Personally, I cannot see how including the National Champs in the National Circuit series will produce any more boats on the water next year.
I think that we should set a target of getting 50 boats on the water at Medway Yacht Club for the 2012 Nationals. We are already in discussion with Medway about putting a special training day in place on the Thursday before the champs start, and perhaps we can get some sponsorship in place so that we offer a discounted rate for bronze fleet entries, as we did so successfully at Weymouth. There is free camping at Medway so cost should not be a barrier. And the first day of racing will be on the last day of the summer term in the state sector, so hopefully families will come.
With the introduction of the Mk IV there are many new sailors both in the Mk IV and the among those that bought good secondhand Wayfarers. The Bough Beech results show that older wayfarers with good helm & crew can still be up there.
We have an opportunity to involve new sailors by making them welcome. The obvious way is a statement to the effect “new sailors to the class are welcome and encouraged to take part. For this reason the race entry fee for anyone who has never participated in the Wayfarer Nationals is reduced to £20. To encourage all to take part the less experience sailors allocated bronze fleet status the entry fee is reduced to 50%. All levels of sailing ability are welcome.”
Start with the nationals , make them an important part of the series (I like bigals suggestion of weighting the results so that the bigger the fleet the more significant the result). If we get the nationals attendance up then more will attend regional events that are convenient. Most Wayfarer sailors are mature and have lives outside of sailing with often many family commitments and with the best will in the world simply cannot attend all or even most of the events that count. I believe many would make the effort for the nationals if they were encouraged and if a regional events was convenient they will attend especially if say best 3 event results plus the nationals counted (that would encourage them to attend more – or in our case all – hoping that we would do better at the next event!).