More Info for the 2009 Masters Worlds

Rob B

Active Member
Hey Fred, I've read your post and I understand you're frustrated with how the the registration process for the worlds has gone. Considering this is the first time the new process has been implemented I don't think it has been a disaster and I certainly feel the class will learn from this first experience and improve for the next go around.

I understand your concern about the response, "Well it looks like everything will be fine as folks drop off all that truely wish to attend will be able to." Don't confuse this with "We have our heads in the sand and will walk away from this not haveing learned 1 thing to apply to the next event."

From the 30,000 foot level, (where our national body should be viewing the health of the class nationally) my experience with them has been that they are attentive and will listen.

Most everyone likes good ideas. Typically, what I get from your posts here is here's a guy that used to be heavily involved with the class and is really frustrated with the way things are going today, but I'm never able to pull "ideas" of what will make things better from your posts as it relates to the criticisms of our national governing body.

Here's the positive thing I pick up from you Fred. I have followed for several years your relentless promotion of your Easter Event, (which is on my list of regattas to attend) and when I'm involved with organizing an event I copy a lot of what you do with the Easter Deal. The result? Good Participation !

What does this tell me? Our national body is only as strong as our districts. Looking at our class from a grass roots level great districts makes a great national class. My experience in working with Sherri and others at our class office when running a local event has been very positive. If I call or e-mail with questions they are very quick to respond and offer assistance regarding ideas or promotional materials for the event.

I have had the luxury of sailing is a strong laser district for years, (D12) from 1983 through 1994. Then I moved to a few states where there was no decent organization of laser sailors. From 1999-2005 Texas was one of those states and was actually the place where I sold my laser and began what I called, "The Rush Creek Yacht Club Fleet Chasing Game." So, I got into the JY 15 which was hot for all of 90 seconds. During this time I saw the rise and fall of the local MC Scow scene, the J24, the Sunfish, The Olsen 30's and finally I hung my hat on the J22, (the class that seemed to do the best job in sustaining itself) during my last 2 years in TX. On my way back east to D12 I picked up my current laser out of New Orleans for dirt cheap as the laser market was/is soft there.

So bringing this whole thing full circle I'll put it back to you... In you opinion, what makes a class successful from a local/district level??

From your posts it's easy to see what you think is wrong, but what makes it better?

How is the Laser district in TX doing these days?

Has it improved since 94'?

If so, what caused the previous slump and what was done to turn it around?

If not, what do you think can be done to get it going again?

You sure know how to run a fantastic annual event. How does that success translate into making the local class stronger?

How can this be transferred or retrofitted to help the class from a national basis?

That's a lot of questions, but with if you provide thoughtful answers pulling from your many years of experience with our class, (and others) we could be well on our way to something that could be printed by someone that is struggling for ideas in a suffering district.

So what do you think? Can we get something positive rolling with this and maybe even some mometum behind it?
Speaking as somebody who is normally one of the fastest to be critical or organisations, I would have expected that where there are more people wanting to attend something that there are spaces for then some selection process based on a sensible set of rules would be adopted. Something that does not rely on somebodies opinion of an applicant (be that opinion based on personal knowledge or a convincing application). Hopefully some rules based on some points based system e.g. on performance selected events (or club ranking or something based on capability). When the personal opinion of a selector is required the system will be open to criticism (and critics of decisions will invariably have a good point as subjective decisions are often not black and white).

Whatever system is adopted I would have expected people wanting to attend to complete some form of application The organisers need to know who is interested in attending. It them must be a help if those people have submitted their rating (or whatever info is required for the selection process). Must make selection easier rather than some admin person trying to remember details of people who feel they should be well known.

But I guess this is a US thing - so nothing to do with me really.


Rob B

Active Member
That's a good point. I was surprised on the application form there was no space to list the events you had attended that qualified you to register. I missed the whole part about submitting a separate document listing your events, (this is what Fred pointed out). I had a 50% finish in the 2007 Masters NA's and a top 25% finish at the 2008 MMWE, but I did not list these items anywhere so I guess I, (unknowingly) fell into the "unqualified" entry list.


Active Member
Ok the answer here is I have a fundamental hatred for teh imperosnl treatm ent mentality. I have hundreds of customers and I am embarassed if I don't know their names, their kids names and their crews names. I know what boat they ahve now, when tehy started ailing, if tehy rce or csuise , why, and how well they do it.

