Topic : The advertising debate... again!

Running the risk of going over old ground and bring up a controversial topic, I thought I'd try to revive the debate over Advertising within the class. A number of years ago I raised the issue of getting the Sponsorship Category changed from C to B at the AGM, with what seemed a very positive response. The rule change would mean that sponsors would be permitted to display logos in a strictly controlled way, as dictated by the Class Association. 

In my view this would go a long way to helping make the class more affordable for many, and not only the elite. SB3's are a good example of how crews have used the ruling to get financial help from businesses they are involved in to help with costs.

There is a downside to such a ruling, in that aesthetics would be impacted. But with tight regulation on the exact location logos can be displayed, in my view the adverse impacts would be minimal.

Following the AGM a couple of years ago, there seems to have been little said on the matter. Maybe in the lead up to this years AGM its time to raise the issue once more to try to get the sceptics to take note…?

Those in favour say Aye…

Posted: 26/06/2006 16:04:25
By: The controversial Blakioo!
Advertising will simply widen the gap between the elite and club sailors and open the door for professionals and Mercenaries alike

I would say definitely no...

Posted: 26/06/2006 16:33:42
By: Doom Monger
And I think give a tax break (I'm not a tax accountant so I could be very wrong) to self employed and people who run their own businesses that PAYE sailors can't get.

Posted: 26/06/2006 17:07:16
By: Alan F
Category C is "unrestricted" advertising. Category A is the "no additional advertising" one.

There is no such thing as Category B.

Posted: 26/06/2006 17:17:18
By: super-surfer
AYE Simon. I reckon sponsorship is a good thing. I don't sail Merlins anymore because I can't afford it. 

But I have managed to sail a whole load of other really awesome boats In some amazing locations because I was able to blag a sponsor.

The guys that are just plain good at sailing will always win and there's no getting passed that. Yes new kit helps - but without mentioning any names, there are plenty of people sailing around the middle of the fleet with all the flash kit but it doesn't make them any better. Why not open the door to talented "skint" sailors to come through??

Posted: 26/06/2006 17:18:58
By: Lucy
I have to agree to that. I think the sponsor should look very hard for young sailing talent and then fund lots of new sails etc. For instance if they see a 19 year old in a 6 year old boat get 2nd place at a Silver Tiller, they should inundating them with offers. All up for that.

Posted: 26/06/2006 17:24:14
By: Alan F
I wish sponsorship was as easy to obtain as Mr B makes it sound, I have been trying to secure sponsorship for the National Championships at Tenby this year, and even with guaranteed national press coverage,regular name checks during the season, photo oportunities, sponsors name written large on the Dinghy Show stand etc, etc, it has been impossible to attract a sponsor, so good luck to any one sailor who can give a sponsor better value for money (all we are looking for is the equiv of a suit of sails for all the above) 
I think that in principle a good idea in practice not worth the effort.

Posted: 26/06/2006 17:40:11
By: Desparately seeking .......
Unfortunately Alan, I think you're the nominated title sponsor for that campaign...  You should be pleased with the return you're getting on your investment!

Posted: 26/06/2006 17:40:15
By: deepy
Aye! I am with the young one here.

3 reasons:
1. Sponsorship for main events - champs etc. We could really offer sponsors good coverage if their logos were allowed on sails or hull, it is possible to limit the area allowed for advertising/sponsorship but it not possible to pick and choose events. The class has to become category C - with whatever restrictions of area that we want to put on it. Maybe one area for sponsors logos and another for personal sponsorship?
2. I think the graphics on modern dinghies and yachts look good. Obviously it depends on the graphic designers but generally I think our class would give a much more modern and exciting image to the rest of the sailing world.
3. It would help young sailors to be able to afford to come and race in our class.

I don’t think it would make a radical difference – it is very unlikely that some multinational company will throw thousands of pounds at trying to win the Merlin Champs but some youngsters might be able to get discounted sails or other kit and some company might well be persuaded to throw a few thousand into sponsoring a championships

Posted: 26/06/2006 18:00:20
By: Pat Blakio
I am not sure, but I suspect that there is no open company cheque book for the self employed to self sponsor.  Cant think that my business would be able to justify sponsoring sailing.  Little synergy.  

Any professional views?

Posted: 26/06/2006 18:39:59
By: zulu
im all for sponsorship. it will give the good sailors with old kit a chance to be competitive. as lucy said, the good people will always do well, but only if they can have the same quality of sails, kit etc as the people who have the money to fund a campaign for themselves.

Posted: 26/06/2006 20:09:06
By: rach w
A big LOUD   AYE!!!
I agree with Pat. It would give the class a lot more scope to encourage sponsorship of events which can only make the event better for those taking part and may reduce entry costs etc for those taking part.
On the personal sponsorship front I really can't see it would make much difference. Desparately seeking has said it's very difficult to get sponsorship on a professional basis (ie giving a sponsor value for money) so unless you're young and very talented you are always going to struggle to attract it. The top guys (and girls) in the fleet do it because it's a challenge and the Merlin is where they see the greatest challenge. Having sponsorship or not isn't going to make a difference there. Which leaves the rest of us and I just don't see how a bit of business funded sailing will make a significant difference...

Posted: 26/06/2006 20:31:03
By: Blackie
And that reminds me, thanks very much for for sponsoring Mark's new Tacktick, which obviously gave him an edge at Weymouth.   

(Only joking Tony, you'd better e-mail me with the bill for all the stuff)

Posted: 26/06/2006 20:58:11
By: Alan F

Posted: 26/06/2006 21:00:04
By: Alan F
Can the self-employed get tax relief when spending on advertising (but secretly be just funding their own boat) ?

Posted: 27/06/2006 09:34:40
By: Mags
'wholly and exclusively incurred in the course of their trade , profession......

Posted: 27/06/2006 10:13:50
By: G Brown
Good point Mags, for years some of the biggest spenders in yachting generally have been those who own their own firms! I name no names, point no fingers, people may do what they like with their profits as long as the tax man approves, assuming he knows, it will be ever thus. It is worth noting that these big spenders have not always by any means been the winners.
As to Blakioo's comments about aesthetics I think this rather went out with Kevlar/Carbon sails rather than white with the very occasional Red or Blue.
I hore these regatta labels if I wanted to sail a J B Morgan, or Coors Beer, no dount I could find such a class! All for a few free drinks or a fiver off the entry?

