Dan Hearn Proposal - Grow through youth involvement

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Ken Smith:

Proposal Respectfully Submitted by Daniel Hearn (US 5352)
to the IDNIYRA—North America

April 10, 2007

The Twenty-O-Eight Initiative

The Cold Reality

Ice sailing in the United States/North America has been in a slow rate of decline for many years. It could easily be argued that our sport is in a state of crisis. In spite of the fact that we have sailors actively racing in their 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s, we have more sailors retiring than we have youth sailors coming in. There is no shortage of challenges to getting youth back into ice sailing. Some of them we can affect, others we can’t. This proposal is an aggressive effort to address our most pressing need:

Getting youth exposed to ice sailing and making it easy for them to give it a try.

We need to fill our “trial funnel” with lots of kids, with the full knowledge that precious few will fall out the bottom and stick with it for a lifetime. The DN has become too fast and too expensive to be the youth development class for ice sailing. The Ice Opti is the perfect boat for many reasons, most notably, because the boat is relatively inexpensive and because its performance is a good match for novice skill levels.

The Vision

Twenty new Ice Optis on the ice in North America in 2008.

How Do We Do It?

We “re-invest” in our sport now, before it’s too late. We’ve got more than $35,000 in our treasury. What better use for some of those funds than to reinvest it back into our sport?

    * We spend $10,000 out of the treasury to build 20 new Ice Optis before the next sailing season.
    * We call on ice sailors across the United States/North America to donate their time, talent and resources to help us stick to our modest $500/boat cost.
          o This is more reachable than many may think. A proposal has already been secured from Stan Macur in Poland who would build fiberglass hulls for us at a cost of about $350 each. And Don Williams, from our Central Region, is currently building a wood Ice Opti for the specific purpose of determining the feasibility of creating our own mold here in the states.
          o Chris Teal, also from the Central Region, has offered to build inexpensive runners comparable to a set brought back from the Junior Worlds.
          o Many sailors from the West and Central Regions have offered to provide assistance to make this happen. And I am certain that with the right leadership, sailors from the Eastern Region would pitch in as well.
    * We line up designated representatives in each Region to coordinate efforts within their region.
    * We create a dedicated website to document progress taking place across the country. We post pictures and stories on a regular basis. We have prominent links on IDNIYRA.org and the Bulletin Board to maintain a very high profile for the initiative. And we secure links on other iceboating club sites across the U.S. and Canada.
    * On the website we provide a detailed accounting of how the funds are being spent. And we use this same area as a “public” place to thank businesses and individuals for their donations to the effort.
    * We use these boats to support the North American Junior Championships that will take place for the first time in 2008.

What Do We Do With the Boats?

We give them free to ice sailing clubs across the United States/Canada. All we ask is that they use the boat(s) to allow kids to give the sport a try under their tight supervision. In some clubs it could be “learn to ice sail” type situations. For others it could be Juniors who are a bit more committed and will sail the boat(s) regularly for an entire season. (If practical, perhaps we ask clubs or individuals who are able, to make a donation back to the IDNIYRA Junior Program in exchange for their use of the boats). The hope is that this exposure will motivate the Junior Sailors’ families to build or buy their own boats, either Ice Optis or DNs and continue on in the sport in bigger and better ways.

How Should We Think About This Proposal?

There’s always the option of doing nothing and allowing our sport to die a slow and certain death. But I don’t like the sound of that, do you? I’d like to see us reach higher than we ever thought possible, and surprise even ourselves when we get there.

In the best case scenario, we’ll be wildly successful bringing many new Juniors into ice sailing. Our domestic ice sailing future will look brighter than ever. And in time we eventually challenge international powers such as Poland, Estonia, Sweden and Germany, even at the Junior level.

In the worst case scenario, we end up with 20 boats around the country not getting as much use as we hoped, as quickly as we hoped. But to me that’s not failure, it’s just slower progress. And that would be progress back in the right direction!


To meet this goal, it’s important to get moving right away. I understand this is aggressive and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know what the official protocol is for getting this approved. What I do know, is that it is time for action and that every effort needs to be made to expedite a decision. (Note: If we are to take advantage of the generous offer from Stan Macur in Poland, he would need a decision before summer).

Please contact me at any time to discuss this proposal. Best to reach me on my cell at 608-692-4007. Or e-mail at danielhearn@tds.net.

Ken Smith:
I like Mark's suggestion.  While $10k may be a little much for the first year, the thought is a good one.
I would like to see the "business model."  Seems like there should be some initial outlay by the junior, even if it is not the whole cost.  But the class and regions and clubs can each sponsor a boat and defray the initial outlay.
Also what if we just bumped up registration fees by $10 at the continental regatta?  That would easily generate $1000 a year.  So that boat would read "IDNIYRA North Americans 2008" and every participant would be involved in those 2 boats.
But better to start out small and establish a model that works, then it will be easy to build on.
David Zoll

Ken Smith:

Please consider that Stan's mold and most of the US
Optis to date do not consider the sitting posture of
the sailors, and the side boards are, IMHO too low.
Nothing worse than having a spin-out and getting the
poor pilot ejected, dejected, and discouraged.  Make
the sideboards at the hip area to the seat back at
least six inches high or more to reduce this

Also, the Opti is a great fun-sailing boat not only for
kids, but for novices, wives, girl friends, race
committee transport, reporters etc., if the cockpit is
wide enough for a typical lard butt American, like me.

If you are building one, my suggestion based on experience
is to make them taller at the aft part of the side boards and
wider in the hip area.  Freed from the shapes reqired by the
DN one-design rules, an s-shaped plan-view for the side boards
makes it possible to do this in the reduced length of the boat.
     |  |
    /    \
|||      |||| 
One last thought, I am certain the Annual Argument
included a promise from Leon LeBeau to make a $1000
dollar donation for just such a purpose as Dan

Ken Smith

Scott Brown:
I applaud Dan's energies, but this is not a good idea.

The purpose of our association, as is any other, is to organize the ACTIVITY.  When we start messing with ASSETS and OWNERSHIP we're opening up Pandora's box in many ways.

$500 bucks (less re-sale) is not too much for somebody to spring for a hull.  I'd be glad to volunteer my time to anyone in the Twin Cities to build a hull or two, but bring your checkbook.

US 5298

Daniel Hearn:
When it comes to youth development of our sport, we're a class organization with "no skin in the game."  Is $10,000 a big commitment? You bet, and that's exactly what makes it good.  At the annual meeting in Oshkosh 2 years ago the topic of Junior Ice Sailing in the US got a bit of air time.  How much progress have we made since then? Not much....no skin in the game.  Without a financial commitment, the class will continue to be rather apathetic toward addressing this very pressing need. 
If it makes people feel better, then let's look at this investment as seed money.  Maybe we even sell the boats to clubs and/or families at our cost, so it's not really affecting the association's ASSETS at all.  Scott is right, the association should promote ACTIVITY.  But there is no activity without boats.  Without boats, there are no kids.  Without kids, there is no future. 
Let's rip Pandora's Box wide open!  To what great apocalypse would it really lead?

Daniel Hearn
US 5352

(Don't get the wrong impression.  Scott and I have a lot in common.  We grew up in the same home town and work in the same profession.  We are friends and will remain so.  We just happen to be on differenct ends of the spectrum on this issue.  Well, at least the "how to get it done" part). 


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