Topic : Entry Fees

Just looking for other peoples views on this subject.  Having just come back from HISC which cost £17 per day, which I felt was reasonable, i've looked at Whitstable and notice it's £25 for just the one open meeting. For this reason I can no longer come as I simply don't have the money, further to this Shoreham is £30.

Is it me, or are these getting more and more expensive? Do we really need these open meetings to be run over two days if that is the reason costs are going up? I understand that the long distance travellers find it easier but surely they can still come down the day before?

Posted: 14/06/2009 22:04:40
By: Empty Pockets
It may be one open but it's still two days. So two days worth of fuel etc.

However i do think if Salcombe can run a two day open for £17 then clubs charging almost twice that may need to look at the sums. Bar and food takings over a two day open would more than make up for reducing the entry fee by a couple of pounds if people are going to be put off going.

Posted: 14/06/2009 22:28:42
By: Chris M
This one is swings and round abouts and an ever decreasing circle, if a club is exspenvise on it's entry fee then people will take their own food and takings are down so next year the entry goes up fewwer people come and those who do bring their own food etc etc. The upshot could be that the Merlin comittee get so many reports from unhappy sailors that the club will not be asked to host an event again, so before you decide to charge £1.40 for a slice of admitedley very nice cake you might want to consider the long term consequences.

Posted: 14/06/2009 22:40:23
By: Smokin
Hamble is a two day event and cost £20 Shoreham and Brightlingsea are £30?
Parkstone is one day and gets the diner yet still costs £25 compared to Hayling @ £17

I know these open water events cost a little more to run than a river club but they get a bigger entry (about twice the turn out) yet Hampton can do it for £8?

Just seems that some of the coastal clubs are milking it a little.

Posted: 14/06/2009 23:01:54
By: Empty Pockets
Not just the Merlin Rockets Class, clubs seem rightly or wrongly to use/justify open meetings as a revenue stream to keep subscriptions, if not down, at least under control and to justify lost weekends to members whos racing is interupted. WE are in fluctuating times for inflation but no matter what Darling says the trend is up, we all 
know that. This will favour the better off, it was ever thus and shall be too.
The figures quoted however are cheap and represent not more than a round of drinks!

Posted: 14/06/2009 23:30:36
By: ..
Brightlingsea included food in the evening to be fair.

Posted: 15/06/2009 06:59:39
By: Chris M
Making money out of open meetings! I know that Trent Valley is a slightly different proposition to a large coastal club, but we've always viewed open meetings as part of our support of the wider sailing community (easier I know because we only really support three classes).  We have always aimed to break even on entry fees v. prizes and ignore our other costs (very low anyway).  We only make a profit if we get a larger than expected turn out.

Posted: 15/06/2009 07:58:55
By: Fat Pig
Think that this is a bit harsh on the sea clubs, � 25 for a two day meeting is � 12.50/DAY, so for 6 days would be � 75 which would be a very cheap championship indeed.

Many clubs have to justify the allocation of resources to their membership, rescue boats (including wear and tear), committee boats, fuel, rescue boat crews, race team, catering, bar, possibly at the expense of provision to their regular members.

Also their is a risk of making a loss if you base your numbers on a high turnout and less boats turn up, when this happens the chances are that your class will get dropped from that clubs calender.

Posted: 15/06/2009 08:20:46
By: David
Some clubs also consider that, where an Open Meeting deprives the majority of club membership of a day's/weekend's sailing, some financial benefit should accure to the club.

Posted: 15/06/2009 08:50:42

Posted: 15/06/2009 08:52:10
The pricing depends on so many different things....

1. Can the club run the racing from a start box ashore or do they need to send out a committee boat? Cost difference = fuel.

2. Do you want to race around fixed marks or have marks laid for true WW/ LW? Cost = increased man power, RIBs and fuel.

3. Most clubs rely on Volunteers to give up their weekends to run racing and pay them in food and beverages. A packed Lunch and a pint still costs.

4. Is the club run by the members and volunteers or is it a professional outfit with full time staff? Is the clubhouse small with basic facilities therefore low overheads or is large with high overheads?

5. Food and drink won't make any difference to a club that franchises out to an external operator unfortunately.

There will never be consistency when it comes to entry fees I'm afraid.
Hope that helps.

Posted: 15/06/2009 09:05:12
By: Work at a Club
Can't quite work the logic of hayling though, £17 per day = £34 for the weekend, where as Whitstable at £25 for the weekend is a good price.

Brightlingsea did include an evening meal as well.

All clubs have different costs which should be remembered, some have further to go to the race area, which means greater fuel costs, the type and amount of trophies also brings a bearing on to overall costs.

Posted: 15/06/2009 09:12:05
By: :)
So, why do clubs run so many open meetings for classes they do not otherwise support?

Posted: 15/06/2009 09:34:06
By: ..
Because their nice? ... Regardless of whether there is a high entry fee, the profit for running an open meeting for say 35 boats is not extortionate.  In support of Hayling this is a club that costs a lot to join following the build of their new clubhouse, so I can't see how visitors should expect to get off lightly.  To be frank if you can afford a competitive Merlin and the petrol, the entry fee would have to be extortionate to justify complaining.

Posted: 15/06/2009 10:42:40
By: David
No problem with a profit being made, I agree with David about ability to pay! However I do wonder if  HISC is a better club now than it was before with all that "carbunkle architecture", or just more showy?

