In recent months I’ve gone back to school to study accounting. What does this have to do with sailing you ask? Well, truthfully, not a whole lot. However, a girl’s got to take a break from studying some time, so the other day I used my break to answer a question that my coaching colleagues and I have been asking ourselves for years: just how much is an Opti sailor worth anyway?
First, let’s define worth. In this case, the question refers to the financial value, in today’s dollars, of a 12 year old Opti sailor who’s buddy says “Hey! Want to join the race team?!” What is the net present value of that 12 year old sailor who walks in the door, signs up for the race team, and takes out a junior membership? Turns out that this particular Opti sailor is worth a fair bit- roughly $100,000 anyway. Each club is a bit different in terms of membership structure, so I’ve listed my assumptions below. Use them to compare to your own clubs…maybe your sailors are worth a little more, or a little less.
So, who cares right? So what if an Opti sailor is worth a bit of dough. Well, if you think of each sailor as being worth $100,000, then cast your eyes out onto the bay and note your club’s Opti race team. Hmm…one, two, three…hey, that team sailing around down there and tormenting the local wildlife is worth 1.8 million dollars. What about the senior team? Hmm…oh, yup, there’s another 2 million dollars. Oh , and that public school sailing league? You know, the one with 95 sailors registered? That’s right, somewhere around 8.5-9 million dollars. Of course, we know that not all of these sailors will remain members until age 65, but we will attract members from other clubs who joined their respective clubs as youth and then came to our own clubs. We know that not all sailors will eat one burger a month…but I can identify at least five who eat two burgers a week.
What I’m getting at here, is the value of our future sailors. What are they worth to our clubs and our sport? Turns out, they’re worth a lot, especially when they phone up their friends and invite them to come down and join the team. Perhaps we as grown up club members need to keep this in mind while we varnish our teak, polish our silver trophies, and add surf and turf to our yacht club menus. Perhaps we should realize that the racket emanating from the juniors dock isn’t just the sound of unruly Opti sailors, but rather the sound of our future membership, and the future of our sport. In a time when our membership across the country is ageing let’s take a look at the value proposition of our youth members. Aside from breathing vitality and life into our clubs and sport, they’ll bring in a significant financial contribution.