Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by Rob B, May 23, 2008.
Will Laser skippers have to be US Sailing members for Laser events in the US?
There are two questions here, the one you have above and the one in the title. The answer to the one above is that unless US Sailing changes their policy then, as I understand it, if you race anything (and live in the US) then you need to be a member of US Sailing.
The answer to your title (or, at least, what I think you mean): it is not our business to collect their membership dues.
Having said that, I do believe that if you live in the US and race sailboats then you ought to: 1) be a member of the club where you do most of your racing, 2) be a member of the class organizations of the boats you race, 3) be a member of US Sailing. Membership supports the organizations that provide the infrastructure that allow you to have your fun.
I agree fully agree with you Tracy
There is a ton of opposition to this move by the US Sailing Board of Directors. IF they actually go through with it (they vote in June) it would be a big mistake.
US Sailing has made enough enemies already this year and this will not help.
In the event that USSA goes through with this, and I suspect they will, sailing classes will be split into two groups, those who support the rule an thos who don't.
[FONT="]Some classes will ignore the rule. For someone like me who will refuse to renew my membership these will be the classes I have to choose from. Other classes will support the rule and allow sailors to be protested under the rule. These will not be safe classes for someone like me to compete in. I don't think I am the exception. When this goes through there will be a landslide of conscientious objectors looking for the safe classes that welcome them. I hope the Laser class decided to be a safe class. [/FONT]
I tried to read up on this before posting, but there is a lot of vague information floating around the web. From what I gather, the intent is to require membership at major regattas like national champsionships but not weekend races at local clubs. I'm not sure where a district-level Laser regatta would fall.
I failed to find anything on how this would be enforced. I guess regatta organizers would have to deny entry to those who cannot provide proof of US Sailing membership. When running a regatta, there is enough stuff to worry about - collecting entry fees, finding a qualified race comittee, organizing meals. To now have to enforce mandatory membership in US Sailing would be an added burden.
I could see a few gung-ho clubs trying to enforce mandatory US Sailing membership to race in their regattas. After one or two instances of people throwing a fit over it, I predict they would quickly drop the matter.
I fail to see how this would encourage more people to attend races. If strictly enforced, I think it would tend to decrease the number of people racing.
This may answer some of your questions.
It's my understanding that the membership requirement would become part of the US Sailing Prescriptions (which are included in The Racing Rules of Sailing). Further language would state that this requirement could not be overridden by the Sailing Instructions (something like the current Rule 87).
Although ILCA (or more appropriately, the North American Laser Class Association) could provide input to US Sailing on this issue, I don't think that it has legal standing to say NO, if US Sailing decides to go forward with its current proposal. I seriously doubt that the North American Class Association will protest though. In case my statement isn't convincing, just read SFBayLaser's post.
I would apply the same test to USSailing as I apply to the North American Laser Classs Association.
The concept is:
These organizations claim to be the governing bodies.
We the sailors set up these organizations as tools we the sailors could use to improve the sport.
It is impossible to govern or organize an event when you are unaware the event is happening and uninvolved in the management of the event..
Some simple test questions and how we should decide whether the is any obligation to collect funds for the organization or even if the organization should continue to exist:
Did the "governing body" help in the scheduling and promotion of the event?
Did the "governing body" publish results for the previous year's event?
Did the "governing body" contact the hosts of the event and offer assistance?
Was the NOR posted on the "governing body" website at least six months before the event?
Did the "governing body" send printed material to 100% of the members of that governing body with a copy of the NOR in that publication?
The governing body was not established to keep track of who is a member and who has paid dues.
The governing body was extablished to govern the sport.
That effort includes spending some money:
The only reason we all chip in membership dollars is nobody has figured out another way to fund the associations.
Instead of looking for ways to collect a few bucks from each individual person, USSailing should be looking for a way to gather enough advertising and sponsorship money to simply call everyone a member.
For the NA Laser Class?? Back in 2002 I had whittled membership dollars down to under 50% of our total income. My goal was to find a $100,000 sponsor for the Grand Prix, use $30,000 to fabulously manage that Grand Prix, and possibly eliminate membership fees altogether.
The only good reason to have individual memberships is to pay for the management of the database with all the names, email, and home addresses of the various people who have Lasers. It is that database which allows the governing body to invite everybody to events.
People send their addresses with their money and make certain their PAID for magazines arrive. Taking money from people makes those selfish people help manage the database.
Final Note: In the summer of 2002 I paid for the development of a new database for the class to bring us into the new century. That database was capable of sending mass invitation NOR emails to all those within a days drive of any regatta.
