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Old 11-17-2008
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running dinghy racing in the USA

Can anyone help me with an insight into how clubs run dinghy races in the US?

I'm experienced in the subject here in the UK, and one of the main issues is organising club member volunteers. To be race officers, recorders, safety boat crews, tea makers (very important here ;o), bar staff, etc. Allocating jobs, persuading them to turn up, arranging swaps when they can't make it, and other headaches!

A few of us have got together and developed software and techniques to help with this, which have been adopted by a number of UK clubs. I'm interested in whether it's done the same in the US, and whether the same approach might be useful.

Very grateful for any pointers or inside stories!

Thanks in advance....
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Old 11-17-2008
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Sounds like you got it in a nut shell.
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Old 11-17-2008
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We have paper clubs here (no property)and it is generally required that to be a member you are involved in running events, LHYC for example will give volunteers who work a 5 or 10 week series a finish equal to there avg finish

With people taking turns it is a small burden


We also have clubs with a bit of money that require each member's to work hours on club projects to be in good standing


And then there are clubs with pretty huge paid staff


BUT in all of the examples they are usually able to staff racing with volunteers because most of the sailing clubs in this area have a mission statement to promote sailboat racing
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Old 11-17-2008
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At our annual meeting yesterday it was announced that our club would be adding the Long Island Sound Opti Championships and the US Sailing Prince of Wales Match Racing Championships to our racing schedule. The season already includes Wednesday night races for both the cruising and one-design fleets, team racing on Tuesday nights, a half-dozen weekend distance races, a classic yacht regatta, three or four races as part of the club cruise, a 60-mile overnight race, one-design racing on Saturdays, a one-day Opti-Rumble that routinely draws 80 boats, and a Blue Jay/Pixel two-day regatta with about 50 entrants. This year we also won the 12-Meter Challenge in which we compete with neighboring clubs racing chartered 12-Meters, so we have to run that next year as well. Frostbiting has started, with racers in two divisions heading out on Sundays from now probably until March. Though we do hire someone to help with the one-design fleet (Ideal 18's), our hundreds of races are run mostly with volunteers from our 280 some members. We dispense with the tea, and three people man the committee boat: a PRO, a scorer and a signal person. Everyone is expected to help for one or two days over the summer. Crash or Mark Boats are handled the same way when they're needed. (The cruising fleet wouldn't know what to do with one, for example; they use permanently designated bouys as marks, including the starting mark. This saves a lot of time and effort.) We hold seminars at the start of the season teach people what they need to know. The 3-person team approach allows each person to see how others handle each role and to feel competent as they improve each time they go out. Needless to say, the schedule was part of the agenda of the Cruising Fleet Committee meeting last Monday, and the Vice Chair of the Race Committee already has her clipboard out for people to sign up. If you don't get your name in early, the choices get limited the closer Spring comes.
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Old 11-21-2008
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Thanks all for your useful comments. It sounds as though things are similar US to UK, except your clubs seem maybe to have more willing volunteers!

We always seem to have trouble filling all the jobs, and then a proportion don't turn up or call the club at last minute to say they can't make it.
This might be because we are mostly concerned with dinghy racing in large fleets and needing several safety boats to manned every weekend? Typically, it means each member being asked to give up two or three days a year. We have found that web based software - to display a roster, send email reminders and allow online swapping - has helped a lot.

Is there anyone there with experience of big dinghy fleets needing a lot of safety boat support?

Thanks again, really helpful!
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