Posted: 27/06/2006 10:33:09
By: Artiste
As a serial and regular capsizer I am looking for a good set of waterproof logos to stick underneath the hull hopefully sponsored by a buoyancy bag manufacturer!!  As Gordon Brown has pledged support for Trident submarines I am sure he will overlook my claiming this against tax.

Posted: 27/06/2006 10:34:24
By: Best place for logo
He's gotta get the money from somewhere!

Posted: 27/06/2006 10:37:40
By: Tax man
Sarbannes Oxley will even for small firms tighten this up, is for instance a Boat Builder/Sailmaker permitted to get a total free benefit from the use of his products or only a portion thereof? Time will tell, wait for the first test case. It might be time to tighten up the definition of amateur/professional or revise the permitted categories under the existing rules before it is too late?

Posted: 27/06/2006 10:57:07
By: Tax man
Will Sarbannes Oxley have an effect in the UK? Sarbannes Oxley is an american law, not a British one.

Posted: 27/06/2006 11:05:41
By: Rich
As one of the class most unlikely to attract a sponsor I'm entirely happy with the concept of sponsorship.  The top boats in the fleet all compete with new sails, 1st class boat preparation etc and it makes a real difference.  If young, skint and talented sailors can use this to join our class it will not change the enjoyment I get from my sailing - whether I am 20th or 24th at an open meeting makes no odds and the more the merrier.

Apropos of tax and the self-employed the best one I heard was about a boat called "sundry expenses" or such - so every time a spinny was needed it went on the accounts under sundry expenses and was set against tax. As apparently Mr Brown is getting more interested in what GP's stick in their expense accounts I doubt I could get away with renaming Heaven Sent "Medical Subscriptions", but it's a thought

Posted: 27/06/2006 11:37:39
By: Andrew M
I suspect there are already several boats that are aptly named to represent their business which can be set off as advertising?

Posted: 27/06/2006 11:38:51
By: Richard Battey
ps. I dont see what the big issue with advertising id. Plenty of other classes do with great success for the younger generation.

Posted: 27/06/2006 11:41:35
By: Richard Battey
Firstly is 'Heaven Sent' appropriate advertising for a doctor?

Secondly, can't you prescribe yourself a new Winder for stress relief, and then go collect one from the chemist for £6.50?

Posted: 27/06/2006 12:47:43
By: Alan F
Lots of doctors seem to be prescribing 'going travelling' for anyone stressed these days (well, 3 of my friends were told that, and did so). Can we not encourage the NHS to recognise the calming effect of a good weeks sailing too - Salcombe on prescription perhaps?

Posted: 27/06/2006 13:23:13
By: Mags
Best place for a logo, the best one I've ever come across was 

Whoops Scotties

Written on the bottom just above the keel band.

Posted: 27/06/2006 13:29:27
By: ...
A sort of "Get my beam up Scotty?"

Posted: 27/06/2006 13:48:08
By: Best place for logo
The trouble is logos are plain ugly, also and think about this; with sponsorship goes responsibility so getting "blattered" with the cash freed up by your sponsor, or getting thrown out of pubs is contra indicated. Rather like farmers I've never met a poor doctor nor except the students and newly qualified one who has a problem getting time off!
So no logos,nor none of those monotonous identical VW Spinnakers, how much cash would giving up a pint a day free up - 1/3rd of the way to a new suit of sails! It's a matter of sacrifice for your sport!

Posted: 27/06/2006 15:40:24
By: Artiste
US law; Sarbanes Oxley may be; but it's becoming the practice here in one form or another,the compliance officer is with us all; see today's rulings in Brussels, not even the Yurrupeans are daring to gain say the might of the US Authorities more's the pity I'd add.

Posted: 27/06/2006 15:44:32
By: Tax Man
I vaguely remember something about the cost of compaigning the Silver Tiller/Grand Slam being around £10000 (upgrading gear annually, travel costs and entry fees), so if people can find a company that wishes to help support these costs then the better. This would hopefully enable more people to be able to compete at more opens. It is especially likely to encourage good young sailors to own and travel with a Merlin Rocket.

I don't see that a bit of sponsorship would ruin the class. Do the sailmakers racing in Merlins detract from our sailing?

But the advertising should not be allow to be too over the top.

Posted: 27/06/2006 16:06:13
By: Show me the money!
£!0,000 pa annum would seem fair,(From taxed income.) which grossing up means that you have to earn in the region of £16,000.00 before tax to campaign at the top of th class, But how much does a Manchester United Season ticket cost with all the travelling too? It also seems to pale into insignificance when one hears the fancy figures quoted by our fans out in Germany at the moment, and they haven't added in the legal bills yet!And the Silver Tiller is a lot more fun.

Posted: 27/06/2006 16:14:32
By: Tax Man
Some interesting points from both sides. 

From my Sb3 and 1720 experience, many people do manage to get financial help for their campaigns from businesses they are closely involved with, this is whether Big Gordo B approves or not! Some are in the trade and some aren't. What's clear is that this does help some people with their campaigns and is certainly not restricted to the elite.

On the other hand professionals and skilled youth can attract other sponsorship to help fund their campaigns, which despite what some are saying, can only be a good thing for the class...

One further point is on a comment Will Warren made. He pointed out that it’s currently very difficult to find a sponsor for the major events. But is this really surprising? At the moment we have absolutely nothing to offer any potential Sponsor by the way of coverage. The 1720’s find it hard enough and they are completely un-restricted. Murphy and Nye came to the rescue for this years champs and supplied every boat with a logo that had to be stuck to the bow. Each start looked spectacular with a fleet of M&Nye stickers standing out for each photo. Just what they were looking for, and in my view didn’t detract anything from the aesthetics of the boat.

We continue...

Posted: 27/06/2006 16:29:06
By: The controversial Blakioo!
A few points, having sailed in the 12s for years, and the B14 class in the past.

