Apparently we’ve caused a bit of a stir here on the Salty Sister. This in from Michael Clements, Fleet Captain at Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. Clearly an enlightened MaM, with progressive ideas on sailing…let’s hope the folks with whom he shared our rants feel the same way!
Jen – thanks very much for your article, and I concur with your observations.
It is exactly what the Royal Van YC Race Team son of an active Vancouver Martin242 racer said to him recently, and I think we all have to take his and your observations seriously as the only way to get more Junior members involved in keelboat racing and thus maintain or even possibly increase keelboat numbers over time.
RVYC held an Open House recently, the 2nd in 2 years, and once again the topic of Junior participation in keelboat racing (or lack thereof) was discussed at length, and a number of remedies offered again, none of which were quite as incisive as yours. It was the son’s comments, coupled with a few others, that caused me to back off doing any changes to the status quo this year re keelboat rating or scoring adjustments in exchange for getting Juniors on board, because they all said that we had not gotten at the core of the issue, whatever that was, and now we have an answer.
I recall when I was 17-18, the only way I would ever get on a big boat is if I could steer or call tactics, because otherwise I’d rather just practice in my Laser for 80-100 boat regattas, so nothing’s changed in 33 years. Human nature is what it is.
Our Junior Advisor, coaches, Sailing Director, VARC rep, some racers, and other members of the RVYC Sailing Committee have now seen your blog post, so it will help us formulate a Strategy to deal with our own Junior keelboat participation issue and conversion into long-term racers, regardless of whether it’s in dinghies or keelboats.
Fleet Captain & MaM
Royal Vancouver Yacht Club