We are in a world where everything seems to be bigger, better, more of this, more of that. Event planners need to avoid the “same old, same old” if they want to maintain, and hopefully grow, their regatta or other event. Here are a few ideas for a successful activity that you might try in your area. We welcome feedback on what you might have tried or hear of that works.
Charity regattas are growing in frequency and scope. We use the term “regatta” loosely, because it might involve racing in some format, or a rally, or just an on-water gathering of sorts. There is always a party afterward where there are raffles, basket donations, etc. The idea is to combine two key elements, having fun while raising money for a good cause. Who doesn’t like either of those? Typical causes include leukemia, cancer, hospice or a favorite in your area. The effort is well worth it. Alumni Regatta: If your club or sailing organization has a youth sailing program this can be a fun event, bringing back those who have gone through the program over the years for some sailing in the boats they first learned on, and of course a party and gathering afterward. It turns into a multi-generational thing, with parents sailing with their kids or old friends. You can even tack on a fundraiser for the program if you like. Women’s and Youth Events: We notice with interest that the Erie (PA) Yacht Club holds two races that don’t seem to be as common elsewhere. These are held in PHRF-type keel boats, the kind that women and kids usually only take part in as the crew for mostly male adults. The women’s event is for all-women crews, and the youth event is for all youth crews. If there is an adult or man on board, he/she is only there as a safety measure, not to take part in the sailing. Olcott (NY) Yacht Club has also had women-only weeknight racing for years. Social Sailing: At our home club of Youngstown (NY) Yacht Club, we have a program on Thursday nights where boat owners take non-owners out for a couple of hours for an evening sail to expose them to what sailing is like. We aim this at members who belong for social reasons, and prospective members who might like to experience the lifestyle. Some have given up their own boat due to age or health reasons but would still like to get out on the water occasionally. There is no commitment, just a way for those without a boat of their own to share the experience. People make new friends this way, and it adds value to club membership. We have personally seen several guests turn into boat owners after exposure to what sailing is like, in this fashion, on a more comfortable cruising keel boat.