Monday, December 29, 2014

Life Lessons Learned from Sailing ~ by Mike Thoney

Life Lessons Learned from Sailing                             
by Mike Thoney

Those of us who sail have learned many things on a boat besides the names of various pieces of hardware, how to tie knots, and sailing terms used to communicate among crewmembers.  We might not always realize that we have learned and continue to learn beyond the physical boundaries of the boat, but we do, and whether you sail together as a family, or are part of a crew on a race boat, here are some of the beneficial things that happen aboard a boat which can translated to real life experiences and events.   These lessons are fitting for kids and adults alike, and are but a few of the reasons that sailing is a great way to spend leisure time.

Sailing teaches us to be prepared.  Because there are always some unknowns involved with being on the water, we learn to be ready to anticipate and deal with things that we might not experience at home, school, or work.  A prepared sailor will likely be more prepared for unexpected things that pop up in everyday life as well.

Sailing teaches teamwork.  If the crew on a sailboat doesn’t act as a team, the boat will not perform to its fullest potential.  Everyone on a sailboat must work together to make sailing easier, faster, and more fun for everyone aboard, which helps us to learn the importance of working well with others as we go through our daily routines.

Sailing teaches patience.  If you’ve ever been trying to reach a port that is in sight but the wind is dying or changing directions, you know and understand the importance of being patient and dealing with the situation.  Oftentimes in these situations, you learn alternative ways to play the cards you’ve been dealt.

Sailing teaches decision-making.  If you’re in charge of a boat, you will be making decisions for the good of the boat and the crew, and you have to learn to make the right ones so that you can get to your destination safely, quickly, and have fun doing it.  Your crew will appreciate the fact that you are making the right choices, especially in less than ideal sailing conditions.

Sailing teaches communication.  Once you make those decisions mentioned above, it is important to be able to make your crew understand what has to be done aboard the boat to make things work the way they should.  If you can do this on a boat, you can do it at school, at home, or on your job.

Sailing teaches confidence.  There is confidence in knowing that you have made the choices that make your boat move through the water in light wind, or to get you home safely when something breaks or when the weather turns ugly.  You will gain the confidence in knowing that your knowledge of your boat and its environment will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone aboard.

Sailing teaches responsibility.  You, as a captain of your boat, are responsible for the safety of the boat and all aboard, and you are the person to whom they will look when the time comes do anything related to the operation of your boat.

Sailing teaches honesty and the importance of playing by the rules.  There are certain ways to act and things that must be done aboard a sailboat, and even more so aboard a racing sailboat.  There are strict rules that must be followed to be successful, and you have to play by these rules, for there is honor involved, and no one who cheats in a race will ever have the respect of his or her competitors.  This is an important lesson that is learned early by junior sailors, and one that usually stays with them for life.

Sailing teaches us how to deal with the unknown and to operate in a constantly changing environment.  The old saying – “You can’t fool Mother Nature” is especially true on the water, and sailing is a great way to learn that.  We cannot control weather, and we don’t always experience the weather that we would like, so a sailboat becomes an excellent classroom for learning how to handle unexpected situations and changes on the water.  This also flows over to everyday life, because if you learn to confidently and competently handle unknowns on the water, it becomes easier to handle unexpected changes that occur daily.

These are merely a few of the beneficial lessons to gain from our experiences aboard a sailboat, and there are certainly many more if we think about it a bit.  All the more reasons to learn to sail, get aboard a sailboat and start enjoying a lifestyle that is not only fun, but can enrich the lives of your entire family!

To learn more about Mike Thoney.

For More Information Ask Karma Yacht Sales by email  or call 1-773-254-0200

Monday, December 1, 2014

Three reasons why selecting Bermuda for the America's cup is a bad decision for the sport of sailing.

Three reasons why selecting Bermuda for the America's cup is a bad decision for the sport of sailing. 

Written by: Lou Sandoval

In the next 24 hours, if the 'tea leaves' are correct, we will hear an announcement that the 2017 America's Cup will be held in Bermuda.  If there was ever a clearer lead-in, granting the AC World Series event for 2015 to Bermuda is a clear indicator that San Diego is most likely not in the running. 

Many outside the sport might shrug this off as something you would expect.  Sailing after all has the perception of being a sport of the rich and famous.   A past-time reserved with those who 'have the means'.   

As an industry we don't do much to dispel those perceptions.   Certain aspects of the past time benefit from enhancing the perception, highlighting the high cost of participation and the luxury or exclusive aspects limited for the wealthy.  Moving the venue to Bermuda, while a tax benefit for the current winner, does serve to place some obstacles that further the outreach that the marine industry has been working on over the past five years through initiatives at US Sailing and the Recreational Boating Leadership Council. I'm sure there are some well thought out and valid economic reasons for why Bermuda was selected.  Enclosed is my take on how these barriers might be bad for the growth of the sport overall. 

1. Exclusivity: Placing the sport in a remote location, means that only those that follow the sport will watch it on web relay and tracker.   While the 34th AC revolutionized this via the wizardry of Stan Honey, it presents a very one-dimensional appeal to the sport.

2.  "Too rich for my blood": The remote location of Bermuda furthers the perception that you have to be someone special (albeit wealthy) to travel to participate and watch the sport.  A rich man's playground if you may.   After the last AC, I was amazed at the number of 'non- sailors' who got caught up in the final races.  People in "car washes" recognized Team Oracle gear.  Comments on how picturesque the San Francisco backdrop was for the race were echoed by many 'non-traditional' fans. 

3.  "Sailing is too god-like":  The distance of a remote island and accompanying perception seek to further alienate the engagement of a younger diverse generation. 

The problem with that "island" approach is that it is generational and very limiting as it only seeks to appeal to those already in the sport.   You see as the 76.4 Million baby boomers (born 1946 -1964) edge towards retirement at a rate of 10,000 per day they leave a participation void.   Behind them the engagement and participation rates for the sport of sailing among the over 50 million Generation X (Born 1965-1980) and over 56 Million Millennials (Born 1980-2000) toils in the single digits for historically mainstream participants.    The National Marine Manufacturer's Association reports overall participation rate for 18+ year olds at 26-32% .  This figure includes small craft and power boats as well.  

Coming off an exciting finish for the 34th America's Cup in 2013, the sport of sailing could have used this momentum to engage a whole new generation of American youth in the sport. 

I fully understand that there are far smarter people than I making these decisions and people with a far deeper legacy in the sport.   Coming from someone who was exposed to the sport in my youth , but learned to really love it in adulthood, I see the move to Bermuda as one that may undo the work that many of us have been engaged in - exposing a whole new younger bloodline to the sport of sailing.   Engaging a new generation of sailors who look and think much differently than those currently in the sport. 

This task seems to be a bit out of reach for now, far away on an island. 

Lou Sandoval is the Co-Owner/Co-Founder of Karma Yacht Sales, the Midwest dealer for Beneteau, C&C and Alerion boats.   He was exposed to sailing at Boy Scout Camp in his youth and after a 17 year career in the biomedical industry he took on the role of entrepreneur and business owner by purchasing the boat dealership based in Chicago.  He is active in the leadership of the sport of sailing and serves as an opinion leader in the marine industry serving on several boards that seek to expand the participation of sailing and boating. 

For More Information Ask Karma Yacht Sales by email  or call 1-773-254-0200