This is a non-event. It's in front of you because our future events aren't scheduled (yet).
In the first two years of the group's history we've had literally hundreds of events and that will continue. There is another 'non-event that explains why you should visit the site often. Both of these 'non-events' rise up and are presented on our home page when we don't have future events that push it down. And there is a third 'non-event' that provides some insight into the upcoming America's Cup, and the unique position our group is in.
Do you have a little? Do you have a lot? How much will you pay to do what you want?
This is the question we all have to answer. Does money or the lack of it, get in your way?
Someone pays when others are provided with a free lunch.
Who pays for this group?
That last question is pretty easy to answer. I do. The basic costs are not very significant, there are certain expenses to set this group up and run it, those expenses are easily accounted for. There are other 'expenses' that are more intangible. The time and effort, for example. Those expenses are large and not easily quantified.
Each of the event hosts and assistant organizers (usually skippers) decide whether they want some help from the participants to fund the events they host. The only rule is that any funds that change hands are donations, there is no requirement that a member contributes to offset the cost of participating. The one exception to this is when a certified skipper charters a vessel under a 'split fee' arrangement. In that case the cost of the charter is shared by those who are aboard. Usually (but not always) the charter fee is split evenly. The Skipper always pays more, and that is explained later on in this post.
We are a Network, not a yacht club, sailing club, sailing school, or agent for sailing charter operators. We connect sailors. Each member of this network agreed to certain terms and conditions when they joined MeetUp to join this group. Those terms and conditions extend to this network. Please click on the 'Read More About Us . . .' link in the upper left corner of these pages for more information.
Sailing and Money
Sailing is both very, very expensive, and at the same time, free as the wind and water. Traditionally if you are a boat owner, the expense (and it's huge) is on you. You pay for the free lunch that your guests enjoy. For some of you, when you were growing up, Mom and Dad didn't ask you to help pay for the Thanksgiving feast, and as a boat owner, you might be feeling a bit like Mom and Dad. If you are certified to charter a boat, then you might focus on situations where you are the skipper of record, and everyone of the people who sail with you pay their 'fair share'. But wait a minute. On San Francisco Bay, you can't *just* charter a sailboat for bare boat sailing. The bare boat sailing Charter Companies require that you are a 'member' of their sailing club to charter their boats. They also require certification, and that expense falls to the skipper and is not shared among those that you sail with.
If you are invited to sail with someone, sailing can be as free as the wind and water. They provide the boat, they might provide the life jackets, you 'gear' up with what you have. Non-marking shoes are part of most people's everyday life, and layers of clothing are likely to be in your closets and drawers. You might even have something that is water proof you can add as an outer layer.
Some of the membership have gone one step further and they are prepared with sailing gear. The right kind of footwear, the right kind of layers, and the right kind of water proof (but breathable) outer layers. Walk into a West Marine Store and you'll find everything you could want, price tags included.
So Money (or the lack of it) is not a barrier to you, as a member of the group. You can participate in some of our events whether you have the money, or not. Some will have a cost associated with them, but typically the cost is nothing compared to the expense that your host has paid to be there to welcome you to the event.
Fairness? There is no fairness when it comes to sailing!
It's impossible to split the cost of sailing evenly among those that participate. If you have strong opinions about 'everyone paying their fair share', then you are not going to be comfortable in a sailing group such as this. Owners and Charter Certified Skippers are always going to bear the brunt of the cost of sailing, and often people they share their love of sailing with are going to be sailing for free. So the vision behind this group is to not worry about that. Contribute where you can, but don't let the lack of money keep you from participating. In some cases, you'll be asked to contribute, and when that happens, do so willingly without expecting fairness. Every Skipper wants to sail with friends, and recognizes that those friends aren't going to step aboard with an open, unlimited checkbook to distribute the cost evenly among those who are aboard. The spirit of the group is that those who can . . . do . . . but the joy of sailing is shared with everyone.
Our Mission is simply to connect the membership to each other so they can go sailing together. The spirit of the group from my point of view is to share sailing. The group allows people to connect online so we can get on the water together and share the joy of sailing. Through the group you can very quickly go from watching sail boats on the water from the shore to being on one, and sharing the experience with other sailors.
