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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 2:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:39 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Sioux Falls South Dakota
As a new fleet commodore, I need ideas to revive or just get the fleet more active. I am at a disadvantage as I am only in my third year as a Hobie sailor. I got this job since I was the only one that didn't say no :lol: Just curious how many events do your fleets have a season (ours is 3 months) and what events attract the most members. Our current fleet is aging and moving onto large mono-hulls and has no interest in racing. I need a way to give value to the newer or younger sailors. Our beach has about 30 boats and only 10 or so are members. Also what or any activities do your fleets offer the non-sailor or kids? Also how much are your membership dues and what do they provide. I'm the new blood with energy and enthusiasm for the sport and really want to see our fleet become strong and very active. I have many ideas from social cruises to crazy fun races, or poker run etc, but first I need to get people to show up.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:00 pm 
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Location: Clinton Lake, KS
:D


Looks like ya already covered step one!


So let me get this straight... You have 30 Hobies sitting there... and 10 of them are members? Sounds to me like you have 20 easy targets

Go get em!!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:29 pm
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Location: High Point, NC
Make it fun.

Too many sailors are intimidated by the aspect of a "yacht club" or regatta. It has to be about fun with less emphasis placed on winning or beating somebody. There are a lot of negative connotations about fleets, yacht clubs and regattas. A friendly, helpful atmosphere goes a long way to dispelling that stuff.

Talk to everybody you see with a boat. Go out of your way to just speak to them. Invite them to come watch a regatta. Ask your current members to talk to anyone they see out on the water or in the marina parking lot.

Have a "Fun Day" where you offer to take members of the local community out for a brief sail. Your local newspaper might even help you promote such an event. You'd be surprised the interest this can draw.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:13 pm 
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Location: Detroit, MI
Tom Kirkman wrote:
Make it fun.

Too many sailors are intimidated by the aspect of a "yacht club" or regatta. It has to be about fun with less emphasis placed on winning or beating somebody. There are a lot of negative connotations about fleets, yacht clubs and regattas. A friendly, helpful atmosphere goes a long way to dispelling that stuff.

Talk to everybody you see with a boat. Go out of your way to just speak to them. Invite them to come watch a regatta. Ask your current members to talk to anyone they see out on the water or in the marina parking lot.

Have a "Fun Day" where you offer to take members of the local community out for a brief sail. Your local newspaper might even help you promote such an event. You'd be surprised the interest this can draw.

+1000
Tom's got it right. Just make friends, and the rest will follow.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:32 am 
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Location: Metuchen NJ
agree with Tom and Matt,
if you concentrate on fun and the social aspect, the rest should fall into place over time.

group BBQ's, rendezvous sails, repair tips, all add to the social experience.

our fleet used to hold 'treasure' sails:
a number of clues are distributed around your sailing area, each in a watertight container.
the first clue leads you to the next clue, then the next, and so on.
the first boats back having successfully navigated all the clues, win prizes.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:52 am 
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play wrote:
I need a way to give value to the newer or younger sailors.

The "newer or younger sailors" need to get a sailing adrenaline rush! Once you give them that experience, you will have them hooked for life.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fUEa7FRpCA&list=UUL9iEvaX5-kZq5XN_yah5Vw&index=1&feature=plcp[/youtube]


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:52 pm 
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Location: Brisbane, Australia
Tom is right on the money. So much so that I recently started a Hobie Sailing Group here in Australia purely based on all of Tom's opinions and it's growing super, super fast. So much so that the official clubs are starting to take notice and interest in us.

We're super social just by simply reaching out to people and chatting with them. It's so easy to do and we hold monthly organised sails to different locations in the bay to keep that level of interest. Nobody is held back so we'll see the younger members sailing as hard and fast as they can. It's awesome to watch.

