    This lack of participation is a daily waste of our assets.

    Our good old newsletter?

    It was gutted of information and published as an expensive but content free document begginning with the first issue after my removal as secretary. The entire information publication function of the newsletter was abandoned.

    How idiotically stupid must we be to believe that an expensive pretty magazine with no content should or could possibly replace a functional newspaper whose format allowed us to publish 20 times as much vital information for the same number of dollars per issue?

    news...letter... a letter with news...DUH!!!


    After having a leading edge website which was constantly updated and improved from the day it was introduced until 2002, the website has had only one significant feature added since I left in 2002.
    Our website which used to be a vibrant and constantly improving class information dissemination tool......?? It has become a boring useless out of date waste of a browse.

    The one new feature is the function where we can post our own regattas on the schedule...Unfortunatly, that function has been used by the class to avoid its responsibilities rather than enhance its performance.
    Since 2002 only about 1/4 of the roughly 400 annual NA Laser regattas are ever mentioned on the class website. If the host does not DO HIS JOB and personally post his event on the site, the event is IGNORED by the NA Class website.

    The Class staff used to seek out the hosts of as many regattas as time permitted and publish information FOR THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP. Despite our best efforts to gather and publish information, we probably used to miss 1/4 of the North American Laser events. For the last three years our paid staff has missed 3/4 of the local events.
    As I write this, there are only 12 2006 regattas listed on the NA website. On this date in 2001, we already had listed over 300 regatta dates and locations with contacts phone and email address for most of the events.

    The technology for gathering the information is better now than in 2001. The work ethic and knowledge of our staff necessary to perform as well as we used to expect is clearly lacking.

    I could write about the shortcomings of our curreent management for hours and hours and hours and still not finish the task of explaining. The unfortunate facts are " those who are incompetent are also the least qualified to judge their performance." Our class officers and staff do not know how to manage a class and do not have the experience or knowledge necessary to realize they don't know.

    First thing last: A tad disgruntled?? Perhaps. Mostly I am profoundly disappointed. I am most disappointed with my lack of ability to persuade anyone to continue performing the tasks necessary to keep the class growing since 2002. As of JUly 31 2002, We had just grown in numbers of paid current memberships for 35 consecutive months. On August 1,2002, the systems and methods used to involve those additional members was entirely abandoned. By the end of the second month after I left membership had already dropped by 400.

    Realize that for every 1 member there are probably 4 to 10 sailors who do not join. Consider that between 2002 and 2005 we lost 2000 members. Whether there were 4 or ten times that many who didn't sail Lasers does not matter much. The number is huge.

    The North American Laser Class office used to be the driving force behind the success of the laser sailing game. In the year 2002 we were ending a two year streak where we had increased our participation and paid membership at a faster rate than any time since 1978.

    I incompetently fought to stop the ignorant people who wanted to take over and run the class. Ultimately, my incompetence allowed the ignorant to take over and ruin or at least severly damage the game for thousands of sailors. The class which manages the game for the most popular and best singlehanded racing boat of them all is still dead in the water.

    Every week another pile of wonderful things fails to happen because 100 hours of NA Laser class work that should have been done fails to be accomplished.

    Perhaps by now I would have worn out, found, and trained a replacement for myself. I am profoundly disappointed in myself that I managed to leave the job as Laser secretary without finding a competent replacement. Three years later, we still have no one performing 4/5 of the work which I or my staff performed and which I know is vital to the success of the Laser game in North America.
    Had I remained as secretary we most certainly would have over 4000 members, big fat information packed newsletters, a modern functional and regularly updated website, participation by the office in all aspects of the game from the water to the internet and most of all, thousands of sailing friends, who, because we have had no organization for the last three years, we never had a chance to meet.

    Disgruntled? Upset? Disappointed? Pissed? Frustrated? Bummed?

    Use them all. They are accurate.
     
  8. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Anybody from the class reading this stuff?......I do agree that the 2006 calendar in the recent newsletter was pretty lacking. Given how often one of these is published I'm guessing 1/4th of the 2006 events will be over before we see another Laser Sailor Mag and the web site updates as often as my district site does. What's the plan to get back the 2000 lost members?
     
