Membership Idea. . .

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by sorosz, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. Kratos

    Kratos Member

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    Then I guess that's ultimately their call.

    If that is happening, then that sucks, but I wouldn't let some idiots ruin my sailing. If someone hits the mark and doesn't want to spin or breaks a rule and doesn't heed the protest yelling, so be it. The fleet usually has a way of dealing with those people via rules or otherwise.
     
  2. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Complaining isn't going to build the fleet.
     
  3. 154537

    154537 Member

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    speaking of fleets- how do you know your fleet #?
     
  4. suthera

    suthera Member

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    For the sake of some simple analyses, try breaking down all Laser sailors into the following categories:

    Club Sailors – own their own laser which they race at their own club where they pay their membership fees. Do not attend any District, National or World events.
    District Sailors – also own their own Laser which they race at their own club where they pay their membership fees. Also attend at least one District, National, or World event per season.

    For District sailors, Class Membership is compulsory. The Notice of race or Sailing instructions all confirm that you have to be a current class member to race. So if we want to extend class membership we wont be able to find any new members in this group – they are already members and will continue to be as long as they do at least one regatta a year.

    For club sailors membership is voluntary. Reasons for why these members should join are well documented in this thread, but the thought of joining has probably never occurred to many. Those who have thought about it would probably agree that joining the class association is the right thing to do, but that is a far stretch from going to the hassle of filling in the forms and making payment. So how can we encourage these sailors to become members? Is it practical to get the message across to all of these club sailors? It strikes me as far more practical to get the message across to the club Captains/commodore/secretaries instead. You need 757 new North American members to get Gouv to stfu and change his tag line. If you can get in touch with 50 clubs which have 15 club lasers on their membership list, and convince them to make Laser Class Membership compulsory, then you are almost there. This has to be easier than trying to contact 757 club sailors individually. But how can we convince 50 clubs to add yet more money on the price of their membership, and then send that money on to a third party organisation?

    Most of the convincing has already been done here. A strong Laser class has heaps of benefits in terms of resale, attracting members to the sport, dealers to make buying parts easier, regatta for club sailors to aim for if they want to spread their wings, etc, etc, etc. Club officials should be able to sell the idea of compulsory membership to their Laser sailors reasonably easily. The cost is very low and if there was no additional forms to fill in (it should all just be included when they join the club) then I can’t imagine anyone getting grumpy. But can we offer the clubs anything in exchange for insisting their members join the class association? I think the class does an excellent job of organising regattas, but only touches on a whole lot of problems which clubs face. I have included a list of issues that clubs face when organising a laser fleets below. Why can’t the class association publish a “Laser Best Practise Club” manual discussing these issues, and be made available to clubs who insist their Laser member’s join the class? Why can’t the ILCA newsletters include commentary on these issues, why can’t we have a forum, online or otherwise, to let club officials come together to discuss these issues? Why can’t we let “Laser Best Practice Clubs” advertise themselves as such, and use the register trademark class logo to do so, in return for compulsory class membership (if done properly this could be for the benefit of the trademark owners as well)? Why can’t the Class district secretary get to know all of the clubs secretaries to make sure membership of club and class is seamless, with as little duplication of volunteer work as possible?

    Clubs are the life blood of our sport. Get them on board and their members will follow.

    Some issues for clubs with Laser fleets:



    • What is the ideal course for Laser sailing for different Clubs – Lakes, Oceans, Bays, Size of course, number of marks, effort needed to set course, experience of sailors
    • Should we race around fixed cans or drop marks every time we race?
    • How many response craft do we need per number of sailors – experience of fleet, prevailing conditions.
    • What should we look for in response boat, Committee vessel boat?
    • Practical consideration for Race Officers.
    • What starting sequence to use?
    • What flags should we use?
    • Should we use a handicapping system? What systems are popular and what are the pros and cons?
    • Should we give average points for those attending district regattas, or doing Race Officer? What is the best way of calculating?
    • Should we have Racing Instructions? What is best practise? Can I see examples of other clubs Sailing Instructions?
    • How do we work out who wins a series – should we have lots of drops, or try and encourage more participation?
    • Maintenance of old club Lasers – fixing spars, foils, mending sails, leaking mast steps, and all those other things that happen to beater boats (an endless list of discussion points)
    • Storage of Lasers – tied down in dinghy park – on racks, stored on end, indoors, outdoors, need for covers, hung from a roof, most practical ways to squeeze as many boats into as small a place as possible.
    • Trailing Lasers – best practise, safety, not damaging boat, roof racking.
    • Should we allow non standard Laser parts at club levels. Should we allow old boats that no longer measure correctly to be used at club level?
    • Should we have separate competition for Radial, 4.7 and full? How do we work out the winner if we have different rigs. At what point should we have separate starts?
    • Should we allow sailors to change between a Radial, Full, or 4.7 depending on the conditions of the day? Should we apply a handicap if they do? How would we calculate it?
    • Should the club own some old Lasers to encourage new members to give it a try before buying their own boat. What are the efforts required and issues encountered in running such an initiative?
     