When I ran teh laser class office I made it a point to develpop personal relationshipe with as manuy of teh 3000 members and 300 regeaat hosts as I could.

The lazy impersonal bullcrap excuse that we cannot treat people fairly if we also use our person knowledge to treat our forends as individuals with real life feelings is such total nonsensical crap I annot possibly ever accept it as an ecuse for being a laxz impersonal machine.

Sorry guys. I believe it is not just thebest ay to do things, I think those of you who do not take the time and effort to know others and take care of those other s will not be fairing well when you meet your maker...if there is a amker.

There are reasons the laser gam shrunk by 30% after I was tossed out of the management of teh associaiton.

the above emails decribe that most of you deserve teh very impersonal treatment you tolerate.

Cout me out of that group.

If I can't find it in my life to take the time to put a face on your correspondence and treat you as an individual person in the manner a human being should be treated I feel as though I am a crappy undeserving of a place on the planet lowlife scumbag.

Apparently we differ on this. You guys seem to think the Laser class members are registtration numbers and financial payments.

I think they are friends and potential friends.


What you call lazy and uncaring, I call professional. Sherri is professional, energetic and caring. She has been so responsive and helpful to me that I view her as a friend. You are talking about my friend, and I don't like it when you attack her. You seem really emotional about this.

Rob B

Active Member
I hope we can tune this down a notch and keep the tread from "going on hold". Sometimes good things can come from emotions if they are allowed to run a few cycles.

So, to quote Indigo Montoya from the Princess Bride, "Let me sum up."

I think Fred's point is he thinks our national class office should know who our frequent and involved class members are and know enough about their history to know when the Worlds application comes across their desk if the person has/or likely has completed the qualifying events.

This type of personal service should also be applied in other similar occasions. Let me know if I'm missing the mark here Fred.

To a degree I can understand his point. However, there's an old saying that "You can attact more bees, (or is it bears) with honey." Constructive criticism works best.

I can tell you that when I pulled out of the Worlds for '09 Mr. Usher sent me an e-mail asking "what gives?" Seemed pretty personal to me.

I can also understand Fred's point about running a business and good customer service. I agree that the class is a business just like US Sailing is and look at the disaster they have on their hands. IMHO the ILCA is NO WHERE NEAR the fiasco going on at US Sailing. Could it be going that way? I really don't think so. If anything a downturn in our economy could help our class as it is perhaps the least expensive way to keep sailing competitively and those that have to race may put the J24 on the shelf and drag the laser back out.

I find the class provides the customer service when you need it or ask for it. I see class representatives at every big Masters event I have attended. i think we have a great newsletter. I do miss all the contacts that used to be printed in the back on the older paper versions.

Anyway, Fred was I close in my limited assesment of "Personal service"? If not, what did I miss?

It's 2009. A new year. Time to put the bad stuff behind us and move forward constructively using the bad stuff strictly as lessons from the past. i.e. I'm not doin' that again!
Ok the answer here is I have a fundamental hatred for teh imperosnl treatm ent mentality. I have hundreds of customers and I am embarassed if I don't know their names, their kids names and their crews names. I know what boat they ahve now, when tehy started ailing, if tehy rce or csuise , why, and how well they do it.
I agree with you absolutely about this. But I think there is a difference when allocating a limited resource (in this case more applicants that spaces). If using a subjective allocation system, were the organisers to allocate spaces to people they knew well and had not applied then those who did not get a place might feel somewhat frustrated (in the UK there is the expression "jobs for the boys" - no idea how widespread that expression is). Thus easier for spaces to be allocated using a defined objective system (e.g. points for race results) or if this is really not possible then make it a level impartial playing field for everybody. This does not mean unfriendly or impersonal - but everybody goes through the same selection process and is treated equally.

I really enjoy playing sailboats with the lot of you.

If this discussion continues it is likely bad feeling will grow which will detract from our enjoyment of our play.

There are plenty of berths this time.

The complaints are moot.

By the time we host worlds again we will all be older and wiser and there will probably be new management who may well work tirelessly and learn how to run things while ignoring our sage advice.

At that time I welcome each of you to aviod public complaining and send your compliants to me for comisseration.

Let's go sailing!!!


