Are you socially engaged or a sidelined sportster?

by Chris Kameen on June 24, 2013

Family -sailing-mother-and-sonDid you know in a recent study of those that have actively sailed in the last 12 months only 23% took part in some form of organised sailing including a ‘learn to sail’ course, a club race or race week(1) .  Also the motivation for participating is in the main to do with Social Interaction and Relaxation. That means there are are a heck of a lot of sailors going sailing with nothing to do with a club.

This is a problem for the sport of sailing which is centred around clubs, so what do clubs need to do to attract more sailors?

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the climate in which Sydney Sailing School operates and who the target market is and wanted to follow this up having read the Australian Sports Commission research(2) which identifies a number of market segments for both adults and kids.

25% of Australians are not interested in sport, only 10% are primarily interested in competition (Sports Driven 4% and Loyalist 6%), the other 65% of Australians are all target market for sailing clubs if we could offer the right products. The challenge for clubs is to find the right balance between fun and social sailing and providing competition for those that want it.

Out sailing for fun - catching the waves down to Balmoral an a great Nor-Easter with the big rig in!

Manly 16 foot Skiff Club has struck a tremendous balance in that it is able to offer sailing products that engage a good proportion of the 65% – (that are male) The 16 foot skiff class has been able to meet the needs of the elite sailors and the weekend warriors that enjoy ‘hacking’ around the course in an old beat up boat while still going fast. At times I think that the racing takes too long and can be a bit miserable if the weather is rubbish, but on days like that we retire to the bar and discuss what a great decision it was to not go sailing! We are clearly in the socially engaged 7% segment!

The challenge for the skiff club is to engage a few of the other groups – especially females in each group. The 13 foot skiff class was earmarked as a female and stepping stone class to the 16 but the sailing style is very male orientated, which does not endear itself to just over 40% of Australians who are interested in sport and take part but not competitively. I know a lot of female sailors (sidelined sportsters 13%) that are regularly Stand-up-paddle-boarding instead of sailing. SUPing has clearly filled a gap in the market that appeals to women that I don’t think is cost driven.. How do we get the SUPers sailing instead?

Sailing has to offer products that are:

  • Flexible – can be done without too much planning
  • Quick – 1-2 hour turn around
  • Accessible – kit available to hire

At Sydney Sailing School we are addressing this and will have some great summer products to supplement the Skiffies fantastic program of club racing.

(1) Gemba Report for Yachting Australia 2012

(2) Market Segmentation Study for Australian Sports Commission 2013

Previous post:

Next post: