Why Have an Association? philosophical discussion??


Active Member
Thread starter #41
I love this topic... I find I run hot and cold with the association. ( lottsa stuff edited out between)

Everyone should pay their class dues for the good of the class....

OK...So Pretty please refocus a bit.

When you wrote that, what did you mean?:
a. What is the good of the class?
b. What is the class?
c. How would you expect the money to be spent?

Re-stating my question:
What should the spenders be trying to accomplish when they spend that money you gave "for the good of the class?"


How do you envision that spending actually happening?

Hwere is an exampole of teh sort of answer I am seeking:
Perhaps the class has a cell phone plan where additional phone lines can be added for $10 per month. If Sherry subscribed to a couple extra phones for $240 per year and took those phones with their unlimited weekend minutes to various big championships, she could have willing sailors call "back home" to tell others what they are missing and invite those sailors to come next year.
I think that might turn out to be a very good use of our Association funds.
When you wrote that, what did you mean?:
a. What is the good of the class?
The good of the class are activities that responsibly grow the class within the confines of the one design concept.

b. What is the class?
Great question, and IMHO the answer is simple... The class is the boat.

c. How would you expect the money to be spent?
Re-stating my question:
What should the spenders be trying to accomplish when they spend that money you gave "for the good of the class?"
That is the harder question. A certain amount of that money that I gave for the good of the class should be spent on the operations of the class itself... district events, measurers, and the beauracracy necessary to control the one design aspect of the class (boat).

There are much more creative marketing minds than mine, but suffice to say that evangelizing the virtues of the boat and the virtues of one design, and capitalizing on the really unheard of notion that the person with the gold medal around their neck earned it by sailing the same boat you and I can easily acquire... Further, the class should support any Laser sailor, and not just those that pay their dues.

I pay dues for the good of the class, the class should in turn evangelize the boat... precisely for the same reason.
For those outside the North American Region, or not (yet) members of ILCA-NA, here is a link to the Winter 2009 issue of The Laser Sailor (you'll need Flash 9 or better to view the page turner, if it doesn't work let me know and I can point you to a pdf...
The old system of pdfs was better. It is near impossible on dial up to view these flash 9 pages.
Heck, even with my fancy high speed internet, these pages are slow and for some reason keep making my browser crash - and I'm using a newish computer (5 months) with up to date software.


Staff member
I'm running FF on a unibody MBP and it crashed my browser last night when I clicked over after reading this thread. I tried to move through a few pages real quick and then got the spinning rainbow mouse which in Mac means is time for our equivalent to CTRL + ALT +DEL... I've read them in the past with no problem so maybe Issuu has a bug in its software right now.
Back in the day the Class association did send bumper stickers, and stickers indicating membership to be affixed to the back of the boat. When I rejoined after a mnay year hiatus, I expected some semblance of that in order to get my son interested in the "class" aspect of the boat. (Kids love stickers) Instead for my family membership I got a membership card, which, though my son likes his, is certainly not an advertisement for the class since it sits in a wallet.

As a returning laser sailor I would like the class to provide me with a bit more value for my dues, supporting the big competitive regattas doesn't help me, I am not likely to attend or succeed in my 30 year old boat. Providing me with discounts would be nice as the "class" has a neverending debate about the cost of short lived sails. Getting the cost of a competitive boat down would be a big step towards "growing" the class. "Club" copy sails are less than 1/3 the price of class legal sails. How does that encourage me to spend money to get my 13 year old to compete, so I can look forward to a few years of 4.7 sails, then several radials, then full sails, if he gets good enough to compete even locally. Spars much the same issue. Luckily in large part used spars don't give you a performance disadvantage.

The price of the hull itself is an issue, though my two old hulls are still sailable they are not competitive. The design of the original laser was meant to be a cartopper and inexpensive weekend fun boat that also had a lot more zip than a Sunfish (and was a bit easier to carry). The class should be working with the builders to get the bboat cost back to a point where it fits that model. Particularly in the current economy and in competition with boats of much cheaper production costs and more current hardware.