I was put off joining the yacht clubs around me that race because of costs, racing only attitude and nobody reaches out to you. A simple hello and chat is all it would have taken. But instead there's a closed mentality of 'you' and 'them'. I made myself known to the clubs but nobody went out of there way to sell or promote they're clubs and so I quickly grew the opinion that they didn't want new/younger sailors.... so I started my own group.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:38 pm 
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Location: Sioux Falls South Dakota
Thanks for all the replies. We seem to be on track with a lot of those ideas. We are just a social group with not much interest in racing. We are a very welcoming group that is quick to offer assistance to any of the sailors at the beach, we take pride in that. I just need to make the fleet have value so they want to join, and activities interesting enough to keep them showing up especially on those not so picture perfect sailing days. We always welcome any sailors to join us at our BBQ's, members or not. Do most fleets have dues or are they free? Thanks again!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:40 am 
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Location: san diego
play - Great post! I've been reading your post and the comments/recommendations from others with great interest since I'm in a similar situation. I'm the Membership Chairman and Fleet Activities Chairman for our Fleet this year. We had 13 members last year and we now have 17 members. 7 members have no boats and 10 have boats. We've had no activities the past few years and membership was taken care of by the Commodore. My wife and I sail our H16 often, but don't race; but most of our members who still have Hobies race at regattas. I've had several activities and I'm very persistent about getting new members. I've organized whale watching, fun day of sailing at Otay Lake, and have advised both members and non members where to go camping and sailing on vacation with their boat once we get some rain and snow in our mountains. We're in a drought right now and the water levels at our popular sailing lakes are very low. I've tried using "star power" at one of our activities and that went over very well. We had hot sausage sandwiches and hot apple cider after our whale watch day and Meb Keflezighi showed up. This was a few months before he won The Boston Marathon. He had already won the N.Y. Marathon and has won the Olympic Trials 3 times. He's an Olympic Silver Medalist and has won 23 U,S. National titles. Lots of pictures were taken but I don't think it generated new members. Just got the older members happy and excited....Our membership dues are &20 if you have a boat and $10 if no boat. We're all old friends and have been fleet members for many years. I was the membership Chairman around 1989??? and I was able to bring in many new members. I was very easy back then. We had several hundred members then. We were HUGE! Lots of activities, fleet races, political power, monthly fleet meetings, fleet newsletter......THOSE DAYS ARE GONE NOW!!! Several city ordinances which adversely affect where we can keep our boats and trailers, and beach closures in order to protect endangered birds. Also lots of competition from water craft that's easier to store & set-up; but NONE OF THESE CRAFT ARE AS MUCH FUN OR EXCITING AS OUR HOBIE CATS. The main problem I'm having is I can't recruit them if I can't find them. My wife & I were out sailing yesterday and the only other catamarans we saw were either rentals or from the M.B. Yacht Club. It's regatta season right now so I'll start having fleet activities again in late Sept. or early Oct. Two other things I've done with no success: We are now a multihull fleet and not just a Hobie fleet. Also, since several nearby fleets are no longer active, I've expanded our geographical boundaries. Unfortunately, I'm a little late since the few people from those fleets have already joined other near-by fleets. I talked to one of our members who also belongs to the M.B. Yacht Club about those high school kids who race in those slow FJ boats. I was told that the guys from their multihull fleet took some of them for a ride on their catamarans and they enjoyed it, but none of them bought catamarans or race in them. It's been tried before with no success.
The only advice I can give you, play, is to try everything and keep plugging away, but lower your expectations so you don't get discouraged. Just do the best that you can! Good luck!!! Richard


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:34 am 
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Location: san diego
play - just a few more things....
Dues - You can have it "Pay As You Go" but if you have no dues, you have no accountability. You really don't know who your members are. We put on a large regatta each year, so we need to have a treasury and some start up money. Dues and profits from our regatta (if any) subsidize our annual Christmas Party and liability insurance, etc.
Check out http://hobiefleet4.tumblr.com/ and on Facebook check out Hobie Fleet 4. Also, Hobie Fleet 33. Floyd Adcock has done an amazing job of reviving his fleet in Texas (Surfside???).
If you have a near-by Hobie Dealer, promote them any time you have the opportunity. It'll be mutually beneficial to both your fleet and your Hobie Dealer if you have a good relationship with them. Richard


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:15 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:43 am
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Location: Brisbane, Australia
RE: recruiting new members I've had two ideals; Promotion and communication.

By communication I've spoken to those I've seen whilst sailing which is very few, but mostly I've been using online forums and speaking to those who advertise either selling or looking to buy Hobie cats online. It's amazing how many Hobie Cats lie in back yards covered in dust and cobwebs. Many of these owners just need a reason to sail and reaching out to them during the selling or buying process has been successful so far.

By promotion I've used sites like Gumtree (simular to Craigs List in the US - Here is our current ad http://www.gumtree.com.au/m-my-ad.html?adId=1050237332) and also our local Hobie dealer but here lies a further issue of liability. As our group has no costs and formal association, we don't have liability insurance. Not having this insurance means our local Hobie dealer maintains a distance of safety from us. The dealer is 110% supportive of what we are doing but doesn't want to be seen as an entity of the group which I totally understand.
Everybody who sails with us understands that all accountability is taken upon themselves but I've been considering formalising the group to cover this issue.

