Its been over a month since creating the website and I have had so much constructive feedback, none of it bad I have to say. The websites purpose is to pull together as much information as I can find and summarise it to provide a route map to building, setting up, sailing and racing an IOM. During this process one comment kept bugging me. Do we call it radio sailing or model yachting? Which term will best help the promotion of the sport?
One comment I heard was that model yachting had connotations of plastic boats in the bath. One hears of Ben Ainsley's offspring match racing two plastic yachts in the bath. I wonder how many times the Italians were sunk!
UModel Yachting Associationyou see a mix of names for the associations. The International Radio Sailing Association is an affiliated member of World Sailing. Then around the world we have associations such as:
Model Yachting Association (UK)
Australian Radio Yachting Association
New Zealand Radio Yachting Association
American Model yachting Association
Canadian Radio Yachting Association
The South African Radio Sailing Authority
Now I understand, that if you have both radio and free sailing classes it would not be right to call yourself a radio sailing association but is the term "model" or radio sailing right for the promotion of our sport.
I sail at a venue with a great corinthian spirit. We are all retired and as a result sail on Tuesdays, in fact it is frowned upon if we sail at the weekend because we are a very active dinghy racing club. When I first turned up with my IOM there were a few laughs and comments from my younger dinghy racing peers about when I was going to get a real boat (ie a dinghy). On the other hand when children came to watch and you handed the controls over to them, their eyes lit up and dreams inspired. But what opportunity is available for them in our sport.
At Frensham Pond we want to grow our membership in radio sailing but because of timing, we can really only target the retired or anyone who is prepared to take Tuesday off.
There are other clubs who sail on waters dedicated to radio yachts and a few that are set up for vane sailing as well. Gosport, West Kirby, Fleetwood etc. and these can sail at the weekend and hopefully attract younger members.
In an ideal world, we would like to see our sport expand, not only the current audience but maybe attract a new younger sailors and also sailability. Which comes back to the question, how is model/radio sailing perceived and which term is best if either.
Does the name matter? I think not if we can alter perceptions to being a sport for all, either as a hobby or as one to be taken seriously whether as a yacht designer, builder or racer. Wouldn't it be nice to see a club race winner, club champion, national, European or world champion have as much meaning in the in sailing world tomorrow as in the radio or vane world of today. Then we could inspire more to come across to our brand of the sailing sport.
Keep safe. Not long before we are sailing again.