Posted: 15/06/2009 11:34:50
By: ..
We charge £10 at Banbury and spend all of this on the prizes which are spread throughout the fleet with prizes for the top three plus first boat aged 10 - 20 years and first over 20 years of age.  We do of course make a small profit from the modest food on offer!

Posted: 15/06/2009 12:05:43
By: RichardT
Reality check time here folk's, were not all absolutely loaded! Even if we were it doesn't make it right that the prices should be ramped up.

Personally if an open is going to cost moer than £100 i think very carefully about whether or not i'm going to go. The hayling weekend cost about £120 which is £60 per open. I think that's more than acceptable and is exactly why these double header weekends are such a good idea. Re the entry fees there, there were two sets of glassware to buy as prizes and harbour dues to pay.

Again with Brightlingsea, they included food which saves about £10 each. Bargain.

Salcombe, £17 two days. Acceptable.

I do think that £30 with nothing else included is expensive. I don't want to pick on Shoreham, but with digs and petrol that weekend will cost £150 for me to do. That puts it into the I'll go and get my result somewhere else catergory. If I camp (Only if the weather is decent, so it's still doubtful) I might save £50 in digs. It's still £100, putting it into the borderline catergory and with the champs around the corner I probably won't go due to expense.

I don't have a problem with clubs making money either, but if they are going to lose numbers then they are shooting themselves in the foot on both entries and bar takings.

Posted: 15/06/2009 12:10:15
By: Chris M
I did say that I felt Hayling was fair given that it is two opens. My point is that if they can run an open in one day at that cost then why can't shorham or whitstable? 

With regard to over heads would they not have a club house, rescue boats marks etc without an open? Therefore surely it should be, as so many others do, considered a honour to host an open for any class not a right and should therfore not be taken as a 'good earner'. My club get very excited at the prospect of such a big event and cover the costs of the prizes and thats it.

Further a comments made earlier, allot of people who have newer boats borrow money to buy them and so cannot automaticly afford to do all the opens.

I think Chris has hit the nail on the head and clubs should maybe look at this before setting thier price. They may be suprised at the difference in turn out.

Posted: 15/06/2009 18:46:38
By: Empty Pockets
Empty Pockets, I'm confused (not for the first time).

HISC was £17 per day you say, i.e. £34 for the weekend. Shoreham is £30 for 2 days, i.e. £4 less. What's the issue.....

Posted: 15/06/2009 21:31:21
By: Ross
"Therefore surely it should be, as so many others do, considered a honour to host an open for any class not a right and should therefore not be taken as a 'good earner'. My club get very excited at the prospect of such a big event and cover the costs of the prizes and thats it."

Yeah nice idea - but that's not the way it works - a club that is short on funds will be more than willing to host an open for a class it has little to do with, not because they like the class but because they are short on funds! It's only a short step then to ramp the entry fee and ignore the revenue from bar/catering etc. (which as someone says may well have been franchised out by then). The strapped club are probably cannot see the way to higher turnouts even if they are pointed out to them. The club I currently belong to used to host loads of opens and charged quite a bit for them - until after many years of struggling financially they stumbled across the idea of attracting actual sailors, instead of duffers in blazers and ties. (Actually they didn't have any ideas at all - just a load of sailors all joined at once and over-ran the place.) Suddenly sail training schemes were started and people started joining, turnouts improved and the money came in and - well the club lost interest in hosting lots of Opens!

Sorry it's just the way it is.

p.s. It seems to be a rule of thumb the smaller club and the more er "challenging" the sailing the better the welcome.

Posted: 15/06/2009 21:58:12
By: Easterner
£34 at two lots of wine and glassware to buy compared with £30 and one set. £34 for two results in two catergories compared with £30 and one result in one catergory.

I'm actually a little disappointed that the other(s) with whom i agree don't have the guts to put up their real names as this is, I beleve, an issue that needs to be taken seriously which is difficult when you don't know who is posting. I will go so far as to say that they are regular yotters in the fleet, but if they wish to remain anonymous thats up to them.

Posted: 15/06/2009 22:05:58
By: Chris M
The only reason that HISC made good sense was the two results at the end of the weekend. We stayed there as the fuel cost would have been almost the same had I driven home and back for the night (although the bar bill would have been less!!). Had it been £34 for one result with two races a day I would not have gone.

I am sorry to say that having just bought a new boat I am now skint and with Salcombe coming up I am going to have to give Whitstable a miss (much to do with a very early start on Sunday and a wedding Saturday evening).

Shoreham I am not sure about yet as fuel is not so much of an issue being closer, but I am not sure I will have an additional £30 to spend, If it were £20 it would be a shame to miss it.

At Cookham we host the Silver Tiller because we love having the Merlin Fleet visit and want to support the class on the river, not (Easterner) because we need the money. Allot of the time we make a loss on it and all the proceeds (minus prize cost) of the Guy Pearce Trophey go to the RNLI.

Posted: 15/06/2009 22:33:53
By: Jez3550/3645
Fuel cost is a killer too, if petrol was still 87ppl then finding another £10 for the entry fee would be less of a problem.

This is why the double header meetings are so good, and I think we could do with a couple more, perhaps having the Thorpe Bay and Maylandsea (Blackwater) weekend back on? No doubt this will come up at committee. Anything that reduces the cost of doing the circuit, without compromising on sailing quality, has to be a good idea. It's a shame i couldn't do Exe and Starcross.

