We’re on a Sailing Mission…Why?

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August 31, 2014 by John A

Sailors are the same everywhere and so incredibly different. In a social environment you discover most sailors participate with passion they want to share – often with endless stories at the bar or more often by introducing friends, family and others to sailing. Yet, once they get to the dock, how they sail – race, cruise, tall ship or dinghy tends to splinter them into minute factions with narrow interests to promote. How are they the same? When you put them together in a room to form a club, they come up with some very similar language for their shared mission.

Is there a joke in here somewhere? i.e. ‘A cruiser, a racer and a day sailor walk into a bar…..’ After a series of meetings club mission statements usually sound something like this, ‘The purpose of the Club is to promote sailing…” or “…is entirely dedicated to providing youth with opportunity to benefit from sailing…” or 'The promotion of the sport of sailing and related activities.” Why do so many people, with so many different sailing styles, boats and conditions take time to sit in a room together, decide to form a club and then create a mission statement which, remarkably, are all very similar?

Kids love it.  Why are so few continuing on for life?

Reading an assortment of mission statements got us thinking more about the mission of Summer Sailstice and why we, and all these organizations, feel so compelled to ‘promote sailing.’ Here’s our three top reasons:

     - sailing has been an endless source of enjoyment which we’d like to share     

     - sailing’s values, lessons and heritage are worth passing on to future generations

     - sailing’s ability to connect people to each other and the planet through it’s intimate relationship with ocean and natural world creates an important bond and respect for our society and environment.

So what’s the Summer Sailstice mission statement? Here you go:

‘Host a spectacular weekend uniting and bonding a critical mass of sailors worldwide in a shared, publicly visible, environmentally supportive, inspiring event to demonstrate and celebrate sailing resulting in a significant, positive impact on participation.’

Of course, racing, cruise-outs, camaraderie, parties, pleasure sailing and an overall good time are exceptionally important too. If this ‘mission’ wasn't fun we’d all move on! In fact many mission statements contain lines like this, ‘…we revel in the camaraderie and social opportunities…’

Ultimately our goal is to create an event celebrating all of our unique ways of sailing that brings all sailors ‘together’, supports ocean health and attracts the attention of the non-sailing world. Think American Thanksgiving – a tradition an incredibly diverse nation all celebrates ‘together’. Summer Sailstice is an opportunity for us all to be grateful and generous with sailing.

A picture of 'all of sailing?'  Hardly.  We put together this photo collage to capture an image of sailing yet, we'll guess, most sailors are wondering why we didn't include a picture of their type of boat or sailing?  It can't be done - except, perhaps, by all of us posting our sailing plans for the Summer Sailstice weekend.  

Growing Participation Together

There are already thousands of organizations doing fantastic jobs reaching out to new sailors and inviting more people to experience life under sail. Yet, while dockside enthusiasm remains high, overall participation in sailing remains stagnant and well below its peak. With most sailors essentially agreeing on the mission, ‘promote participation in sailing’, how can we coordinate all of our efforts? By uniting around Summer Sailstice the sailing community can leverage everyone’s best efforts for maximum visibility and impact.

Simply posting your individual or organization’s Summer Sailstice weekend sailing plans on the website captures an image of a 'day in the life of sailing'. Creating a special Summer Sailstice event – race, cruise, open-house adds to the recognition of our collective sailing tradition.

It’s the perfect time of year (sorry if you have to postpone your wedding anniversary or school reunion but it’s worth it). From Sweden to San Diego it’s the start of the most active sailing season, it’s the longest days of the year* and most of the world’s sailboats and sailors will spend the months ahead on the water.

Summer Sailstice is an opportunity for all sailors to have fun promoting sailing together. It allows all individuals and organizations to participate by demonstrating what they do best, race, cruise, teach, daysail and, with everyone’s engagement, we create critical mass, awareness and opportunities for others to join in. It gives visibility to all the positive aspects of sailing and, wherever possible, invites public participation on a single weekend dedicated sharing the pleasure and growing participation.

The 19th Summer Sailstice will be the weekend of June 22nd, 2019. Put it on your 2019 club calendar now and plan how, where and what you’re going to sail to contribute your view of a global celebration of sailing.

Join the mission, celebrate sailing each June on the weekend nearest to the northern hemisphere's summer solstice. Next celebration - JUNE 22/23, 2019. 

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