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2018-2019 APBA Steering Committee Report

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  • csh-2z
    started a topic 2018-2019 APBA Steering Committee Report

    2018-2019 APBA Steering Committee Report

    Due to the many changes currently in the works within APBA this year, the Steering Committee made the decision very early in the season not to add new issues or projects to a very busy APBA BOD schedule. Aside from working on the logistics for the seminars at the APBA National Convention in Orlando Fla., we are launching a new project regarding the driver schools for next season.
    We have assembled a team of young, enthusiastic and highly qualified members to kick off a new social media program designed to support all of the prescheduled driver schools for APBA beginning next year.
    The team will be working with Robin Shane acting as the Driver School Coordinator for 2019. By organizing all of the driver schools scheduled for next year, Robin will direct the Social Media Marketing Team to flood the local area of each driver school, in an attempt to fill those classes with potential new boat racers.
    Robin will coordinate with the hosting clubs to meet their participation goals for their school. The marketing team will bombard the immediate and surrounding areas with all of the information necessary to sign up prospects. A by-product of this effort will ultimately inform the community hosting the race for that weekend using the tools that have already been developed by our APBA Promotional & Marketing Committee.
    Although we are only in the early stages of this project, we believe in a very short time we will reap the rewards of this effort. This is just the beginning of many new ideas we have to grow APBA both short and long term.

    On another subject. Throughout this racing season, I have heard of many concerns about what the BOD is doing to or for APBA. Iíll tell you what we are doing. We are doing exactly what you the membership has asked us to do. We are upgrading our computer system so that we can deliver better service for all of us, soon we will be able to post race results on our own new APBA website as well as the capability to send the information to other related sites and links. Our new website will be maintained and updated regularly with current events, videos, pictures and results on a timely basis. In the meantime we are also focusing on cleaning up our convoluted rulebook, by-laws, Regional design and job descriptions for many of our officers.
    For many years, through hundreds of discussions and arguments in person and on the internet, I donít recall any APBA member ever say ďAPBA is perfect, donít change a thingĒ. In fact, it has always been just the opposite, ďWe need to change the way we operate. We are dying. What weíre doing isnít working.Ē Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Iím here to tell you, THIS IS WHAT CHANGE LOOKS LIKE!
    Iím very proud to have served on this Board of Directors for the past 2 years. They are the right people, in the right place at this time in our history. Each of these members loves this sport as much as anyone ever has, that is why we do what we are doing. If I am not reelected to serve again, that is fine, Iíll still be here doing whatever I can to help APBA grow and thrive for the next generations. And as Arnold said so eloquently, ďIíll be backĒ.

    PS Ė I would really appreciate your support with a vote to the BOD.
    John Runne

  • modsquad
    commented on 's reply
    Back in the day we would also plaster the town with posters and banners letting people know there was a boat race going on, it gave a more professional look to the event and to us as drivers, most citys and towns we race at now, the residents do not have a clue there was a boat race going on. I can remember kids walking the pits and asking us drivers for autographs! Also not to beat a dead horse removing go pros from helmets kind of put a little damper on promotional videos and also giving new drivers some visual teaching.

  • Ram4x4
    commented on 's reply
    John, it's doable, I believe that, but the set up is going to be a fair bit more than a little capital. I would guestimate the initial setup (assuming one adult boat and one J boat), plus associated equipment would be around $20,000-$25,000, as a conservative estimate.

  • Ram4x4
    commented on 's reply
    dwhitford, this is where I need more information. I'm not a builder (yet), so I don't know how long it takes a builder to produce a boat. I've heard, under ideal conditions, that one can be completed in around a month? Is this true, or was someone tossing out unrealistic time frames?

    I'm not proposing that a single builder be tasked as the supplier for all school boats, or even the same one for just a club. These are logistics clubs can work out at their locations with local builders. I also don't expect every club in the country to have a driver school. Nothing wrong with a club holding schools for other clubs (we just did it at Lock Haven).

    I also don't expect that a school would be selling boats left and right at each class. Great if they do, but realistically, I think 1 per year is closer to reality, and even that is a WAG.
    Last edited by Ram4x4; 09-14-2018, 06:19 PM.

  • csh-2z
    commented on 's reply
    Dane, Excellent premise that should be followed in all schools. I'm flagging this post for future reference. Most importantly it is totally doable. All it requires is a little capital and some work by a few key people. I have a couple of boat orders I'm still working on. Afterwards I plan on building two boats to be used for this purpose, it makes good sense to me from a business perspective to have boats available for sale on the spot.

  • dwhitford
    commented on 's reply
    I think Ram4x4 is spot-on about presenting the professionalism aspect for the driver school, but considering that most of our boats are custom, one-off products -- at a considerable time lag for each finished boat produced -- his proposal is unrealistic. It's good in theory but pragmatically not likely.