  5. 154537

    154537 Member

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    how much does mailing the newsletter cost? i suppose that could be cut, and the money could be put towards a free clinic or something. although it is nice to read in the john. (my wife gets mad when i bring the laptop into the john)
     
  6. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    You're on the right path. What can the Laser Association (at any level) offer to encourage individuals or clubs to convert non member club sailors to being members of the associations?
     
  7. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

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    There are no fleet numbers anymore. I wish there was though. I'm curious what fleet number my club is.

    Personally I would like to see the class do something similar to the Lightning Class.
    http://lightningclass.org/membership/districtsFleets/index.asp

    You can click on a district and then go down to a fleet and see who's a member in each fleet. If a person is not a member of a fleet they are a member of the district and is reflected there as well. By adding that level (and going back to fleet charters and making them official), the class can physically show where the sailing is, show where the big fleets are and maybe get a little more into each district rather than just seeing what's going on in a district. If we wanted to go far enough fleet dues can roll into the district and the district can do what they want with those fees (trophies or something else for the district).

    People complain about the fleet level and that the class may not care for them. This might be a step towards that.

    I'm sure Fred can say something on the old fleet charters and such.
     
  8. 154537

    154537 Member

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    another great example of a usability feature that could be added to the website . thanks eric
     
  9. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    The fleet numbering system died somewhere between Alan Broadribb's first tenure and his second tenure.

    Those fleets for which Allan knew the numbers still had them when I got the lists and I added new numbers from old newsletters for existing older fleets but never assigned any new fleet numbers myself.

    Austin is fleet #22 and Laser number 22 sailed here owned by Hap Arnold.

    I have some old floppies with copies of teh old database and if I can make an old enough computer work to open teh file I will post the list of numbers as I knew it way back when.

    Don't hold your breath....I still owe ericr some old newsletters from over a year ago
     
  10. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

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    I still don't like that you can't enter a club into the membership form when you sign up online. It may take time to make something like that happen.
     
  11. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    I was reading a Yachts and Yachting (UK sailing magazine) from a few months ago and it had a listing/review of the (UK) National Championships for different classes. It actually focused on only those classes where the Nationals had more that 50 entrants - and the Standard Laser was not in that list !! Fortunately the Laser Radial was but even the Radial was beaten by the Cadet, RS200, Topper (and Optimist - but that is something of a niche class).

    And it made me wonder if maybe the Class Association has too much focus on the big events. Of course we need a World Championship, European championship, etc. but I wonder if too much of the Class funds are being spent on big events that appeal to the few.

    I love my Laser. It is great 'cos I can rig it and get on the water quickly. Most clubs have a decent fleet. It is fun, etc. and maybe the strength of the class these days has changed a bit and maybe the Class Associations have not adjusted.

    As the Class Association gets fewer members, the costs involved in running e.g. the World Championship stays the same so the portion of available funds spent on such events increases, less available for the more club oriented sailor, maybe fewer people join, then an even bigger portion of the lower income on the big events, etc. and I can see that there is a risk of positive feedback.

    Ian
     
  12. mental floss

    mental floss Member

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    Why not start by polling the new members of the last few years what it was that attracted them to join the class?
     
  13. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Maybe try polling those non-members as to why they have decided not to join as well. Most class captains (in UK clubs) are Class Association members so maybe ask them to poll those in their fleet who are not members (ideally formally but one must make it a practical thing to do). Maybe design a questionnaire carefully to ensure the results are "analysable" and not just ask "why have you not joined ?" but maybe more about what people feel a class association could/should offer them, if it offered e.g. X, would they be more inclined to join, maybe on a 1 to 10 scale, etc.

    Ian
     
  14. powergroove

    powergroove Member

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    as a past member and now a prospective member again as I have bought another boat, I have some ideas. I will preface this by saying I am a past F18 class member for 4 years, and recently an A Class catamaran member. F18 membership got you some swag, and paid for scales and such at events, I think it was $25 a year. A class membership got you next to nothing, but its cheap, $25 a year also.
    Both are formula/developement classes so my next suggestion is subjective from where I come from.

    First, its hard for me to come into this class and accept the SMOD rules about purchasing stuff only from Laser(or its affiliates). Im trying to fix up a '73 hull and its going to be very expensive(over $1200) to be class legal..boom, mast, sail, vang(you have to have it to be competitive so I dont want any slack anout you dont have to buy it, or there are plenty of old rigged boats doing well, I just dont buy it anymore.
    My point is, SMOD is flawed to someones great fortune and I have read alot of posts about that needing to be changed, but it hasnt happened. THE CLASS ASSOCIATION SHoULD SEPERATE THEMSELVES FROM THE MAUNFACTURER, and look at what the members want, and need.

    Second, $40 for not much is hard to swallow for a new memeber, espeicially one who needs alot of new parts, it will be the last thing I purchase for sure.

    Third, all the info you need is right here on the internet, and this wonderful site, thanks to many Paid members Im sure, but the mag probably isnt going to be the make the differnce thing for me.