  9. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Torrid,

    Here's what we have. About 18 boats at our YC. 10 of which sail pretty regular through the year. We do have a fleet and we are hosting a district event in 2006 for the first time ever. Our fleet has gone from 4 boats to 10 active boats in a 3 year period with significant growth in the past 16 months. I'm trying to get some "official" status with our organizing body so we, (as a recognized fleet) can pass information along to the class and spread the word about our event through as many avenues as possible and at the same time ad another arm of support. What they, (the class) do with this remains to be seen, but I want to try.
     
  10. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    As District 18 secretary, I've been requested to put together a list of clubs with fleets and a regatta list. These are going to be published in the spring edition of the Laser Sailor on a pullout sheet. I don't know if it will be only for ones own district or for the entirety of North America. I'm including in my list clubs that have even a few Lasers and indicate that they want growth. Rob B, have you been in contact with your District secretary? That would be your best avenue to get the publicity that you want, as well as marking the calendar here on TLF and the one at www.laser.org. My little regatta, Laserlips, is already posted there, and yours can be too with just a few minutes of work. I also created a PDF flyer that I left at other's regattas and sent to as many contacts as possible. Even then, I only got two boats from outside my club, but I believe it will grow as word spreads.

    District 12
    Arland B. Whitesides
    14 W. Oxford Street
    Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480
    awhitesides@ec.rr.com

    There is also a nice website, courtesy of Bradley. http://d12.laserforum.org/

    Hope this helps.

    Merrily
     
  11. Chris123

    Chris123 New Member

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    Why would the administrators let the address lapse rather than setting it up to forward?

    Why is the class's e-mail address "odmsail.com" rather than "laser.org"?


    These may be little things, but life is made up of little things.
     
  12. Bradley

    Bradley Administrator Staff Member

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    Lets start this off by stating gouvernail is Fred Schroth former ILCA-NA Executive Secretary. During his time he did his best to lead the class to success. Unfortunately, things change. The class has gone through a rough time over the last few years, but I feel confident everything is going to improve.

    The email is down due to technical problems with winsite.com. It cannot be forwarded.

    First, The current class website sucks. I know that. The class knows that. The class has assembled a group of web experts to form a Website Development team. I am a part of this development team. We are currently in the process of building a brand new website that will be more functional than any thing the class has seen so far. The site is currently running as a private beta until we are ready to present it to the public. This will be within the next couple of weeks.

    The new site addresses some of the major problems of the current site.
    1. The main goal of the new site is to keep the content fresh. The site will allow for many different people to post news. We will be giving individual logins to all the district secretaries, class officers, and the office. Posting a news item would be very similiar to making a post here on the forum. Regular class members (like you Fred) could also register with the new site and submit news items to the new site.
    2. We also plan to eventually move the class schedule away from the district sites and into a central database. Currently, the main method for calendar distribution is the district website. This database will be searchable and ordered by date and/or District.
    3. We are bringing back the fleet listings on the new website. Please send this information to your district secretary. We will be soliciting fleet information from them soon. Many distict sites currently list fleets.
    4. There are other areas still under consideration and construction. I am starting a new thread in the class politics section regarding the new site. Please post any comments, suggestions, etc. that you may have. I will forward them on to the development team. http://www.laserforum.org/showthread.php?p=15329#post15329

    Cheers,
     
  13. Chris123

    Chris123 New Member

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    That is helpful and encouraging information. Given the good job you are doing here, I have high hopes for a great site.

    I take exception to only one thing you said:
    Fixing the e-mail does not need to wait for the web site team to complete its work.

    1) configure some mail server somewhere (e.g., yours, if you're so inclined, else buy a $50/year mail hosting package from some ISP) to accept mail for laser.org.

    That's a single line databse entry on most mail servers.

    2) configure said mail server to forward mail sent to admin@laser.org to Sherri@odmsail.com. That's a second one-line database entry.