    If we were OPC with factory-available boats, his idea is top-notch. If custom hydro builders step up and sign on to produce the necessary number of boats, then I say ''go for it'!
    Last edited by dwhitford; 09-14-2018, 04:18 PM.

  • Ram4x4
    I've put the idea out before, I've talked it around some and I still like my idea, but someone of far greater experience and knowledge brought up a point that I hadn't considered, but's my thought on the "ultimate" driving school set up. Yes, it does make some assumptions and would require some buy in from builders and suppliers, but here goes:

    There are several components to what I would consider a "legitimate" driver school: 1) proper equipment, 2) competent instructors, 3) a comprehensive program, and 4) image.

    I know image might not seem like it should be included, but consider this from the new driver's perspective: what sort of message does it send when school students see us scrambling to find a boat and motor, or borrowing someone's kevlars to use for the school? What do they think of the organization when we're stuffing them into obviously well used equipment that's scrabbled together at the last second?

    A "proper" driver school, in my opinion, needs the following:

    1. A trailer, and where possible, graphics on it advertising what it is.
    2. New hulls
    3. Good engines
    4. Kevlars of various sizes
    5. Helmets.
    6. Where possible, a big screen tv with animated presentation.

    I think if properly fleshed out, and with cooperation from a builder or two, the driver school can accomplish a couple of things: It can provide a professional image to new drivers, it provides good equipment, on site, ready to go, and lastly, if a new driver is so inclined, the equipment can be purchased on the spot. A benefit of this is that the club can actually make a little money as well.

    Here's how:

    For the sake of the argument, let's say builder X charges $3500 for a new 300SSH hull. This plan requires a builder that would be willing to build hulls for the school at a slight discount, let's say a school boat can be purchased for around $3300. Engines, of course are a matter that would require further discussion, but let's assume the club is able to acquire sealed engines as needed, even if it at normal, full price. Several sets of kevlars and helmets. I don't know, but it wouldn't hurt to ask SRP or Lifeline if they would be willing to discount such purchases for school purposes.

    With this set up, the club has a professional image and equipment available on the spot (sold to the new driver at regular price, which means the club can make a few dollars in the process). If a club holds one school event per year, and they do sell a rig, they now have a whole year to replace the equipment from the funds made on the sale. Clubs running more than one school per year can opt to purchase several hulls, engines, etc up front, or not...that can all be worked out by the club.

    Issues for this set up:

    1. Of course, such a set up isn't cheap or free, so that brings me back, again, to a question I posed a while back: what are clubs doing to raise funds (other than the normal fee collection at races, etc)?

    2. Where is the school equipment stored?

    3. Who is responsible for getting it to the race site?

    Given the positives, I see the issues as more of an exercise at the local club level for them to work out, but once it is up and running, it would be a self-supporting endeavor.

    Lastly, the point that was made to me: "Is it a good idea to set brand new drivers up with brand new boats that are potentially fast and competitive?" I understand the point, but at the same time, it as no different than that same new driver going to the builder having a new hull built, etc, is it?

    I've been helping our instructor with the last few schools we've run, and I have to say, it's one of the best volunteer positions I've taken on since I started racing and I think this can really become something, it's just going to take some time and work, and of course, some $$$.

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  • pav225
    Great to see the focus on Driving Schools!

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  • csh-2z
    There is no question that growing APBA is difficult. Difficult is not impossible. FYI I just saw the latest stats for APBA did you know the Stock Outboard category has 34 more participating members this year than last year. That is 10% growth in 12 months. We are no longer dying! Do we have work to do? Plenty. Let's do it. When you google "Racing go carts" you are being directed to private businesses. We don't have many people starting boat racing related businesses right now. That is what it would take to fill that void.

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  • JohnsOldMercurySite
    I get why things are done they way they are, and one of the reasons I chose go the arduious route starting this new team off with all new equipment. I have seen people begin with used gear only to struggle a whole season only to end up buying new gear anyways and that scenario isnt uncommon in most hobbies or sports
    I just dont think this sport cant expect too much of an influx of new participants, when in todays instant gratification society you cant google "where to buy a new C Class hydroplane" because there is nothing to buy it .....

    then a new interested party may try going directly to APBA's site for direction, & on the apba site on the "new to racing page" Stock Outboard Racing This is one of the most affordable categories in the APBA with used equipment and starter kits available at a reasonable cost. ...........but there is no direction where to buy gear .... or the starter kits?

    In this day and age where it's 2 working adults to get by, not everyone has the time to devote to being hands on boat builder/mechanic but can afford to fund a sport for their kid, I know of a couple families that they could easily buy a brand new turn key hydro and want to, they arent mechanics but they would expect to pay an outboard mechanic for work when required, this is currently just not that easy a sport to get into for those that dont have the mechanical aptitude we already have, and so one family has looked into gocart racing and they found everything can be purchased one click & ready to go racing
    Joe Blow can google "racing gocarts" and get pages of to place an order for a turn key cart, safety gear etc etc all on the first 3 websites I just clicked...... but then again the gocart sport isnt consistently dying its growing

    just saying..... our hobby isnt that easy to get into, and I thought maybe should be looked at differently than as the status quo, seems my the constructive criticism ruffled feathers.....


