Regatta planning

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by 49208, May 9, 2007.

  1. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    I found the following exchange in another thread that IMHO, needs it's own discussion

    (The original thread was

  2. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Fred brings up some good comparisons however valid or not they may be.

    Obviously there is a not a simple "1,2,3 steps to a perfect regatta" handbook and the requirements for hosting a North American champ event are different from a district champ event which is different from a district regatta and so on.

    It would be interesting to know what requirements are for our major events and whose they are (ISAF, ILCA, Host club)

    What is the purpose of having the events closed to registration prior to the day of the event starting ?

    What's a typical budget for a host club for putting on a major event ? How does that work out when you compare expenses to revenue ? IOW, how do you make the sailors feel like they are getting good value for their hard earned dollars and not padding the host club's general fund excessively.
  3. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Your budget is all based around the entry fee and number of participants. The more participants, the more cash, the more you can provide as a host club.

    First we are there to sail so a premium needs to be put on regatta management by the host club. We can't control the wind. So, if the wind is out then the sailors like food and drink.

    Entertainment and T-shirts are an extra bonus if you can afford it. My goal for my annual event, (this year will be the second year) is to break even or turn a small profit for the club in the $100 or so range.

    Setting a limit on registration day to me seems to be a bad idea. You get at least 10 guys that just show up and depending on the fee that could be an extra $500.00 to $1,000.00 which gets more good stuff for the sailors.
  4. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    There are (and have been for a long time) a set of "Regatta Guidelines" for hosting ILCA-NA major events and ILCA-NA Master's events, you can find them here. These documents have evolved from an original 3-4 page document that Allan Broadribb wrote years ago, with most of the "enhancements" more or less a result of answering common questions that hosts have and with input from, by now, dozens of people. While these guidelines do specify some requirements, they are mostly just, as the name implies, guidelines to help suggest what hosts should be doing... they are still very much free to put their personal stamp on an event (and most do which makes each event more fun and interesting).

    The Laser and the Radial are both Olympic Classes which means certain regattas carry an ISAF Grading and the results count towards the ISAF rankings. In other parts of the world the rankings are actually quite important, most of us in North America tend to ignore them, except for the sailors who need a good ranking to get into the European Championship (also a Grade C1 event but an event one must qualify for!), or every four years when it is used for berth reallocations to the ISAF combined worlds, etc. Anyway, there are four grades (five really but I don't count the Olympic Regatta), from highest to lowest: World Championships, Grade C1 and Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3.

    There are four events in North America which carry ISAF Grade 1 or C1 status (which is the limit):

    The Laser North Americans (this year in Hyannis) which is Grade C1
    The Women's Radial North Americans (in Ft. Lauderdale afer Miami OCR) which is grade C1
    The Laser/Radial Midwinters East which is Grade 1
    The Miami Olympic Classes Regatta which is Grade 1
    CORK which is Grade 1

    For completeness, we also have five Grade 2 events (US Nationals, Canadian Nationals, Midwinters West, ACC's, PCC's - also the limit).

    The ISAF Grade 1 and C1 events have ISAF requirements which are definitely more onerous than the ILCA-NA guidelines. For example, if you read the Grade 1 requirements on the ISAF website you will see the need for an International Jury (which will be doing OTW judging as well). This requirement alone can obviously drive the price of the event (if followed ;) ).

    Hosting a Grade C1 or Grade 1 event is definitely a major undertaking. You need to float a pretty good size fleet of boats to run the races, run crash boats, provide judge boats, etc., and, as we all know, gas is no longer cheap. To man those boats you need a lot of volunteers, in addition to those you need on shore to help with the myriad other things that go into a successful regatta. There are those pesky judges that you need to bring in, etc., etc. These events can be quite expensive to run (I'll bet in the $15-20k range nowadays) and I don't believe that any host is getting rich on one of our events.

    This year two events will have limits on entries. The NA's will have an early registration deadline which they imposed because they believe they need that in order to plan properly. The US Nationals has a cap of 150 entries, first come first serve, because they believe they cannot provide a good event with more than that number of boats. I don't think this is really such a bad idea, in recent history 99+% of the participants at the major events pre-register anyway. For example, I think at MWE they had one "walk on"...

    Now, if you want to complain about whether or not we need to adhere to ISAF guidelines then perhaps we should argue, in a seperate thread, about whether or not the Laser/Radial should be Olympic Classes...
  5. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    (Never having been involved in regatta organisation I am not in a strong position to comment - bu then why let that stop me).

