Prolific SA Forum poster Gouvernail nails it here…
My (US Sailing) take comes from a rarely discussed perspective. Organizing authorities are each created for the same reason.
We create a fleet to help manage our local group and improve our games.
We create a sailing club to help manage our games, and have a storage and launching place. …
We create regional sailing associations to help coordinate the regional games and make our sailing better
We create National and continental and world associations to better the chances of having fun playing over larger and larger areas. Then time passes
The yacht club boards of directors have facilities to manage, properties to maintain, staff to manage,
…. At some point, the club becomes an entity with restaurants, hotel rooms, a marina, repair shops, a convention room, a wedding chapel, a chandlery, and…. Oh yeah… we also have members who hold their sailboat races
Many years ago, while it was still NAYRU, the entity now known as USSailing started changing from a tool for managing our games into a business with employees and assets of its own. The “success” of the entity became more about its financial health and the welfare of its employees and less about making North American sailboat racing a wonderful, accessible, affordable, fun, respected, and enduring game for everyone who might be involved. Nobody did bad stuff. It just happened.
As there is a huge pot of gold available from the wallets of those who worship the Olympics, and USSailing management needs money to make itself prosper, the focus of the self-preserving organization has turned almost entirely away from the mission of making sailing great for the 99% who are not involved in the quadrennial event.
USSailing is not about NAYRU’s North American sailboat racing anymore. (Yes. I know CYA split off decades ago). USSailing is about gathering Olympic funds to run itself and it does a littie bit of charitable work for the rest of sailboat racing.
Where are we??
Sailboat racing in the USA really doesn’t have a management group whose task is to make sailboat racing all over the USA work better. We do have USSailing holding the title to that position and sailors who send funds to USSailing imagine USSailing is actually pushing that role.
How many of us pay our USSailing dues “because it is the right thing to do.?” I maintain it isn’t anymore. We should probably start up an association to play the role most of us assume USSailing is playing.
Twenty-four years ago I took over as NA Laser Secretary and ran that Association as a tool that worked to make Laser sailing happen. In three short years, we doubled paid membership, Tripled new boat sales, tripled our allotment of world championship berths, and.. got the USA back on the Olympic Medal stand.
After I left, the Laser class returned to being a business whose purpose was to provide jobs for its staff….. and tries to control the game. That transition, as described above with sailing clubs, is a natural occurrence that must be constantly monitored and blocked.
The do it / don’t do it question: Does it help the racing?? More here.