Minutes from Tenby BSA Sailors Meeting
28 September 2014
Minutes of sailors meeting 22nd Sept 2014 Tenby
Bob Ingram (BI)
Jim Brookes-Dowsett (JBD)
Kev Greenslade (KG)
Pete Davis (PD)
Zara Davis (ZD)
PD highlighted that we need to be giving our sponsors good value for money
Current system means that individual sponsors underwrite events. Depending on location and forecast they may take a significant financial hit when entry fees fail to cover the event costs. As an example this weekend Pura Vida are underwriting the event and the entry fees will be approximately £300 shy of the £1700 UKWA bill for running the event.
The proposal is that next year we invite sponsors to contribute to a pot of money at the start of the season so that they jointly underwrite each event giving them a safety net in case of poor attendance. At the end of the year the balance of the account is the starting balance for the following season. There will still be a headline sponsor for each event.
With this system there will be no events cancelled on a forecast as there is not the financial risk for an individual event sponsor.
Attracting new sailors
PD asked for ideas as to how we can attract new racers. He highlighted that some one he knew who was a non-UKWA member was in Tenby and would have tried out the masterblasters but was put off by the £40 fee.
There was general agreement that we need to get people ‘in the door’ as once they have raced once they realise what value for money they are getting. To encourage new attendees we will have a special discounted entry fee of £10 for their first slalom event. If they are non-members they will additionally have to pay £10 to cover one-off insurance. The event fee can be used against UKWA subscription fee if they subsequently join. This new deal should be actively publicised.
It was noted that there is a high drop-out rate from windsurfing racing when youths stop Techno. These sailors should be a targeted by the BSA. With input from Sarah ways of attracting Techno sailors were discussed. Sarah suggested that running the first event of next season alongside the Techno training weekend at Weymouth would be a very good way of showcasing slalom.
The importance of establishing lines of communication with the youth group was agreed upon, including through Techno & T15 regional groups. Social media is particularly important amongst this group of sailors.
ZD suggested that pro involvement is important to encourage the youths including possible clinics before events.
We need to do more/better pre-promotion of events
Next years calendar
How many events? Different parties had different perspectives with some people wanting as many events as possible and others less. Disadvantages of too many events include it becoming unrealsistic for the ‘average’ sailor to make a reasonable events and therefore making a worthwhile championship ranking not possible for them. With slalom being wind-dependent more events gives the chance of more results but also there is a risk that too many windless events in a row will put people off.
KG suggested that we consider having 6 uncancellable events and a seventh that could be called-off if the forecast was poor. BI and PS felt that the logistics of boat delivery would almost certainly make that too problematic.
A vote was taken and the majority voted to have 7 events in 2015. There were eight in 2014 because of the number of sponsors who came forward.
The pros and cons of various venues were discussed:
Weymouth should be the venue of the first and last events of the season. With the academy facilities it is a good place to race if it is cold. There is a Techno event there on approximately April 11th 12th and consideration should be given to running the first slalom event then.
Hayling Island should be reinstated to the calendar as there is a large pool of (potential new) sailors in the area including many who do Hayling Slalom.
Tenby was considered to be the best Welsh location and should stay on the calendar. It is picturesque, has good facilities and is sailable in a large number of directions. It is also an attractive location for non-sailors. Due to the difficulties of racing in a narrow estuary and its distance from most sailors Aberdovey will come off the calendar. Many sailors would still like to support the Boardwise demo there. Barry, Tata and Cardiff Bay were also all discussed.
Worthing at the new location of the Baker Academy should be on the calendar.
The final two favoured locations are Christchurch and Clacton with former to be run in sea breeze season and the latter to be run when it is considered that Easterly winds are likely (?end of summer).
Rutland should not be on the National Championships calendar for reason of the quality of conditions but consideration should be given to running an Inland Slalom Championships there.
A summer break in July and August would be preferable as it is often windless.
Everyone is keen that we try hard to publish the calendar as early as possible so that people can work around it. This year it was finalised late partly due to the effect of the poor economy on the industry. This year the impression (from recent NWF) is that the industry is healthier.
One issue this year is that UKWA events have clashed with several European PWA events making it impossible for sailors to attend international events as well as compete for the British title. PD noted that, in Belgium, sailors who attend World Tour events are able to request redress which is typically their season average result. This was not taken further.
KG suggested that last event of the year involved a party and prize-giving on the Saturday night. This was generally well supported and on balance it was felt that there should be no championship racing on Sunday even if Saturday was windless. This gives the opportunity to run some fun racing on Sunday with the thought that pros and ams should race together either in a individuals in heats format or some kind of a team event.
SL proposed that the wind limit for amateur racing should be lowered in order to increase the chances of getting more races completed and reduce frustration when the wind is on the limit. He noted that there is no kit limit in the amateurs. ZD and DS both opposed the motion on the basis that the current limit seems about right and that it might start a kit war with amateurs having to go and buy formula kit in order to compete in lighter winds. Ongoing discussion concluded that in general people were very happy with how the wind limits were being applied this season and they should not be changed for either fleet.
All were in favour of running fun racing if conditions were suitable and KG suggested that we keep a record of fun race results and award a prize at the end of the season.
Long boards in master blasters
Consensus was to allow them
The apparent big step between masterblaster and amateur racing
Various ways of trying to reduce this were considered including encouraging more amateurs to join the pro fleet and giving consideration to running off the beach downwind slalom for amateurs or indeed masterblasters. No specific decisions other than intention to bear this issue in mind at each event when planning racing for each fleet.
New discard system
KG highlighted that with the current system all of the top sailors are using their discards to discard events at which they gained attendance points and not for the purpose of discarding a bad racing result.
MG ran through his proposal of a system that both rewards attendance at no-wind events but also enables sailors to discard poor racing results. At a no wind event attendees would score (e.g.) zero points and non-attendees would score 1 points. These scores would not be discardable. Sailors could discard results from counting events as per international series rules e.g. PWA one discard after four counting events, two after seven. MG will test this on recent years results and come back to us with firm proposal but there was support for this change.
It was noted that the BSA was created by the industry but the way the series has run has since changed and the industry personnel who were involved have moved on. The BSA brand is still relevant and it was considered appropriate. JBD made the key point that the sailors in the room are now the essence of the BSA. In order to promote the BSA properly the sailors need to get access to vital resources such as the ‘British Slalom Association’ facebook page. JBD will liaise with Ant Baker who is thought to be the administrator for the page and enable others to take on admin privileges.