But it is also important that clubs do not become complacent, and i do strongly feel (sorry Ross!) that £30 is an expensive open, especially given the almost guaranteed 30 boats and the likely bar and breakfast takings and nothing else (evening food) included. I like shoremham, but that extra £10 could yet be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Posted: 16/06/2009 07:18:02
By: Chris M
Seems a good subject to discuss at the AGM and a another reason for attending.

Posted: 16/06/2009 09:33:41
By: ..
I take the point over 2 sets of prizes, but otherwise I can't see how you can argue from the club's side (not the competitor's) why a 2-day open should cost considerably less (people seeming to want £20 vs £34) than two 1-day opens at the same club. The costs and risks for the club are still the same, e.g. fuel for the ribs, buying in food/drink (that may not all be used if the weather is bad), having about 20-30 club members give up a weekend, including sailing, to host the event, etc.

From a competitor's point I agree that double event weekend's are a cheaper way of qualifying for the ST.

It's just that these two sides are not the same!

Posted: 16/06/2009 12:21:16
By: Ross
Do ST events need to be over two days. Cannot we go back to having the Sunday as the ST event only. Clubs can still have two day meetings but the Sunday as the ST event. Saves on the overnight fees.

Good that as a class we are finally talking about coats.

Posted: 16/06/2009 12:36:03
By: Dave
It's not for the association to tell clubs what they can and can't charge for their events.

I don't really think that the open in question is much of a risk as it's the last sea event before the champs. You are going to get 30 boats at least, probably more.

At £30 each that's £900 just on entry fees. You'll have at least 60 people in the bar afterwards. If they all spend £10 thats £600 in bar takings. If 10 boats worth of people camp and all spend £5 at breakfast thats £100 in food the following day.

That's £1600 coming in.

Now if you reduce to £20 per boat and get 35 boats. £700 in entries, £700 in bar takings and if an extra 3 camp and want breakfast it's £130.

Grand total of £1530 i think coming in, but an extra 5 boats. I think these are conservative estimates too.

Posted: 16/06/2009 12:37:40
By: chris m
Hi Chris, I'm not denying that £20 is better value than £30. But still seems to be double standard on this thread that £34 for HISC is fine, but £30 for Shoreham and others, for same amout of sailing is not.

Perhaps HISC should have only been £10 per day...

I'm on the Shoreham committee so will bring these points up for discussion.

Posted: 16/06/2009 12:45:50
By: Ross
Whatever they charge Whitstable and Shoreham would be good value, real Sailing Clubs with a great Merlin Rocket tradition always a welcome and a smile.

Posted: 16/06/2009 12:59:41
By: ..
Have we looked at what other classes charge !!

Posted: 16/06/2009 13:32:15
By: Dave
Mirrors charge £30.00 for a weekend, I think most classes/clubs charge similar.
Brightlingsea charges £30.00 for 2 man boats but normaly throw in an evening meal.

Posted: 16/06/2009 14:03:04
By: craig
I do feel that probably the major point is being missed. The only reason clubs show any sort of financial return on an opening meeting is due the the volunteer efforts of the members. Factor in their hours at even the minimum wage and the cost of an open would escalate significantly - so the voluntary efforts give an effective boost to the club by the members concerned. 
30 quid for two days sailing too much?? - try 2 days golf and you will see what costs really look like!!

Posted: 16/06/2009 14:15:20
By: Peter Scott
As the finger is being pointed at Whitstable we feel we should respond:

The original question was "Is it getting more expensive?" The entry fee for our 2 day open has been �25 since at least 2005 (that's as far back as my records go). So no - we are not "Ramping up fees" and are very aware of the penalty of making it too expensive.

The issue of whether it should be a 2-day or one day meeting is one for the class to decide. The last time the Whitstable ST was for Sunday only, the entry fee was �15 for the day or �25 for the weekend. Most people came for both days anyway.

"....surely it should be, as so many others do, considered a honour to host an open for any class not a right and should therefore not be taken as a 'good earner ...." Sadly some of our members find the club hosting open meetings a nuisance (interference with club racing, moving their boats to make space for visitors, crowded changing rooms etc) - they just want to come down and "do their thing". Probably be happy with pay and pay. That seems to be the real world today.

"So, why do clubs run so many open meetings for classes they do not otherwise support?" We don't. In order not to overload our volunteers we have a policy of only holding opens for classes that are sailed at the club. Fortunately the �doers� in the club, who willingly volunteer to help run our meetings, hold the Merlin class in great affection. But AJG is right, members expect the club to make some money from the event.

"I know these open water events cost a little more to run than a river club but they get a bigger entry (about twice the turn out) yet Hampton can do it for £8?" If only it was just a little! David has explained the realities! A recent open meeting we held for another class (30 + boats) just broke even and that was with a �25 entry fee.

�Have we looked at what other classes charge?� Yes we have, and do, every year. But to confirm it, I asked at our sailing committee again last night (6 other classes represented) and �25 was considered on the cheaper side of "reasonable".

So despite all this - please DO come to our Silver Tiller next weekend (27/28th � details on and this site). We promise you a warm welcome!

John Cooper
Whitstable Yacht Club

PS Don't forget championship discounted entries finish on 1 July!!

Posted: 16/06/2009 15:33:07
By: JC
If you want a 'day ticket' sailing at the weekend at QM its £15, and Rutland its £17.50.  Thats with no racing.

