2014 Southern Circuit Survey Summary
Prepared by: Executive Committee Member Bill Faude

Dear Lovers of Our Beloved Square Boats,

Below you will find two batches of results from the survey distributed following the 2014 Southern Circuit. You are encouraged to look through all the results. There are many interesting verbatim responses in each document where folks are sharing their nuanced opinions. If you do not wish to dig into the details that is fine too.
Here’s a summary, short and sweet:

57 regular members who attended at least one circuit event during 2014 returned their survey. 20 members who have recently attended a circuit but did not skipper a boat this year returned a survey.

2014 Attendees:
“I would be more likely to attend the Southern Circuit in the future if:”
• It were the "traditional" 3-venue circuit format:                  12.2%
• It were a 2-venue circuit similar to this year’s event:           45.6%
• I will attend regardless of the structure/schedule:               31.5%

2014 Non-Attendees:
“I would be more likely to attend the Southern Circuit in the future if:”
• It were the "traditional" 3-venue circuit format:                  30.0%
• It were a 2-venue circuit similar to this year’s event:           25.0%

A Brief Historical Perspective

In 2011 a committee polled the membership, interpreted the results and made recommendations about how to increase participation in the Southern Circuit. ILCA members indicated +15% additional participation was possible if we tried a two-venue format that began on a Sunday and ended on a Saturday thereby reducing the number of traditional workdays required to sail the Circuit to five. The Committee agreed to use total 'boat starts' (number of boats registered X # of races contested) as thesuccess criteria we would use to determine if the trial two-venue circuit was more or less popular than other years.

This year we had 656 'boat starts' 30% more than 2013 when we had 502. The original survey clearly indicated our member use the amount of racing per $ spent and # of days off work required in assessing the value of their circuit experience. This would indicate we delivered better value this year. It is also gratifying that the uptick in participation even exceeded what the original survey indicated was possible.

For perspective, our circuit attendance was up significantly in an environment this year where Flying Scots and Thistles suffered quite low turnouts.

Indicated Action:

1. The ILCA Executive Committee has reviewed the surveys and held several meetings with the Southern Circuit Chairperson and the Association Executive Secretary. It believes the survey results clearly indicate a significant preference for the 2-venue format including both Miami and St. Petersburg. Therefore it announces the following dates for the 2015 Southern Circuit: March 14-21, 2015

Winter Championship - St Petersburg YC - Afternoon Registration, Saturday March 14. Racing Sun - Tuesday. Banquet Tuesday night in St Pete.
Midwinter Championship - Coral Reef YC - Wednesday, March 18th - Evening Registration, Racing Thurs - Sat. Awards immediately following racing.

Survey Results – Participants

Survey Name: 2014 Southern Circuit Survey
Response Status: Partial & Completed
April 16, 2014 2:37:50 PM
First-time Participation Preferred Structure/Schedule
Favorite Part of the Southern Circuit Non-Participation Reasons
Favorite Part of the New Format Banquet Scheduling
Southern Circuit Attendance Suggested Changes
  Non-Participant Survey
Is this your first time participating in the Lightning Southern Circuit?:
  Number of Response(s)


