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Old 26-10-2008, 06:02   #1
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New On-Line Equipment Survey

Some here may not know that the Seven Seas Cruising Assoc. (SSCA) launched a new on-line, open-ended Equipment Survey this year. It is available to all members on-line at ssca.org

This 10-section survey is 'open-ended', meaning not only will it run indefinitely, building a data base of numeric rankings and anecdotal reports from owners that will only become more statistically valid over time BUT also that each participant can re-enter his/her survey and update a report on a given piece of equipment or add a new system to their survey as they add it to their boat. Insofar as helping all boat owners thoughtfully evaluate gear - often from the toughest of test-beds, liveaboards and cruising sailors - I'm not familiar with any other similar source of such info. In its first 8 months, it has already surpassed 1,000 completed surveys and continues to grow each & every week.

Given what we all spend each year on boat gear, the survey probably justifies the cost of SSCA membership ($US50/year) all by itself. If you're interested in checking this out, you're invited to visit ssca.org, take the Virtual Tour to see some of the benefits of membership, and take a look at one small slice of the numeric data collected so far (minus the anecdotal comments).

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Old 26-10-2008, 06:10   #2
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Excellent resource - the survey & everything else the SSCA provides.

I noticed that the CruisersForum isn’t listed under the SSCA’s ‘Online Cruising Forums’ resource link:
The Seven Seas Cruising Association - Resource Links
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Old 28-10-2008, 14:40   #3
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Members-only

I tend to snipe about members-only resource advertisements. If I'm not willing to pony up for the club, I can neither help out in buiding the database nor can I benefit from it.

Just like the majority of sailors here on CF.
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Old 28-10-2008, 16:15   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amgine View Post
I tend to snipe about members-only resource advertisements. If I'm not willing to pony up for the club, I can neither help out in buiding the database nor can I benefit from it.

Just like the majority of sailors here on CF.

I have felt the same way about SSCA: I just don't get it. When I attended John Neal's seminar at Strictly Sail in Oakland last year he said (about as close as I can recall) that the first thinge we (the audience) ought to do was join SSCA. BUT.... they charge 50 bucks a year and what perplexed me was given their membership levels, I just did not see what the money was used for (since it is non-profit), nor did I see the value. I mean a newsletter and a forum??? I hate to sound like "a materialistic weasel" but I did not think I was getting much for my money that I could not get here.

But when I logged on just now and read all the names of folks that endorsed the site that even I recognize, saw that you get an electronic subscription to Ocean Navigator, and that little newsletter, and yes, the fact that some good writers and knowledgeable people here on CF think they are worthwhile, I started thinking maybe I have been too harsh in my assessment. Maybe there is value there for the money; maybe I was wrong.

Anyways, I am tempted now to join.

Michael
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Old 28-10-2008, 16:20   #5
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I thought it was useful and interesting pre-electronic age. Now with forums, webs and e mail, the newsletter's not worth much. They throw a good get together though! My membership lapsed years ago.
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Old 29-10-2008, 04:54   #6
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Every boat owner - not just cruisers and not just sailors - is now welcome to join. (In fact, a Steering Committee is determining right now how to attract and best serve power cruisers). To help work the 'value equation' (is it worth YOUR 50 bucks), here are some things you might consider:
-- take the Virtual Tour at ssca.org and see how things have changed from 'years ago'
-- review the breadth of content in a sample Port Guide and consider how useful they might be if cruising
-- look at where the newly revived Cruising Stations are; 50% of them are now international including many having been added in the W Pacific where they can be especially helpful
-- if you own a boat, consider how much $$ you spend in a year on system upgrades, new software, etc. and then consider the potential monetary value of being able to draw on 1,000+ equipment surveys, summed and tallied, as well as the anecdotal comments
-- if cruising, consider the utility of logging on before departing for the next region or island nation, finding members (and their email addresses) already located at your destination by a simple Mouse drag in Member Locator, and being able to email them for A's to your Q's on entry, immigration, a good engine mechanic, etc.

