I had the opportunity to represent Storm Trysail – both the Club (STC) and Foundation (STF) – at US Sailing’s Leadership Forum meeting a couple of weeks ago. It was a good conference and I came away from it with an appreciation of where Storm Trysail fits in the leadership landscape of the sport, where Storm Trysail does and can add value, and with an idea of what our Members should expect from the rest of the sailing community.
It was great to observe the very high level of energy of the 700 or so volunteers participating in both the plenary and break out sessions of the conference. Although our sport faces some challenges, there are a lot of smart and hardworking people at clubs and organizations across the country addressing those and uncovering opportunities along side of the challenges.
I was particularly struck by the energy around community sailing and female participation in the sport. I think it is fair to say, and I did so at the meeting, that both STC and STF are contributing to both these areas with their work in Junior Safety-at-Sea and the promotion of opportunities for women, particularly offshore.
I attended both the Offshore Committee and Safety at Sea Sub-Committee of US Sailing. There were two issues front and center on the agenda: the status of international rating rules, and the delivery of safety at sea education. As an organizer and manager of races, STC has a real stake in the development of the rating rule landscape internationally; and – as a leading provider of safety at sea education to adults and juniors – a leadership role to play in safety at sea.
On the rating rule front, the most promising activity is in the development of infrastructure and policy around the Universal Measurement System. This is an effort to align the interests of the fleet with the various rule-making bodies around the world by creating a common set of measurements to be used by all rules. STC Members Stan Honey and Steve Benjamin, along with many others, have devoted a lot of time and effort to this project and the prospects of it bearing real fruit are exciting.
Storm Trysail – along with other providers of safety at sea education – is engaged in a robust discussion with the US Sailing Safety at Sea Sub-Committee about the role of the excellent on-line tools US Sailing has developed (with partial underwriting from Storm Trysail, along with the CCA) in a comprehensive structure for certification of skills of sailors venturing to coastal, near-shore and offshore races. Our contributions in this area are led by Past Commodore Rich du Moulin.
The second evening featured a fun cocktail party followed by the US Sailing Awards Celebration. Three Storm Trysail members were honored for their contributions to the sport. Ron Rostorfer and Kevin Keogh were both honored with the President’s Award for their contributions to the sport and partnership with US Sailing; and Tom Duggan was honored with the Harman Hawkins Trophy for his contribution to Race management. It is interesting to note that Harman Hawkins himself was a long- time STC Member serving as both Club Commodore and Secretary as well as President of US Sailing’s predecessor, North American Yacht Racing Union.
I was proud to represent the Club at this important conference and you can be assured that Storm Trysail, on behalf of and through its Members, plays a significant leadership role in our sport.