I see in American you guys have 'Fleets' and have wondered how hard or easy it would be to start a 'Fleet' here in Australia. What benefits are there to have a 'Fleet'? and what rules and regulations does Hobie require of a fleet?
I've been watching our local 'Hobie Island' group who are formally supported by Hobie. It's a shame grass roots sailing i.e. cats aren't supported in a simular manner.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:39 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Sioux Falls South Dakota
Great info! Never thought of having non-boat owner members for a lower fee and I'm sure no one else has either. We have a large group of non owners that join us at our events. The funny thing is they show up more than the boat owners. I have also started a facebook page, (fleet291) and the state let us put an invite to join the fleet, in all the contracts sent to slip holders on the beach. Our beach is located in a state park and they are very supportive of us. Pictures of our boats and beach make nearly every publication put out by the tourism department in our state, so we get a lot of publicity! This weekend I'm trying the treasure hunt idea with clues to find the mark. I'm trying some simple kids activities for those to young to sail to keep the families interested. Its just amazing how many boats sit and never sail. I seldom miss a weekend and will probably never see half of the boats ever get sailed :( We host a division 7 regatta and only 4 members or so will participate. Keep the ideas flowing since we could probably all use some new ideas. Thanks again

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:36 am 
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Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 8:28 am
Posts: 746
Location: Clinton Lake, KS
You will get to meet me at the Yankton Regatta. :D

Don't forget to share the link to your facebook page! Telling everyone on the net you have one is great, but providing a one click way for people to connect is always better!

Also... I am a fan of advertising on Facebook for things like this. While not exactly a facebook fan myself, promoting stuff like Hobie fleets is EXACTLY what facebook was designed to do. Run a 20 dollar "Likes" campaign... and TARGET it specifically... Facebook allows you to choose zip codes, gender, marital status, and interests.. What little I have done has worked out very well... We don't have a massive amount of likes.. but we have exactly the right people.

http://www.facebook.com/hobiefleet297

This year we have IMO it FEELS like we sorta struggled with getting regular turnout thus far from the regulars at the Fleet Points Championship and some other things. We offered a Hobie University Class this spring and new folks really came out of the woodwork.. We have added 7-8 new boats/crews to the fleet.... Additionally we have put several boats with new owners who we expect to see at the lake much more than... well... you know.... We have seen everyone at the lake, just not all at the same time. I dunno if it is problem with to much going on or what.. I try not to worry about it to much though as we clearly are on the rise.... My goal is to have 10 local boats participating in our Frayed Knot Regatta... and we have more than enough around to make it happen.


Oh... and personally while I understand some people THINK they just want to be social sailors.. Racing IMO is where it is at. It doesn't have to be all formal and whatever... but RACING.. If you put two Hobies on the water for more than a few minutes.. They are RACING.. It gives a more interesting challenge to the water and IMO keeps it WAY more interesting. It seems with that the "being social" comes naturally for Hobie Sailors.. The "R" word does seem to scare some people off at first.. So just be careful with it... but keep reeling them in.... As even though we have a couple awesome social sailors, engaging folks in a sport just seems to be more engaging. :P


Last edited by ronholm on Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:39 pm
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Location: Sioux Falls South Dakota
ronholm I look forward to meeting you at the Old Timers Regatta, its fun putting faces with those on the forum. I agree we are always racing. Everyone always wants to be faster than the boat next to them, except the guy always on one hull :lol: I have visited your page a while back and I like how you promote your racing. I think it would be great to get a summer series going with lots of instruction. My first regatta was the Old Timers last year and it was a little intimidating, but once everyone passed me sitting in irons at the start all was good :oops: I will start feeling fleet members and non members out about starting some frequent and informal racing. With some experience I would hope more of us would race in the division regatta! Unfortunately, most of us live far enough a way that our racing would have to be on Sat. It would be awesome if it could be a week night so it doesn't interfere with family and guests on the weekends.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:16 pm 
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Quote:
Too many sailors are intimidated by the aspect of a "yacht club" or regatta. It has to be about fun with less emphasis placed on winning or beating somebody. There are a lot of negative connotations about fleets, yacht clubs and regattas. A friendly, helpful atmosphere goes a long way to dispelling that stuff.
Yes. Sailing is a fun outdoor activity that is a foundation for regattas, not the other way around.

Quote:
As our group has no costs and formal association, we don't have liability insurance. Not having this insurance means our local Hobie dealer maintains a distance of safety from us. The dealer is 110% supportive of what we are doing but doesn't want to be seen as an entity of the group which I totally understand.
Everybody who sails with us understands that all accountability is taken upon themselves but I've been considering formalising the group to cover this issue.
Yes, also. (Private launch points like yacht clubs are more exclusive because of liability issues, which I sympathize with. Insurance is a pain.) Fleets need to designate and support their public launch points and encourage people to abide by park or city boating regulations.


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