Why Is Classic Sailing Stuck In The Doldrums?

Why Is Classic Sailing Stuck In The Doldrums?

Now here is an idea – may be the Classic Yacht Association should change its name to something like the Classic Boat Club – why? well given that over 50% of its boat owner members are launch owners & in physical numbers the classic launches out number classic yachts, maybe the ‘yacht’ name is not reflective of the movement.

If you want further proof, in the latest addition of the CYA newsletter, Sheerlines (see below), the new (to be elected tonight) CYA chairman + a ex yacht captain + the out-going launch captain – all have their latest classic boating projects featured & guess what? – they are all motor boats. Sure 2 out of the 3 people also own a yacht, but the trend for the last few years has been launch ownership. The out-going CYA chairman owns a motor boat & has his classic yacht on the market.
Even a blind-man could see there is a huge shift to classic launch ownership & the more relaxed, social activities associated around launches. Today the ‘sport’ of racing a classic yacht has less & less appeal, the yachts look magnificent but there is no queue of people to own / sail them. Just look at the asking / sold prices for classic yachts these days – that alone tells the story.

Aside from the name, the real issue facing the CYA is membership retention – has been for the last few years. No shortage of people joining up but an un-healthy number continue to drop off at the other end. Despite record numbers joining in the last 3 years (would be in excess of 100 individuals) the total membership number almost remains static.

There will be a change of guard at tonights CYA AGM – lets hope they are open to welcoming new thinking in terms of the classic boating movement & what it offerers up to retain members. The days of the CYA being a yacht club with its primary mission providing yacht racing for classic yacht owners, is over – that role needs to be handed over to the numerous classic yacht ‘trusts’ that these days directly or indirectly control 68%+ of the active classic yachting race fleets.

If your a CYA member, make the effort to come to the AGM tonight – 7.00pm @ the RNZYC, Westhaven.

CYA Aug2016 a

CYA Aug2016 b

8 thoughts on “Why Is Classic Sailing Stuck In The Doldrums?

  1. Yes I the biggest issue with classic sailing is crewing. Going hand in hand with the comparative fragility, difficulty and intrinsic value of a classic yacht is the fact that the owner of one is less likely to be a weekend hero racer. This to me suggests that he has more weight on commitments other than racing, like a 22 year old Y88 sailor does. Due to that combo, classic racing is not very regular. Lack of regularity in races means a crew member will not commit as he will the PCC Winter Series for instance which is solidly laid out during the off- season. Lack of commitment eventually leads to lack of interest.

    As for the other clubs’ regular races in which classics are eligible- they are just not competitive enough.


  2. Interestingly this very same debate to perhaps add “Classic” to their Association’s name, is currently a large topic of discussion in the NZ Vintage Car Club, including maybe renaming their magazine (Beaded Wheels). Their dilemma (as here) is to recognise the diversity of (vehicles) beloved by those in the association, which now comprises a much wider brief than just Vintage/Veteran cars/bikes; and now includes Classics (arguably ’50s to ’70s) which are visibly predominant at many events. The VCC debate also shares the same ‘dwindling membership’ threat, which in time may require their appreciation and welcoming (shock, horror) the likes of hot rods and of customised classics, to ensure the survival of the ‘sport’ and of the association. As in the old adage Clubs (like species) must continually adapt and evolve, or risk extinction


  3. I am not sure that I agree that classic sailing is in the doldrums, however my thoughts on this are well known, whilst I appreciate the world class restorations of some of the Auckland A and K class fleet, these boats need regular crew which are not always easy to come by, hence the reducing numbers attending, At the same time the strict eligibility criteria that the CYA has applied has effectively stopped people joining up at the modern (wooden boat) end. From a more personal viewpoint I received loads of correspondence and updates from Joyce in the years before joining the CYA, this and sailing with them convinced me to join, after that nothing was heard–so I decided that as sailing with the MCC and RNZYS and Townsons on many and varied boats I didn’t really need to be in another association.


  4. Well we shouldn’t lose sight of the common interest around the word “classic” and the wish to preserve some of New Zealands outstanding marine history. It is great to see the revival of the old sailing yachts in the last 10 years and hopefully it will continue. There is however a lack of club options for the owner of old (slow) powerboats, versus the many options for sailors, and go-fast powerboats, so hopefully this association, irrespective of its name, will provide an avenue for the owner of older powerboats to get together.


  5. Also, a wee bit similar to the way your site is called Waitematawoodys… but only features Launches and then motorsailors on Sunday, maybe you should rename to Waitematadieselguzzlers or such 😉


  6. still banging the same old drum Alan? Yawn…. Also, BTW it’s not a Yacht Club as pointed out to me many times over the years, it’s an Association….


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