Yes 6 10.5%  
No 51 89.4%  
No responses 0 0.0%  
Total 57 100%  
What was your favorite part of the Southern Circuit?  
The sailing in Miami.
Shore side - as my first circuit I had known some sailors but made many new friendships including my team. I liked "settling" into Miami for three days of sailing vs setting up one day and knocking down the next. Water side - big boat fleet and excellent sailing and competition.
Sailing in Miami.
St Pete.
The sailing in Miami was fantastic. I certainly enjoyed the comradery of getting together with this large fraternity of Lightning sailors and catching up with friends from up north that I haven't seen in months. Good parties and particularly the beer swap in Miami and the rum party in St. Pete. Like those casual get togethers.
The wind in Miami and the friendly atmosphere.
Racing in Miami provided excellent conditions and excellent competition. Being situated in the US Sailing Center also worked well because we had to double deck two sets of boats.
What was your favorite part of the new format?
Regatta ending on Saturday.
I was only able to do St Pete.
Staying longer at Miami.
Finishing Saturday was nice; 3 days in Miami was nice.
More days in Miami. I won't attend unless Miami is part of the circuit. I am answering the next question because I must but I don't like any of the answers. Miami must be sailed and I like the two venues as long as Miami is included every time.
Fewer days away from home, fewer times rigging, derigging and moving from lodging. 3 days sailing in Miami.
It felt easier travel wise.
1) Liked going from 3 venues down to 2.
2) Miami sailing waters are outstanding and consistently offer good conditions.
3) We like St. Pete and the tradition it holds but this year the conditions and race management were subp
3 days in Miami. Good sailing and time to get settled.
Spending the extra Days in Miami and St Pete.
The band last night.
Great wind over a nearby rational coarse. I've never sailed at Savannah but while it sounds charming, my impression from articles and conversations is the racing is very idiosyncratic at best. My priority for the a racing event that takes the effort of the SC is the best racing conditions possible. I probaby would not attend in Savannah years.
Less packing. And unpacking. And. A shortened week. We would prefer a 2 venue event. But not in savannah.. We really enjoyed the 2 venue. With Miami and at Pete.
For two reasons, I liked sailing for 3 days in Miami. First, the sailing in Miami is great. Second, the last day of any regatta is, in general, a short day and so 3 day regattas means more sailing and less boat setup/breakdown.
More great racing in Miami.
Miami 3 days of racing, I like the 2 venue, but do not like racing in st pete. Great people and club, bad breeze.
Took less time.
Liked the travel days and making it a two week end event.
I find that getting home on Sunday and having time to do laundry and actually participate in some family activities was very popular with the non-sailors in my family who did not attend.
3 days in Miami with a Saturday arrival, a day of rest on Wednesday, and 3 days in St. Pete with a Sunday departure.
More time on the water. 2 terrific sailing venues.
More racing, less travel.
It lends itself to engage more participation at the entire circut level.
3 days in Miami.
More days of racing in Miami. I only did the Miami portion.
The TWO regatta venue.
I liked the 2 venue format as it made for less break down and set up. Plus it gave us 3 solid days of racing in each venue allowing for getting in races if there was inclement weather.
Keeping it between both weekends. Did not have to take the Thurs and fri before and the Monday after off.
2 stops vs 3. More sailing less travel. I do not want to sail in Savannah.
Having weekend travel days i/o leaving Friday and home Monday.
Having the Sunday at the end as a travel day. I feel that this is important for vacation time off. With Miami on the front end there was still significant travel required there.
travel days as bookends.
Being able to drive home on Sunday morning and back to work Monday morning.
The extra day in Miami was great.
More sailing, less downtime.

Only two venues. Banquet at the conclusion of racing.

The day before and after for travel.
Less boat packing and road travel.
The two venues meant one less pack up, which now that I have a baby makes a difference. Also, three days in Miami was wonderful. By far the best sailing, almost every year. This was a huge plus.
Spending more time at each venue while spending less time setting up boats taking them down, checking in and out of motels, and traveling between venues.Not going to Savannah. We would likely skip Savannah if it was part of the circuit.
Wrapping things up on Saturday, Saturday night banquet and Sunday travel.
St. Pete
I liked not being rushed to three venues, a week off work was enough without taking more time off.
The three day lag which allowed more chances to race.
I would be more likely to attend the Southern Circuit in the future if:
  Number of Response(s)


It were the "traditional" 3-venue circuit. 7 12.2%  
It were a 2-venue circuit similar to this years event. (Anticipated format for 2015 is Savannah/St Pete - 2016 Savannah/Miami) 26 45.6%  
I will attend regardless of the structure/schedule. 18 31.5  
I do not anticipate doing the circuit in the near future, due to other factors. 5 8.7%  
No Responses 1 1.7%  
Total 57 100%  

Even though the structure/schedule does not matter to you, what is your preference?
  Number of Response(s)


Traditional 3 Venue Circuit 5 8.7%  
2 Venue Circuit 13 22.8%  
No Responses 39 68.4%  
Total 57 100%  