    3) Change the MX record for the domain "laser.org" to point to said server rather than the current cerebus.winsite.com. That's a third one-line database entry.

    Total admin labor -- 30 minutes if you've already got a mail server you want to use, 1 hour if you need to sign up for a new one.

    Add another 3 or 4 hours for the DNS changes to propagate worldwide, and it's done.
     
  14. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    I am totally encouraged, it took three years but there are FINALLY some people who are willing to mention that the class management has been useless for way past long enough.
    There is no need to bash anyone or get into stupid non productive fights. What we need is lots of hard work and the results that come from that hard work.

    Please!!! DOn't just bitch!!! You can complain all you want but please offer solutions when you whine. Your help is needed and I know your help , even if it takes another three years for someone to notice, is appreciated.

    Back on fleet stuff.....

    Between 1995 , when Allan Broadribb WROTE the program and 2002 we used a simple pretty darned effective database.
    One of the problems with that speedy little database was its method of telling me what it knew.

    Example:

    When a new excited sailor wanted local information about names and addresses, I had to fiddle with the database, make a file, openn it with Excel, fiddle a bit more and then I would have a file I could send of all the members we knew about since 1995. I could search by district, age, boat, and a number of other parameters with the base and more parameters by using features in Excel

    We didn't have email addresses in an electronic database.

    In July of 2002 I spent about $3000 NA Class dollars ( for a consultant) and a couple hundred Fred hours building a new class database. I spent a bunch more time punching in about 500 of the class member email addresses I knew about and figured my replacement would have 90% of the rest of the 3100 members by mid 2003.

    The database was delivered to James Appel who was alleged to know all about Microsoft Access.

    With the new database a person could click a few times and generate vireually any subset of membership and information we had about those members, attach that file to an email and send it to an enthusiastric Class volunteer.

    Every time a person asks about forming a local fleet or asks about hosting an event, the class office should be sending out useful information about fleet forming, regatta hosting and usually that information should include a list of all our known contact information for sailors nearby.

    As for you Rob B or anyone else who wants to form a local fleet, I still have copies of the old Allan database and I can send files of names, addresses and phone numbers of people who had given the class that info before Mid August of 2002. If you want to form a local fleet and the class office continues to be useless to you, feel free to contact me and I will do what I can to help. Three year old information is better than nothing.
     
  15. Bradley

    Bradley Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Chris123,

    I appreciate your concern and tips regarding the email. Unfortunately, it is a little more complicated than just making the changes. If it was as simple as you stated, it would already be done. I can't just make changes to the class mx record or authorize spending.

    I am waiting on the class for a go ahead on the hosting package. As soon as I get that, I can change the DNS and update the email address and have it live in hours.

    Now back to Fred's issue. We are working hard to get all the fleet information into the online database. We have done several districts so far. The information should be searchable. Sorting by district would be an option.
     
  16. Chris123

    Chris123 New Member

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    I certainly didn't mean that to imply that *you* should have done it, but the registerd contact for the class DNS records is Sherri, which means she could have done it, and should have done it as a routine part of taking over operations, no?

    And with a $175,000 budget, how many levels of approval does it take to spend $50 to fix the class's primary e-mail address?
     
  17. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Way too many!!

    The class is run by an executive committee whose members were elected to accomplish things.

    A cursory reading of the minutes of their meetings clearly describes the problem.

    Accomplishment is not an issue or even a priority. The clear and obvious goal of the members of our executive commitee is to be in charge.

    I would like to give the hired help a list. "Here is what we expect. Your job is to make certain those things happen. Make sure the bills are paid and make certain you pay yourselves enough so we do not have to go find somewone to replace you."

    Management by committee is a sitcom level joke. It is not a funny joke when it is your committee.
     
  18. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    I go through Laser Forum postings on a regular basis so, sure, I read this stuff. However, before I ran for the basement to shelter in place I decided to look out the window and discovered that the sky is not falling.