1. There are, as Simon says, a few people that can persuade their employer to chuck some money their way to help with the new sails etc. It comes from the advertising budget but is probably really attributed to the cost of keeping your employees feeling good. In the 12s this did help a few people when it was first permitted, it now helps nobody but means that there are big P&B or Musto stickers on two boats (obv including Tom Stewarts) and seem to bother nobody. In the B14 class the sums of money were minimal, in a brief survey over a beer we could not find a single boat that was getting enough to cover both the sails and the logos! We had the best sponsor, did not even realise, and had no logos.
2. The issue about attracting class or event level sponsorship should and can easily be kept seperate.
3. It cannot cost £10,000 to compete in the class for a year. A suit of sails, depreciation and a bit for insurance is about it. I struggle to get this past about £3,500-£4,000. You can add petrol, entry fees and beer, but only if you were planning to sit at home, eat toast and watch the TV all evening if you did not go. I live in the middle of London, and before we had kids it was cheaper to go sailing for the weekend than to go out for a meal with friends near home. Now we have kids we never go out so the equation has changed a bit!
4. I hate logos on the hull, and would hate them even more stuck over clinker. If you leave them on for more than two days then the sun fades the hull except under the sticker. You can ask me to stick logos on my sails if that is what the event sponsor wants.
5. I would vote in favour if it was genuniely believed that there were a few younger sailors with access to sponsorship who would be better able to compete. I think in return all those younger sailors benefiting from generous Mums & Dads should have 'Thanks Mum & Dad' as one of their logos.


Posted: 27/06/2006 16:46:30
By: Antony
Why all this emphasise on young sailors. Old sailors should be able to obtain sponsors as well. SAGA and BUPA come to mind. They could approach PHYLOSAN and ANDREWS LIVER SALTS. The sponsors are limitless for the aged. The over 50's are the new growing market! Arn't most of the top Merlin sailors in this catagory?
I am all for it.

Posted: 27/06/2006 17:37:23
By: The Judge
Will we atract more sailors to the class if we allow sponsorship? or will the numbers remain static. If there is no significant gain in numbers what is the point, I for one do not want to have my employers name written large in front of me while I am sailing at the weekend, and what a hassle for all those people who will be asked for professional advice foc when it becomes known what they do for a living. Its a fine line between work and play, and with sponsorship it could become amost invisible for some.

Posted: 27/06/2006 18:18:22
By: Ian
I really can't see it would make much difference. Just take a look at pictures of the various fleets who do allow sponsorship. There are very few logos on sails...
The majority of logos are found on hulls as a reminder of who sponsored an event somewhere. You can see a lot of gul on RS200s, Crewsaver on Phantoms, VW on SB3s...
Surely relaxation of sponsorship can only benefit the class and it's members.

Posted: 27/06/2006 19:15:25
By: Blackie
I think that this again raises some interesting points.  I think the most pertinent discussion is regarding event sponsorship.  As I recall, apart from Marchand Petit for Salcombe, we have never had a repeat sponsor for a national championships.  That surely shows that we aren't providing value for money in that respect.  However, I believe that aesthetics are important to the class, and that a large sticker over the bows would not look good, seconding Antony's point about clinker.  Maybe the foredeck is the place and could be combined with a large entry number to help with the black flag issues.  As for sails, well, OK I suppose.

As for the sponsoring of individuals, I would argue that this goes on to a large extent anyway, and I can't see what having individual logos all over the boats would help. The likes of Stu Bithell (I believe) get industry sponsorship, such as cheaper sails etc, and each of the sailmakers has one or two crews that get special deals - is this not sponsorship? In addition, many of us are indirectly sponsored by our helms, a situation I for one am extremely fortunate to have been in. By this I mean, we don't have to contribute to the running costs of the boat, this is sponsorship of young gifted sailors I reckon.

In addition, the likes of Matt Mee, Stu Bithell etc always seem to be able to borrow a competetive boat when they want to, and maybe wouldn't necessarily want to commit to one class which a sponsor would presumably wish. So, I'm not convinced, but I'll try and get some if it's passed - I fancy staying in hotel rooms!

Posted: 27/06/2006 19:24:03
By: deepy
Whilst I'm all for people getting sponsorship, I'm one of the traditionalists who would not want advertising plastered all over our boats.  I'm with Antony and Deepy in that stickers on clinker would look totally naf; and our class is a really lovely looking class which shouldn't be spoilt by different logos all over the sails.  One of the most stunning photos ever taken of the Merlin fleet is on the front cover of the Autumn/Winter 2005 edition of the mag, and it's stunning because of its simplicity and consistency. Let's not spoil that.

There are many other more enduring ways of showing off sponsors logos and that's on things such as cars, or clothing which can be worn in many other places, not just on the water. P&B are already very effective at this with team kit for their crews. Spray tops can be seen in photos and jackets can be worn anywhere. There's no problem with this under the current rules so if people want to get sponsorship now, there's nothing stopping them advertising their sponsor in these different ways.

Posted: 28/06/2006 08:47:57
By: Jude
I agree with Judith that large stickers on clinkers can look pretty naff, but using the lower portion of the main is pretty effective, we have quite a few boats at our club (Gurnard) so decked out adding a certain amount of colour to the racing. My boat has a rather large clothing company logo splashed all over it's main and it allways gets a few enquiring questions from passers by when rigging. So why not! 
The best question I recieved was from a club flag officer enquiring 'was it financially worthwhile & would I mind telling him just how much I got?....
After a few second pause I just announced 'Well no monies are involved I just sleep with the manager!! He turned and just walked off .
I should add she is my wife & the company is T&G. Barry.

Posted: 28/06/2006 09:06:12
By: Barry Watkin
I certainly agree that logos on the clinker hulls wouldn't work. Also from personal experience of using decals (self adhesive logos) I would not be surprised if they took away some of the paint work when removing them after an event etc.

However, as for suggesting that clothing, jackets etc are a viable alternative this just doesn't add up. They are not visible unless up-close and the cost benefit would make them a no go. The advantage of decal logos is they are extremely cheap to produce, particularly on a medium run of say 80 (i.e. for Salcombe Week or the Nationals). Personally I think that sponsorship is a great idea, particularly for events such as the Silver Tiller Series, Nationals and Salcombe Week. Decals on sails are they only viable and realistic way of doing this and I genuinely believe it would make the class look more professional as well as generating more coverage. A great example of how event sponsorship has worked successfully is the RS200 fleet. They are sponsored by Fat Face who provide decals for every event competitor to place on either side of their sail. In addition to this pictures of RS200’s can be found in Fat Face shops, on their website and in company literature. I can also confirm that they provide (generously) vouchers for prize givers at every event.

