Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Reflections from the President

by Tom Hubbell, President of US Sailing

We are looking for 7,000 new sailors this year. Newcomers will discover sailing because of you, our members, who are wildly-passionate about being on the water and in the wind. 

Every sailor I know still gets a child-like, ice cream eating grin while retelling that really great day in the boat, even if the story is from 30 years ago. You relish the chance to share your great outdoor experience with the uninitiated. Sure, it’s a different task to sail your boat with rookies instead of your usual crack crew. But we have all seen the happy sailor smile appear on the first-timer’s face. It’s a validation of our own enjoyment. There is a thrill to be part of introducing a young person or an adult friend to our sport. Share the passion of sailing!

Any boat, any venue, any format will do. One thing I urge is that you not push people into racing before they are ready. It’s a rare new driver who is ready for navigating the expressway at 70 in heavy traffic. I doubt there is anyone who did a slalom race their first day on skis. Or if they did, did they ever come back? Some people compete all day at work, so they want an escape from competition. While many of us are Type A competitive people, we all like not to be thrown in over our heads, made to feel inept, or injured from a misstep. Oh, and need I mention, no yelling. Take some new people out for a good time, show them your sailing lifestyle in a new-user friendly way. Outside, fun, social – nail it!

You have done your bit on day one and now your “baby” sailor needs to grow. US Sailing trains nearly 2,000 sailing instructors every year adding to the thousands already certified. One of them is working in a club or sailing center or keelboat school near you. You can supplement, reinforce and encourage.  Share your story about learning the sport. It must be a good story because you are still in the game. And please make sure your newborn sailor understands that US Sailing has a training program for every facet of the sport, casual racer to international contender, sailing facility director to top gun race officer or judge. 

US Sailing, we do training to support and grow your sport.

Thank you and I’ll see you on the water.

Tom Hubbell

President of US Sailing

No comments:

Post a Comment