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  • Brian10s
    A couple of points - yes having brand new equipment just waiting for new blood members is a dream but for us it is somewhat unrealistic. Because it would not matter what brand of boat, make of motor and prop - it will never be as fast as the stuff already on the water. And what class should be sitting there? A J rig, C rig or 500 rig? Or does anyone really think we should stock one of everything? If you aren't interested enough to wait to get whatever equipment you want, then you will not be interested enough to do the hard work to get close to the front or the Super Hard work to beat the best in your class. Because the best are always working - that how and why they are the best. You can name the best of the best - and every one of them WORKS!

    As for the overall structure and the management - a very narrow structure works well in business because they are paying. When you rely exclusively on volunteers at every level of the organization (Howie and the BOD all the way down to the guy setting up the course at your local event are all volunteers) you have to provide some level of ownership. Volunteers sign the races, haul the club equipment and work their a$$ off putting on the race. Volunteers also sit in National Meetings trying very hard to put their trailerbox aside and make decisions that will pull each category forward, and not a single one has every gotten faster sitting in a Commission meeting. Without some portion of ownership in the final product, exactly how many are going to continue to do the work?

    Disclaimer - Not picking on you John but you are a great example. If you are not willing to put in the work to put on a race, go to the Region or National Meeting then you really shouldn't recommend taking away the only reward available for those that are doing the work, ownership in the final product. Most of us have kids and all of us want to race as much as possible too. We just also understand that if I don't step up to work then no one will. And when no one volunteers, there is no more event, club, Region or APBA.
    Last edited by Brian10s; 09-12-2018, 01:58 PM.

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  • Wakefield 2015
    commented on 's reply
    Very good points Guedo. Bill

  • guedo499
    I prefer Runnecraft boats more than I prefer the builder. That's not a shot at John personally, but the highest-compliment on his building skills.

    In respect to the organization of APBA, it's clear too me that it is far too flat - too many middle managers. I'm a firm believer that any organization's attitude and success is dictated by the leader. I really think Howie is doing a good-to-great job (time will ultimately tell), but we don't need 50-60-70 commissioners over 11 categories.

    Obviously I'm biased to a narrow management style, but with this style, there's one person that HAS to make a decision and make it now - not steering committees to make obvious recommendations to boards that need to be approved by the next board. Racing Schools work - give the power to a dictator and make them work. Check, done. (don't forget to contact me, I'll donate John Adam's Boat Racing 101 book to all Racing School participants).

    But who am I to say one way is better? Clearly, as a member-ran organization it's lasted the test of time, and that is worth something.

    Local racing is the true APBA experience, but if many of the volunteers are only helping nationally, they're burn-out at the local level. Point is, we don't need ALL the national positions. I believe the BOD recognizes that with the reorganization of the regions, but go further!

    Combine categories, rule books (so far, so good - all the rules that I've seen dropped were pretty silly anyways); this would also simplify insurance.

    I've had extensive experiences with my local elections: there are 100,000 people that could vote, but there's 2200 individuals that actually vote every time. You don't need to influence the 100,000, only the 2200. Those 2200 almost all are retired, have a great retirement nest-egg, will not change their views, and do NOT vote for the future but for only personal gain (no on taxes, especially schools). Does this sound like APBA boards of the past? I'm not sure, I've never paid attention, I'm just trying to finish a prop in my spare time.

    Disclaimer - I'm the guy that showed up to the race, raced 4 classes, didn't volunteer and left early - kids control your life.


    Leave a comment:

    JohnOldMercurySite, Why start a boat building business when great boat builders are already out there? You can buy NEW PRO racing outboard engines, props, and boats today. Buy, add fuel GO RACE! Seems simple to me.

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  • JohnsOldMercurySite
    more importantly new and used equipment for sale on the spot.
    from an outsiders view.....this is a MAJOR issue..... NEW rigs ready to race and buy or people will loose the enthusiasm!
    .........but who wants to start a hydro building business for a dying sport? yikes

    Im clearly involved in outboards, racing and boating in general, we currently sponsor an APBA team and I just spent 6 months to complete a new CSH build & Yamato combo for a new team that I will personally manage, because I didnt want to buy a used boat combo that someone was discarding because they needed to upgrade because they were never competitive..... Im not buying old gear people dont want because it wasnt competitive... so there must be more reluctance from people that cant build a new boat or wrench their own motor

    send some one to school then tell them it may take up to 6 months to a year to get all their gear lost most of them.

    there are other issues I see but I dont care to address and I sure hope the administrators can figure this sport out its a shame to see it consistently dying
    Last edited by JohnsOldMercurySite; 09-12-2018, 09:29 AM.

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