The other part of this is not how but who will sponsor us (for events). The class committee will target the right brands that actually have a relevance to the class and conversely if a brand doesn't have anything to do with Merlin Rockets then they would have little interest in sponsoring us in the first place. Hence Marchand Petit any number of the clothing brands would be great potential sponsors for Salcombe Week, local lettings companies would be the first target for Nationals venues and as for the Silver Tiller how about BP or Esso, with the number of miles we rack up driving up and down the country it's about time they gave something back.

Seriously though, I think we have to realise the limitations of allowing class sponsorship, on an individual basis I think it will make very little difference but as a class it has the potential to off set the cost of some of the larger events and generate additional PR, benefiting all of us, surely the more people that know about our great little boat the better.

Posted: 28/06/2006 10:11:59
By: Alex
I was one of the organisers of the RYA Team Championship in the 70s. While I was involved the competition was sponsored by a tobacco company and then by a drinks company. We promised them a high level of coverage both in national and local newspapers and relied on the competing clubs to send the race reports to the papers. It didn't really work because the coverage was patchy. The lesson I learned was that when negotiating with a sponsor you should never make promises you can't keep.

Posted: 28/06/2006 10:45:11
By: Robert Harris
Whether or not "Blakioo" is controversial depends on where you stand on this one.
Look at the diaspera that is the Merlin Fleet, it's quite hard with all this pleading poverty, and boasting about being "blattered" - and the need for sponsorship to then go to a Private Bank or Investment Manager for instance and say "look at all the potential clients we've got", and frankly it's hard to see future earning potential either, but one can hope! Likewise the days of column inches each day for the Merlin Rocket Class in the Daily National Press are long gone. Jude is right LOGOS ARE UGLY the Merlin Rocket is still a pretty boat. The Merlin Rocket Class is not alone with this problem in sailing nor is sailing alone in the world of sport.
So what would a sponsor get? - A day trip to a remote part of the country not noted for much but "Fresh air a limited fun"? Some coverage on a specialist web-site and coverage in a couple of National Yachting Mags (No pun intended to the hero of this Web Site!)The local brewery well if tey provide free beer to a group who'll be long gone for maybe even a few years they'll not even sell them some beer, the local Estate Agents may well have made some cash on letting fees, the best Regatta Sponsorship I have ever seen was a Petrol Voucher from Shell to every car towing a boat as it left. Guess where I still buy my fuel!
Perhaps since there was talk of how to make the Championships mor WAG friendly a local discount voucher from the local tradesmen even chandleries, (Local Rotary or Chamber of Commerce.) could be negotiated that might however have the unintended consequence that the WAGS spend so much that next year can't be afforded! Anyway thank God very few localities have the sort of shops that people would go to shop in except for essentials.
It's not just the Merlin Class but sailing except provincially is fast becoming either very professional or in the TOM Sopwith category that if you need to ask how much you can't afford it!I wonder is this what Jack Holt/Yachting World/The News Chronical/Ian Proctor/Robert Maxwell (Daily Mirror.) et al had in mind? I think not but it's hard to see a way foreward isn't it.

Posted: 28/06/2006 11:08:31
By: Artiste
I think to say logos look ugly is a bit of a sweeping statement with little thought behind it. 

Last year when we (the committee) obtained sponsorship of the Silver Tiller from Holts they were celebrating their anniversary and had produced a decal sticker advertising this. It was well designed and quite classy, the association with Holts as per your previous thread goes back to they very start of the classes development, hence to have had their decal/logo on the sails of every ST competitor would have been great. Also note that Holts are not sponsoring the ST this year because they thought the coverage although good did not promote their brand sufficiently.

Posted: 28/06/2006 12:00:59
By: Alex
I think this underlines the point - we need to give sponsors value for money, and then we will get more financial help with running of the big events.  I don't know what sums are involved, but we also have to analyse what the numbers are.  For instance my university rowing club is sponsored by a management consultancy, but in reality the sums they are giving are tiny(~1500) and in return the expect their logo embroidered on each and every piece of kit purchased.  In actuality, the extra cost of the embroidery added up across all members is on a par with the sum offered by the company. I reckon this makes it probably not worthwhile.

My point is that if we raise the profile of the advertisements within the class, and as a consequence raise the profile of the company in the media or the sailing community, we should ensure that we are getting commensurate reward. For example, a photo of merlin rockets at Salcombe with Marchand Petit across each and every sail, published in local newspapers, yachting press and on the front cover of their brochure has a greater onus placed upon them to deliver value for money to us too.

Posted: 28/06/2006 12:50:36
By: deepy
Alex is right - simply not enough universal appeal, truly very sad that the best 2 man sail boat in the world, should have this problem - though Holts have come a long way since Jack sat in his shed on the Putney Embankment with Beecher Moores know how, business acumen and cash behind him. They too have to live and the MR is a very small market for them.

Posted: 28/06/2006 12:52:16
By: Artiste
From reading the responses I summarise:

1) Many people are in favour of allowing event sponsorship to help with costs of running large Championships and Salcombe etc.

* This is good to see and I think it should definitely help secure future funding*

2) People are sceptical about how many people would actually secure individual sponsorship

* I think you'd be surprised how many boats are currently sponsored albeit informally, and most in the trade. Any companies associated with the class would jump at the chance of more coverage, and even if this leads to no direct financial injection, this type of coverage goes along way to raising the profile of the class nationally within the sailing community*

3) People are worried about the Aesthetics

* This is an important point... and that's the beauty of the ruling I propose. The Class Association would have complete power to restrict all sponsorship to certain areas of boats/sails. With that said, the areas should be large enough to provide fair coverage or there’d be no point, but it will go along way to keeping the class looking tidy and restricting the size/location of logos*

4) People are getting their own businesses to help their campaign?

* All I know is it’s happening. Many classes like the SB3’s are benefiting massively in this way. I certainly couldn’t get the Environment Agency to cough up anything, but others may have more luck…?*

Posted: 28/06/2006 17:23:54
By: The controversial Blakioo!
as i believe that if you want to use the ISAF rules - questionable as to whether the MR fleet often observe them anyway, but that is another thread.... - parts of your boat have already been 'sold' by ISAF on your behalf regardless of whatever the Class itself chooses.  

