Roundtable: Inviting folks to play on Lasers

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by gouvernail, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Over in the news section I made a backhanded perhaps snide post that was seen as a complaint about teh lack of publicity before teh sign up period for teh SF masters Worlds closed.

    Please note: it isn't really all that closed and if you want to sail, you can still apply and you just may get to sail...as in probably will get to sail.

    But I digress...

    In the last dozen years Laser class communication and communication in general has morphed, re morphed and then rebirthed itself througn pahases of Snail mail, newsletters, answering machines, email, email list serves, facebook, texting, twitter, and virtually every form of communication we used to know, with the exception of face to face talking, has gone away

    or has it??


    I regularly use all of the communcation forms mentioned above but I still see value in a good old newsprint quarterly newsletter.

    Our shiny newsletter is pretty and all that but it is so expensive per column inch, we have stopped sending out that part of the newsletter which I always felt was the verm most important.

    We used to publish the names, phone numbers, email adresses , website addresses and and even home adresses of the folks to contact all over north america to sail in every fleet we could find and for every regatta we could find.


    From 1974 until 2002, four times a year, our NA class secretary had to spend a couple days on the phone contacting all those questionable contacts on the list, clubs where there were lasers but nobody had contacted the office recently, Hosts who had run teh "annual" regata last eyar, folks who had said they might be hosts this year, sailrs who lived nearby and might know ANYTHING at all about what the heck happened to the host we THOUGHT we had lined up, parents of sailors we couldn't find, children of parents we couldn't find,

    why??

    because none of us who served as class secretary was willing to publish a newsletter without all that information and listen to the resulting bitching about our failure to publish the information.

    Then the sailors would receive real tangible mail in their maiboxes in the form of a big fat newsletter full of schedules of upcoming events, sometimes with as many as 300 regattas, and our sailors would spend time looking through the newsletter and considering which events to attend...someday...maybe in ten years...maybe by loading up the car and leaving thursday after work...calling in sick Friday


    I know all about tehe internet...It's instant

    But

    For most of us, that trip to Montana in July is something we discussed over a beer in February and kept discussing and joking about and by teh time July and a warm Montana trip actually was a possibliity, all our friends were sick of our talking about it and just wanted us to go...

    I understand the shiny newsletter experiment and teh motives of those who wanted to try it. I see a little bit of value in it. I would vote for one annual shiny newsletter with photos of all last year's champions and NOR for all the major Championships for the upcoming year. For any use other than an annual spectacular, I think the current laser sailor format is a waste of effort and money.

    On the other hand, I think a one year experiment where we try publishing a quarterly retro newspaper with all the information we used to publish is long overdue.

    Please note, I am long overdue with my suggestion we publish it and long overdue with my offer to help describe the format.

    But what else can we do??

    How would you contact all those billions of people who have never realied we want them to come play with us??

    How would you contact a few thousand or even just a few hundred of those who have no idea how welcomed they would be if they showed up at your favorite launch ramp??

    Is there any one of us whose reaction would differ much from, "You want to sail lasers with me?? Really?? Well join in. This is today's plan."

    There are only a very few reasons people do not come to your ramp.
    They don't know they are welcome.
    Thye don't know where to get a boat.
    They don't know you will happily show them how to rig and even sail side by side for a while to get them started.

    Think how horribly empty your life would be if no one had invited you.

    No laser sailing??

    How horrible would that be??

    OK this has gone too far...

    How would you find more sailors and get them out to play with us??

    Where would you target class resources??
    How??

    Don't be shy. Your ideas are probably different than anybody else's and I bet you are a pretty intelligent person.

    You do have a laser don't you??
     
  2. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    Sounds like you guys need to see if you can organise something like the 'Activate' project that we have over here in the UK:

    http://www.laserinternational.org/info53

    It has been running for just over a year now and results at clubs with enthusiastic people are quite astounding (plus the ideas work for other fleets too).

    The programme in the UK is run with the support of the RYA (national authority), UKLA (UK Class Assoc) and LPE (the UK builder).

    It is not aimed at getting everyone to join the Class Association (people may agree or disagree on this). It is aimed at getting boats out on the water with a hope that the rest will follow. There are also ideas on how 'abandoned' boats can be legitimately reclaimed by the clubs they are at (there is a legal procedure over here that should be followed) and how to 'pimp' boats that do not have the latest controls without the owners having to spend a fortune on the new kits.

    At my local club is has been quite a revolution with new members joining in because of how bouyant the class now is and some of the older hands who had not been sailing as often coming back out.

    That combined with establishing links to other local (and not so local fleets) has seen quite a boost to the general sailing at the club. This has has a knock on effect on other fleets at the club and our general membership (success breeds success perhaps).

    It does take a number of people to take this on board and motivate others to get involved though (which is always the crux of any issue).
     
  3. wrestlingthewind

    wrestlingthewind New Member

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    In light of the class distractions, you seem to be on target with the renewed interest in the class. Your concept of including the class, clubs, and builders seem to have a synergy that enhances sailing, especially Lasers. ( not-available in the US).

    The renaissance in Laser sailing in the US maybe due to the Hi cost of fuel; the ability of the '70's and 80's former Laser Sailer returning, after kids leaving home; the ability to gain access into colleges with a special ability (laser racing) ; and the last, the low cost availablity of used boats, along with cheap replacement parts.

    I personally see the Laser Class as a platform to new memberships and to strengthen all sailing activities at our club. I am very impressed with what www.sailparkcity.com in UTAH did!

    I believe that the supplier and builder will benefit with this increased interest with both new boat sales and replacement parts, or the "refurbishment" of parts and boats.

    Lets get more boats on the line where young, in between, or "over-the hill" like me can sail identical boats.
     

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