Some email addresses were already entered in the database when I handed it over to James. As 90% of renewal applications had email addresses writen in the "regatta email blank" all we needed was a year to gather all the addresses. In a few months we would have been able to begin targeted mass email communications.
If all the class management did was send TWO mass emails per working day 500 of our regqattas would have personal email invitations sent to all those within a days drive by the "governing body."
The database I passed on to James was realtively primitive by todays standards. It probably would have taken an inexperienced person five or ten minutes to create and send a targeted mass email.
So...Why is it we give money to the governing body??
I was a member of US Sailing for the better part of 20 years. However, I never could understand or see what my dues were actually doing. I never saw any US Sailing presence at any club I've been a member of, any Laser event or their involvment at my district level governing body in the SE. So, I dropped my membership. It was easy when it included a subscription to Sailing World.
There is a similar thing over here in the UK. TO sail in events you have to be:
1) A member of the RYA
2) A member of the relevant UK Class association
Fortunately the RYA have seen sense and say that if your sailing club is affiliated with the RYA (which I believe 100% of racing club are over here). Then you are a member. I for 1 would never become and individual member of the RYA because I cannot see where the money goes to benefit 'grass roots' sailors like myself. Just my personal opinion of course.
As for joining the UK class association with the Laser I simply would not bother. I don't do regional regattas. The only open events I do in the Laser are at my local club where it is never enforced. In all other classes that I have sailed in I have been a member but again for me I cannot see the benefit for becoming a member of the UK Class association. I had a long discussuion with one of the top UK Laser coaches a while back. Whilst he explained how it works the Laser is run more like a commercial venture than 'by the members for the members'. The other classes I have been have always provided free training and coaching by the top people in the class. The Laser class always charges.
Perhaps there is a niche for an 'amateur' Laser class...
I agree with Fred's "Litmus Test". I'm not currently a member of US Sailing because the only support I ever get from them is the RRS (and I'm happy to pay for my copy of those). Were I sailing in a regatta that US Sailing organized, or was a major supporter of, I would have no issue with becoming a member.
To be honest, it's not clear what hold over a race organizer US Sailing has vis-a-vis the use of the RRS.
What law would prevent someone from specifying that a regatta would be run using: "The ISAF RRS 2005-2008 rules 1.1 through 22.2"?
I don't have my printed rule-book here, but the on-line version (http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/0508_RRSintro-.pdf) contains only a standard copyright notice, and I know of no license you have to accept when buying a copy of the rules.
I'm not saying that I think that membership should be mandatory in US Sailing, necessarily. I know it would hurt a lot of those sailing on the margins, and I don't like that. But if you got out of your little world (Rob B's words in another thread) and sent your suggestions to US Sailing, there would be an improvement. In defense of US Sailing, if you want to further your sailing education, you do it through them. I have taken a day long course in how to run a race, for a mere $50. This is quite a bargain. Then I attended the two day One Design for $90. Can you imagine, a two day seminar for $90? It addressed a lot of topics that I was interested in too.
One thing that US Sailing is guilty of--they don't spend any of their budget on marketing to let sailors know what they do.
Mandatory membership has not yet been decided on, so you can still get your 2 cents in or just ask for clarification.
We have a hard enough time trying to attract new folk to sailboat racing already. This will just make it worse.
Our local club lists all their weekends as "regattas" so the race committee can get regatta credit to keep their credentials current. This new requirement would make most anyone "on the fence" about trying to race say "no thanks". Sounds counterproductive to me.
I've been a member for a while now and have recently taken a U.S.Sailing course for certification as well. It was great because the instructor was great, although not all their instructors are all that great.
However, if I had been required to join prior to my first regatta, I would never have sailed my first regatta. At the local level, we are already struggling enough trying to get new folk.
This is exactly right. Why make it harder and more expensive for someone to get started in sailboat racing? Maybe they could give new racers a free one-year membership that gives no benefits except allowing people to race.
Moot question now that US Sailing has withdrawn the proposal...
People whyo love to be in chaerge also love to make rules for everyone else to follow.
This proposed rule is particularly seductive to those in charge as they get to be in charge of many more people.
The proposal will return and be voted down and return and be voted down until someday it will pass and then, it will be the great proposal hailed as a great thing for sailing many wise and insightful USSailing boards of directors have been trying to institute for many years and the sailors have finally unified ( 50.0000000001% will be a mandate) and supported for the good of the sport..
There will never be another vote.
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