    I can see both people have valid points and in many respects, both are right. I can appreciate it is something of a nightmare not knowing if 3 or 45 boats are going to arrive. How can you plan facilities (e.g. shore facilities, catering, etc.) if you have no idea how many might arrive. Plan for 50 and only 3 pay and turn-up and you club makes a financial loss (plus those helping organise are disappointed in giving their time for 3 boats. Plan for 3 and get 50 and no food, no extra loos, people still queuing to register whilst the first race is running ('cos you only arranged for one person to handle registration), etc. -> disaster and disappointed sailors.

    Similarly, I agree that events should be planned around sailing and not facilities for your kids, etc.

    Maybe people should take a step back and try to find out why Laser sailors do not register in advance. Maybe the resolution to the "just turn-up on the day" is to find out why and then regatta organisers might be better able to get round this problem.

  6. dyzzypyxxy

    dyzzypyxxy Member

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    Hey, I am SO glad to find this subject being discussed. I have been exchanging e-mails with a Masters sailor this week about having our club host the Masters Midwinters at some future time, and our discussion really has boiled down to two factors:

    1. What our club, the Sarasota Sailing Squadron, is capable of doing

    2. What the sailors really want

    Let me clarify a few things - first, our PRO will be none other than the legendary Allan Broadribb himself, as Tracy just mentioned he is the original author of the "Regatta Guidelines" and of course ran the ILCA-NA for many years, up until 1999. He is debatably one of the most qualified people in the US at running Laser events, having run the Laser course at CORK through all the years he worked for the Class.

    I was also on the NA Class Exec for a few years so have sailed in, and helped organize a good many Laser events myself. My husband is also a highly experienced Laser sailor. We set marks for Allan when he chooses to run a regatta (and I take hundreds of pictures of the action which I give away for free . . . )

    The Squadron is within a 5 minute drive of at least 20 various excellent restaurants, and a 10 minute drive of every level of hotel/motel. We hosted the Midwinters East every year up until 1998, and many people have been asking why it is now held up in Clearwater, where it is expensive to stay, there is no "club" atmosphere, and you have to commute out into the Gulf to race. The reasons are many and complex, but center upon two factors, the fact that the Midwinters is now a "Category 1" regatta which requires it be sailed in the Gulf (even though wind is better in our Bay - go figger) and the fact that our club is almost entirely a volunteer-run organization. Our pool of experienced volunteers is getting so small through old age and burnout that we would be hard pressed to field enough qualified manpower to run a "major" regatta.

    Unless you will be happy with what Allan now calls a "Wal-Mart" event.

    Last December we hosted the District 13 Champs. We ran the regatta with 6 volunteers, charged $20 for entry, did not charge extra for late registration, supplied coffee, juice and bagels for breakfast, free camping at the club, and gave out china coffee mugs as prizes. No meals or drinks were served (the barbecue pit was selling burgers and dogs) no t-shirts or fancy engraved hunks of Lexan were given away. Just good sailing, cheap drinks, easy access, short commutes to the race course, sterling RC work (if I do say so myself) and a bunch of tired happy sailors at the end of the weekend.

    I can't tell you how many people told us "this is what we want!"

    The fact that Laser sailors don't pre-register doesn't matter if you're not planning on buying food, t-shirts or expensive trophies.

    With the price of travel going up and up, isn't it time to consider simplifying the guidelines, and scaling back on the frills and giving sailors what they really want - good racing at the end of the day, on whatever kinds of courses the RC is able to run.

    I mean, is a race really a lot more fun if it is on a trapezoid course? Yes, it separates the fleets, but . . . if there are only 2 or 3 starts, is it needed?

    Oh, and while I'm on a rant, I remain adamant that it is the job of the Class Association to collect Class memberships. When I'm registering sailors with only 2 people and we get 74 entries instead of the 40 we were expecting, I simply am NOT going to take time to check each sailor against the Class's member list. What the heck are your District reps for anyway? I'm going to be a lot more favorably disposed towards inviting the Lasers back to our Club if a rep from the Class shows up at my registration table and does their job. Just by standing there meeting all the sailors, they are promoting the Class and showing the purpose of the ILCA as well as taking some work off the shoulders of overworked volunteers.

    Go simple, go cheap, make it about the sailing and the sailors having fun!

    Most Sincerely

    Lainie "Gilgamesh" Pardey
    ILCA District Secretary 1994 -1997
    ILCA-NA Vice Pres 1997 - 2000
  7. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Tracy wrote:
    "...I don't think this is really such a bad idea, in recent history 99+% of the participants at the major events pre-register anyway. For example, I think at MWE they had one "walk on"..."

    My response: Wow!!

    That certainly modifies my thoughts about preregistration. But How?

    1. I am really greatful to those guests who make their arrival plans known before they actually show up.
    99+% of the attendees at Midwinters east decided to preregister.

    So...What possible reason is there for telling one guy to go home? Certainly a 1% difference in the food budget is not a concern for teh hosts or anyone.