You as a Member
This 'non-event' is a work in progress. As a member you can post a comment at the bottom. Please do.
You as an Event Host
Some of the members are event hosts. I welcome all event hosts to post a comment and share your thoughts on what is presented here. You can also edit this event, add photos and text to it. You can share your thoughts on what is presented here in creative ways.
You can also create a future event and 'push' this event down so far that it seems to go away.
You as an Assistant Organizer
Some of our event hosts are Assistant Organizers. Most of these are skippers. The primary advantage that Assistant Organizers have is access to the RSVP history of the members who RSVP. This is extremely valuable because it helps you understand which members RSVP and show up, and who tends to flake. It also helps you as a skipper understand the members RSVP history as a sort of sailing resume. That value does not translate directly to money.
You as a Licensed Captain
Some of our Event Hosts and Assistant Organizers are Licensed Captains. This means that they have passed the requirements that the US Coast Guard has for Licensed Captains of Passenger Vessels. It does not mean that they are Operators of Passenger Vessels. When they post an event, it does not mean they are offering passenger service for hire.
Captained Charters, Crewed Charters, Bare Boat Charters, other 'Meetup Sailing Groups'.
Got Wind and Water is unique. Our focus is on what's known as 'On the Water' events At this time there are two other 'Meetup Groups' that focus on 'On the Water' events. These two other groups are slightly different than Got Wind and Water in their approach. One of them, the Sailing San Diego Meetup Group is the closest to what Got Wind and Water is about. The other, The Puget Sound Sailing Group, is close, but there are some subtle differences. Got Wind and Water lies somewhere between the two.
The Pudget Sound Sailing Group has a very organized leadership team made up of Owners and Certified Charter Skippers. The Certified Charter Skippers do Bare Boat Charters. They are not licensed captains taking passengers for hire (Captained Charters). The Puget Sound Sailing Group leadership team meets monthly to plan out the upcoming events.
We don't do that.
We, or rather our leadership team, doesn't meet. The team just goes sailing and posts the events. These events provide the opportunities for our members to share the sport of sailing. It's a symbiotic relationship. The leadership wants to sail and wants to meet people in the process. They share their experience and their ability to sail with the membership of our group. It's a symbiotic relationship and it works.
It works very well. It's based on a viral network model with a twist. That twist is face to face encounters on sailboats. I'll expand on that lower down in this post.
Bare Boat Charters on San Francisco Bay.
This is a special case, because San Francisco Bay is a special place. It's a challenging place to sail. There are no 'sailboat rental' outfits on San Francisco Bay. If you don't own a boat, you can Bare Boat Charter. But you have to go through an expensive process to get to that point. It's not as expensive as owning a boat and it has the added benefit that you can charter different types of boats and vary the sort of sailing you do. You can share the cost of charter with those who sail with you and you can very significantly lower the cost compared to owning a specific type of boat and only sailing that type of boat.
But you have to go through a process to get to where you can skipper in a 'Bare Boat' situation. That process has a cost, often in the $2000 - $3000 range. The process involves joining a club with a membership fee of around $60/month, then spending hundreds of dollars to take classes, and get 'certified' to Bare Boat Charter from that particular 'Charter Club'.
Once you've made that investment, you can Charter a sailboat, and split the cost of that charter among those that join you. But you can't split the coast involved in getting to that point, and you can't split the monthly membership fee. And you can only charter from the company (club) that you went through the process with. Want to charter from a different club? - you have to go through the expense of the certification process and joining that club and paying their monthly membership fee.
The Viral Nature of our vision
Got Wind and Water is an Online Social Network.
Got Wind and Water, as an Online Social Network connects people so that they can sail together.
In Malcom Gladwell's book 'The Tipping Point', this statement appears: "The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts."
hmm, add sailing skill to that particular and rare set of social gifts, and you have the definition of our event hosts and assistant organizers.
To be an effective viral network, we need three things, and my own take on this (with some twists) is that we seek to combine the following elements:
1) A messenger - our special people -
a) Information specialists (mavens) - experienced sailors
b) Social connectors - members who participate and talk to others about it
c) Influential people - certain members who 'draw' others into our events.
