Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Reflections from the President

By Tom Hubbell, President of US Sailing

On Father’s Day I got to race my Thistle at the home fleet with my daughter, Sophie. That was fun! For the three weekends before that I raced Thistle regattas in Ohio and New York, and one day of a C Scow regatta on Cuba Lake in New York. One woman said she heard the President was coming to the regatta and that she expected to see a guy in a blazer and regalia; guess she was pleasantly surprised that presidents of US Sailing wear dinghy sailing clothes and actually go sailing.

I keep a tally just for fun. I have gone sailing on 32 days, experienced seven kinds of boats, competed in 29 races, in 10 locations scattered coast-to-coast in six states. There is a recurring theme at all those venues: energetic, outdoor-minded people who are fun to be with and who are nuts about trimming the sails and making the boat go. Many are so full of the sport that they desperately want to share it, to bring in new people. You might be one of those spark plugs. We are lucky to have a bunch of them on the Board of Directors and on our staff at US Sailing. Check out our Board of Directors’ roster. It is quite remarkable the depth of sailing talent, insightful leadership, and commitment to the sport of sailing represented on this Board of Directors. Our staff is a parallel world of excellence as well.

We saw and heard a lot of you spark plugs at the Sailing Leadership Forum in San Diego in February. That was such great karma at the SLF that we are changing our fall get-together into a National Conference (formerly the Annual Meeting). You are invited to Milwaukee this October. Every member of US Sailing is welcome to join the discussion and the fun of this conference.

The three days will include sharing of ideas, a deeper dive into current programming, and informal social breaks and parties. We will hear about several very successful events and programs. We will visit the Harken factory and recognize our outstanding sailors at an awards banquet. There is time for committees to meet face to face along with any interested sailors in attendance. It is a time for us to welcome potential new leaders and volunteers to the national discussion. The very brief Annual General Meeting and Board meetings will get the official business done. The real business consists of getting all you spark plugs connected to each other to energize our wonderful sport. It won’t be as good if you are not there, really. If you can’t make it to Milwaukee, push hard for your other enthusiastic sailing buddies to make the trip, especially from your yacht club or sailing center. I promise that being there will change the future of your local sailing experience for the better.

We have a new US Sailing website and we are building a new US Sailing for the 21st Century. We need all sailors on board as members supporting this adventure.

See you on the water and in Milwaukee,

Tom Hubbell
President of US Sailing

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