Five Star Regatta Service – Rush Creek Yacht Club A Model To Study
30 July 2014
Article courtesy of Eric Hood – Over the years through one-design sailing, all of us have at some point experienced an extraordinary regatta. I’m not referring specifically to how well you raced, but rather the experience was A+. Here’s one example from this 2014 racing season that to me gave a takeaway that was hard to top at any level of sailing championships experienced in my lifetime.
As you know, there are destination spot regattas that can be super cool to be at but the sailing is not so great. Then there are destination spot regattas that do have great sailing. Then there are the traditional regattas for example, the Inland Yachting Association and some of their events that are 100+ years old and are can not miss events. Then a favorite for many is a major championship that your own club puts on for the rest of the class or classes. Lots of great different ways to experience a fun, community filled, get your blood boiling competitive regatta.
Right half of fleet going up two minutes after medium air start ©2014 Evan Wallis
The event I’m referring to was the 2014 MC Masters Championship at Rush Creek Yacht Club (RCYC) just outside of Dallas, Texas near Rockwall on Lake Ray Hubbard. This was truly what I will call a “Five Star Regatta Experience”. It took two years in the making and similar ideas in this regatta have been tried but not on the scale as this one was.
Going upwind in a breeze at Rush Creek ©2014 Evan Wallis
To put anything “GREAT” together the first ingredient required is “Leadership”, the second ingredient is “Vision” and then the third ingredient required is “Execution”. The RCYC team had all of this. So much of this success comes back almost always to one or two people. And those one or two will have usually a core leadership team behind them. Then behind the core leadership team is a “FANTASTIC” volunteer team. All of this was present at RCYC this year for this event.
Rush Creek Yacht Club Aerial ©2014 Evan Wallis
Some of the players on point were the following (and please forgive me if I miss a major contributor). The “Vision” piece came from MC Ringleaders Jack Kern and Brian Morgan. Leadership team had Jeff Grinnan, Kelson Elam, Kenny Wolf and about 40 more great volunteers
Leadership team members Jack Kern and Jeff Grinnan ©2014 Evan Wallis
Now here is a very cool fact about how this team was formed. This was the MC Masters National Championship. A lot of folks were not Masters qualified but yet they gave days, weeks of prep time to help the overall efforts. All who were part of this team gave A+++ performance.
So let me bullet point what was so impactful about this event:
• The vision casting invitation by Jack and Brian to the MC fleet at large was “Come to the Masters and we will have a great boat waiting for you.” A barrier to many regattas in just getting there was removed. We have all been to events where you see one, maybe even two or three boats being loaned out with sails and everything. Try it with nearly 20+ boats at a National Championship, that’s an incredible feat.
• Another part of the invite was “Ship your sail in and we will not only put the sail on your boat but also make an attempt to set the boat up to your weight and sail type.” The barrier in time spent travelling was minimized.
• Housing was available
• In and out tractor service.
• Fantastic RCYC meals and parties – exceptional to say the least, again where people opened up their homes and got creative.
• Practically half of our fleet for this event simply flew in and everything was already taken care of. The promises were all kept and met for those who took advantage of this great offer.
Rush Creek Yacht Club ©2014 Evan Wallis
Now here is why I think this is a “case study” for all of us if you will. In our culture of busy calendars, economic health, personal and work commitments, folks seemingly are not going to 3-10 regattas a year as much as they did back say in the 1980-90s or even early 2000’s. If that is true and I think it is hard to argue against this notion then this model is possibly a great way for folks to still venture out to farther away great sailing spots and have off the chart experiences that many have only heard legend of from the past. We could jump start travel to other great and distant venues that seemingly feel impossible to visit. Having been part of a five day five star experience at this years championship, I must say I was a little jealous on the last day when I saw so many of my friends just head to the airport and I had a 1000 mile drive in front of me.
Rush Creek Yacht Club put together one of the best regattas I have ever seen. From how they prepared, welcomed and more importantly “SERVED” our fleet for a major national championship, it’s only fitting to say WAY TO GO TEAM RCYC!!!!