Below is a letter that was sent out to our team this past week. SailStrong will continue as an entity focused on coaching services to support the organization described below, develop other clinics, and work with other sailing organizations to help their junior sailing programs and events.
Next week will mark the start of the 4th season of our SailStrong Team! As we get ready for the coming season, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on what we have achieved as a Team over the last three years and to announce some exciting developments that will keep all of our sailors sailing Stronger together for years to come both in the Optimist and, as they age or size out, in 420’s, 29er’s, Lasers, etc.
Three years ago next weekend, the Team held its first practice at Bellport Yacht Club. While the SailStrong roster initially listed around 10 sailors, the number of sailors who actually attended practice that first Fall hovered most weekends around 3 or 4. For those first few months, the Team frequently had as many adults on the water (Peter, Bob and Tom) as we did sailors…we’ve come a long way in three years. SailStrong now has more than 40 sailors on our Team roster, our practices are regularly attended by more than 20 Sailors and we usually field a Team of over 30 sailors for major USODA regattas. In the three years since we started the Team, we’ve had one sailor represent the US at the IODA World Championship and each year we have placed sailors on the USODA National Team, the South American Team, the North American Team, the European Team, the Asian Team and many other international teams; we also won the 2014 USODA MidWinter Team Race Championship and have been on the podium at numerous other Team Race Events each of the last three years. Our sailors have had so many other accomplishments over the last three years that they are way too numerous to summarize here, but all of our sailors have made the coaches and parents alike very proud! Our team parents also have contributed to sailing these past three years; SailStrong team parents now serve as 3 of the USODA’s 9 members of its Board of Directors, many of our team parents are active on USODA Committees and one team parent is the Chairperson of the USODA International Committee. As a positive sign for the future of our club we also have one team parent who serves on the Board of the US Club 420 Association.
As our Team has grown, so too has grown the off-the-water burden that the Team places on Peter. To help alleviate the growing off-the-water burden, many team parents have graciously volunteered their time and resources for the benefit of the sailors and the Team alike and for that, we thank you all! Over time, however, Peter has come to realize that the increased size of our Team on the water requires on land logistical support far beyond what one person can reasonably be expected to provide. In short, our Team requires an off-the-water organization of volunteer parents to cover the logistics of the Team so that Peter, Leigh and Scott can focus on coaching and ensure the continued on-the-water growth and success of all of our sailors. This past year, we also found that several of our regular practice venues for the Team, including Bellport Yacht Club and Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, now object to the SailStrong Team’s “For-Profit” status. In fact, going forward, they have denied our Team access to their venues so-long as our Team remains a “For-Profit” organization.
Today, we are excited to announce the formation of the Long Island and Mid Atlantic Sailing Team (also known as the “LIMA Sailing Team” and simply as “LIMA”), a parent run, “Not-For-profit” Team that is the successor to the SailStrong Team. Initially, the LIMA Board of Directors is compromised of Bob Hermus, Tom Rice and Josh Chisari. Peter Strong will serve as LIMA’s Sailing Director and will continue as the Team’s Head Optimist Coach. Leigh Kempton and Scott Norman will also continue coaching the Team. LIMA will continue the SailStrong Team experience for all of our sailors by providing the best coaches available to sailors of every level.
On the water, the Team will function the same way with Peter, Leigh, Scott and others coaching our sailors as they have always done in the past! The Team will have the same Optimist schedule that was previously listed on the SailStrong website. The Team’s regular weekly Optimist practice will commence as planned on Saturday, September 6 at the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club and will continue weekly throughout the season. The practice locations after the first two weekends will be hashed out before the season starts. In addition, the Team will hold its second 29er clinic on the weekend of September 20-21.
Off the water, the LIMA board and its other parent volunteer’s will ensure that the Team runs logistically smoothly so that all of our sailors have the best experience possible on the water The SailStrong Team Google Group will transition to a LIMA Team Google Group. Initially, sign-ups will be handled through a LIMA Team Google Spreadsheet which will go live later this week. You all will receive an invitation to join the LIMA Team Google Group shortly.
We are very excited about the opportunities that LIMA will create for all of our sailors and our Team. LIMA’s “Not-For-Profit” status will allow us to raise funds to support and unite youth sailing in both Long Island and the Mid Atlantic. LIMA’s sole focus will be a dedication to sailing as a sport and the continued growth and success of our sailors and our Team. While we cannot yet share full details, we are also in advanced discussions with the parents of a sizable group of Optimist sailors and we expect that we will be able to announce the addition of a significant number of sailors to our Team in the days to come. In addition, LIMA will also ensure there are programs for our Optimist sailors to continue sailing once they age or size out of the Optimist. To that end, in addition to our Team’s regular weekly Optimist practices, LIMA will start a 29er and 420 program this Fall.
We will follow-up with additional information shortly. In the meantime, as we have done in the past, we invite you to come celebrate together as a Team at the Team’s 2014-2015 Season Kick-Off-Party to be held Saturday, September 6th at 6 pm at the Chisari home. Please join us at the Kick-Off-Party so that as a Team (Sailors, Coaches and Parents alike) we can celebrate together as we hoist the LIMA Flag for the first time! We also plan to hold a question and answer session for Team parents from 6 to 6:30 pm. We look forward to continuing to work together under our Team’s new LIMA Flag so that together we can ensure that our sailors can keep SailingStronger together for years to come!
All the best,
Peter Strong, Sailing Director and Head Optimist Coach of LIMA