    I say all that to say this is a great class, a ggreat boat, and the one year I raced, I met some good people. $40 is a little steep for a gigantic class, so maybe that is the biggest obstacle for most new people to join.


    You can flame me if you want, but this is my opinion and suggestion from someone who has recently been in other classes.
     
  15. suthera

    suthera Member

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  16. sorosz

    sorosz Member

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    I think that your arguments actually hold the key to why you should join the Class rather than the other way around. You state that $1200 is a lot of money to bring a 37 year old boat up to some acceptable level of competitiveness?!? That's not a lot of money for what you get back!

    That works out to only $32 a year lifetime investment for that boat. Or for that entire year of racing you've already done it only cost you $3.29 a day for the option to race. And each year you keep that boat your daily costs drop. You prefer to break it down by the days you actually raced? Say you raced only 20 days out of the year - your equipment investment cost you only about $60 a time! That's not a huge amount of money for a day's worth of fun. Keep in mind a brand new boat will cost something like $6000! Even when you take on the the other costs you didn't mention (like the hull purchase price, your pfd, hiking pants, gloves etc) you still come out way ahead.

    And when it's time to sell this boat, how much are you going to list it for? $1000? $1200? $1500? Even if you sell it for $500 after a year's use you got $6000 worth of value for only $700 out of pocket. Even if you sail that 37 year old hull into the ground and only have the boom, mast, sail and vang left to sell you're still likely to be able to get $500 or so for them or you can try to find another 30+ year old hull for dirt cheap and start over again. . . How is it possible that a 37 year old, 130+ pound hunk of resin and fiberglass can hold its value so long?

    The strong Class Association and the very rules that you dislike are what keeps that value high. So by your reckoning, a year's worth of racing a "great boat" in a "great class" where you meet "some good people" isn't worth a lousy $40?!? The fact that your $1200 investment in something that is 37 years old can be largely recouped by strong resale values isn't worth a measly $40?!?

    Think about it, that 40-bucks that would otherwise get you 3-4 packs of smokes or maybe a dozen lattes or less than a month of cable or cell phone coverage or maybe a week's worth of buying lunch or a couple cases of imported beer or 3-4 movie tickets or whatever else one might fritter away a few bucks on for brief entertainment; but it isn't worth investing on a year's worth of fun and the ability to recoup a large part of your $1200 investment? That's like 11 cents a day. You're not willing to invest 11 cents a day for what your get in return?

    That line of thinking is, I think, backward. It's unfortunate that out of the many thousands of boats sold in North America only 2400 or so can be bothered to invest in the class that helps protect their investment in fun and money while the rest try to coast on their coattails. That's not a gigantic class by any standards and $40 a year is not steep - it's a downright bargain for what you get. I think that the people who don't get that are missing more than just the value of the Class Association.
     
  17. powergroove

    powergroove Member

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    OK, heres my point.
    Does the boat hold its value because it cost so much to buy "Laser parts from the manufacturer to begin with", or does the class actually have some way of changing a buyers minds that makes them think they are getting a deal.

    Im being the devil's advocate here because I think people who are sitting on the fence like myself want tangible reasons, factual influences that the assciation is doing something for me?

    For instance here are my choices when buying parts to fix up my 73' hull
    Intensity sails price/ Class legal price
    Upper spar $80 / $202
    Lower radial $140 / $265
    Radial Sail $180 /$550/650(Hyde)
    Cleat base plate$45 / $98
    Base plate for turning blocks $19 / $34
    ______ /_____
    $464 $ /1149

    These are actual prices that I have had to make a choice about this week in order to go sailing vs class legal racing.

    Now why would a class that I pay money to in order to protect my investment and keep my boat value high, make me pay as much as twice the price for, fromall accounts the same or better parts?

    Now it come s down to paying $40 a year for class memership, do I have anything left?
     
  18. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

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    The boat holds it's value because the boat is so actively raced. Pick a place in the country that has a yacht club and there's a good chance you'll see a laser around. Used boats do sell pretty quickly which shows how popular the boat is.

    And the price you listed is also for new parts, there are people who do sell their used gear so you can bring that price down. Not everything has to be brand new.
     
  19. pez

    pez Member

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    I dont come to this board as often as I used to as the information gets repetitive from time to time. But the above is the biggest thing I could see the class doing for me (full disclosure, I am a member).

    I live in northern Indiana, and between here and southern Michigan there are literally hundreds of lakes, however there is no single resource for me to be able to find the lakes for which there are active laser fleets without looking for yacht clubs etc.

    D18 isnt one of the lergest or more active of districts, but having organized fleets that I can find on the D18 or LaserNA website would pay big dividends in terms of getting sailors to communitize.

    The nearest lake that has a laser fleet is a couple hours away from my home, in driving there I easily pass 10-15 lakes, some of which I'm certain have active fleets.
     
  20. Kratos

    Kratos Member

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    That is some absolutely ridiculous stuff right there.
     

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