To me, £12.50 - £15.00 a day sounds a fair deal. If Parkstone is £25 for a one-day event (their NOR is not published) that does sound a bit excessive.

If you were a member of a fully serviced (i.e. nor bar duty / rescue duty / work party)club you could expect to pay £500 per year. Lets face it, sailing at an open meeting is similar, turn up and expect others to do the work whilst you have fun. On that basis, if you turned up at the theoretical £500 club 33 times a year, you would be paying about £15 per visit.

Posted: 16/06/2009 15:52:57
By: alanf

How is 6 races the same amount as 4? It may be spread across two days but I would still have to give up another weekend and another £30 and another £40 on Fuel to get the same amount of points for the ST that I got at Hayling.

Thats the point, and I cant understand why it needs to be 2 days anyway?

Posted: 16/06/2009 17:47:57
By: Jez3550/3645
Speaking to someone earlier this year who travels long way for opens, they actually prefer 2 day events as makes it more worth while attending the event than if only 1 day.

Posted: 16/06/2009 18:01:13
By: Ross
No, we do need two day meetings. It's hardly worth travelling from Birmingham to Devon or Whitstable for a day. You could have the open as Sunday only, but again, whats the point? As long as there are enough one day meetings in each catergory to keep everyone happy two meetings are fine and have their place.

There is a fine dividing line between reasonable and expensive. Personally I would consider £15 for a one day sea open about a sensible maximum. This is why Hayling at £17 (with harbour dues added to the entry fee) is reasonable. They had to buy two sets of prizes and you get two results for your petrol money making it better from an economic point of view anyway. I think for a two day event with nothing else thrown in like evening food or entertainment £20 is about right. Salcombe did it for £17 and that as a place is expensive!

It's all about the combination of costs too isn't it really. If you live within 50 miles of Shoreham you're not going to baulk at a £30 entry fee because there is little else to pay for. For me it's £70 for fuel to get there and as i said before, £100 is the point where i start to wonder if i would be better off doing the club racing that weekend. It may seem petty to argue over £5 or £10 when the weekend will always cost about £150, but these odd £5s and £10s do matter and add up over a season.

Posted: 16/06/2009 19:10:48
By: Chris M
For us, the entry fee is actually immaterial. Of course, if it was free then even better.

Seriously, everywhere is North from us, in Devon, and two dayers are a blessing. Sorry couldn't get to HISC as there was no babysitters available.

A weekend away, two nights in a decent hotel (only way that my missus will let us attend), meals out, petrol and we are looking at £300 minimum. Seems a bit trite to complain about the entry fee when we spend £1,000's on the weapons of choice, have a set of sails every couple of years, etc.

Provide a creche and we'll willingly pay significant sums for the ability to take our little ones to Opens rather than leaving them with Grandparents or Godparents. Sorry, old (sore) point.

Two day opens give us a chance of getting on the road earlier on Sunday, so that we can get a decent nights kip before the 5:30am alarm on Monday morning. After the Cookham Open we didn't get back until 11pm, so in bed by midnight after the boat was put in the garage and tidied up. Never again was muttered by she whom must be obeyed - which maked attending other events tricky to say the least.

Posted: 16/06/2009 19:38:30
By: Andy Hay - Enchantment 3386
Sorry to go back a few posts but "It's not for the association to tell clubs what they can and can't charge for their events."  Well possibly not directly, but it is for the association to pick those clubs that hold Silver Tiller events, and I'm would hope that value for money comes into that equation.

Re. two day events - whilst it has been a while since I was an active ST campaigner, I always found two day events a bit of a pain (even factoring in travelling from the Midlands to the South coast). Great if they were at different clubs (e.g Oulton Broad/ Royal Norfolk and Suffolk) but five races over two days at the same club seemed too much - even back then I had other things that I needed to do at the weekend!

Posted: 17/06/2009 00:36:55
By: Fat Pig
Several other classes, in order to set out to potential recruits financial expectations, include on their web site a “how much does it cost” page.
Starting let’s say with:
1. Club Racer Vintage boat. Occasional trip away.
2. Vintage boat raced on the circuit.
3. Club racer competative 2nd hand boat. Occasional trip away.
4. Competative boat raced on the circuit.
5. Latest thing raced on the circuit. Either updated or replaced every few years.

Following Mike Barnes comparative studies on boats, gear and crews it could be helpful.

I would not be dogmatic as to what the selections were, that could be a matter for whoever did it,discussion or both! Remember “if you need to ask how much you can’t afford it”.
Better a reality check than disillusioned stopping sailing altogether.

Posted: 17/06/2009 15:07:35
By: ....
...but it would also be a bit dull, let's face about a Top Gear-type caravan feature with Enteprises getting it..?

Posted: 17/06/2009 16:19:46
By: ....
It was a serious suggestion to address something that is clearly concerning quite a few people.

Joining up the fixtures list (By area.) if the clubs could agree might also save trailer miles.