We are sorry to hear you do not anticipate doing the Circuit in the near future. Please let us know why. 
Starting new job in fall and likely will not be able to get time off to do the circuit
It's really an expensive vacation that's not a vacation. Don't get me wrong. This was a great event. It's a very long haul from Michigan (3000 miles round trip) and I was more than happy to get out of the snow, but for the cost I think it might be every two years for me as a skipper. However, may be back as crew with someone else!
i enjoy the St Pete venue and try to sail for a week in St Pete. The yacht club has great hospitality and friendly people. The noo seeums in Savanah are not fun. Too busy of a schedule for Miami
I have sailed in 7 circuits and enjoyed them all. I'll be 73 next circuit and think its time for me to lay a little lower.
Kids are starting up college - will probably attend St. Pete only as I have done in the past.
If we were to continue with just two venues, when would you prefer the banquet to be held?
  Number of Response(s)


Saturday - Last night of the regatta after the regatta is finished. 28 49.1%  
Friday - Night before the last day of racing. 23 40.3%  
No Responses 6 10.5%  
Total 57 100%  
The acceptance speeches are important for all awards. Sat brings appropriate closure to the event and allows for folks to recap the week and say goodbye till next time in a better way.
I don't go to the Circuit for the banquet.
Some people leave after last race.
However rather neutral on banquet timing.
I greatly enjoyed having the banquet the last night and then getting a good nights sleep before starting the drive home.
Really doesn't matter. But last night was fun and since many stayed it was effective.
I do not favor scheduling the banquet on Friday because I think that means the RC would feel the need to make both Friday and Saturday short days on the water.
The band was Awesome!!!!!!!!!!! Do on Friday , push back start time on sat....let everyone party late....
Most people leave Sat.
I think people will party no matter what night the banquet is held. And getting a head start to get home was a real bonus this year.
Enjoy banquet but will not attend if Sat. Rather get on road to get home at reasonable hour Sun
Band was great this year.
The wind in St Pete is just too unreliable.I would prefer a venue before Miami to "knock some rust off," perhaps Charleston?
The banquet on Friday with a 11:00 start time on Saturday would make a lot of sense.
As evidenced by this year, I think more people would attend the banquet if it were held on Friday night although the crowd that stayed had a most excellent time at the party and enjoyed the band tremendously! Nice work, Laura!
I would like to get on the road right after the regatta instead of staying around for the banquet.
I could reason for either way. Fiday would give more participation but Sat is with the awards. I would go with Sat due to the fact it is after the event and people can relax more and have a good time. Fri they would all leave early to get ready for the next day of sailing. The other benefit is not having a time dead line on the last day of sailing, just the time the banquet is to start.
Way better.
I know we saw a lot of people pack up and leave St Pete, but I believe that to be force of habit. A few years of the banquet on the final night and people will start to stay. It makes for a better event and makes the trophy presentation better.
Attendance was good anyway, but it would be better if the banquet was held earlier. It would change the awards component though.
I have to move the boats, so its hard for me to stay on the last night. But i think i traval more then most.
Too many people had already departed that had participated in the Miami.
If you could change anything about the Southern Circuit what would it be? 
Never go to Savannah and consider alternate locations such as Jacksonville..
IF we are doing two venues, it should be Miami and St Pete. The sailing and weather in Savannah are not good enough for 3 days there.Also, we should go to St Pete EVERY YEAR!
No more Savannah.
The sailing in St Pete is horrible. My vote is to avoid St Pete.
Decide what type of regatta the Southern Circuit is trying to be. Is it a social/party type of regatta or is it a serious lets try to get as many races in as possible spend as much time on the water as possible? The consistency in how we are approaching the regatta days appears to vary some days we sail in after getting two races in 2 hours and others we spend 10 hours on the water. There are a lot of hypocrits who like to complain when it suits them but I think if we collectively agreed on what we are trying to accomplish then a lot of people would have a lot less to complain about.