This is Rule 79 in the Racing Rules of sailing which then refers the reader to ISAF regulation 20. So the current situation is that an event organiser (who could for example be required to do this by the RYA) could make you put a sticker on the bow of your boat in order to compete.

Therefore dont worry about aesthetics as the Class does not have 100% control anyway, it only has 100% control over the bits that ISAF/RYA has allowed the Class to have control over.

here is a link to regulation 20.

Posted: 28/06/2006 20:57:42
By: check the ISAF rules
Does this not only apply to the ISAF approved international classes?

Posted: 28/06/2006 21:49:34
By: deepy
I'm not a huge fan of the idea of individual sponsorship for a variety of reasons.

Event sposorship on the other hand is a very, very good idea but then perrenial problem is finding companies to do it. To be frank if we can't find people willing to sponsor our nationals / salcombe / inlands already with the turnouts we've been getting i don't see how putting a sticker on everyone's mainsail is going to help.

Everyone involved with the event will know who has sponsored it, the sponsor will be mentioned in the yachting press (Considerable coverage if we can get more spreads like the one Alex got last year for us.) and with the Merlin now being one of the biggest racing classes in the UK people are likely to read it. The potential "value" we offer has already got to be one of the best in the dinghy market, and given that in the case of the nationals and inlands noone on the shore is going to be able to see stickers or decals it would seem to me that even under existing rules we are doing the best we can ever really offer.

Posted: 29/06/2006 08:38:17
By: Chris M
Another addition, having done the Top Club competition  a couple of years ago we ran into problems with a crewsaver sticker that was required to be put on the bow.

On a clinker boat there is nothing difficult about it, it is absolutely impossible!

Posted: 29/06/2006 08:42:32
By: Chris M
every class is an 'ISAF' class if they choose to use the ISAF rules.  Dont confuse it with an ISAF recognised international class which the MR is not.  ISAF own sailing.

Posted: 29/06/2006 09:12:23
By: check the ISAF rules
I don't to labour the point but the Yachting Press globally hardly has the coverage a sponsor might be interested in and very few firms in sailing with the cash would want to sponsor a rival class! RS Laser etc.logos are ugly! If you want extra funds why not introduce a sail label cost £10.00 which has to be on all sails when measured numbered of course to prevent removal and putting on another sail!

Posted: 29/06/2006 10:49:38
By: Artiste
just out of interest, what coverage do we provide for sponsors? For example, at hayling did we just put holts logo on entry forms, class magazine etc? If so then that didn't give them any coverage really did it as we all know who holt are and what they have to offer. So this really re-inforces the point that we have to give them good coverage and how do we do that without putting massive stickers everywhere? Flags and banners at the club? 

On a personal sponsorship level, this happens anyway doesn't it?

I think people would be surprised at how easy it is to get sponsorship if you really try. A few years ago we got sponsored by Tuaca to do the student yachting nationals. No money was involved but they did give us two crates of Tuaca (amounting to around 16 bottles of 40% spirit). The deal was that we gave the majority of it away. We didn't even have to put a flag up on our boat. Needless to say, we drank a fair bit of it and probably gave away about half of it - on the last day we had about 5 bottles and a load of shot glasses which we were giving away to everyone who came off their boats. Needless to say everyone got completely battered before the evening party even started so most people probably have a vivid memory of who Tuaca are now. We just sent the company some pictures afterwards of everyone drinking their booze and they were really happy with the whole situation. Fun fun fun! oh why am I not a student anymore....

Posted: 29/06/2006 13:03:16
By: Dave
I'm a little unsure whether as a sponsor I would be too chuffed if all I got regarding feedback on my product was that half the fleet got blattered.  Image is supposed to be important. Oh - and are they still drinking the product or ebven able to face it?

Posted: 29/06/2006 13:41:59
By: Best place for logo - bottom of glass?
With regards class sponsorship I think we need to decide if it's something the class want foirst of all. We don't need to get bogged down in whether it's worth it or not at this stage. At some point it will be!
With regards to a sponsors return it will differ from sponsor to sponsor. As Dave has indicated above a few bottles of ???? and all they wanted was some photos. If a sponsor gives hard cash then they will expect something more but all that can be sorted if we decide that class sponsorship is worth it.
By the way despite wanting Cat C sponsorship, I agree with many above that sticking stickers to the boat is a big no no...
We do have standards...even for an old hack like mine!

Posted: 29/06/2006 13:43:09
By: Blackie
So if we all know who Holt are, why do they advertise at all - anywhere? And why did Speed, P&B, Batt and Harken all put large adverts in the last 2 magazines - we know who they are!?

Regarding the Tuaca situation (see above) it sounds like the company probably did get a worthwhile return in that a set of people now know their brand, who might not have otherwise tried something they hadn't heard of.

Posted: 29/06/2006 13:58:36
By: Mags
OK point taken - it was a group of students so the blattering was OK!!!!  But we should be mindful of the standards that the class represents (and hopefully upholds).  Regarding logos - we have such a variety of coloured hulls in the fleet what would stand out on one hull would disappear on another - never mind the clinker problem.

Posted: 29/06/2006 14:30:17
By: Best place for logo - bottom of glass?
People have mentioned the SB3 fleet previously in this thread, so just to give an idea of scale as far as effective sponsorship goes, this is what entails.

Firstly, I'll point out that though the SB3 fleet is probably higher profile than Merlins, the number of boats regularly turning out and initial buy a new boat and get it on the water costs are actually not that dissimilar - £15-20,000 (nice custom built wooden Merlins are expensive), so it is a reasonable comparison, having said that the running cost of an SB are higher. The difference is that where we race we tend to do it alone as a fleet, where as the SBs sail tend to sail out of busy marinas, the particular and most extreme example being being the largest fleet at Cowes. However, wherever the Merlins go we do seem to attract a crowd of curious people and fans - think Salcombe!

I think that though decals on sails are good and can make a fleet look very uniform and smart, Jude is right and the most effective advertising is done off the water. Banners up a jib halyard, clothing and flags outside a yacht club look fantastic and are far more effective than sailing off into the distance with stuff plastered all over hulls.

The SBs are meticulous about keeping the advertising visible. This is made easier as they all come from the same place (rather than multiple boat builders), the Laser representatives will go around before and after racing handing out stickers and banners, which you are expected to display. When stickers wash off, they have been known to go round after dark replacing them – no joke!