Posted: 17/06/2009 17:11:25
By: ....
Moving slightly off field but slightly shocked to see that a popular class like the 505 can only muster 37 entries for its nationals. Maybe we're doing something alright after all.
Given the excellent turnout for the majority of the Silver Tiller fixtures, it would appear that we have a pretty vibrant class.
The high cost of open meetings was an issue back in the early 1970s (remember the 3 day week?, into the eighties and nineties and no doubt will continue to be an issue going forward. The latest rise in the cost of petrol/diesel isn't helpful but for me the biggest anti going to open meetings is the fact that I am losing a day with the family whom I seem to see less and less during the week. One day, I hope they'll step seamlessly into sailing and (hopefully) Merlins. Right now, Chelsea, Wycombe Wanderers, swimming, children's parties, homework and the PTA seem to be my greatest focus.
Running an open meeting anywhere isn't an easy exercise and apart from the cost involved of fuel for the rescue boats,catering, prizes and the like, clubs have to manage the expectations of their non Merlin members who have limited interest in the travelling contingent but who are still there to assist with running good (we hope) racing.Trust me, for the average open meeting, a big profit is an aspiration, not an expectation.
Coordinating all the meetings isn't a bed of roses and the MROA Committee are to be congratulated for all their efforts

Posted: 17/06/2009 17:34:24
By: Chris Rathbone
Fuel, maintenance, equipment & use of facilities not to mention prizes cost the club you visit.

Merlins, consumables (such as sails), trailers, accommodation, fuel & the cars that tow them cost.

In comparison £30 entry fee is actually not much for what is received in return bearing in mind the club is paid for by its members who also give up their time & often their sailing to accommodate you.

Please be realistic.

Posted: 17/06/2009 21:48:49
By: DO
Interesting comments and this does help to keep things in perspective a little.

I get the impression that (unsuprisingly) you are never going to please everyone.

I think maybe the issue is those months where you have 3 or maybe even 4 opens that you want to go to that it really makes a difference.

Maybe come August Shoreham will look a little more do-able.

Thanks for all your comments, and as Chris has said, this is by no means a slur on the hard work done by the committee,without whom none of us would have open meetings at all!!

Posted: 17/06/2009 22:09:35
By: Empty Pockets
Get a grip where else are you going to get two days of fantastic sport for £30.
Golf - no, squash - no possibly 3 hours!, anyone for tennis?

Posted: 17/06/2009 23:59:54
By: John 1201
I believe that you are charged about £7 for going to the cinema for 1.75 hours to share the experience with a load of drunk, junk food-eating people whose mobiles keep going off.  Just like dinghy sailing these days really!  I still think £30 for a weekend is good value.

Posted: 18/06/2009 08:50:44
By: Good value
I had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn't December with discussions like this!

£30 for a weekend is surely good value by pretty much anyones standards and almost lost in the noise of of the other costs of owning and running a merlin and attending these weekends. Do people not attend open meetings because the B & B cost is higher in certain regions?

If you consider this from another angle, asuming a reasonably competitve boat might depreciate say £1500 a year. So it's costing you £30 every weekend anyway whether you sail it or not. So in reality the more events you do, the cheaper it gets!

Posted: 18/06/2009 09:21:21
By: ....
Not £30 if I sail at my home club is it?!

I think you will also find if you go far a weekends golfing you will play one round each day and the course if you are a member will cost you anywhere between £10-£20 per round. That is if it is not an organised event in which case it would be more £20-£30 for the weekend.

Just because I have spent allot of money buying the boat it does not mean I have an unending supply of money to pay £30 a weekend and Yes if the B&B was too much in one area then it would stop me from going.

I think allot of you either have too much money or are totally missing the point.

Posted: 18/06/2009 18:52:57
By: Empty Pockets
I agree with you - we did not attend either Rutland nor the Inlands as May was just too expensive and we had originally intended to do all 4 events that month. We are not members of a club and just travel to the Opens when and where we can. As I posted before, frankly, the entry fee is one (small) part of the cost equation that we must consider.

I would rather see one high quality two dayer each month - perferably as two club / different water events as is an interesting tweak on this format. A Grand Prix circuit if you will. The other weekends could be single day events forming local circuits, which seem to be well supported. I would also ditch the "Grand Slam" - Silver Tiller, Inlands, Nationals and Salcombe - these events should have sufficient kudos individually without needing a further series to these attractive to the top helms.

I am sure that the committee & Silver Tiller Co-ordinator will take notice of the forum comments. As you rightly said earlier, you cannot please all the people all the time.

How much is a golf club membership anyway, that's once you get past the membership committee and the waiting list? Plus the £500 for a decent set of sticks ... dont forget your handicap and the correct attire, right shoes, no jeans, no shorts, T shirt with collar but without logos ..... makes sailing look cheap or at least more reasonable.

I suppose that we could always take up horse riding .......

Posted: 18/06/2009 19:34:53
By: Andy Hay - Enchantment 3386
I guess we are missing the point, what was it exactly?

I think in summary, every-one, including you, think �15 club fee for a days sailing is reasonable.

Racing a newish Merlin on the Silver Tiller Circuit can be expensive, assume 15 events, including 5 2day events, Salcombe and Nationals
Depreciation/maintenance: �1,500
Sails: �1,300
Insurance: �240
RYA membership (assuming no home club): �35
Assume 3,000 at 0.40p (fully loaded cost of motoring): �1,200
Entry fees: �275
Accomodation (S/C & B&B): 1700

= �6250 p.a. for 28 days sailing

= �223 per day sailing

Do you really think reducing double days sailing fees from �30 to �20 will make much impression, in the above example (pretty typical of my expenditure in prior years, but I forgot, dry suits, hikers, gloves, race skins, boots etc, plus the inflatable for Salcombe, plus I was funding 2 Merlins at once, no wonder I am poor!), bringing it down to �221 per day average!!!!!

