Thursday, October 13, 2005

a couple of thoughts (?) and a mini-rant in response to an e-mail about recruiting sailing club members...

New Mexico and west Texas have thousands of sailboats and owners who aren't in the club. Certainly we should recruit from them. Perhaps some boats are idle for lack of crew or difficulties faced by aging owners; this could be fixed if we had lots of young sailors around. Maybe others never figured out what to do with the durned thangs. Perhaps others were club members before and didn't feel welcomed or served by the club. Logistics and the price of gas may be issues for some; reviving the mast-up lot and improving other facilities and services may help. Other owners may not know much about the RGSC or what it can do for them. Publicity might help; not being afraid to keep trying new things could also help.

However, we shouldn't think so rudely of dinghy or multihull folks as a "splinter group"; I'm sure they outnumber us. (Would that make us the splinter group?) The name, however unintentionally said, seems to say that we think of them as second-class citizens or outsiders. For sure the smaller boats attract new sailors to the sport; they cost less to buy and maintain, are exciting, are less intimidating to start out on, give an intimate feel for wind and wave, and are a great way to learn.

Many great sailors learned on these boats; many great sailors and clubs give back to the sport by maintaining flotillas of dinghies to grow new sailors. Rather than us think of small/multihull boat folks as aliens or splinters, we might consider that we're not a complete sailing club if we don't (always keeping safety and practicality in mind, of course) provide a hospitable home for them. What do you think?

"splin'ter group, a small organization that becomes separated from or acts apart from a larger group or a number of other small groups, with which it would normally be united, because of disagreement over isolated matters, because of the lack of a personality, force, etc., capable of bringing about unification, or because of some practical consideration that requires an independent group of limited size." Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged Edition.


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