This is a background document and agenda for a Class meeting held at The European Championship in Sønderborg, Denmark. To ensure the following important discussion is not limited to those attending the Sønderborg event this document is reproduced here with the opportunity for all members to comment below. MEMBERS WHO HAVE NOT ALREADY DONE SO SHOULD TAKE A MOMENT TO JOIN ON THE WEBSITE AS AN ASSOCIATION MEMBER at https://www.int505.org/about-the-505/members/register/ .This will enable you to comment and or vote on ongoing issues and receive member specific information.
There are also two very short but important surveys on the website members should complete. These are:
CLASS MEETING IN SONDERBORG – Agenda
2) 2021 European Championship venue
3) Update on Worlds in Bastad, Sweden
4) Update on Worlds in Bermuda
5) Time and location of International events
6) Euro Cup Events
7) Increasing 5o5 Class participation.
There has been a suggestion that we need to discuss the future of the Class and improving interest and participation.
There is also a need to discuss future timing & locations for the Europeans in 2021 and maybe even the timing of next year’s Worlds in Bastad, Sweden.
2) 2021 European Championship Venue.
Options may include:
· Douarnenez, France (Brittany)
· Barcelona, Spain
· Roses, Spain
· Palamos, Spain
· Port Balis, Spain
5) Timing and location of international Events
One of the things we need to make sure we are getting right is the timing and location of World and European Championships. This is particularly topical at the moment as we lock down dates for the Worlds in Bastad and the next Europeans in 2021. This should be a subject for discussion both at the meeting and online on the website.
The following short surveys are on the int505.org website. All members should be encouraged to complete them.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME FOR A EUROPEAN OR EUROPE BASED WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP? Does it affect whether you will attend if the event is held in the early August period or in September? THIS MAY INFLUENCE THE DATES FOR THE WORLDS IN BASTAD.
6) Euro Cup Events
PROPOSAL The intention of this proposal is to provide a new international event in both north and south Europe so people have a realistic option wherever in Europe they may be. These regattas will suit different people and should not conflict with each other. This would mean we have 6 Euro Cup events and to find a Euro Cup winner it should be 3 (or 4?) out of the 6 events to count?
7) increasing 5O5 class participation
How do we increase the number of people sailing the 5o5?
a) Improving Class profile and reputation to the right audiences so sufficient people actually have an interest in sailing a 5o5.
b) facilitating access and making sailing a 5o5 as easy as possible for those people who are interested.
Improving Class profile and reputation
This is the job primarily of the international association. The profile, brand and message about the class is mostly the same in every country. Country associations should not have to worry about this or feel the need to intensively market the 5o5, reinvent website content, structure, photos, video, sponsor briefs and all the other initiatives that brand a 5o5 for what it really is. The Class internationally also needs to be responsible for the consistency and professionalism of the message. If the International Association is doing all this well enough, the national associations should be able to piggy-back on & benefit from that work. This includes continuing to improve the profile of the 5o5 and, to the extent possible, neutralise negativity. The 5o5 seems to have an extraordinary following and support from people who sail or have sailed the boats. Very rarely does one hear negative comment from these people. On the contrary the commentary is resoundingly positive. “They are the best boat going.” “They have something for everyone”. “The events attract the best sailors in the world” “The enthusiastic occasional sailors are also having fun and enjoying the racing”. “Everyone is so helpful”. “The 5o5 is the only boat that can accommodate the range of sailing weights so old, young, big, small, male, female, olympian, professional or beginner can all race & enjoy”. “The class is rich in history but still the best”. “The Class has racing in such great locations” etc.
The 5o5 appears to be genuinely aspirational. Kids who are exposed to the class want to sail it. Older people who used to sail it would like to still be doing it.
However there are many who have not sailed or been associated with 5o5s in any way who only know it by hearsay. In the minds of this group, the Class often has a reputation of being old fashioned, prohibitively expensive, just for old people, etc.
In short. The 505 is a wonderful boat to sail for those who have or still do sail it. However, from many who don’t know much about the boat, the often-heard comment is “The 5o5? Is that boat still around? There is therefore little benefit in just using social media like face-book or the website where only existing believers lurk. We need to change the awareness and brand of the 5o5 in the wider sailing community.
Initiatives to date:
1) The website has been updated to be more professional, contain all relevant information and be THE PLACE to go for information or news. This is work-in-progress, but we are getting there.
2) Professional press releases and newsletters are sent out regularly.
3) Combined with Facebook and other social media, these posts are being used to control the message and tweak the brand that is the 5o5, especially nullifying the view that the boat is old fashioned, expensive or boring.
4) Trying to ensure everything we do and say is ‘selling’ the right message and is consistent across the association.
5) We are moving to less sources of information, so we don’t divide our audience. All information or news about the class needs to be in the one place (or as few places as possible) to ensure web traffic goes through the same portal. This helps provide value for sponsors partners and advertisers. National association members can make a big contribution here. Whenever a facebook or news post is published it should refer to the information posted on the 5o5 website, not on third party websites. As an example, one can enter for a regatta, view the entry list, accommodation options, results, news updates, photos, video and a whole host of other information by going to the club website, the Manage to Sail or equivalent site, the photographer’s website, other people’s ‘you tube’ channel, directly on a Facebook page, etc. This divides the audience and promotes everyone else except the 5o5 Class. We should aim to have all information and publicity, particularly when we pay for it, sourced directly on the 5o5 website. This way we get all the traffic and can control the quality and content of the message. We will endeavour to always have all the information and news available on the International 505 website. Please find it there and share it there. Don’t link directly to third party sites if it can be avoided. Following a similar protocol for national websites and Facebook pages is highly recommended.
We can and will raise awareness and interest in the 5o5 however people need to be able to easily find local contacts & information they need. Ideally keen sailors need to have access to a boat to try for a period to realise the 5o5 is for them. This is a key area for National Associations to focus on and where discussion can be most productive. Active local committees ensuring new people can get prompt reliable access to a sail, reliable information & support when they need it is essential.
Association boats are proving very effective. A number of members with two or more boats are usually happy to also lend boats. Even for an overseas regatta.
Multiple boat trailers where possible are effective to get more boats to regattas where some don’t have time to travel by car.
A container should ALWAYS go from every continent to a World Championship and even maybe a European Championship. The situation that arose in Poland when there were ZERO overseas containers should never be allowed to happen again.
The website, financing and sponsorship.
Much of what we need to do as outlined in this document takes money. Or time volunteers don’t have so money is needed to pay people to drive these initiatives. We need sponsors and or donors. Not just for Worlds but for the ongoing needs of the Class. At an International level we are developing professional information documents to promote ourselves to sponsors. National Associations can & should use these or, where necessary edited versions to find sponsors locally.
As discussed above maximum audience numbers need to have reason to visit the website and receive social media posts in order to attract strong sponsors and advertisers. We are currently investigating trial models where national websites can effectively be part of the one global site to concentrate traffic further.