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The future of 14 foot cat racing


Just One More
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I'll be brave enough to start a thread concerning the way forward for 14 cat racing on the east coast. It was evident from the last thread that there is a lot of interest in the way to promote the classes to bring them back to a strong class once more.

I don't think this is an impossible task to the contrary quite achievable, but it will take a lot of effort from a lot of people and this I think is going to be the major problem. Like myself a lot of people have put a lot of time into the classes and and have reasonably good success but like all things once the momentum wanes so do the numbers, back to the core of dedicated sailors who turn up each week. The problem here is we are getting older and the younger sailors are not coming through to pick up the baton and keep the momentum going.

I feel we need to combine and support each other at regattas, try sail days, media events, websites etc. a good model is the PTs. They're very progressive in their news letters, websites and regattas. In short they are really organised.

We can do the same over the next few years and get the classes up and going, but the big ticket item is going to be getting the people to put their hand up and do the work.

So I'll leave it up to the others to provide positive suggestions for promotions etc, but I would strongly suggest as once put to me " if your not prepared to contribute to your suggestion maybe you shouldn't put it up" if you get my drift.

Paul LEAUDAIS

Windrush Silver Fox PKSC

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Arrow's have had a go at appealing to the younger sailors by allowing a square top main, as far as I know in races they haven't proved the square top to be any faster around the course so current sailors don't have to change to be competitive while it appeals to youth. I can attest to the appeal as my daughter has hardly used her Arrow in recent years but now wants a square top

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  • 2 weeks later...

IMHO kids want simple / fun / uncomplicated... they have enough competition at school, so that to continually 'push' the racing / winning aspect, without also providing the social aspect, or fun aspect of cat sailing isn't gonna do it...

I also don't think that putting a fat-head main on a boat is really like 'WOW' man...

:p

The plasti-cat 14ft classes need to regroup - and it's only a collective effort in promotion that will regenerate some interest...

The America's Cup being sailed in cats is a golden opportunity - it remains to be seem how we leverage that interest in sailing - and in cats particularly...

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Individual clubs need to sell the class harder Paul.

This season we need to "poach" the juniors from the monos and the only way to do that is to get involved in the Jnr program.

Maybe a "mentor" program that not only includes helping train these Jnrs but also taking them onboard at club race level.Plenty of our Cat class sail solo and it is these Cats that could benefit with extra weight of a Jnr when it gets a bit windy instead of not racing.Apart from Tony Z most of the other Cats sail solo.

Jess is with you this year on the Sharpie so I purchased a nice Mari foam for Zoe to skip with a Jnr this season and I am looking for another Mari for myself (we will still sail the 16 on Sundays at IYC).

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I agree with 'Just One More'. Nothing builds a fleet like enthusiasm. First at club level where we all sail on weekends, and secondly at regatta level. At PKSC we have put the hard yards into our junior development while trying to offer the 14' cat class as an entry level for interested persons (including parents and junior program grads). You can't develop a class and train new sailors at club level when you are on the road to away regattas every second week. Personally, I have made a commitment to my club as treasurer and cannot afford to be at away regattas more than a couple of times a season. This season I hoping to attend Mannering Park's 14 regatta 11 & 12 October, PKSC's Kembla Classic on Lake Illawarra 30 Nov & 1 Dec, Koonawarra Bay Lake Illawarra 8 & 9 Feb 2014? and Wallagoot in March. I rebirthed a Mk1 Windrush last winter which was sold into our club and plan on doing the same this winter. By encouraging new sailiors over several years now some of them are now ready to compete at regatta level.

Tony Sanderson

Windrush, Groove Thing PKSC

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The other thing we have to offer Tony is the Short Course option.

I think this should be promoted more for our Jnrs and new Cat sailors as an attractive alternative.

Although PKSC primarily race Nacra,Windrush and Maricat in the 14 ft Cat class I think that the Short course could be open to all 14ft cats.

Plenty of cheaper cats on the market that would be perfect for Jnrs/Parents to experience club racing.One of the big attractions of the class is the cost when compared to buying a small mono.My suggestion is to open up the 14 Short Course to all and any 14 ft Cat ie Calypso,Hobie or whatever other 14' Cat the family budget allows..This Short Course option would allow the cat class to "poach" juniors and also increase parent participation at club level.The shortened course option would also offer some of our less experienced Cat skippers a more enjoyable sailing/racing experience.

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Nothing new here Pete, the cat fleet has had a short course option in place for two seasons (triangle, windward return, back to to mark, then straigt to x mark and finish). In this way new sailors still get to finish just before or with the main fleet - that is how we got Hugh and John Koring up to speed. Another option I have been trying to get this off the ground for a couple of years is to run a short course SLOOP Only race directly after the junior race has finished about 11. However the new cat sailors are tied up with helping the juniors (Hugh and Jodie), so would need to rig before the juniors start. We would also have to convince the duty boat to stay on course for an hour until 12ish. This would give an option for juniors or interested parents to crew. I'm interested in how other clubs are introducing new sailors to club racing.

