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Old 02-26-2014
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Lightbulb Starting a Sailing team: Comments, tips, advice, appreciated.

Hey ya'll! I'm a teenage guy who's possibly starting a small-boat sailing team here in Williamsburg, Virginia, on the James River, due to the fact that there are no small-boat racing teams here in Hampton Roads. I will probably be starting with around 5-6 people, but I expect that the team would grow quickly because of the close proximity of a sailing school. I don't really know where to start, though. Any advice from people who've started teams will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-26-2014
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Are you talking about a high school sailing team, collegiate sailing team or something independent such as a local dinghy racing club?
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Re: Starting a Sailing team: Comments, tips, advice, appreciated.

It would be a local, independent team for high-schoolers, but not specifically associated with any high school. If it's possible to still participate in races as a team if we're independent, then we'd be a team, but if not, it would be a club.
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Re: Starting a Sailing team: Comments, tips, advice, appreciated.

I don't race, but I do support US Sailing. You might want to contact them about a club membership if you want to compete with other clubs and be able to advance through the racing system. They may even be able to guide you through starting your own club.

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The ISSA is the group over high school sailing teams. As I remember they allow combined sailing teams from local schools for a couple years in order to get high school sailing established in an area. After that I think you are supposed to split and represent your own school.
It's great that you are getting this going. Since you probably don't have either 420's or FJ's which are the common high school sailboats you might want to try and talk to local colleges with sailing teams. Hampton College had a team when I was in college but not sure if anyone else around you would. They might be willing to help you get started with boat rentals.

If you've already got boats then you just need to talk with ISSA in order to get going with them.

Another option would be to start looking into yacht clubs in a reasonable distance from you and start racing there. GRSA in Richmond races dinghy' s as does FBYC in Deltaville. Good luck with it.
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Re: Starting a Sailing team: Comments, tips, advice, appreciated.

Thanks DRFerron! I'll look into that.

Thank you as well, Letrappes! You are definitely correct in assuming that I don't have either of the two! I actually did own an FJ for about a week last summer, when W&M sold all their old boats. That would probably have been an opportune time to start the club, but I didn't have the idea then. I'll check out those clubs. I'm currently a member of a Sea Scout Ship here in Williamsburg, but we really only sail in the Summer, and on sloops nonetheless, so I'de definitely be interested in seeing if I could sail with another club for a summer, and then start my own club. I've read so much about small-boat sailing and I've yearned to do it for years! There's only so much one can learn from books.
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Re: Starting a Sailing team: Comments, tips, advice, appreciated.

Our daughter helped start a sailing team at her High School. The ISSA site is very helpful. We also found that local Yacht Clubs were looking to build community support (as well as to develop potential new members). William & Mary might be in a similar situation vis ŗ vis town/gown politics - ask! The Yacht Clubs helped provide boats as well as facilities for several different teams at a nominal fee. The school team-racing season doesn't overlap too much with their primarily summer use, so they got extra revenue to help amortize the club-owned boats without impacting their summer sailing programs. I am not sure how insurance was covered, either by the Yacht Club or by the teams. I believe ISSA or US Sailing offers insurance packages for this sort of thing. One team would hold practices Mon/Wed, another Tues/Thurs. Races would be scheduled on Fridays, with each team alternating between hosting and traveling elsewhere to race against another team. Years later, and the teams are still going strong. Maybe it is the co-ed aspect that makes it attractive. Maybe it is the chance to compete with teams from other schools (public and private) from areas and states outside the standard b-ball circuit. Maybe it's an outlet for people who don't "fit" on the football team. It is certainly popular here.

Last edited by paulk; 02-26-2014 at 10:42 PM.
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Re: Starting a Sailing team: Comments, tips, advice, appreciated.

Thanks for the info! The W&M team does have a small harbour out of which they practice, and I am somewhat acquainted with the team captain. I was originally planning to rent or somehow procure a small amount of undeveloped property on the James and build a dock, but that would require excessive amounts of both effort, time, and money. I'll take your advice and ask the college about possibly using their facilities.
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Re: Starting a Sailing team: Comments, tips, advice, appreciated.

In the vein of cooperating with W&M, you could point to the USCG Academy in New London. I believe Connecticut College uses their facilities, and the Academy also hosts High School regattas. Reinventing the wheel by finding your own facilities and buying your own fleet is likely a long, frustrating, expensive, and difficult path to take. Sailors generally like to help other sailors when they can.
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