In return, at Cowes, the first 50 or so entries get a free VW kite, a lot of Henry Lloyd clothing and a kit bag as well as the banners and decals. Last year those who won races were given a day’s worth of tutored off road driving in Touaregs. This Europeans people who had won things at opens were lent cars for a week to tow their boats out to France with. This is what I can remember off the top of my head and I haven’t mentioned their nationals. All in all, not bad I think.

Basically what I’m saying is that to get serious sponsorship, you need to be well organised and meticulous about keeping the sponsor(s) happy, but it is doable. I think a specifically appointed member of the class association would be required as there is a fair bit of work involved. There was filming of the 50 strong fleet at the Europeans (I think for a Yachting World DVD), by the way.

Merlins have the potential to be the high profile dinghy with this level of publicity. They’re pretty boats and have an incredible standard of sailing within the fleet.

Someone mentioned T&G earlier. It’d be nice to give the RSs and Fat Face a run for their money wouldn’t it?!

Oh, and individual sponsorship in the SBs is also all the rage, but that’s another story.

Sorry that was a bit of an essay!

Posted: 29/06/2006 14:36:39
By: Tim
but face the facts

stickers on hulls is a yes, yes.

it is allowed today under the current rules and could be required, even by Salcombe YC in 10 days time - I do not believe that they have any plans before I set someone off though....

given that this is FACT, why is there further aversion?

Posted: 29/06/2006 16:18:38
By: check the ISAF rules
A nice logo on the lower 3rd of your main looks hot!

Posted: 29/06/2006 16:28:37
By: Alinghi
There's a world of difference between attaching the little round thing required by the Salcombe Harbourmaster to the port quarter and putting a big sponsor logo on the bow.  Those in the fleet who have the plastic fantastic boats may be happy with it but I spent a fair bit of cash getting my boat repainted and I am not happy with sticking anything on either the paint or the varnish.  I would put a sticker on the sail though.  The idea of a logo on a flaggy thing you hoist when the boat's ashore is a good one - the sailing at the Nationals goes on too far offshore for sail stickers to be visible.  Besides which, do they stay stuck to the sail after a few dunkings I need to know?  Imagine the fun getting bits of sail sticker out of the self-bailers or off your head after a capsize

Posted: 29/06/2006 17:59:09
By: Andrew M
It would appear that the way to go would be to have 2 prescribed areas on the main sail, 1 reserved for regatta sponsors, and one for personal sponsors.  A size would need to be worked out that is worth bothering with, yet doesn't completely dominate the boat.  It also has to be taken into account that 3 different sponsors: nationals, ST and Salcombe could be a pain in the backside in terms of sticking/removing stickers!  

I reckon the sponsors wouldn't be too bothered that you can't see the stickers from the shore - photographs are a far more important medium. So I guess we need to find out if anybody is willing to pay to put their name on our boats and how much they're willing to pay, then we can pass the rule. Simon?!

Posted: 29/06/2006 18:11:26
By: deepy
Rather than have three sponsors for the nationals, ST, and Salcombe, why not have a single sponsor associated with the class throughout the whole of the year?  That way, potentially, the sponsor will get more consistent exposure across all events, as well as being promoted through the class at the Dinghy Show.

Posted: 30/06/2006 09:01:45
By: Richard
Brilliant idea Richard, you will find one then? They are not queuing up - see previous posts!

Posted: 30/06/2006 09:38:54
By: Artiste
I'm not sure that Artiste has the authority to assign Committeee jobs to Richard, I think the authority would belong to the Publicity Committee Chairman, Advertising and Sponsorship, Claire Stopps.

Clearly finding class sponsorship is a difficult and time consuming activity, and helpers drafted in would be useful. But it would be counter productive for individuals to go out an canvas on behalf of the class, a co-ordinated effort would be better.

Also, I found a useful relevant link

Posted: 30/06/2006 12:51:00
By: Alan F
Also on that Sport Match web site, before you say isn't appropriate for us, I found

Activity Awards Amount
Sailing & Yachting 85 £593,469.70

Posted: 30/06/2006 12:54:33
By: Alan F
Sorry I was rather flippantly pointing out that our other correspondent was crying for the moon and that the chances of succeess are very slim indeed.

Posted: 30/06/2006 13:06:05
By: Artiste
I agree.  It would be unlikely that we'd get a single sponsor for the whoe year.  Firstly, Marchand Petit are a valuable sponsor for Salcombe week and it would be unwise to discard them for someone else, only to discover that the someone else was only able/wanted to take part for one year.  Secondly, the nationals is likely, in part at least, to appeal to either local or regional sponsors for the area in which it is being held that year.

Posted: 30/06/2006 13:17:36
By: deepy
As a logo designer I can assure Merlin sailors that the majority of logos are awful.
Do we really want to deface a beautiful, historic boat with meaningless commercial noise.
I sail to escape from all 'that stuff' out there, "the purity of the experience".
Have you seen SB3 with an enormous decal of a VW Toureg car on its sail? Who wants to look up and see that?
Our product is Merlin Rocket not Fat Face, Toys R Us, AA Plumbers, etc........
On the issue of youth sponsorship the bottem line is - we were all poor when we were young and many of us are still poor now, so If you need a subsidy there are plenty of other classes were sponsorship is allowed.
Event sponsorship of the Nationals and Salcombe is more acceptable providing the advertising is discreet - such as Marchand Petit at Salcmbe. I strongly object to advertising on boats and individual boat sponsorship and I will be voting against it at the AGM.

Posted: 03/07/2006 17:42:06
By: Designer
I cant help thinking that when events ashore are organised to give sponsor involvement, that is where the best media coverage lies. For example, the Gales brewery trip at the champs last year - it got just as much mention in the report as Berkeley Homes did, and was probably more memorable because the class actually did soemthing (go on a trip) rather than just have a company's name on a banner.

Posted: 04/07/2006 09:43:09
By: Mags
Designer is right,Mags to a limited extent in as much I wonder if Gales Ales have got their money back? Do you now demand only Gales in pubs for instance no amount of free beer or a smell of bubbling yeast would wean me away from my prerence of Adnams Broadside!

Posted: 04/07/2006 10:19:35
By: Artiste
Unofrtunately I think we were rang the death knell for Gales as they got bought-out about 2 months after we paid our visit!

