Why all the Sunfish?
The answer is that we’re doing it for the good of the sailing club and for the sport of sailing in general. Our club has a lot of older members, and many of them have health and mobility issues that keep them from sailing – or even coming to the marina, given the steep trail that has become necessary while the lake level is down. We have a shortage of younger members.
Just as the tobacco companies have to advertise to young people in order to recruit new smokers to replace customers who have died off, we need to recruit young people and get them on boats having fun sailing. The difference is that our activity is beneficial to health rather than harmful.
If we get kids out on boats, having fun sailing, then they just might grow up and continue sailing. That’s good for the kids, and it’s also good for the sailing club. In the short term, we might get the kids’ parents on board in the club, bringing in a lot more energy and help for club projects. In the long term, the kids themselves can be a driving force in club activities.
That’s the point behind having a Sunfish fleet. We’ve had church youth groups and Scout troops out on the boats, and we welcome any youth organization that has reasonably good adult supervision to come and sail our boats.
Sure, the Sunfish isn’t all that much of a high-performance boat. But it does have the power of getting people hooked on sailing. Since Pat and I have started the Sunfish fleet, we’ve heard many tales from now-dedicated sailors, about their first, fondly remembered, sailing experiences on a Sunfish.