Better than just commiserating, send your complaints and suggestions directly and discreetly to those who have the power to make changes. They will welcome input when offered in such a way.
Merrily makes a great point.

You are not allowed to seek commiseration with me until after you have spent a few hundred hours trying to explain to the builder, district secretaries, class officers and fellow sailors how your ideas would make the game work better and hundreds of hours explaining exactly how to implement your ideas.
A frequent question is “why isn’t the ILCA-NA Master’s Worlds qualification system based on regatta finishes?” The simplest answer is that it isn’t really necessary… but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t actively discussed in great detail. Those discussions highlighted several considerations which need to be taken into account before implementing any qualification system for North America and it may be worth reviewing some of key points here.

First, the “Master’s Worlds” is actually made up of eleven events, eight of which are contested in the Radial. The titles awarded are World Championships in the following classes: Standard Apprentice, Standard Master, Standard Grandmaster, Radial Apprentice, Radial Master, Radial Grandmaster, Great Grandmaster, Women’s Radial Apprentice, Women’s Radial Master, Women’s Radial Grandmaster and, finally, Women’s Great Grandmaster, with the bulk of these titles contested in separate fleets. A regatta based qualification system needs to be able to qualify people for each of these fleets, and to properly apportion the total berths allocated to the North American Region to each of these eleven categories..

North American Master’s Regattas score by age group but not by rig type, all events are sailed in the Standard rig, with a rig swapping rule to encourage lighter weight sailors to still come out and play in the breeze. To date our region hasn’t reached critical mass for supporting a separate Radial fleet, perhaps because the Radial has not been around long enough to have sufficient numbers of sailors having reached the masters age range, perhaps because most events in North America are relatively light air venues, etc. As time passes this should change, indeed this year there are provisions to run separate Radial fleets at the Master’s Midwinters East and Master’s North Americans if they can achieve sufficient entries by the early registration deadline. Still, implementing a regatta based system which qualified sailors for the bulk of the fleets at the Master’s Worlds would need to include the Radials in some way.

It is also worth considering who the World Championships are catering to. For example, when we think of the Laser Senior Worlds, or Women’s Radial Worlds, we immediately think of Olympic class sailors. Most of, if not all, of the sailors aiming to go to these events are sailing full time, or nearly full time, expending a large fraction, if not all, of their resources to get to the worlds and, possibly, the Olympics. A regatta based qualification system is the right system for them because these sailors have the time, money and motivation to travel to the events to qualify.

In contrast, who is the average Master sailor? The majority of the sailors attending the Master’s Worlds have a full time job (or are retired), have a family, and finite resources, including limited vacation time, to put towards sailing. Most of the sailors at the Master’s Worlds are using it as a sailing vacation, many with families in tow, etc. Indeed, as anyone who has ever done both events knows, one can notice a definite change in tone and format from a Senior Worlds to a Master’s Worlds with several changes to accommodate the different target markets, like running the event weekend to weekend (ever wonder why the Senior Worlds starts and ends mid-week while the Masters goes weekend to weekend?), a sailor mandated layday after three days of racing, etc.

While there are a hardcore group of masters who treat the Master’s Worlds as a true world championship, and who will travel whenever and wherever to qualify, the bulk of the sailor’s don’t have the extra resources to travel large distances within North America to race in major Master’s events. A qualification system based solely on regatta performance would severely impact this bulk of those attending while not clearly being in the best overall interest of the event.

The final question to ask is “is there really a problem that needs to be solved?” The Master’s Worlds has always been a global “first come, first serve” event and what’s new this year is that ILCA has implemented an allocation system which in the first round gives all ILCA Districts a shot at entry, and after that reallocates according to demand. ILCA has worked to make sure venues can handle as much of the existing demand as possible and, right now, has done a good job at predicting how many sailors are going to want to attend the event. Looking back, some events have shown the tendency to bring out a number of first time Laser sailors who see a fun opportunity to participate in a World Championship close to where they live. This can be a problem if there are enough of them and they register early so as to use up available berths. In the end, this is only a small problem and it falls into the category of “problems you want to have” since it’s always a good thing to get new sailors to events. Still, if there is a “problem” to solve, if may be to try to do something to work these new sailors to the end of the queue, attempting to accommodate current and active masters first.

