To the US Sailing Community –
As the disruption in our world continues, and the disruptions facing the sailing community extends, this crisis is having a profound impact on US Sailing. In response, we are working to quickly adapt our operations, member engagement and support, program design, and service delivery to meet this new and continually evolving environment. The executive staff and US Sailing Board of Directors held a two-day virtual meeting over the past weekend where we evaluated our financial plan and crisis response, the impact on key programs, and reset strategic priorities. Coming out of this meeting, we would like to provide you with an update on our progress and direction.
We are focusing our efforts on four key priorities:
- Supporting the sailing community with redesigned programs and services;
- Focusing on our athletes and preparing for the Tokyo Olympics;
- Engaging with our members;
- Ensuring financial stability.
Here are the high-level actions being taken in each area of focus:
Redesigning core products and shifting to online delivery
We have expanded our online capabilities and resources through an online delivery platform used extensively in the college community that will support our core training, safety, and youth programs. Additional details regarding access and availability will be provided shortly.
Phase One Rollout:
- April 6
- Safety at Sea Modules 11-15
- April 13
- Two-day hybrid Small Boat Level 1 Instructor course
- One Day Race Management Seminar
- Reach (STEM) Course
US Sailing Team and Path to Tokyo 2020
The US Sailing Team Olympic Development athletes are focused on their health and safety, and utilizing their time to stay connected to their coaches and teammates through daily online remote training and fitness programs. Everyone has their sights set on the Tokyo 2020 Games which will be held from July 23 through August 8, 2021. With the delay and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 crisis, our coaches and the athletes are resetting their plans and re-prioritizing activities to maximize performance gains and best prepare for the Games given the additional 12 months. While our athletes have more time to train, the corresponding costs of preparing for the Games has increased and this provides additional challenges for our athletes.
Member engagement and support
Our staff has developed an interactive video hub on our website that provides new, engaging and valuable content daily. This new channel facilitates the sharing of ideas and provides members and sailors a way to stay connected through engaging videos and live content from sailing subject experts. We encourage you to visit the Starboard Portal.
We are continuing to support local sailing organizations with resources and tools, guidance and best practices. We are also working with our partners and sailing organizations who are hosting US Sailing events to revise scheduling and keep participants informed and updated. Currently we have postponed all US Sailing seminars, courses and sanctioned events through the end of April.
At US Sailing we are reliant on revenue from our key programs and the support of our members to run our business. This time of year, leading into the summer, is the busiest time of year for us with instructor programs, race official seminars, and offshore racing preparation (rating certificates, safety at sea training). As with other events and activities, the majority of these have been postponed or cancelled. While we believe the programs we are moving online and new products we are introducing may partially offset losses, we are taking significant actions to reduce expenses. Besides significant cuts to our operating expenses, we are reducing salaries across the organization and temporarily suspending retirement contributions to preserve cash. We are also pursuing loan opportunities presented by the Federal stimulus package to secure additional resources. We are working diligently to continue delivering important services and programs to our members and the sport, while supporting our dedicated staff and their families in these extremely trying times.
From all of us at US Sailing, our staff, dedicated volunteers and athletes, we are extremely grateful to you, our members for your ongoing support. Thank you for your confidence as we work to continue important programs and services, and champion the sport. In these challenging times, your membership provides crucial resources that keep our operations functioning and staff and volunteers motivated and inspired. We are rising to the occasion, and people throughout our community are raising their hands and thinking creatively to support the sailing community and ensure we are ready to reengage once these challenging times have passed.
Thank you again for being part of our community and we hope you will continue to support US Sailing, our staff, volunteers and athletes. As always, please feel free to reach out to us directly, as we value your input and are all ready and willing to help.
Jack Gierhart Cory Sertl
Chief Executive Officer, US Sailing President, US Sailing Board of Directors