Something to think about....

A message from Graham Hall dated 1/11/2005 Folks, One of the recurring themes of the US Sailing One Design Symposium in Newport last Fall was that the social aspects of the fleet are very important…perhaps more-so than racing! It’s the tie that binds and keeps people coming back for more. One of the participants, Herb Motley, commented about similarity between a successful fleet and how a successful parish works. Sure the priest/fleet captain is important, but it’s the care and concern of each member in the community for the others that really makes it fly. And there’s an old adage that a struggling fleet needs more social events and fewer races. Here are some ideas you can use to enhance the social aspects of your fleet: 1. Have a fleet party! Its winter…what better way to dispel the gloom than planning fun sailing events for next summer over a glass of hot grog? Invite everyone who sails regularly and all the fringe people and have them bring any prospective Scot sailors along. Make it a pitch-in so the food isn’t a hassle. 2. Put together a newsletter with all the fleet news you can get your hands on. Mention everyone in the fleet. Remind people of last year’s adventures. Add next year’s schedule if you’ve got it put together. 3. Adopt a Buddy System for your fleet. Pair each of your enthusiastic, active sailors with someone less knowledgeable, less active. Assign the senior member the task of looking after the junior member, helping them with boat rigging/sail trim/race tactics/trailer/crew/mooring problems. Check in frequently to see how the buddies are doing. Consider having a race (or series) in which the scores of the buddies are averaged. 4. Come up with new social activities that involve sailing. Why not plan a day sail to a local harbor and have lunch at a water-side restaurant? Sail out to where the sea lions live or to an island in the bay. Go for an evening sail. Mix these social sails with your racing program. If your fleet participates in an evening race series in the summer, be sure there is a party afterward. Sail well; care for each other; stay in touch….