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BMPs-Fleet Captains

Fleet Captain Information

The very foundation of competitive sailboat competition in the free world rests on the shoulders of your humble Fleet Captain. Although typically recruited because they are the ones that DIDN'T show up for the meeting when volunteers were nominated, they are inevitably the person who most contributes to the health of your fleet. Fleet Captains encourage and help people to join the fleet, they keep old fogies from quitting the fleet, and they keep everyone in-between entertained and happy.

Fleet Captains often act as a liaison between the general club membership and the board of directors. Fleet Captains should feel free to solicit opinions from their fleet members and bring their ideas, concerns, or suggestions to a board member or the commodore.

Successful Fleet Captains realize that their most important responsibility is pressing the flesh and telling lies around the keg. Passing along gossip, congratulating good races, recruiting new owners, and playing matchmaker with captains and crew will always remain the most important duties of Fleet Captains. Successful Fleet Captains learn to delegate tasks to other members of the fleet, and they learn to leverage promotional tools within the club.

Below are several areas of responsibility and promotional opportunity that every Fleet Captain should consider.

A US Sailing has a document that helps to details tips for promoting your fleet. So check it out as well.

FLEETS@LISTS.WYC.ORG
The club has an e-mail list specifically intended for Fleet Captains. This is a primary method of communication and each Fleet Captain needs to be a member of this list if you want to be clued into what's going on. Contact the club communications director to insure you are subscribed to this list. http://www.wyc.org/list-server-reg.htm. This is a membership monitored list where only members of the list can send and receive messages. Several members of the WYC board, race officers, and the club manager are also on this list.

PROMOTION
If your fleet is not growing, it's dying. Sailing fleets do not continue and prosper on their own. The number one job of a Fleet Captain is the promotion of their fleet. WYC offers several tools to assist with these responsibilities.

  • Web Site: A fleet web site works as a central information center for your fleet. A simple site works just fine, you don't need fancy graphics and dancing bears. Our site is FrontPage based to make it easier to develop and edit a site. Some Fleet Captains delegate this responsibility to another fleet member. The club communications director is also available to help with the development of your site. Historically, the important elements of a fleet web site have included the following.

    • Home Page: An introductory page that describes your boat and the social character of your fleet. The Home Page should also include information to use the fleet e-mail list. This list is what is used for immediate communications.

    • Used Boats: The best way to grow your fleet, is to make it easy to buy a boat. Listing local boats and offering to advise potential fleet members is critical. This page only needs to be updated occasionally. Anyone truly interested should contact you for the most current listings...

    • Contacts: While normally on the homepage, listing the names of your Fleet Captain, measurer, and other helpful fleet members is helpful.

    • Links: People will visit your fleet page more often if you include links to web sites specific to your boat. The National Class web site, and stuff like that.

    • Historical Results: The web site is an ideal place to list historical fleet champions.

    • Don't: do anything that will require regular maintenance. Listing all your fleet members with their e-mail address' is a prime example of this. K.I.S.S. The Used Boat page will likely be your highest maintenance section, and once a month is usually fine with that.

  • E-Mail Lists: The WYC Fleet Mailing lists are an excellent way to communicate with your fleet members (and crew members). It's (mostly) self maintaining, it's easy to use, it's timely, and pretty much everyone now has e-mail. These e-mail lists are critical to making everyone in the fleet feel involved, they really do work at increasing fleet involvement.  It takes effort to get these e-mail lists running, and it's important for Fleet Captains to encourage fleet members to join and maintain their e-mail accounts. Typically, we begin by "auto-subscribing" as many fleet members as possible and allow the rest to subscribe themselves. More information about the e-mail lists can be found at http://www.wyc.org/list-server-reg.htm . You should speak with the Club Communications director regarding getting started with your fleet e-mail list.

  • Print Weathermark: Our beloved club manager will consider you one of his beloved if you simply provide him with a story about your fleet for each of the quarterly issues of the club Weathermark. The stories can be about a regatta a fleet members attended, what's new in your fleet, anything. Delegate writing these stories to your fleet members. Regular publication deadline dates are April 1, May 31, July 15, Sept 15.

  • Buy a Boat: The Sonar fleet has been very successful in purchasing boats and selling them to potential fleet members. This takes the Used Boat Page on a web site one step further. Contact a Sonar fleet member for more information on this.

CRANE
The new addition of a crane for our club members will require education over the next several years. Fleet Captains should complete the Crane Orientation class so that they can be a resource to their fleet members regarding use of the crane.

SCORING
Scoring is technically the responsibility of each Fleet Captain. In the old days - when the wind blew 30knts in every race and they always put the chute up - each Fleet Captain scored for their fleet. We now have a centralized web based scoring system which makes life much easier for most everyone. Please follow the following procedures to insure your fleet members are scored properly.

  • Insure all new fleet members are entered into the system BEFORE they begin racing. This is the fleet captain's responsibility. This is very important for getting new members off on the right foot. Note: they must have paid their dues with the club first.

  • The Fleet Captain is the liaison for all scoring errors between the competitor and the Scoring Chairperson.

  • Familiarize yourself with section five of the club policies regarding scoring. To reduce confusion (and possible cheating) all scoring issues for your fleet must be handled by the Fleet Captain who will, in-turn, communicate those changes to the scoring chairperson. People have lost race series because these policies were not followed, please familiarize yourself with these procedures.

  • Work with the Race Committee Chairperson to determine the types of courses your fleet would like.

TROPHIES
Without trophies, sailboat racing is just a bunch of boat cruising around the lake. The club provided some trophies to each fleet a number of years ago.

  • Club vs. Fleet Trophies: WYC once provided trophies to each fleet for the A, B, C, Champ, Burton Cup, Fall Regatta, Commodore Cup, and Frostbite regattas. These trophies belong the the club, although the fleet is responsible for their care. Other trophies are the responsibility of each fleet.

  • Keeping Track: Fleet Captains are expected to  keep track of trophies and insure they are not lost. They may be required to assist with cleaning, engraving, or repair of trophies if their fleet members drop the ball in this respect. And yes, they often drop the ball.

  • Banquet: Each Fleet Captain is expected to assist with or delegate a representative to assist with trophy set-up at the end-of-year banquet. Contact the Awards Board Member to coordinate.

SOCIAL EVENTS

  • Each fleet is traditionally responsible for one post series (A,B,C,G,T,M) social event. For example, the Capri 25 dock party at the end of the C-Series. The prestige and honor of your fleet rests on the quality of the party you throw.

  • It can't be stressed enough that social events are very important to the racing health of your fleet. Meetings, parties, regattas, seminars, non-sailing events all work. The WYC Club House is available free for fleet events, but you must schedule the event with Steve Bren and observe club rules. See the Club Policies regarding use of the club house.

CLUB COORDINATION
Wayzata Yacht Club is a volunteer based operation. Our Fleet Captains often fill a critical roll of rounding up volunteers for club events such as ADA or Youth Regattas, the Fall Banquet, Clean-Up Day and other events. Our humble club manager often looks to the fleet captains for support in coordinating the various club operations.

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