New RC in St Pete's or a whole new attitude. I know it is tough to run races but it's tougher when RC can't connect well with their customers.
Always sail Miami at least 3 Days
Try a new venue--Miami is great but its such a long drive.
I really missed the Savannah portion this year because it is a place where there is very little else around, which leads to everyone congregating at the club more often. The Friday night before the event and the Saturday oyster roasts are great opportunities to spend time with a lot of people you don't get to see all that often. I felt that was lacking this time, though it does happen some in St. Pete. However, still in St. Pete, and absolutely in Miami, the regatta seems to scatter more and individual teams do their own things. One of the best things about our class is how tight-knit and close we are. I think a large portion of that stems from events like Savannah, and I would hate to lose those opportunities. While this year's Southern Circuit was very well run, it definitely felt like something was missing.
Might have a pro division and amateur div. Pro = sailmakers, boat manufacturers, gear manufactures college coaches, olympi Sailors etc. Amateur = all others
Always have Miami sailing with a potentially more welcoming club.
Make it permanently Miami + st Pete like 2014. Drop Savannah.
I am getting tired of all the "experiments" and want them to stop. I am tired of the circuit changing each year, and the North american format changing, changing back, and changing again. I think this is getting to be a big mistake, and detracts from the class. I believe that it would be better to go back to a three venue circuit and let individual competitors decide what combination of the three they want to sail in. I think 3 venues is actually more family friendly, as I have heard people (in the past) say that they did Savannah, then took the kids to Disney world, then did St Pete. The Lightning experience is a great family thing, and I think the flexibility enables that. I would measure circuit success by the total number of people that sail in all three events, not by the people that do the entire circuit. I think rotating venues will make the numbers go down.
Really not much I can suggest. There was some complaining about the sailing conditions in St. Pete (I've been there 3 times). I don't know what other venues are available in Florida that might offer better sailing conditions. I assume you guys know this. The was some congestion of boats at both venues. Everybody managed but maybe there needs to be a limit for max. number of boats to participate that works with the available space at either venue? Just saying. All in all, I think the whole proposal for the two events back to back from Sunday to Saturday worked out very well. I will look forward to participate again, whenever that is possible. Thanks.
A new venue once in a while. One that has likelihood of better wind than St Pete.
Nothing much as long as the races are held in venues with good racing conditions. The one quibble is St. Pete split days with a race in the morning, then usually a long postponement waiting for afternoon wind for afternoon races takes a lot out of you. But unless there is another site comparable to St Pete winds, coarse and club comparable to St. Pete or Coral Reef, I'll deal with the long day.
Maybe only better and more reactive race management in st pete?
Parking at Coral Reef.
Making late day sailing at St. Pete a normal thing. With the W or NW sea breeze kicking in so late, I would prefer it if we planned to sail in the late afternoon.
Get a better race committee in St. Pete.
I like both ways 2 and 3, just don't like st pete as a sailing venue. Maybe we could do like block island an alternating long and short track every other year. And try some new venues....
One extra day between Miami and St. Pete. It is a marathon now. It is a vacation and not a boot camp.
Have a one day regatta in Jacksonvile after Savannah and then to St. Pete. Omit Miami. Too far and too expensive. Spent $2,000 just for sleeping.
Skip Savannah and just do Miami and St. Pete.
While I think people of Savanna terrific, not a fan of sailing venue. Would keep Miami ( or Miami like)/ St Pete.
Previous page has Savannah the next two years. I would be less likely to do the So. Circuit only because the racing is somewhat sacrificed by the craziness of the Savannah venue. The club, people are outstanding. The sailing, well.....