Posted: 04/07/2006 10:44:10
By: deepy
The curse of..........................

Posted: 04/07/2006 11:53:37
By: Artiste
I started to read all the threads on the sponsorship issue and think Pat has made a good case. Too many people speak about sponsorship issues without experience and pre-concieved ideas.
There is now and has been in the past a load of inaccurate C**P talked about sponsorship. Having been well known in the class sailing 3547 in the 90s, have a good idea of how the class ticks, both mid and at the front fleet.
With regard to sponsorship, I have sailed in 14 different Category C classes over the years as well as many Category A classes, so feel I have good reason to offer constructive advise and comments.
With regard to event sponsorship, that is not an issue as Category C events tend to get better sponsorship that Category A such as the Merlin Rocket. ISAF have made provision for event sponsors in the rules.
I currently helm B14 768 Readycrest (category C), probably one of the most photographed dinghies on websites in the last 3 years (not just sailing ones). What we have offered our sponsors is a focal point for their work force and clients following our efforts on their intranets (Top 3 boat since 2004). People who have never considered sailing have been following us and now have a basic understanding of the sport which has been a spin off for sailing as well as introducing some to the world of sailing. What we have got out of it, is some financial benefits, not large but enough to make a difference whilst Tom studies for his Law qaulifications. What has Category C done for the B14 class, raised its profile to the point that it is one of the photographer's and website's choices.
For most dinghies that are sponsored other than Olympic classes, is not that much. It will usually result in a sail or suit of sails (£300 - £1,700) per year or 2 years.
What has it done for the class. Well to be honest many things and all have been positive:
1. The top and mid fleet boats that are sponsored, tend to run 2 - 3 suits of sails over 2 years (some paid for by owners) with the rolled suits filtering into the fleet. This potentially offers all members of the fleet good sails championship winning sails at reduced costs. This is not often apparent in the Merlins as most people buy new sails and filter out their second or third suits which are long past their best.
2. It raises the profile of the class and attracts sponsorship for people throughout the fleet at all levels and ages. It also often leads to some of the individual sponsors leading on to sponsoring events as they see what the association does for their company profile, work force and client base.
3. Some people who cannot afford to buy new boats and sails in proliforation as some members of the class have and still do (arms race), would allow the less affluent to compete on a limited basis and possibly beat the front runners on the ST circuit. This has got to be healthy for the Merlin Rocket class. Just imagine another 20 boats across the fleet able to compete with the elete 15 (ability and pocket), how great would that be. This has worked to great satisfaction in many Category C fleets to the point the racing has improved. I very much doubt that any sponsor will input the amount of money certain people have and do spend on kit. An arms race, you already have it whether you like it or not, so all the comments in the previous threads about affluence and elitism through sponsorship would be and are wrong.
4. It will attract new members to the fleet who would have in the past thought it unobtainable or of little interest as the class's profile was that of a 14 foot clinker boat steeped in history and though high tech, not Category C or high profile. A sleeping giant possibly awakening to a new audience.
5. It introduces new people to sailing and that has got to be good for all involved in sailing.
On a negative point there may be some who feel put out by the fact some have sponsorship they do not. Also this is not what the purests see as the way sailing is heading.
The truth is that most of the sponsored boats will possibly now be able to compete on a near or level playing field and they may beat others they have not in the past, due to the fact that they are possibly better but now have the same and not inferior kit. Category A is here today but for how long. More and more classes are venturing into Category C and with positive results. It is now time to switch and be there with the others and be innavotive rather stayed and be a late follower. This class will change over, be this year or in 10 years, only the class can decide but be assured it will happen eventually.
For one, if it was Category C, we would return to the class as this is one of the main reasons excluding us from buying a Merlin Rocket. Food for thought and I have given my reasons and offered advice based no a wealth of experience.
Constructive comments would be much appreciated.
Bye for now.

Posted: 09/07/2006 22:26:14
By: Barnsie
I thought I would look at the rules to see what might need to changed if a majority were to be in favour - I am surprised at what I found:

Merlin Rocket rule 17(d){page 45 of year book} says; 'Advertising is permited in accordance with the ISAF Advertising code section 20.3.1 and 20.3.2(a) (Category C)

So I looked at ISFA Regulation 20 {page 153 of the rule book}.
It is long and surprisingly free - but as I read it we are allowed unlimited advertising.

Am I right or going balmy, as I thought it was prohibited. Can anyone shed any light on this?

A confused Pat Blake

Posted: 11/07/2006 13:41:24
By: Pat Blake
So does that mean that Simon will turn up at Salcombe in a borrowed boat covered in "Sponsored by" logo's, all in the best possible taste?

Posted: 11/07/2006 13:49:30
By: Andrew M
This does seem most odd.  Looking in a 2004 yearbook the entry is there too.  However, if you look at page 16 of the online RYA version (updated 2003) there is no reference to advertising at all.  There are also some syntax and language differences between the pdf and the yearbook.  Which is incorrect - it may be that someone is stirring!?

If the yearbook is correct, I will be so amused.

Weird though!

Posted: 11/07/2006 14:00:08
By: deepy
I believe I am correct in saying the with regard to advertising whether Category A or C, the requirements to be met are as specified by the ISAF and that the RYA follows suit. This may explain why there is no reference to it within the RYA rules (Pat's comment).
However, as the Merlin Rocket is a National Class, there may be some obscure foot note in the RYAs rules. I would though, be very suprised as this would throw the RYA into conflict with the world of sailings elected governing body.
If Pat is correct, it looks like the class may already be a Category C and a vote would have to take place to revert to Category A.
On that I would say leave as Category C and lets see how it works rather than rush into making changes.
My sponsors and I would be able to now race MRs.
If correct watch this space!!

Posted: 11/07/2006 14:32:33
By: Barnsie
The confusion is partially due to ISAF reversing the meaning of Category A and Category C a few years ago; partially due to the RYA firming up its involvement, and partially due to me not amending the yearbook draft correctly (this is a logistical matter due to the huge distance the information from the Keeper of Class Records has to bridge to get to me..).

