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Attracting New Interest to Alberg Sailboats

by Pete Scholz

Why Would One Look at a Floating Condo vs. Our Alberg Sailboat?
What Could Further Excite the Sailing Public on Albergs?
How Can We Get Her Back to Her True Values Again?

I have to be honest here, the last time I thought about this topic, I was rowing my boat down the Picton harbour. It was a beautiful early Fall day and I was moving along at a snail's clip.

What was I thinking, (besides why am I rowing)? I was thinking .... "What can we do to bring the visual and daydream desires of these great Alberg sailboats back to the general public and sailing world?"

We (Alberg sailors), already know and feel her magic, both in a visual and functional way. We get goose bumps on the backs of our necks when the cover comes off in early Spring. As we prep her for another sailing season, we marvel at her wine glass shape and wish her full keel was sometimes visible when she sliced through our sailing waters.

I then start thinking of comparables. Objects that bring "lust & wants" in people's daydreaming minds. Items like ...Triumphs & MG's, Jeeps, Classic Cars, Harley Davidson Motorcycles, Classic Boats (some wooden, some power) etc. Items that may help bring back one's youth, maybe fill a void, or allows them to participate with like minded folk in same group activities.

And, I bet when one imagines one of these jewels, they envision her in mint condition. Shinny and slick, providing that wow factor.

Aren't Albergs jewel like ???

Out here, on the eastern side of Lake Ontario, there has been a real resurgence with the old Shark 24 sailboats. Yacht clubs, like NYC, have a fleet of them that they run on a "share" program. This is where a non-boat owner can sign up with a club and participate in a weekly "learn to sail" ... or ... "crew - racing" activity. From this comes a group of excited Shark sailors who crave for club races, Shark regattas and, in turn, drives up the market to own one of these affordable boats.

Why? Since newer sailboats are built HUGE and basically unaffordable, there really are no other choices but to look at the used market to fill this void. The U.S. manufacturers are starting to realize this and are beginning to make smaller, classic styled sailboats, but still at very high dollar values.

In the value of a used Shark 24, a lot of emphasis is placed on inventory. New sails (full sets), the latest rigging features, smooth keel & underside, plus a good highway trailer are things that top the list to get the big dollars. But, because of this latest craze, even the lesser boats are getting big bucks to the untrained Shark sailing enthusiast.

Where does that leave us Alberg folks? How can we attract renewed interest towards her?

Well, to be honest, we already have a lot of good Alberg things going for us. We have a great design. We have pride in ownership. We have a great Alberg membership in the Great Lakes area as well as in the Chesapeake Bay team, plus smaller groups forming in British Columbia and California.

But, we could be better. Better in boat presentation and in keeping the fleet up-to-date. We could also be better at membership renewals, event function support and illustrating Alberg pride to non Alberg folk. We need to step up our presentation, showing folks that ownership of an Alberg is all one needs to be a happy sailor. We have to have the average Joe say ... "Wow, I really want to be a part of this Alberg lifestyle."

Back in the day, the GLAA membership was a hip and happenin' place to be. Participation was strong, fleet was young and good times were a plenty. Unfortunately, that dynamic era has slowed down a bit with age. There still are some hardy members kicking around to help keep the GLAA blood flowing. But, it would really help us to get some fresh blood into the fold.

So, where am I going with all this mumble, jumble text stuff? Well, in my simple, little mind, the only way I can see us driving up the values and/or excitement of our Alberg sailboats is to ...
  1. Have ALL of us Alberg skippers beam with pride every time other boaters view us.

  2. Put all our Alberg sailboats in ship shape, but in a well used appearance. This way, whenever we are viewed, it will illustrate our sense of love towards these sweet boats.

  3. Attend Alberg events with enthusiasm.

  4. Apply technical & eye-candy upgrades to our fleets to demonstrate the possibilities of making these boats personal and very appealing. You know what I mean .... "Boat Sexy".

  5. Setup similar boat programs with clubs as done with the Sharks, etc... But how & what?

Doing the above is the only way I can see us taking the interest of our sailboats up to the next level. It would take all of us, as a unified front, to make this effort happen.

Is it possible? Well, anything is possible. Is it doable? I believe so. I just wish I knew how we could go about kick starting such a concept to make it happen. Do you know what I mean?

That reminds me. I really shouldn't worry about such "grandee-o-so" ideas. I really should just put focus back onto my little girl and what needs to get her ready for the upcoming season. She does need a lot of attention and I better get to work. Later people ...