Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Reflections from the President - 2014 in Review

by Tom Hubbell, President of US Sailing

The Sailing Leadership Forum in San Diego last February brought over 600 sailors together to share ideas and inspiration. There are a lot of savvy volunteers and US Sailing staff who know about strong programs. US Sailing creates the foundation for sharing that intellectual wisdom. This chemistry gelled into a three-day festival of ideas and sailing enthusiasm. 

The US Sailing Board, consisting of six women and nine men, meets three times a year in person and monthly by phone. The typical phone conference takes two hours! Sailors on the board have distinguished backgrounds that represent all areas of the sport. They are engaged in growing the sport and supporting racing, and they are simply good people with whom to work. Membership is growing and we only use black ink for the bottom line.

Our Valued Sponsors
- We have great sponsors who help us take the game to the next level in many different ways. Please notice the footer on the US Sailing homepage and thank them with your business and kind words.

In Milwaukee at The National Conference we learned to say “ball bearing blocks” five times without a flub as we toured the pristine, high-tech Harken factory. We had presentations and forums and lots of informal sharing during breaks and social events. We came away with a long list of cool ways to make club racing and regattas more interesting and less expensive. And we got to cheer the achievements of recipients of our coveted annual awards.

Offshore and Big Boat Sailing
- Work in progress includes significant changes in the Offshore Division, the development of the Universal Measurement System, and our support of offshore sailing and PHRF fleets. 

Our National Team, the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider
– We are excited to see the progress toward achieving the near-term and long-term goals of our Olympic and Paralympic teams. Extensive training, one-on-one coaching and a defined pathway for high performance are helping the team succeed. They are fine sailors and represent the United States admirably on the international stage. Check out Rising Tide - https://www.youtube.com/user/USSailingTeam    

Training -
We are big on training. The Reach program for STEM education gets rave reviews and enjoys explosive growth. Staff and volunteers work feverishly revising certification course textbooks and materials, creating new course and certification opportunities, and adding a few thousand certified instructors to the national stable of talent.

Race Administration -
Excellent teamwork has produced new manuals, updated procedures for certification and renewal, and an ever-present push to raise the bar of performance expectations in race management and judging.

Championships -
The youth events continue to be competitive and exciting. These six events provide young sailors with opportunities to develop their skills and make friends. We are gradually revising some of our adult events, so that we can continue to engage talented adult sailors around the country and provide outlets for them to test their ability against the best in a variety of disciplines and boats. One example, the Championship of Champions, sailed in Thistles this year, proved a very successful event.

- In November, my wife Pat and I went to Palma de Mallorca, Spain as part of US Sailing’s delegation for the first five days of the International Sailing Federation meeting. Our delegation of 24 is respected in the international community for their knowledge and character. We had a successful bid for Corpus Christi Yacht Club to host the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in 2018. I spent a good amount of time talking informally with a wide variety of people and hoping to further demonstrate US Sailing’s engagement at ISAF. We talked with all the ISAF officers including King Constantine of Greece, as well as the President of the Balearic Islands and the President of the Balearic Islands Parliament. As the President of US Sailing we were thrilled to be given a prime front row table for the glittering ISAF Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Award Dinner. We personally congratulated the winners, Jimmy Spithill and Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze.

Trips & Sailing!
- There were a few other trips - to the office in Rhode Island, Strictly Sail Chicago, Charleston Race Week, dinner at New York Yacht Club with the ISAF officers, Championship of Champions, National Sailing Hall of Fame induction, and I went sailing 80 days this year. December 14th was probably the end of the sailing season for me in Ohio, or maybe we’ll get one more! In 2014, I sailed at 17 venues, raced 13 Thistle regattas, experienced nine classes of boats from 14 to 45 feet, and enjoyed the company of 45 teammates.  

First Sail
- US Sailing is about growing sailing and supporting racing. I hope you will open your mail about supporting this initiative, First Sail, which will provide grants to community sailing programs. Community programs have a remarkable track record for introducing people to sailing and giving them the skills to stay engaged in the sport for a lifetime. I hope you will join me in supporting First Sail with your contribution.

Here’s hoping Santa brought you boat parts,

Tom Hubbell

President, US Sailing

1 comment:

  1. thanks, Tom Hubbell, for your hard work and leadership this year. We in Training salute you!