The RC and Judges at St. Pete this year were lacking in every way. It was by far the worst run on and off the water.Even after there was an acknowledgement to better communicate it was still horrible. The way in which the missing mark in the last race was done with NO sound signal at all (which is required under the RRS) and the arbitrary OCS calls accompanied by the random redress given was ABOMINABLE! At least 2 of the 5 races held could have arguably been thrown out. After being prejudiced by both of these missteps, I felt that the corinthian thing to do was to treat our RC volunteers with respect and I thanked then for their service and honesty in admiting the mistake. I filed for redress and felt that the redress given was another injustice. All they needed to do was treat me fairly and I was not. Probably because i was nice about it. If i had cursed them as the "top" sailors do I'm sure I would have gotten a better result. Message recieved - I dont matter. Social events were good.
Cut off start times for each day, no starts after 1500.
The parking situation in Miami needs to be addressed. Our car was broken into, and our gear was stollen. If CRYC is going to charge such a high entry fee, they should provide secure parking, or a security guard to monitor the parking lot. Unfortunate situation, I'm just thankful nobody was injured, as clearly this happens often in the area.
I would consider having a different Lightning rep on the RC and perhaps a different PRO.
My only comment would be that the Executive give specific guidance to the RC as to what is acceptable to the class on the water. There seemed to be some indecisiveness as to what calls to make as far as appropriate time on the water and procedures followed. Whether the class rep needs to be better versed in what is appropriate or whether the RC team needs to be more receptive to input, I cannot say - but I think that some direction given prior to racing by the class would be a good thing.
St Pete. Great place on shore, but racing hasn't been holding up it's end in the last decade.
No Savannah.
Continue to maximize Miami. Savannah sailing is not appealing at all (but the best social venue away from the regatta) and St Pete is always questionable. A Savannah/St Pete Circuit would most likely have me rethinking the trip. Miami has the best sailing and the Grove is good.
I would not try to be in Miami on the weekend again. The cost and the traffic are too high. Also the club is used much more on the weekend and we may have been in the way a bit. I would consider a one location event to try it out. I may use the circuit to build fleets. IE go to places we have or could build fleets to help them. I may not work, I did not help Miami or St Pete yet or Savannah for that matter either. Based on this years event I would go back to the old format of Savannah then Miami and St Pete. I would not be against trying the Savannah, St Pete trial next year to see if we like that. I would like to see the coat of Miami reduced if possible. The hotels are too costly even with the help. It was over 800 for three nights for two people in one room. That means even if you share with a second team the housing could be 1,200 just for Miami.
RC work at St. Pete was shaky this year. I heard the RC at the Thistle MW's did an outstanding job. Time for a change in PRO.
St Pete Race Committee PRO.
Communication from the race comittee.
My sailing!!
It's all good from my view.
Costs are to high - remove the dinners and find an external site to meet if we want.
More wind in St. Pete. Initially, I was for the traditional agenda of 3 locations however, I am a convert to the new format. I would also be in favor of trying new yacht clubs and venues.
I would do whatever was necessary to make sure that the most days spent sailing during the regatta were spent in Miami. If that means making St Pete a two day event, fine. Miami is the most quality sailing we get. Of the three venues on the table, Miami is the only one people mention sailing when they talk about why they like it. I don't care if it's Coral Reef, or another club, but we need to be on Biscayne Bay.
Consider other venues in Miami, (for ex. someone mentioned a club on Key Biscayne that might work) and also on the West Florida Coast near St Pete that might have better wind than St Pete. Have corinthian trophies. Revise the requirements for the masters (however this may be a broader issue than just the Southern Circuit).
Replace Tom Farquahr. Make Miami a less expensive city. Make the dry sail area and parking lot at CRYC bigger. Keep the breeze in St. Pete from shutting off between 11:00 and 3:00.
I think it would be best to keep it focused on Miami and St. Pete.
Small support boat (RBI) with extra water for the hot days
maybe a change up of St Pete then Miami. Be careful not to make too many changes too early. This was meant as only a suggestion. Overall, a great program and those involved should be commended. Gidge . AKA Mr PInky
Survey Results – Non-Participants
Survey Name: 2014 Southern Circuit Survey
Response Status: Partial & Completed