Of course, it is possible to race all year for next to nothing, buy a �500 boat, sail it for many years, virtually no depreciation, keep the sails for years, join a club that charges about �45 per year, close to your house. Sail in old jeans, all year round. Total cost per day sailing = approx �2

Even if we averaged the two extremes out, the average days sailing for a club sailor that goes to lots of events is still well over �100.

Posted: 18/06/2009 19:38:34
By: alanf
Or at say 4 hours sailing a day 56 quid an hour! Never work out what it costs!

Posted: 19/06/2009 10:33:09
By: Ancient Geek
Whilst you are all concentrating on your perspective of this there is of course another.

Open meetings generally disrupt & degrade club racing of the club you are visiting.

Be quite clear about this, open meetings are not universally welcomed because members are often in the position of either having to forgo their own sailing or being forced out of their own club, perhaps even having to travel themselves when inconvenient to do so.

This of course raises the issue of the primary purpose of a sailing club & what would happen to the sport if everyone paid a RYA membership & went on the "circuit" rather than pay a club membership & incur the inconvenience of club duties. Clubs priority should be its own members.

As always, it depends how you do your accounting but if all items of expenditure are fully accounted including club members time then it is doubtful if open meetings make any money.

Whilst there is always a balance to be struck people should be very careful about thinking they are doing clubs & their members a favour in fact they are doing you a favour & probably subsidising you as well...

Posted: 19/06/2009 10:37:23
By: DO
Costs for Gannet No 252 sailing weekly at home club Forfar and a couple of trips down south to either Vintage Merlin events or CVRDA.

Fuel for all travel – 2/3 trips down south to London area and to Wales + Forfar weekly (120 miles round trip but share lifts) so twice per month. Total fuel £700.

Buying and restoring Gannet including suit of bespoke new sails from Mike McNamara and a new trailer £1600

Gannet doesn’t need much work now each winter so let’s say £150 (or less) now but remembering I am not rough with her and nothing has ever broken (yet)!! Depreciation hardly comes into it on a 58 year old boat.

Club Membership fees/insurance/entry fees to the few regattas we do - £250

So per annum about £1200 and could be a lot cheaper if I lived handily to a Club. I haven’t included B&B which would add to cost if you did not camp or stay with friends.

So about £25 per week equivalent to 5 packs of fags or 9 pints or 5 gallons of fuel or less than food for the week.

Of course I could save all this if I sold her and didn't sail but that would defeat the object of the exercise. Do I go as fast as a plastic fantastic - like hell I do! Do I have as much fun especially laughs per pound - you bet you we do.

Sailing her and watching Laser sailors faces as we pass them (rarely) – priceless!!!!!!!!!

Sailing has never been a particularly cheap hobby especially at the more competitive end of the fleet but if that's where you are you should be aware of that and decide whether you want that type of sailing before you "invest". Otherwise go Vintage!!!

Posted: 19/06/2009 11:28:05
By: Garry R
Hear hear Garry. My last boat cost less than many entry fees (£23) and everyone should remember that the aim is enjoyment and the enjoyment we get from our sport can't be valued.

20 years ago I invested in a cheap camper as a vehicle for the low mileage driver in the week and accommodation at weekends and it's been the main reason we can afford to extend our sailing so far from home.

And the priceless moment of last weekend? Watching an unmodernised 50year old Merlin totally outsail the RS400 and most other boats on a large reservoir!

Posted: 19/06/2009 13:31:45
By: Pat2121
If you think the Merlin entry fees are high take the Mirror's, Nat & Worlds was £199 combined before 1st June, then it went up by 50%, and they're Nationwide series is £30 WITHOUT food - seems llike they're ripping off the goodwill of the kids parents.

Posted: 25/06/2009 13:56:19
By: :)
The costs are the same whether its a Mirror or a Merlin. It costs the same for fuel and paying staff whether its children or adults, in fact some may say you need more rescue boats for the children.
The Mirror Worlds/Nationals is over 9 days and again the club running it need to make money, add this to the costs for an International Jury and you will see why costs are high.
I have been to a few SEA events and £30.00 seems to be the norm.
It would be good to see names from some of the posts posted!!

Posted: 25/06/2009 15:10:17
By: craig
Craig I quite agree with you - these sort of anonymous inane comments are generally made by people who have never had to organise an open meeting let alone National or World Championships.

Posted: 25/06/2009 16:01:47
By: Peter Scott
Dear Empty Pockets - sadly my exprience of Merlins these days is through this excellent website. I've just come back into sailing after 20yrs and can't believe how reasonable it is compared to the other sports I've also been involved in! I'm also bowled over by the organisation, camaraderie and sheer amazing goodwill of the whole sport at every level. The Merlin Class is one of the very best in every respect. 
You could spend,spend,spend and not get the superb sailing experiences you've had so far this season (the www allows me to virtually enjoy this with you each week!).I'm not sharing that with you in actuality because I've made the choice to do other things with my hard faught resources and time and need a more modest budget (hrs & £) for my sailing!
Looks like my Old Ma's saying of 'lifes about choices' is coming down to roost with you too!
However- Empty Pockets, mark my words, the generous committee members of the sailing clubs who selflessly run Open Meetings could double their entry fees for their opens and they would still be great value!
So- join a club- run an open meeting- find out about it- then make your choices and quietly keep your own council before they give up and stop doing the amazing job they do!