Contrary to what some might think, all of the above were carefully considered by a group of people last Spring when ILCA first announced their system for the Master’s Worlds. The consensus opinion was that rushing to throw together some ad hoc qualification system at the last minute was neither necessary nor in the best interest of the Laser Class. To alleviate the concern that “tourists” (a popular ILCA office term) might overrun the event, it was agreed that there was need for a system based on activity. In the end the system appears to have done what was intended and the North American Region should, again, be quite well represented at the Master’s Worlds in 2009.
That's a good point. I was surprised on the application form there was no space to list the events you had attended that qualified you to register. I missed the whole part about submitting a separate document listing your events, (this is what Fred pointed out). I had a 50% finish in the 2007 Masters NA's and a top 25% finish at the 2008 MMWE, but I did not list these items anywhere so I guess I, (unknowingly) fell into the "unqualified" entry list.
Don't forget, ILCA (in England) handles the "application for entry" process and then, after the application period ends, sends the list of applicants back to the Districts (in our case, ILCA-NA) for ranking. They play no role in the actual ranking process, hence no boxes to enter info, or check, etc., on their form.

I'm guessing that 90% of the confusion with the "process" is really due to the fact that it's the first time for the Master's. For the other events (Senior Worlds, Women's Radial Worlds, etc.) the process doesn't change much year to year so the sailors have a better idea of what to do.


Upside down?
Staff member
Thanks Tracy for the thoughtful response :). It's good to see that considerable effort has gone into setting up the registration protocol for this event.
And I hope that some of the less 'friendly' comments in this thread will wash away...


Just sailing
There are 400 slots with 474 appplications and 75 declined or cancelled. That leaves 399 entries.

So who's gonna get the last slot?
For reference, I am just back into the laser fleet last year. I have not traveled anywhere past my local waters yet and am not up to date on the class politics or all of the players and top sailors in the class. I sailed intercollegiate at ODU in lasers in the late eighties and had some great competition to improve my skills, but that was all a long time ago.

I love the passion that Fred has with the class and can sense his frustration, but for someone like me who is just getting back on the scene, the laser class has been very responsive. I called Sheri and she took my call right away and answered my e-mails directly in less than a day. Tracy's reply above indicates to me that a lot of though was put into the process, and the fact that they are listening and responding to our suggestions is great. A lot of places will just bury their head and wait for everyone to tire out or get so frustrated they quit trying to give constructive criticism or suggestions they feel will make things better. I hope that doesn't happen with Fred, because even though I only know him from the posts here, it is clear that he is a laser advocate (again not knowing anything about past involvement with the class).

Our fleet has had resurgence in the past two years and gone from 0 boats to a regular 15-20 boat fleet for the frostbite series we just started in 2006 as a lark. A good number of us are in the Master age group and this year we are going to have a caravan go down for the MMWE in Sarasota to get some much needed big fleet practice and fun in the sun.

I am taking the leap and going to the Worlds in Nova Scotia and hope to continue in the Masters Circuit for some time. Again this is from my personal experience, but Sheri has been helpful and responsive in communications to let me know what needed to be done to register and what would be expected.

You can chalk my comments up to fact that I am not savvy to inner workings of the class, nor do I know most of the sailors and what their résumé’s are, but I get the feeling that they ARE listening, based on Tracy's post above.

I am not saying that the process is perfect or that it does not need some definite clarification and refining (and consistency), but I am optimistic that it will.

Now if we can stop the class from approving more costly options on the boat and make sails that are reasonable in price AND quality, I will be really happy, but that is a different thread altogether.


David Watts
All this time I thought the Dave Watts on the application list was the guy ( Dave Watt from the Northwest)) who made the first batch of 30 all in one aluminum measurement tools for the class back in the 90s.

If there is ever any interest, I had an identical set of 30 more made up for a little over $100 each in late 2002.

Your almost namesake designed a terriffic tool.
Ha! Only if I finish in the top of the fleet. I actually saw them preform it live in Madison Square Garden in their "One For The Road" tour. Little known track #21 if you made it to the end of the album. Uncle Ray always did like me best ;-))

Maybe he was singing about David Watt, hope to meet up with him at a regatta if he is still active.

I'm a bit nervous to sail in a Worlds, not sure what to expect. Have skippered a lighting worlds before, but it is a much smaller fleet (50) and totally different animal.

I'm going to try and get as many regatta's in as I can before August. Any advice for an "old" newbie to the fleet?