Are there too many different classes sailed at our yacht clubs?

I'm new to sailing – my daughter has just started at the local club – so I might be right off base with this one. But am I right in thinking there are way too many different classes of boat in this country?

In talking with other parents I hear about Optimists, Manly Juniors, Pelicans and Sabots, and that's just in the “starter” classes. Then there are 29ers, 49ers, 470s, Lasers, Tasers, 12ft skiffs, 18ft skiffs, Flying 11s – my mind is reeling.

As a successful businessman, if it was me I'd be trimming the “inventory” down and concentrating on doing a few things well. I can't see how clubs can “sell” so many different products without confusing the potential customers – the kids we're trying to get interested in sailing. And doesn't it affect our Olympic success to have so many of our top sailors never racing each other because they compete in different classes?

My suggestion would be that every Australian club should offer the same package – a “starter” boat like the Optimist that has a World Championship, then stick to the Olympic boats.

Like I said, I'm new to the sport but I understand how to build a successful business and I don't think yachting has it right.

Dave D, Sydney.

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