The trophy dilemma for small sailing clubs
For smaller sailing and yacht clubs, traditional metal pickle dish and cup have become so expensive as to just not make sense for racing awards. Some traditional trophy items have more than doubled from 2007 catalog prices. That makes it much more challenging for race committees to find prizes that people can be proud to receive, and don't look too cheesy, without breaking the RC budget.
So, do we get things that look like traditional trophies, but are made of less expensive materials, or do we adapt all sorts of non-traditional items as trophies?
Here's a letter I sent out to my race committee this week:
In the past week, it's been an interesting experience learning about the trophy racket.
One challenge is that traditional old-style yacht "heavy metal" trophies have become breathtakingly expensive. A very small pewter cup that was $35 in the 2007 Prize Possessions catalog for example, now is $80 -- more than double the prize in just six years. These sorts of trophies are pretty much beyond the reach of a small club such as the RGYC for any sort of routine use.
There are less-expensive trophies that are marketed more for youth sports and less upscale groups. These are pretty much all plastic or resin and can be a bit cheesy. But, at a glance they look decent and some of them may not be too awful. I'll be trying some of these and see how people react.
Another option is improvising trophies from hobby and craft stores. Unfortunately, most have very limited selection and the better sorts of things that they have and not cheap, unless you happen to catch just the right thing when it goes on sale. They do have some things that might be fun, so long as people are a bit open-minded about getting things other than pewter/silver traditional pickle dishes and cups. One disappointment was that I was looking for shadow-box sorts of items like we'd gotten before, and wasn't finding them... only one little bitty knot box with a cracked glass that I passed over.
I did find an on-line seller of model yachts that had relatively reasonable prices for some of their items. Unfortunately, their flat-per-item shipping charges made it impractical to order their less expensive models, so I only got a few of their fairly nice models for top-end series trophies.
Engraved glassware like what Stras did with wine glasses may be something we try more of in the fall -- it would be available from sources other than high-markup trophy dealers. I think you can even get a bottle full of wine that's engraved.
The Fiesta Regatta last weekend at Chatfield, by the way, went with three sizes of engraved glass beer mugs... nothing too fancy or traditional.
I still need to buy about five trophies... mostly second/third places for spring series and third and fourth for the Anniversary Cup; should be able to find something interesting and not terribly costly.