Silvers and Classics – A Fair Crack of the Whip?….

I was just reading the blog and want to add my thoughts to your question regarding Classics and Silvers.

I own one of each and my opinion is that we are treated as the poor relation and this shows in that any reports and photographs of the Silvers and Classics are tagged on the end almost as an after thought, a token gesture if you will. It’s about time we had the same support and coverage as the open fleet ,after all we make up a large proportion of the fleet and we pay our fees the same as anyone else. It goes to show when they are wanting separate venues for competitions such as the nationals etc which is disgraceful!

To me it is all geared around the new boats and the top flight people instead of the class as a whole. We get little in return for our membership fees (a half hearted email newsletter instead of the good old printed version with some decent content) So unless you are travelling to all these events what are we actually getting in return for your money? Not everyone can travel to all these events especially with the price of  fuel as it is (it would be cheaper to fill my tank with 12 year old single malt) so what is BIFFA doing for the club sailor?

Jordan Aspin

2 thoughts on “Silvers and Classics – A Fair Crack of the Whip?….

  1. Jordan raises some very good points here which are representative of what a lot of silver/classic owners will be thinking. Let me comment on the central items – (i) silver/classics are treated as an afterthought (ii) support and coverage is lacking (iii) pay the same fees as everyone else (iv) communications can be improved.

    On items (i) and (ii), we have come to simply helping individuals who bring requests forward and have become, rightly or wrongly, less focussed on the Silver/Classic community as a whole. The situation has become tricky in that because BIFFA has not focussed on a silver/classic (or club fleet) proposition as much as is now wanted, some members have started to drift away from the Association. These days, the majority of BIFFA members are Open Fleet owners – that is where the bulk of today’s financial resources (iii) come from. I think we need to address that, but we must find some way to attract silver/classic members back as Association members – a new value proposition for them. As far as coverage is concerned (ii), … to be fair, the fleets need to up their game. Requests to publicise Open Meetings, Regattas and Race Reports have to originate from the Club Fleets. BIFFA does publish everything it gets, but on occasion it can be very difficult to get Club Fleets to stand up to their side of the bargain – especially as regards Race Reports.

    Our next Association initiative (i) is going to be that Charles Apthorp and Pip Hudson will look at doing a tuning fact-sheet for Silver/Classic owners. It will be put in the members area of the website. We hear the discontent, but despite many requests from me, we actually receive very few proposals as to what silver/classic owners, and club fleets, would actually find useful in terms of support. I’m always listening, so please do send your thoughts in.

    Regarding our communications (iv), since the passing of the annual magazine we have tried to do more online – and just recently started experimenting with regular online newsletters (to members) and the blog (to everybody). We always need good materials for these and largely again the Club Fleets and Members should be the major source – but we are not getting much help as yet. By the way, nobody would mourn the passing of the Year Book more than me, but at current Association membership numbers it is just not the most economic way to communicate. Perhaps if more owners joined their association it would become viable again.

    Please keep your ideas coming in – especially how best to support Club Fleets, whether the the ideas be Silver/Classic or Open Fleet….

    Sue Bannister
    BIFFA President

  2. Hi Sue
    Some good points made in your reply. I think one of the most effective ways of communication and making the Silver and Classic fleets feel more involved is to use the BIFFA website more. There is so much potential for the website which is woefully under used and yet can communicate with all of the fleet and newcomers in the most effective and cost effective ways possible. There needs to be more ‘flesh’ to the bones of the website and here are a few thoughts from the top of my head;
    A promotional video placed on YouTube and the main website showing exciting/dramatic Fifteen sailing to entice newcomers into the class showing new and classics and silvers racing. If you look at the SAP 505 worlds on YouTube they have some very professional videos with great sailing.
    A better gallery with photos submitted by members and the association drawing on the long history and development of the class (after all you can’t buy pedigree and history) selling the class in a few photos is worth a thousand words.
    A Tuitional videos section from the top sailors of each division sharing tips. This would be only available to paid up members via the log in.
    A better forum that allows photos to be posted to help other members with problems and advice.
    An online clinic once a month asking the top crews for advice and tips, again only available through subscription.

    Just a few quick thoughts, what do you think?


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