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European Funding

I’m hoping some of the Europeans on this forum can comment on how the sailing game is funded in Europe. I’m NOT looking for a political discussion. I would just like to understand how the funding might relate to Laser class membership and boat sales in Europe.
 

thieuster

Active Member
This is a patchwork of countries. No wonder that all have their own system.

For the Netherlands, I can safely say that it's all been paid by parents, family, personal sponsors etc. One of my colleagues concluded that Laser sailing on an international level is a rich man's sport. I suppose he's right. Sometimes 'checkbook championship' springs to my mind.

When one is 'good enough' to start an Olympic program, most sailors get an income that's founded by the National Lottery. It's barely our country's mandatory minimum monthly wage. Sailors are allowed to be funded by personal sponsors. Sadly, Laser sailing ain't sexy like soccer or pro-cycling. It's pretty difficult to find a sponsor.

Current U18 team has a clothing sposor: Musto BR1 gear and shirts for free. A maritime salvage company dug in deep for the needed money. One sailing parent can be very 'convincing' when it comes to luring in sponsors.

In short: it's very costly. An anecdote: a few weeks back a sailing-mom watched her son leaving the port. She said: "There's my new kitchen. Floating..."



Menno
 
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This is a patchwork of countries. No wonder that all have their own system.

For the Netherlands, I can safely say that it's all been paid by parents, family, personal sponsors etc. One of my colleagues concluded that Laser sailing on an international level is a rich man's sport. I suppose he's right. Sometimes 'checkbook championship' springs to my mind.

When one is 'good enough' to start an Olympic program, most sailors get an income that's founded by the National Lottery. It's barely our country's mandatory minimum monthly wage. Sailors are allowed to be funded by personal sponsors. Sadly, Laser sailing ain't sexy like soccer or pro-cycling. It's pretty difficult to find a sponsor.

Current U18 team has a clothing sposor: Musto BR1 gear and shirts for free. A maritime salvage company dug in deep for the needed money. One sailing parent can be very 'convincing' when it comes to luring in sponsors.

In short: it's very costly. An anecdote: a few weeks back a sailing-mom watched her son leaving the port. She said: "There's my new kitchen. Floating..."



Menno
I have some Italian contacts, Opti parents who have said something to the effect that sporting clubs in Italy are required to offer programs for the community. It sounded like it was possible for an Opti sailor, for example, to have access to the water and coaching at a very reduced rate because of state subsidies. I haven’t researched that, and maybe I misunderstood. Anyway, I’m curious if other European countries have programs that subsidize youth sailing below the Olympic level and how those subsidies might impact membership and boat sales.
 

thieuster

Active Member
That sounds like a solid system given the number of Italian champions over the last few years. More interestingly: countries like Malta churn out oppie-winners one after the other. Same goes for Cypres - Kontides isn't the only great Laser sailor.

I mentioned 'checkbook champions'. Two examples I've witnessed since 2017. After the regatta one sailor's boat is handled, stored and transported by employees of his father. All the sailor has to do, is to get his boat ashore after the last race... Second example: the Dutch crew is waiting for the cattle-class flight from Nice to Amsterdam, when another sailor walks into the lobby where an employee picks up his luggage and he's escorted out to a private plane.


M
 
That sounds like a solid system given the number of Italian champions over the last few years. More interestingly: countries like Malta churn out oppie-winners one after the other. Same goes for Cypres - Kontides isn't the only great Laser sailor.

I mentioned 'checkbook champions'. Two examples I've witnessed since 2017. After the regatta one sailor's boat is handled, stored and transported by employees of his father. All the sailor has to do, is to get his boat ashore after the last race... Second example: the Dutch crew is waiting for the cattle-class flight from Nice to Amsterdam, when another sailor walks into the lobby where an employee picks up his luggage and he's escorted out to a private plane.