Posted: 25/06/2009 20:15:00
By: Grumpy Old Man(Andy Gray)
Game set and match to Andy Gray!

Posted: 25/06/2009 20:28:36
By: Bjorn Again
Come to the Lord Birkett this weekend, Two days £35.00 and rated by Y&Y as one of the 50 to do.... Perhaps that's why they get 200 boat entries.

Posted: 25/06/2009 21:10:08
By: David
Can't be bothered to go back and see who said "RYA membership (assuming no home club): �35"

With the exception of those few MROA members who live far from a Club at which they could regularly sail, why would you not be a member of a Club? Without Clubs there would be no circuit. If you're not a member or a club and don't support its efforts to provide quality events for all the classes it supports, then you can hardly complain at entry fees that not only cover the direct/variable costs of running the event (eg. fuel) but also make a contribution (an accounting term, I believe)to the Club's overall operating costs ie. fixed overheads (eg. rent, insurances). For the minority of fully staffed clubs, I guess you are paying what they think the market will bear. For the majority of Clubs, you're paying what they need to charge to be there to run the event next year and the year after and the year after that, bearing in mind that some years are barren and some are not...

So if you're not a member of a Club, would you be prepared to pay a higher entry fee? Because the rest of us who are members are already paying for the infrastructure that you are enjoying at a remarkably modest price.

In the final analysis, the market will decide...

Posted: 25/06/2009 22:29:27
By: David Homer - Whyte Mischief 3437
This debate together, no doubt, with a touch of cynicism brought about by age has made me examine the results of my efforts at the club to which I belong.

The reality is that the years of effort have actually changed little. However, it has enabled others to sit on the side-lines & benefit whilst contributing little either financially or in terms of effort.

I would have been better employed doing something for myself / family…

Thank you.

Priority is the key. If your priority is to sail then you will sail if it is to buy a new car, holidays, “stuff” or whatever then you will do that first & then consider whether to sail or not…

Posted: 26/06/2009 04:43:50
By: DO
Andy Gray, If you read my earlier posts, I am a member of a club, I do run opens Including a Silver Tiller and I have been race officer every year for one of the other classes at our club who hare hoding a championship at our club in the next couple of months. So I have plenty of experiance of the organiseation that goes in to these things.

I know I have not posted my name and I think that I am justified in doing so given some of the response this has had.

There is a choice to be made, I understand that, but the choices might be different if the cost was lower on individual events. I would never stop sailing but if for example Shoreham was £10 cheaper it might just stop it being over that magic £100 mark that Chris mentioned earlier and you might find another 4/5/6 boats turn up.

Just to reiterate, as it seems to get lost, this is not a witch hunt, nore is it a slur on the organisation. It is just a lack of understanding as to why some of the events need to be two day ( and hence more money) when there would appear to be no reason for it?

Posted: 26/06/2009 08:05:26
By: Empty Pockets
The reason for having 2-day events I would suggest is partly as a result of the following:

For us who live at one extreme of the country, the concept of travelling from the south to the north or vice versa for a one-day event becomes onerous particuarly when many of us can enjoy excellent one-day sailing with competitive fleets at our home clubs.Make it two days and it suddenly becomes much more worthwhile.

Doing the journey there and back is potentially quite hard in one day.

We are fortunate to have such a great open circuit where we enjoy excellent hospitality in all of these venues, and we need to continue to support that. I was sat with the organising comittee last Sunday for a sea open coming up for another class and the sheer amount of time and effort that goes into the planning and managing of these things is significant and is by no means limited to the day of the event as everyone knows. On top of that in most cases it is all done by the regular few willing volunteers and occasionally I feel rather guilty for not doing more!

Add to that the support boats, the cost of utilities and the notional cost of lost sailing to other non-competing club members, I think the entry fees generally across the season are really reasonable.

Whilst everyone appreciates that it can sometimes stack up a bit cost-wise, like many people sailing is a choice that I make in lieu of other things and because I really enjoy it so the prospect of two days really competitive, challenging sailing is always a pleasure.

It's also worth remembering that at many clubs these days there is often free camping available or cheap on-site accoms and that does help to bring down the costs.

Maybe its worth investigating having a one-day entry fee on two-day events for those who can't make the other for whatever reason but that would have to really be at the discretion of the clubs involved.

Posted: 26/06/2009 17:01:11
By: Kelly
Empty Pockets, strikes me that you would like all open meetings to meet the criteria that you set, there are plenty who prefer the two day format, where the sailing is a bit more laid back and there is time for a beer and a meal with mates on the Saturday night.  None of the costs bandied around seem to be excessive, the clubs are by no means profiteering, and I suspect all of them set out with good intentions and try to break even, however it is my guess that depending how you calculate the break even, you get a different answer particularly where turnouts are weather dependent.  The easiest solution could be to run a diesel car and buy a tent!

Posted: 26/06/2009 17:16:36
By: David
I think that this 'is it too expensive?' debate is bound to become something of a yes it is / no it isn't type discussion, where nothing really gets resolved. What it is true to say is that those that charge the top end of the price range will always be prone to some questioning. I think our circuit hits it about right and on the £ to fun ratio, I’m very glad we don't sail mirrors.