April 16, 2014 2:37:50 PM
What is your favorite part of the Southern Circuit?
Miami sailing. Hanging out with Lightning friends.
Good sailing with large fleets and strong competition. Getting an early start to the season
Just seeing all the boats. Parties!
Catching up with old friends, the social aspect.
Probably Miami. Best sailing in the country. Closely followed by Savannah. My hometown. St. Petersburg has a great facility, however the sailing is deplorable - always light to nothing and getting worse in the afternoon. I have sailed there too much in the past and will not go back.
Being fully immersed in sailing/racing for an extended period of time.
Warm weather + sailing in Miami.
St Pete
Miami and the color of the ater. I have only been down once, but Biscayne Bay is amazing.
Every part is great.
Did this years 2-Venue Trial Format - specific to venue location (Miami/St Pete) - affect your decision not to helm/skipper a boat in either of the events this year?
  Number of Response(s) Response Ratio  
Yes 2 10.0%  
No 15 75.0%  
No Responses 3 15.0%  
Total 20 100%  
The old 3 regatta format offered more sailing, and more variety, for the same cost. The new format was designed to be more convenient for those with Monday-Friday 9-5 jobs. But I would guess that many, perhaps a majority, of the class hold non-traditional jobs or are retired. For them, the new format just means less sailing without any real reduction in costs. Our class survives because it is an affordable alternative to other classes...let's not forget that.
Was not planning to skipper a boat regardless of the venue / times.
I did not sail this year.
I was not going to be able to attend this year anyway. If I had I amy have not done Miami.
50 years of tradition removing Savannah to keep a deplorable horribly light air venue.
Company meeting Monday thru Wednesday parented me from making it.
Our decision was financial based
Did this year's 2-Venue Trial Format - specific to sailing days (Sun, Mon, Tues and Thurs, Fri, Sat) - affect your decision not to helm/skipper a boat in either of the events this year?  - Comments
  Number of Response(s) Response Ratio  
Yes 3 15.0%  
No 14 70.0%  
No Responses 3 15.0%  
Total 20 100%  
St. Pete conflicted with our kids spring break so we chose to find the crew spot in Miami.
see above
Was not planning to skipper a boat regardless of the venue / times.
I did not sail this year.
No see above.
Miami should revert back to a 2 day regatta on Mon. and Tues. No masters and usually plenty of wind to get in 6 races over 2 days. That would allow an extra day for travel down meaning one less vacation day. It did allow me to participate in all of the events though.
It did allow me to participate in all of the events though.
Miami + St Pete for 2015.
I would be more likely to attend the Southern Circuit in the future if:
  Number of Response(s) Response Ratio  
It were the "traditional" 3-venue circuit. 6 30.0%  
It were a 2-venue circuit similar to this years event. (Anticipated format for 2015 is Savannah/St Pete - 2016 Savannah/Miami) 5 25.0%  
I do not anticipate doing the circuit in the near future, due to other factors. 4 20.0%  
No Responses 2 10.0%  
Total 3 15.0%
20 100%
Even though the structure/schedule does not matter to you, what is your preference?
Number of Response(s) Response Ratio
Traditional 3 Venue Circuit 0 0.0%
2-Venue Circuit 3 15.0%
No Responses 17 85.0%
Total 20 100%
We are sorry to hear you do not anticipate doing the circuit in the near future. Please let us know why.
Due physical problems with my lower back.
Old age.
If we were to continue with just two venues, when would you prefer the banquet to be held?
Number of Response(s) Response Ratio  
Saturday - Last night of the regatta after the regatta is finished. 8 40.0%  
Friday - Night before the last day of racing. 6 30.0%  
No Responses 6 30.0%  
Total 20 100%  
A lot of people have 24+ hour drives, so they will leave before the banquet to in order to be home on Sunday evening.
I personally prefer the banquet on the last night but I think having it the night before encourages more representation at the banquet; which is probably tantamount.
Mo better!
I have always thought that the banquest needed to be done after the sailing had ended.
If you could change anything about the Southern Circuit what would it be?
I think we should go to Miami every year. Biscayne Bay has the best most reliable sailing conditions. I was glad that I chose not to attend St. Pete this year because the conditions were not good, The wind rarely seems to cooperate in St. Pete. The two venue format with a travel day on the first Saturday and the last Sunday is definitely a good thing in my mind.
I think the old format was great.
Back to the original dates.
I don't think you can get better place to sail in March. CRYC and SPYC rock.
If the Circuit is going to be a two event circuit I would eliminate Miami. I understand the waether is perfect and the sailing is the best but it is to far away and two expensive to stay in Miami.
See previous comment and leave Savannah as a separate weekend regatta.
Savannah, followed by Miami, followed by Ft. Lauderdale. St. Petersburg just isn't a good venue due to the extreme light air problem.
I have attended the Southern Circuit a number of times throughout the years and i have always enjoyed it. The format never discouraged me from attending so if I could attend, it wouldn't matter to me what the format was.
Class should have more input as to race committee decisions. st pete was run unacceptibly this year. it concerns me greatly that we are having our pan am trials there. the sailing has been suspect for the last four or five years.I hope this survey takes into consideration that the sailing in miami was unusually good this year!!!!!!
I would make sure to have a social media person on site posting live during the racing and also posting scores live. Every popular class does this now and with all the volunteers that Laura and her team gather for these events, setting one down to communicate with a person on RC should be at the top of the to do list.
Change it back to the old way.