As someone above said the "class" is the boat. The concept was that the boat was a constant and the sailor makes the difference. Since the boat and the sails do not age as well as they might and since the "class" has chosen to allow some new hardware upgrades (at a very high relative cost) the boat is no longer a constant. The classic Laser, though it retains some value, is at best a training boat and is unlikely to be used in any "class" sanctioned event by any serious sailor.

Given all of those issues, I paused for a moment before renewing my membership, particularly since when I rejoined I did so late in the year and got <6 months of last year and only 1 newletter. I did appreciate the new set of rules (for my son to read) with this years membership, but I am not clear what other benefit I will get from membership. So next year, unless my son gets into serious racing, I will likely not renew. So the Gouv's question is one the class should seriously consider, what have you done for us (the members) lately.

The class will not survive if only the Olympic caliber racers and the Olympic wannabees join. So the class has to provide some benefit for the family members, those of us trying to enjoy the boat just for fun, even if we never race competitively. Getting people to sail the boat, starting fleets, hosting events designed to attract new sailors. How about a classic laser event, No hull numbers above 100,000 (maybe with colored sails) that would test both sailor skills and boat upkeep skills.

The progression of the 4.7 through the radial to the full is great, Though the class makes some effort to promote 4.7 racing, the optis and sabots are still the main kid's boats. Getting the price of 4.7 sails down would get more parents to consider taking an older laser and creating a new 4.7 boat for their child as I did. Face it Opti's and sabots are tubs. You would need that 350 evinrude someone referred to above to get an opti on a plane. My son routinely planes off in his old hull with his 4.7 (club) sail. What a thrill for him and for me to watch. I personally don't aspire to a national championship and am not sure I want my son to go there either, since the odds of succeeding in professional sailing are probably lower than in most other sports, so as a career choice you need to keep your day job. The class needs to refocus on new sailors and on fun in order to grow.

So even aside from gouvernails partially valid gripes about event promotion the class is not promoting the boat adequetely. Since the boat is the class this will ultimately lead to failure. BTW these comments are soley based on the last 16 months since i got back into the sport and to my perusals of the chatter here, the class website materials on laser.org (which are only really current for the "big" events). I agree with those who support the classes use of electronic media to keep current. However when I see stuff on various district postings that has not been updated since 05 I know the class is not working with the District Secretaries to keep current on fleets and activities around the country. Maybe the District Secretaries need more support to keep tabs on the fleets and to make sure the fleets are getting what they need to keep growing. Relying on electronic communication can be very powerful, but you can't just sit by your inbox and wait for people to write. The secretaries need the time and incentive to keep in contact with all the fleets to see what each fleet needs to grow. The "class" should devote some of OUR resources to do that.

The class is essential to the success of the Laser so disbanding it as was spoofed in Proper Course should not be considered seriously, but refocusing it and looking at what we all get for our dues is certainly worthwhile. Members like me will not rejoin if we are just getting newsletters with outdated and incomplete information that we can get for free on the web. If I got discounts from the hardware vendors equal to or greater than my membership cost I would certainly continue to rejoin, even 10% off one of those outrageously priced sails would be great. There are always odd bits of hardware to replace even on a boat as simple as the Laser. Even a Laser is a hole in the water into which your throw money.... The class should make that hole as small as possible to make sailing our boat as fun as possible.
heh... I just especially agreed with the focus of the laser being on fun rather than the focus on the higher level organized events and such... and that the class sticker for the transom is important because it actually advertises class membership rather than a card in your wallet etc... you clearly thought about this and were able to clearly express those thoughts...
Some tend towards sarcasm on their posts so I was just checking... I must have said something clearly because Further discussion has certainly been curtailed. Of course down in Texas this weekend is the Easter Regatta, so maybe everyone who cares is tied up down their. Hope they are having FUN!!:)