The RYA version of the rules is the correct one in this matter, and ISAF Rule 20.4(c) is the relevant bit:

"All classes and Non-ISAF status Classes, National Classes

For National Classes the National Authority of the Class decides Category A or C. If the National Authority makes no ruling, Category A shall apply"

The default position has always been that no additional advertising is permitted unless the National Authority permits. The RYA is our National Authority and their default position is not to permit additional advertising. Hoewever, they are guided by the wishes of the National Class Associations that they administer, and if an AGM applied to them for permission, they would assist in drafting rules that provided the constraints that AGM requested.

There is no question that our AGM has ever requested a change of Category from the default No Additional Advertising position, and that is still the case.


Posted: 12/07/2006 08:55:19
By: Chairman GGGGGGG
I cannot help thinking that as a sport sailing tends to mis-understand the advertising debate.  With respect Mr Blakioo (fine chap that he is) charging around an offshore course at - say Tenby is not a particularly attractive proposition to an advertiser - offshore = out of sight!  Yeah I know there are pictures etc. but who really reads the logos in the photos?

Now if I was the local estate agent or wine merchant at say Cookham or Ranelagh - and I wanted to advertise to a load of high net worth individuals in their houses/flats overlooking to river - I could either apply to the local council to put a billboard up on the bank (zero chance of success) or maybe just maybe Mr Blakioo's mainsail would look like a great way around the planning laws. (As long as he doesn't s*d off to the coast as soon as the sun comes out.)


Posted: 12/07/2006 13:38:40
By: IanL
Think you will find that he would only be in breach of class rules as far as advertising is concerned at Merlin Rocket Class events. Other events, it is down to the race organisers. So if Borne End Week was Category C and he decided to advertise, he would not be in breach of the events instructions.
Sorry Ian

Posted: 12/07/2006 14:34:33
By: Barnsie
Thanks Mr Chairman GGGG
Your explanation certainly clears up my questions.
Ian Little is probably right about advertising as well.
If it were allowed I probably wouldn't put it on my boat - but I would have no problem with sailing against others that did, even if it meant having Barnsie back in the fleet.
Also if it made the Championships bigger, better, cheaper and higher profile then I would be happy to put something on my sail for that event.

Posted: 12/07/2006 15:51:03
By: Pat Blake
So does that mean that when I turn up to Salcombe with a massive Pepsi logo all over the boat, I'm getting disqualified?

Only joking... I promise it'll be small, but it may have a large Spice Girl on it driving a Ford.

Posted: 12/07/2006 16:14:24
By: Young Blakioooo
Isn't Large Spice Girl an oxymoron?

Posted: 12/07/2006 16:55:59
By: Observer
"it may have a large Spice Girl on it driving a Ford"
Blimey - you are about to head the wrong way along the M4!
Don't go West to Salcombe young man - head East - yes down to sunny Saarfend!
That's the height of cool down here! (Along with shaved heads, beer bellies, bulldogs and fizzy lager - and that's just the girlies)

Posted: 12/07/2006 23:14:31
By: IanL
I saw some lovely examples of the 'essex girl' there on Sunday - who else would rollerskate down the promenade at 10am on a cold day wearing a flourescent green boob tube?

But back to the main topic....can we get a vague idea of how many we think could really secure sponsorship (should it be allowed)? Obviously there are the well-known P&B, Batt and Winder teams, but how many others not so directly connected with sailing would get funding?

Posted: 13/07/2006 10:44:13
By: Mags
Just saw this picture from Cowes Week - this is when sponsorship is taken too far...

Posted: 04/08/2006 16:55:24
By: Mags

Here's the detail from the RYA. As above the default for National Clases is Cat A, no advertising. However Portsmouth Yardstick racing is Cat C unrestricted unless the club gets special permission. So you can get those big black Hugo Boss sails out for the Bloody Mary...

Posted: 04/08/2006 21:47:19
By: JimC
There is the possibility of one of the London Universities sponsoring a whole year of Merlin racing in some form.  The Vice Chancellor of the Uni is really in to Sailing and we persuaded him to come and watch the start of the Tideway watch this space.  They might be keen to sponsor the Yoof in particular which would make sense for a univeristy(who knows).

They have a very good Sport Sciences department there which also has a private sports performance clinic for athletes (of all sorts)so are keen to get involved in a range of sporting events, through physiotherapy, psychology, biomechanics and physiology. (and No this isn't an advert)

Posted: 07/08/2006 07:53:49
By: The Minx
Is that one of the twenty or so Colleges that make up London University? (Imperial, UCL, Kings etc.)
The whole of London University?
Or one of the other "Universities" that are former Technical Colleges etc? (Westminster etc.)
At least one notable Merlin Rocket Sailor was at UCL and another at Imperial there must be lots more.
However in these days of Student Tuition Fees and thus Student Loans I'm not sure this idea positive as it is would make the cut, if you were a non sailor, sadly the majority, how would you feel about your fees going on this?
Yoof aside the average age of Merlin Rocket Sailors these days might contradicate?

Posted: 07/08/2006 10:34:06
By: Castaway
Universities are businesses, and the idea of sponsorship was to widen the perception of a University which has a leading sports sciences School.
This would:
Highlight the facilities and expertise that are available within the University with regard to Sport Psychology and Sport Science.

Raise the profile within the Merlin Rocket fleet of the University, which includes many families with offspring who are likely not only to go to University, but would be looking at Universities that could allow them to continue with their sailing careers.

Increase the profile of the University in the area surrounding the Championships in order to increase applications.

However, it was not just about cash - the use of facilities and expertise would have been on offer, everthing from Biomechanics to nutrition. Furthermore, it would have involved setting up facilities, such as a sailing club for students (not Merlins though).

However, since the class obviously can turn sponsorship away, we will look at other classes and options.

Posted: 07/08/2006 12:49:11
By: :)
No it's not one of those universities.  Sponsorship can come in many different ways from funding travelling costs to events for youth sailors who might not be able to afford it to providing free physiotherapy or biomechanical advice from the Performance clinic (which doesn't cost the paying student anything).  They were talking about buying boats for their own students to use and learn on which would making sailing more accessible to the student community.

Anyway it doesn't really seem worth pushing for this if its not considered to be a positive thing so we won't waste time on it with the University management.

Posted: 07/08/2006 12:56:03
By: The Minx
I have a PhD already - is is possible to get another in paint stripping, redecking, varnishing and re-ribbing?  I have never seen these advertised but perhaps they are just modules in the Psychiatry course.

Posted: 07/08/2006 13:05:46
By: Garry R


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