    Realistically? I think it is mighty easy ( I have done it myself) to tell the lat minute arrivals something such as the following::
    " Good to see you? It is great to have you here. Please understand that I did not expect you and didn't purchase enough t shirts or lunches. By dinner time we can flex our purchases for you and breakfast and tomorrow's lunch will be there for you. I am out of t shirts. At lunch time you ight want to sprint down the street and grab lunch at the corner or you can wait for everybody else to eat lunch and if there is any left we will feed you. "

    If as tracy says 99+% are going to preregister when on site registration is availabe?? I must believe that a 10% change in registrations is within the margin of error for any regatta commodities purchasing agent.

    Pre-registration? Good
    Closed registration...unacceptable ( inless the racing site is so fabulous that the class decides to hold a limited entry event just to use the site, however, I prefer qualifiers, resumes, and allocations to first come first served))
  8. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Most clubs do not even consider most of the very real expenses related to regatta hosting.

    Example: In Austin I hold an annual event. Sometimes the club bills me for the gas used for committee boats.
    The club supplies:
    Four powerboats with 100 horsepower or greater engines
    Two powerboats with 35 horse engines
    Anchor lines
    parking lots
    Hot water
    paper towells
    toilet paper
    hand soap
    paid staff that cleans anmd re-stocks the place
    paid staff that:
    fills the gas tanks and only bills me for the gas
    staff to bill me
    a copier
    Computers for scoring
    radios for the RC
    a heated building if the weather gets cold
    wood for the fireplace
    Air Conditioning at lunch and dinner if it gets too hot
    a well stocked (tools and appliances) kitchen
    38 acres of lakefront property that we can use any way we please

    Almost every sailing venue where we attend regattas is providing facilities and maintenance that far exceeds the price of admission. The members who pay for the facilities are either participating or generally inconvenienced or even run off by a large sailing event.
    The very best case scenario for hosting clubs is "breaking even." Breaking even is defined as "We lost the club for the duration for the duration of the event but it doesn't cost us any more than if we had used the place ourselves."
    The usual impact on a host club is that the host club spends a few thousand dollars on hosting a great event and some of the members benefit my meeting lots of friendly visitors and making lots of new friends and therefore buying memories of that wonderful week.
    The rest of the members are simply taxed.

    Some think the tax is part of what makes sailing possible.
    Others think the tax is caused by a bunch of doo gooder socialists who think it is "just fine" to spend other people's money.

    It is a really good idea to be extra special nice to everybody who is local at ANY sailing event.
    You might make a friend or two.
    And there is that other reason whcih oughg to be obvious by now.

  9. dyzzypyxxy

    dyzzypyxxy Member

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    I'm also astounded at Tracy's remark about 99+% of entrants pre-registering for MWE and other "major" regattas. Perhaps it had something to do with everyone having to make hotel reservations because the regatta is in Clearwater? No camping, no cheap motels, nearest Wal-Mart parking lot is a 20 minute drive away.

    Midwinters is no longer the "grass roots" event it used to be when we held it in Sarasota. It's a "Category 1" and counts for stuff like Worlds spots so the serious people (who plan their lives around regattas) attend, and fewer of the casual sailors are there. I'd worry about this trend, frankly.

    At our Districts regatta last December, we had less than 30 people pre-register, and ended up with 74 participants. There were at least a dozen tents pitched around the club's grounds, and a few RV's or folks sleeping in vans which, obviously, allowed those people to make a spontaneous decision to attend.

    The advantages of allowing spontaneous decisions are many, but the most prevalent in my mind is that if the weekend's weather looks fantastic, it's great to go Laser racing, but if it's going to honk, rain, be cold (heaven forbid! It does happen even in Florida.) or there will be no wind, it's nice to be able to say "maybe next time" and not have it cost you a $75 entry fee plus at least one night's hotel room for cancelling.

    You're not locked in to attending a regatta where you either won't want to go sailing, or won't be able to, unless of course you're flying as well.

    Minimalist, and cheap - that's a good way to make fun sailboat racing happen, from where I stand.

  10. Cindy Taylor

    Cindy Taylor Member

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    For a Floridian the Districts were down right cold! I wore every thing I owned for winter sailing. But I had a very good time and hope to see more regattas like that in Sarasota.

    Cindy Taylor
  11. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    In which case disallowing people who do not pre-register is solving a problem that does not exist. Much better to solve problems that do exist that just make new rules and regulations to address things that don't happen. Why not ban people driving cars more than 100 years old as well !!

    Disappointing that people with such a lot to do are wasting their time making decisions that will have such little effect - far better ways to spend one's time and address real issues that concern Laser sailors. Is this really how the Laser Class Association committee (or employees or whatever) spend their time.

    And yes, in the spirit of another thread this is a critical post - and it would appear deservedly so as well.


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