The Art of Spending Money in Sailing

Sailing is considered an intellectual sport. Even by non-sailors. Demographic data prove that the cross section of the population interested in sailing are above average educated, are employed in above average jobs and have above average salaries, showing a significant higher proportion of real estate ownership.
Yet it is a mystery to me how the same people who are managers and board members of successful companies and organizations etc have a way of spending money in sailing, that would never be accepted in a company!

Does this have implications on your talents with an ambition to become great sailors/coaches and maybe advance to participate in championships or even the Olympics?

I think so. If the people in charge of funding, and spending the money, would become more performance oriented in their way of making best use of the money, all your talents would soon benefit from better training, coaching and support in general!

Let’s take a look at how money is generally spent in sailing.

  • A talented sailor appears and asks for support, or even better is spotted and being offered support.
  • Support to develop the talented sailor can be providing:
    • A trainer or coach
    • Equipment, or subsidizing of equipment
    • Money for activities, regatta participation
  • In the club, or federation, the money spent to support the talented sailor appears in the accounts as cost.
  • At the end of a fiscal year:
    • The money is gone
    • There is no capitalization in the club/federation accounts related to the money spent
    • The trainer has done his/her job and the talented sailor has hopefully improved, but this is not reflected in the accounts.

Year after year this happens. The club or the federation themselves achieve very little out of the money spent to support talents. Except perhaps some members of the club are proud of their sailing talents.

When the appointed trainer/coach leaves and when the talented sailor moves on – or stop sailing – then there is nothing left of the money spent, except hopefully a track of racing results that will make some people happy and may even inspire others to start sailing or attempt to follow.

Now- what if:

The club or federation (or both) consider a portion of all funding must be capitalized in the sense, that the know-how and experiences to develop the talented sailor, made possible by the funding, could be retained in some sort of manner I.E turned into an investment. This know-how could then be activated for the benefit of other talented sailors (and trainers/coaches) with significant reduce in cost compared to starting all over again.

Accumulating this know-how and experiences over time could build a base ‘worth a lot of money’ and being much easier available for new talented sailors. It could for this matter be registered as an asset in the accounts of the club or the federation.

Clubs and federations fighting for ever more funding would benefit from being able to document to sponsors, donors etc. that they achieve a higher efficiency with the funding than compared to other clubs/federations who treat all support as 100% cost. The club/federation can build a position for themselves in the market where they could be preferred partners by sponsors and donors.

As a talented sailor/coach you should view this as an opportunity to consider:

  • Can you support those who fund you, to capitalize on the know-how and experience you build with your trainer/coach/sailor?
  • Can you motivate the people in charge of getting funding and spending it wisely, to prioritize your activities, because you give back something for them to capitalize?
  • Would you yourself be motivated to develop sailing, your club, your nation just to have other people get access to the many adventures in sailing?

As a talented manager or board member in a sailing club or federation, view this as an opportunity to consider:

  • Increase the efficiency of your budget at an accelerating pace for each year?
  • Increase the amount of support given per $ spent on each sailor?
  • Shorten ‘time to fame’ for your trainers/coaches and sailors?
  • Improve the deliveries to your sponsors and reduce the ‘time to fund’?
  • Leave a “Performance Legacy” in the form of a structure and records enabling education of sailors and coaches for generations to come

These are only a selection of improvements possible to achieve if you begin ‘sustainable coaching’ and capitalizing the investments to improve the talented sailors. In TopLevel Sailing we have good and documented experiences to implement this way of working – from the sailor to the board to the sponsor. Please be curious and ask us how to begin such a journey.

In a ‘later to follow’ blog we will give you some ideas on how to capitalize on funding of sailors and coaches.

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