2) A message (to sail, you have to connect with sailors)
3) An environment (Sailing on boats on San Francisco Bay is an opportunity to connect with sailors)
If we are effective, then the leadership team doesn't have to meet, we just have to provide the environment - turning our sailing into group events. Our group just has to grow to include the people who provide the Social Connections and those with the rare gift of compelling people to step up and just do it. It's the equivalent of 'If you build it they will come'. Our leadership team 'builds it' by hosting events through the group. From March 2009 to December, 2011, we did this 483 times, at virtually zero cost to the members.
Sailing San Diego is similar in that their leadership team doesn't meet either. They just go sailing and invite the membership to join them. The difference at this time is that they also embrace Captain and Crewed Charters in addition to Bare Boat Charters and owner hosted events.
Of course one other difference is that the sailing climate in San Diego is . . . ah . . . rather tame vs. the micro-climates of San Francisco Bay.
There are many other Sailing Meetup Groups, there are multiple groups here on San Francisco Bay. But none of these other groups are focused solely on the variety of 'On The Water' events as we are.
Got Wind and Water will evolve.
If you've taken the time to read this entire notice, then I applaud you. You obviously are very interested in what goes on behind the scenes.
As the group has grown it's started to change in subtle ways. This is a tough economy and money is becoming more and more important. Sailing San Diego is doing very well, and although the membership growth is slowing down, the number of events is still growing. Part of that reason is that Captain and Crewed Charters are part of their make up. We have many licensed Captains among our leadership and there are many Charter Sailing Companies operating on the bay. We also have many Sailing Schools, and Bareboat Charter Clubs on our great bay.
There are many opportunities out there.
And . . . Oh yes, we have Larry Ellison and his quest to show what he and his team can do in their own back yard.
We live in interesting times.
Founder, Got Wind and Water
. . . powered by the Meetup Platform.
From Mark Tishler:
A couple of expressions that we used in the military come to mind were "Semper Fidelis" and "Gung Ho". The first meaning to be faithful to the group and the second was a Chinese phrase meaning to “work together” to achieve a common goal. I don’t want to launch into my “Band of Brothers” speech here (although Shakespeare’s Saint Chrispian’s Day speach from Henry V is always a good read), but I do think that we organizers should pull together and try to support each other.
It is really outstanding that we have collected together such a great diverse group of sailors offering varied sailing opportunities for the local public. Captain Dan is sailing a classic sloop out of the East Bay often for evening sails to enjoy the sunset and moonrise. I have been taking on some fill in crew for some racing around the marks and some more relaxed weekend trips around the bay out of Fort Baker - which is a cool destination in itself. John has a passion for popping the chute and satisfying his need for speed. Now, Steve Hocking, one of my dearest friends, has now joined the group and will offer opportunities to sail on the beautiful (and lightning fast) Ohana out of Sausalito. Steve is actually a direct descendant of John Cox Stevens, the man who built the America, sailed it to England and won the cup now known as the America Cup. How remarkable is that? Aaron Kennedy offers a similar experience on Ay Caliente also out of the East Bay. And now Denny has joined us with his[masked] berthed in Emery Cove Yacht Harbor. To quote John Travolta – Ain’t this cool?
Wouldn’t it be great if we could all get together to meet and enjoy a lunch sometime soon? What great discussions we could have about our varied experiences! I happen to partial to fish and chips, but I am up for anything.
I have been a little more active in the group as of late, mostly because I have had the time. My hours have been cut back at work, so I presently have more time for sailing. I am also racing in three different series at three different yacht clubs. I have asked my roster of regular crew to all join GW&W in order to use the platform to help organize our crew lists.
Regarding expenses, above and beyond the usual expenses of keeping a boat (boat payments, maintenance, insurance, slip fees, fuel, yacht club dues), there are additional expenses that are incurred as a direct result of doing these events for the GHW&W community. Consider the cost of the additional wear and tear on the boat. I am afraid that some of the “newbies” do not respect the boat like they should and I have had to fix the door to the head recently and now have some torn upholstery to repair, not to mention having to tear the head piping apart to remove some baby wipes! This is not an everyday occurrence, but stuff happens.
I think that we have a great group and together we offer a diverse selection of sailing opportunities.
Bravo Zulu to all of you.