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Tony

I was having dinner with Tony Quoll the other night and Tony was telling me that Wallogoot run a course for new sailors in January when things are quiet after nationals etc. This works really well for his club and I think if the small cats use a couple of PS drops to do the same, no racing on those days so full concentration on teaching then we might get a few more into the club.

Pete, know where I can get my hands on a really good windrush if your hunt for a mari doesn't deliver

Paul

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Yep, the past few years we've promoted at Try Sailing Day, with 50-80 people attending each year. The keenest 10-20 of those join the club and attend our 2-day sailing school. From that we get maybe a couple of regular new sailors.

Typically this attracts families with kids, who learn to sail together. Unfortunately not many are continuing to sail.

New recruits that have stayed are adults who have sailed before, who have had their interest rekindled.

At the moment we're talking with a local hostel, that runs activities for visiting school groups. We hope to get a RIB rescue boat and a couple more Pacers, to facilitate groups of 12 kids on sail boats, supervised by a couple of sailing instructors on the powerboat. Some grant funding needed to pull this off, but it's quite possible.

If we can acquire this infrastructure and help these sailing camps happen, then that opens the door for a junior sailing program. It's the big missing piece of our recruitment puzzle.

Boosting 14' cats here is all about getting the existing local boats to attend more often. For my part I've fixed up some old boats and provided tuition. However, I'm not sure that being the smartarse who laps them and tells them what they were doing wrong was that encouraging. You've just got to hope the thrill of going fast overpowers the personality stuff.

I also take people for joy rides on the PT whenever I can, and with the WLBC we take 70 school kids for joyrides on boats including Windrush and Maricat every December.

The basic philosophy is: Give em a taste of what it's like, give an opportunity to get involved, and try to help them succeed at it.

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For what it's worth, I highly recommend the Yachting Australia Discover Sailing days? Rivoli Bay sailing club (400km from Adelaide) held 4 this last season and had great results with return kids, they hosted 4 local (country) schools within 50km radius. About 10 kids in each group going out on 2 pacers a Tazar and 2 cats during school time. Ended up signing up 8 kids to a 4 weekend learn to sail which they all attended with extra local kids. It made the club buzz to have so many new people around and really keen kids.

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Pretty similar at all clubs when introducing new members.

We have 2 sets of Jnrs,1 that have parents that sail and the other families who are totally new to the sport.

Each year we always have a couple of new families that enjoy sailing but the technical aspect of rigging boats can be a bit daunting for these new families ( like ours :) )

The beauty of the Cats is simplicity ie: anybody can have 30 min lesson then go hire a Cat.

It is these interested new families that will benefit buying a cat rather than a family MG14 etc and can be out on the water in quick time with their kids.

The other attractions to the Cat class is the actual members.We have the most females in the club and plenty of Jnr females will feel more comfortable sailing in this class.

The 14ft Cat Short Course should be the Clubs fun class for all newbies to have a go,a ragtag fleet of 14ft whatevers all having fun..some of the more experienced Sloop sailors could grab a Jnr and have a cpl of races on short course just to boost interest and get the Jnrs into the class.

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Pete

The small cat sailors have discussed racing with the juniors in the morning for short course racing for newer sailors, it just needs to get off the ground. Using the junior course we don't need additional course setting or starters etc.

I'm more than happy to jump on a newbies boat as instructor etc.

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Yeah count me in.

Zoe will be there in mornings with her Jnr crew (????) when she gets one.

I dont mind taking Jnrs or any interested parents out for a morning sail on Jnr course.

Looking at going out this long weekend on Zoes Mari with my new crew,,if you have any spare time Tony you are more than welcome to join us and share a few tips .Will probably launch at OF Ski Park over this side of lake.Hoping to get out on all 3 days of long W/E.

Get the Windy out Paul and dust it off,anytime suits you will suit us.Just keen to get this cat in the water before winter really sets in.

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This year, just before the CHS, we had a series of short races, just windward/return through the finish line. Was a very good idea for everyone including the juniors. I think we did six of these, then did one standard long course.

Through the efforts of Dacry et al we've had a few new juniors at Manno this year. Quite alarming really, one of the younger types, on a Glider (11 or 12ft cats with wing masts and square top sails) - you'd catch up with him (we had a staggered start) then he'd switch from daydream mode to racing mode and just shoot off!

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This year, just before the CHS, we had a series of short races, just windward/return through the finish line. Was a very good idea for everyone including the juniors. I think we did six of these, then did one standard long course.

Through the efforts of Dacry et al we've had a few new juniors at Manno this year. Quite alarming really, one of the younger types, on a Glider (11 or 12ft cats with wing masts and square top sails) - you'd catch up with him (we had a staggered start) then he'd switch from daydream mode to racing mode and just shoot off!

Especially when you consider that young Bailey was about 10years old, and was also inthe learn to sail class with my daughter in the mornings.

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