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Summary of the membership survey

15 December 2013 Michael Stovin-Bradford and David Healey

Jim, Jason & David socialising at the Brisbane Fleet BBQ.

"Jim, Jason & David socialising at the Brisbane Fleet BBQ."

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

The objective of the Australian Association to survey its members earlier this year was to provide us with guidance on how best we can support the growth of our class and our membership.

The following summary of the key findings is broken down into categories. The Class Secretary can assist you with any further requirements you may have.

Membership Response
197 responded to the survey. 98% were male, 75% were over 45 years of age with 80% plus committed to sailing in the class for at least two to four years.

61% weigh more than 86kgs, with 84% racing three up in a crew. 47% are current boat owners and 38% are current crew.

We were keen to obtain feedback on how and what members wanted. 74% were happy with the frequency of communication, with 26% wanting more.

44% were using social media and enjoyed connecting via Facebook and other social media. 20% said they would never use it. From this we concluded that we continue to resource social media for news and events, as they also obtained good hit rates.

In terms of what members like/want to receive from us, the response was very broad, indicating that we were responding to needs. We will continue to provide more news of class sailing, plus back up information on boat set up and training and giving new members feedback from successful sailors to bring them up to speed as quickly as possible. Videos were mentioned.

65% now subscribe or find information online, 24% through sailing magazines. Certainly this supports our move to the online environment.

In terms of supplying videos, we requested information on what might be useful.

There was no stand out, but maintenance, racing/crew information and what to look for in buying an Etchells were the preferred options.

The feedback about the existing website and frequency of visit showed that over 70% visited the website at least monthly with the news, results, calendar, along with the buy and sell sector being the popular.

In terms of what we could do better with the website, the key suggestions were:

  • Provide online filing of documentation for ease of entry
  • More videos
  • Links to suppliers, products
  • More consistent and good coverage of events
  • Boat and membership updates
  • Crew availability lists

The majority of members were mainly competing at Club level with an interest in State Championships, with 70% racing weekly. 80% indicated that sailing was very important to them.

Attending More Regattas
It was clear that good race management and Association calendar management was a base requirement.

Main Suggestions:

  • Provide a guide to use of trailers and what is expected at entry
  • Time poor-keep regatta time down
  • Keep regatta costs down

Main Barriers:

  • Transport of boats (needing a big car) or better organisation of transport alternatives
  • The weight limit being too low
  • Time poor
  • Distances to travel
  • Cost

Fleet Issues
Can't find crew was slightly ahead of fleet size, members, storage and yacht club support.

General Feedback
This was broad and varied from comments about crew numbers, weights, grandfather boats, obtaining crew and updating boat equipment, to the perceptions of the class being for the serious racer only.

Actions From The Committee
As discussed at the AGM, we have taken on board the overall feedback as the basis for moving forward. Now any fleet undertaking an event must provide an undertaking to minimum standards of news and promotion of the event.

The central communication point (our website) will be reviewed to assist member's needs and ensure it provides a resource for prospective Etchells sailors. We are positioning the Class more around the fun of crew versus crew, no matter which part of the fleet you find yourself in. As such, you will always have someone to race against. You will see this shift, as it brings the people element more into focus.

Thank you to all those who participated in the survey.

Etchells over BBQ. Brisbane Fleet monthly BBQ is ON!

"Etchells over BBQ. Brisbane Fleet monthly BBQ is ON!"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,


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