M
For the purposes of this discussion I am not interested in the merits of any funding program. I am interested in determining to what degree, if any, various European funding models might inflate membership roles and boat sales.
 

thieuster

Active Member
Laser Masters sailing is big here in NW Europe; mainly Radials. Most master sailors are able to afford a new boat every XXX years. Their older boats go to their children, grandchildren etc. We have a lot of inland sailing clubs where you're able to sail pretty sheltered on lakes. Even non-hardcore sailors can have a great time.

No special funding. Deep pockets.

Furthermore, we live in a small country. It's easy to throw your gear in the back of your car and drive down the clubhouse within 30 mins or so for a Wednesday Evening Competition (every sailing club has Wednesday evening competition. Sometimes between Lasers, often with a rating system). Lots of fun and Lasers are well-used. Boats are permanently stored on what we call a 'Jollenveld' (Dinghy field) and are ready to go. Getting your gear on will take more time than preparing the boat.

In short, we have a relatively big market for Lasers due to the wealth of master sailors. Some parts of Germany have the same situation as we and pockets are even deeper than ours.

I can't tell you about other countries, although France has a school sailing program as I've seen in Bandol (near Marseille). Big groups lead to potentially more sailors. the young man from France who won the EC in Athens (a very nice guy, btw... according to my son) is supposedly one of the examples of a proper school sailing program.
 
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Laser Masters sailing is big here in NW Europe; mainly Radials. Most master sailors are able to afford a new boat every XXX years. Their older boats go to their children, grandchildren etc. We have a lot of inland sailing clubs where you're able to sail pretty sheltered on lakes. Even non-hardcore sailors can have a great time.

No special funding. Deep pockets.

Furthermore, we live in a small country. It's easy to throw your gear in the back of your car and drive down the clubhouse within 30 mins or so for a Wednesday Evening Competition (every sailing club has Wednesday evening competition. Sometimes between Lasers, often with a rating system). Lots of fun and Lasers are well-used. Boats are permanently stored on what we call a 'Jollenveld' (Dinghy field) and are ready to go. Getting your gear on will take more time than preparing the boat.

In short, we have a relatively big market for Lasers due to the wealth of master sailors. Some parts of Germany have the same situation as we and pockets are even deeper than ours.

I can't tell you about other countries, although France has a school sailing program as I've seen in Bandol (near Marseille). Big groups lead to potentially more sailors. the young man from France who won the EC in Athens (a very nice guy, btw... according to my son) is supposedly one of the examples of a proper school sailing program.
Thank you.
 
As an addition to Menno's story. In small clubs like mine we have a number of older laser that we use for youth training. Those that have grown out of the Cadet and Optimist can step into friday evening training for a lot less than the cost of tennis lessons. This it not the high level that Menno is talking about but over the whole country a significant number of sailors.

Same with the masters. In our wednesday evening laser field of about 20 boats only two or three compete outside of the club. Most do with 20yr old boats that are still competitive on small lakes (no waves). You can buy a laser for 1500 euro use it for 5 years and sell in again for a very similar amount.
 

thieuster

Active Member
I was discussing this with another Laser owner and he brought an unmentioned aspect to the table: LP delivers charter boats to most European (and beyond) venues. After being used during a few regattas, those boats come up for sale for a lower price than the price of a new boat. In reality, one can choose from a row of Lasers a complete boat with an A-frame trailer. All you need is a sail and most of the time a new sail is included in the price.

Segelmayer, SailCenter and a few dealers in South Europe have those boats on display. After the 2017 WC U19 in Medemblik, Sailcenter had ± 80 Lasers for sale. They were all sold within a few months. One was able to pick one from the build-list from the factory. That list also showed the boat's weight and rake - not all boats are the same/identical.

After the ISAF Youths in Poland next week, most boats will go to LP or Sailcenter. With the WC Masters here in Holland, next September, a bunch of those boats will be rented out to sailors and after that, they'll be sold to various new customers.

M
 
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