Author Topic: Where to now?  (Read 274 times)

Jerry G

  • Able Seaman
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Where to now?
« on: February 08, 2018, 09:09:01 PM »
Neil Kennedy's article in the Newsletter is very interesting and summarises the general decline in dinghy racing very well.  I think the trend has been downwards in most clubs and classes since about 1980.  However, some clubs seem to buck this trend: Brightlingsea Sailing Club (host of the 2016 Burton), for instance, still seems very active.  How do they do it?
Graham Ireland (RHYC) made an interesting comment a few years ago.  He pointed out that the clubs that had a good progression of junior members moving on to sail the "grown-up" boats had two-handed dinghies as their junior class (Brightlingsea had Mirrors, Waldringfield had Cadets) while the clubs that had Oppie, Topper etc struggled to retain their juniors when they grew out of the starter class.  We regularly sailed our Twelve at Brightlingsea's Pyefleet Week and noticed how the little ones started out crewing for more experienced kids then a year or two later they would be helming with a new child as crew while the original helm was crew or helm in one of the grown-up classes.  With single-hander starter classes most kids were not big enough to move on to Laser or Phantom etc and were not interested in crewing for an adult having always helmed.
I think its a great idea to boost the interest in the older Twelves, they are very good value for money (and if you need new sails get them second hand from the Burton winners!).  In 1979 I bought a Proctor IX to introduce my 7 year old son to crewing (I now crew for him on his 25ft cruiser/racer!).  Later my wife and I had a lot of fun racing a Design 8 specially when the Gill series started and had an "Admirals Cup" division - so we weren't going to open meetings just to make up the numbers but had some real competition.
We only gave up Twelve sailing due to age and me needing a new hip.  Our 30ft catamaran is more suited to our loss of agility!

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