Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Rio Grande Sailing Club: ideas to promote sailing

Braxton ____ writes:
Rick ____ and I were discussing ideas on getting more sailors/boats to the lake. We thought maybe the club might allow the race committee to list several non-local boat ads (at no charge) in each issue. For example, when Larry sees a good buy on an Etchells, he could have the ad listed in the Foghorn. Rich would likely follow the J-Boats, and other members could follow deals on other boats. This might help locals find good out of town buys. It could help build club membership, and a local boat inventory.

Just a thought. Rick K. seems to think we'd have more Etchells sailors if there were more Etchells boats locally. The same seems true for catamarans. I don't know the deal on the other boats (J's, Catalina's, Hunter's, etc.)

It would seem a shame if Larry or Rich find great buys on out-of-town boats, but none of our members can benefit from this.

I think we should also have copies of the Foghorn placed in Sporting Goods Stores, Boat Shops, and the sports section of Wal-Mart, etc. Would it be expensive to print an extra 100-200 for this?

Hi Braxton,
Yep, the club could probably improve it's p.r. in several ways, including distributing more Foghorns and schedules; updating and expanding the web site; doing projects with the parks folks and other organizations; promoting and making a home for class, multihull, and dinghy racing; and working to encourage college, youth, and community sailing.

Once the web site is transitioned to Jo Ann and working fully, we could also put info about boats for sale there ... in perhaps more detail than the Foghorn would have room for.

The Foghorn did carry the announcement of the Etchells-fleet-in-formation a while back, along with a couple of past ads for Larry and Rich's boat work. We continue to let folks know about boats for sale by members. Maybe when we next update the club directory and handbook, we could also put in some fleet information and a list of boats sorted by type. Maybe folks like Larry and Rich and others could write articles about their boats, how they bought the boats, what they like or don't like about the boats/strengths and weaknesses, and what it would be like to race them as a class.

We already distribute a limited number of Foghorns beyond the membership. I mail a few copies of the 'horn or a shorter "Foghorn Limited" to some other sailing clubs, a couple of state parks folks, to potential members, and to a few of our former members. Occasionally I'll send 'horns out to local media, like the T or C newspapers, or to the chamber of commerce types. I also usually leave a few copies of the 'horn/'horn limited or schedule at Marina del Sur, Rock Canyon Marina, and Morgan Marine. Last Sunday I left a Foghorn and a few schedules at the E. Butte state park visitor center. In the past, when Jack's in Albuquerque used to sell sailboats, I would leave a couple of copies there. About once or twice a year I'll still leave a few copies at a couple of places in Albuquerque that sell boat supplies (American RV, Rocky Mountain RV, occasionally Taylor Marine).

All this has been done on a limited basis to keep costs down; it costs maybe close to $1.20 to print a copy and I've tried to keep the number of "freebies" down to about half as many or less as the paid circulation.

One possibility: making a bunch of less costly copies of the short teaser version, the "Foghorn Limited", for wider distribution. It would typically have one story, plus a few pretty pictures, contact information, schedule, and the membership form -- and on the front cover, the list of stories that appear in the complete Foghorn. I could bring you some this weekend.

Besides the places you mentioned, it would be nice to find some contacts at UTEP / NMSU / NMT / UNM to distribute our info. Other possibilities: seafood restaurants, swimming pools/rec centers, libraries, Cruces and El Paso media. I don't get to Cruces or El Paso often enough to know the best places and people to give club info.

There was a catamaran in the back of the Elephant Butte Inn behind the bar and restaurant. Wonder if it belonged to an employee or owner? Maybe there are a bunch of Hobie owners who don't fit into the standard Hobie fleet clique, along with other multihull and dinghy skippers who don't have a club home. There was a catamaran couple (Rick & Janis _____ ) in my neighborhood who asked about the club about a year ago, plus a guy who recently bought a cat and is looking for help and contacts.

Probably one way to focus is to announce and publicize a couple of special race days just for multihulls and dinghies, or at least to have special dinghy/multihull classes promoted for some races (not during the coldest months of the year!). One way to support this is to schedule a crash/safety boat for those regattas. Another might be for some club members to bring a bunch of dinghies/multihulls to those races. Maybe some of us could buy a bunch of dinghies/ daysailers for college students to use.



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