Personally I can see the benefit of offering a discount for two days where there is the option to do one or both days - I think perhaps a 4quid discount to £30 would have been reasonable for those doing both days of Hayling. 25-30 quid is pretty reasonable for a decent weekend's sailing. I will go to Shoreham – I’m sure I’ll enjoy myself, I look forward to throwing eggs at my friends (perhaps that's where the extra 5er goes), and I plan on helping the bar profits considerably, assuming Ross gets in enough beer this year (hint)!

Following on from that; Hampton's running costs for an open are considerably smaller, so our £8 a day or £15 for the weekend is an absolute bargain! Your enthusiasm at the bar is always extremely welcome and does tend to help fund the weekend. Being inland, we're relatively central and as we are one of the last Vintage and ST events this year, there’s really no excuse not to come along! I hope plenty of you agree.

Posted: 26/06/2009 17:54:06
By: Tim
I've got a couple of places left on our team for a Merlin crew for the charity Dragon Boat Races in aid of the RNLI on July 5th on the River Arun....oh! it's £20 quid a head....x2...that's...£ a pint or two @ £3.00- Oh! and its a 0930 start..that's early...!!! Well looks like you might not be going to Shoreham so you might not need forget it. Sorry don't know what I was thinking about making such offers in these difficult and troubled times!
Still we could stay in and watch the Cricket...Oh no...its on Sky ..thats £40pcm..oh... howse about Wimbledon..thats OK..that's the Beeb..Oh..the license fee.....!
A nice walk in the park...that'll be lovely..shockingly good for you too!

Posted: 26/06/2009 18:18:40
By: Tight / Gnats /......
This why I have not posted my name............

David, I am not trying to turn things my way, if you refer back to my very first post I was just looking to raise the questions and see what others thought. I am not looking to receive hate mail!!!

I do, by the way, run a diesel but incase you had missed it petrol and diesel are rather costly now!

I think Kelly has come up with a good Idea as Whitstable is not on the cards for us as we can't make Saturday and so the Silver Tiller points are out of the question. If it were cheaper to do just the one day it may still be worth coming for the hell of it.

Please don't turn this in to a witch hunt. A healthy discussion is all it was meant to be.

Posted: 26/06/2009 21:24:16
By: Empty Pockets
One day at Whitstable = �15. See you on Sunday.  But you will have to put your name on the entry form!

Posted: 26/06/2009 22:37:53
By: JC
Why do you nop publish that? Mrs has made other plans now!

Posted: 26/06/2009 23:47:52
By: Empty Pockets
The WYC entry fee boils down to £6.25 per person per day for your entertainment; were else can you enjoy any sport for perhaps £3/hour?

It's only so cheap because many people give their time for free to run the event; to suggest that this is profiteering is an insult to all those who give their time for free?

Do you ski? a days skiing will cost £50 just for the lift pass, golf green fees etc etc ...

If you cant afford it fair enough but don't start moaning about the level of dirt cheap fees for hosting an event.

Posted: 28/06/2009 17:27:50
By: -
Perhaps there is a further item that needs consideration when costing out a Merlin Open meeting. Namely "Collection & Disposal of Rubbish". On Monday when returning my boat to its paid for boat parking position vacated for your convenience it was found necessary to spend quite some time collecting up all the discarded drinks bottles, electrical tape, tail ends of rope etc…

Posted: 30/06/2009 21:10:38
By: Charlie Campion
is this getting out of hand. I agree some clubs charge what seems to be high entry fees others dont. So what if you think the entry is to high DONT GO its that simple, as a class we have plenty of events to choose from. If a particular entry is to high and entries are low market forces will do the rest ie lower entry or no event. Standing costs have gone up for clubs just like our own homes so why should we expect the club members to subsidize our sailing as well as supplying free help on the day OD,rescue,food etc. I would much rather attend a well organised event with good well organised racing etc and nice showers than have cheap entries and crap facilities.

Posted: 02/07/2009 14:07:25
By: Paul Hollis
Paul wrote: "If a particular entry is to high and entries are low market forces will do the rest". That is true provided that the club in question is made aware that it was the high entry fee that cost them the entries. Mumbling and grumbling probably wont get back to the club but a polite email to the sec/commodore might make them reconsider their position for the following year.

Posted: 02/07/2009 14:31:45
As nearly every one agrees, entry fees are pretty reasonable, and in reality dosn't vary that much, maybe £15 per day variance from the very cheapest to the most expensive, compared to the effort of travelling, rigging, de-rigging etc I doubt if any club would 'guess' that entry fees impacted attendance.

From my personal experience the following factors make me decide whether to return (in no particular order and some can compenstate for others)
- quality of the sailing area
- quality of the race management
- friendliness of the club
- facilities
- if staying overnight quality/availablity/proximity of accomodation/camping

A complete failure on two or more of the above results in me not wanting to go back.

As I am not annoymous, I can give a specific example, Weymouth about 4 or 5 years ago, race management kept us on the water for 6 (yes) hours, in rain, trying to set a 'perfect' course. When we got ashore, all looking forward to the late, long drives home, cold wet and hungry, the catering had shut and gone home, there was not even a kettle to make a cup of tea. We all had to walk into town to buy what ever we could find to eat at 5pm on a Sunday night.

I missed out Weymouth for 2 years after that. I only went back later because it happened to be convenient, and the sailing area is fantastic. I am glad to report that when I did go back, everything, race management, catering, etc ran really well, so reversing my personal boycott.

Posted: 02/07/2009 15:29:03
By: alanf


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