U.S. Sailing, the national lobbying organization for the sport of sail-
ing, announced recently that it will soon undergo a major restructuring of its internal activities to accommodate a significant decrease in the sport’s participation. The proposed changes, which will take effect over the coming year, are an attempt to focus more faithfully on the organization’s mission, which reads, in part, “to encourage participation and promote excellence in sailing and racing.”
U.S. Sailing announced that in 2003, its president had ordered an internal review after hearing that the sport was suffering from a lack of participation, particularly in nonracing activities. Further, a survey reported that since 1992, an estimated 100,000 fewer people participated in sailing activities each year.
Among the structural changes recommended by the review was a proposal to reduce the size of the board of directors and eliminate many of the cumbersome processes that seem to have contributed to an overemphasis on racing. The report recommends, for example, that the revamped U.S. Sailing “create a cohesive, cooperative Board, free of constituent loyalties and complicated weighted voting systems, with directors who do not have constituent loyalties or obligations, with no single group or class of director having the ability to control the organization.”
The report recommended an increased focus on such sailing activities as sail training, both coastal and offshore cruising, club and community sailing, and youth sailing programs. Such changes should be completed by the middle of 2005, according to the report.