    For example, a bit later you wrote:

    Here's what we have. About 18 boats at our YC. 10 of which sail pretty regular through the year. We do have a fleet and we are hosting a district event in 2006 for the first time ever. Our fleet has gone from 4 boats to 10 active boats in a 3 year period with significant growth in the past 16 months. I'm trying to get some "official" status with our organizing body so we, (as a recognized fleet) can pass information along to the class and spread the word about our event through as many avenues as possible and at the same time ad another arm of support. What they, (the class) do with this remains to be seen, but I want to try.

    The key statement is "Our fleet has gone from 4 boats to 10 active boats in a 3 year period with significant growth in the past 16 months." This doesn't sound like a class which is withering away to nothing to me... in fact, I'd argue that Laser sailing is going through a big resurgance right now with fleets popping up everywhere. I know Vanguard is selling lots of boats (by the way, if any of your fleet members bought new boats be sure that they take advantage of their free class membership, courtesy of Vanguard!) and it seems nearly impossible to buy a used one, at least here in the SF Bay Area (and think for a moment about why that resale value is so high on Lasers). Also, I see that your home district's (District 12) District Championship Series results show that there were 75 boats in that series!

    There are direct answers to questions/points you made in your initial post that started this thread:

    1) The class office didn't respond to your e-mail... If you go to www.laser.org you will see a 7 bulleted items. Item 6 tells you that "admin@laser.org" is down and you should contact Sherri at "sherri@odmsail.org". I'd be very surprised if you sent e-mail to that address and got not response. In addition to e-mail, one can pick up the phone and dial 619 222 0252 and talk to Sherri directly. This is a fantastic way to really get to know your Class Executive Secretary (other than by seeing her at a regatta, like Masters's MWE and MWE in February, MWW in March, etc.). By the way, this website IS updated continuously (like, in fact, just today). Also, item number 7 explains why the regatta listings (other than major events) are not getting updated right now...

    2) If you want to have an "officially" recognized fleet then you follow the guidelines in the ILCA constitution at http://www.laserinternational.org/rules/consttn.htm. If you have six class members and can designate one as a Fleet Captain then Sherri and the Regional Executive Committee can designate you as "official". Its not a problem, though I'd argue that as a Laser Class member you already have all the credibility that you need.

    3) If you want to get listed as a fleet then I would contact my District Secretary and try to get listed on the District site first. The beans have been spilled now, yes we are working on a new website and yes a key component is going to be a mechanism for listing the fleets again. As has been pointed out, DrLaser's exhaustive fleet listing circa 2002 immediately made obsolete the "old" listings and we let them lapse. So, DrLaser disappeared, lesson learned... We are working on resurrecting that listing by having the District Secretaries send us info on active fleets (since some of us believe that stale information is worse than no information). The last updating of that "old" fleet listing from information sent to us is located at http://www.stanford.edu/~usher/fleets.htm. I would prefer to see updates to the fleet listings go through the District Secretaries but if people see obvious errors in this page and want them corrected then they can send them to the office or directly to me if they like and I'll make sure the info gets passed back to the District Secretary.


    Finally, one can always send an e-mail to me at usher@slac.stanford.edu if any of the above are not working.


    Tracy
     
  19. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    SFBayLaser, or Tracy Usher, is Chairman of the ILCA-NA. Our esteemed leader checks into TLF frequently.

    Merrily
     
  20. vtgent49

    vtgent49 Member

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    Hi,

    Thanks to all for the info. It seems to be headed in the right direction, and with Bradley on the case I'm more than willing to wait.

    I've seen this class (and others) wax and wane over 30 years, and I do agree with Tracy about growth. Our club is back to 30 boats and growing, prices are strong, and precious few boats are available, even when there is ice on our Lake. The Vanguard built boats (USA) are really good.

    My glossy magazine hasn't made it to Vermont yet, but maybe my renewal statement is still in a pile somewhere on my desk? Whatever, I'm all for letting the expensive dinosaur die the way LIFE magazine did, and become a collectors item. It's pretty thin on the info I need, even if the color pics brighten a cold winter night.

    Let's all move forward, as it's really the only choice :)

    Al Russell 182797
     

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