The monthly paper edition of the Bulletin, standing by itself, is representative of the 'old SSCA'. But consider having a CD of the latest three years of Bulletins, easily searched using Adobe Reader, where an entry like 'laundry Papeete' might solve a most pressing issue. (There's also a CD, for peanuts, that offers 10 years of Bulletins). That's the value of Bulletins in the 'new SSCA'. Over one-third of members now receive the Bulletin in digital format - no snail mail hassles - including either .pdf or .txt for the bandwidth impaired. In our last fiscal year (Jul 07-Jun 08), not a great time financially for most of us, the SSCA grew by 9+% so we're doing a few things right.

And yes, we do throw a good Gam. The Melbourne, FL Gam's keynote speaker is Jimmy Cornell, giving two different seminars on fulfilling your cruising dream. It's held the first weekend in December (Fri-Sun). The Annapolis Gam, just held last month, was 300+ folks and will be expanded next year. Plenty of anchoring room at both these Gams where you can dink to the seminars.

The SSCA Discussion Board - just like all the Gams - is open to all and everyone is welcome, member or not.

Jack
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Old 29-10-2008, 08:36   #7
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One little question...

Well, after consideration, I decided not to publish my brief satirical response - it wouldn't do any good but could do plenty of harm.

Last I checked - which was a long time ago - boaters who don't meet an arbitrary standard of "cruiser" could not vote or hold positions of responsibility in the SSCA. They also had no opportunity to modify that standard. I feel no respect for institutions which insist I'm not white/black/red/yellow/female/male/rich/poor/educated/religious enough to take care of my own interests, so they'll do it for me.

It's one of the reasons I go cruising - to get away from that sort of behaviour.
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Old 29-10-2008, 09:59   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoosh View Post
-- if you own a boat, consider how much $$ you spend in a year on system upgrades, new software, etc. and then consider the potential monetary value of being able to draw on 1,000+ equipment surveys, summed and tallied, as well as the anecdotal comments
I looked at the one page on the virtual tour about the equipment survey. I have some skills at reading data but I cannot make sense of the table you published. How is knowing that 6.08% of folks use a fluke anchor as their primary anchor going to save me money? In fact, the most interesting datum on that table is 4.05% who use "Other" as their primary anchor. Now I am wondering what that "Other" is! I can see that your respondents pretty much have a toss up between three primary types of anchors, but I fail to see how that can help me save money.

Anyways, if that table is representative of your equipment survey, then help me see how that anchor data would enable me to make "an informed buying decision".

Michael
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Old 29-10-2008, 10:07   #9
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I think the real value today of any association are the contributions via Discussion Boards from experienced members who graciously offer their advice on subjects to other members who are unsure of the steps or priorities needed for a successful outcome...... even if just to be advised on the added research they must do.

The dynamics of the Sea and the boats we use make the sharing of this wealth of knowledge even more important.

We all have our weaknesses and need help. To reciprocate, we each have technical strengths that can help others…. which we give freely on these Forums.

So I question if SSCA’s annual $50 charge actually inhibits this exchange by preventing occasional sailors from participating.

It would be interesting if someone could compare the average quantity and frequency of posts on CF to SSCA?

In sailing the only thing that is free is the wind….. and I think that should also include all the the hot air (wind) generated in these Forums.

So I am all for promoting the free exchange of ideas and to include all who can abide by the posting rules.
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Old 29-10-2008, 10:25   #10
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How many are on the payroll at SCCA? or is it all volunteers? Churches are "non-profit" too, but the Preachers make a living....
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Old 29-10-2008, 12:10   #11
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Quote:
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...It would be interesting if someone could compare the average quantity and frequency of posts on CF to SSCA?

... So I am all for promoting the free exchange of ideas and to include all who can abide by the posting rules.
Participation on BOTH the SSCA Discussion Board, and the Cruisers Forum are "FREE".

The SSCA Discussion Board (Founded ?) only has 3196 members,
whose users have posted a total of 39,283 Articles.
compared to the
CruisersForum (founded 2003) membership of 16,811, whose members have contributed 213,927 Posts in 18,717 Threads:
So: Our CF approximately 5 times larger membership has about 5 times more contributions.
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Old 29-10-2008, 12:50   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
The SSCA Discussion Board (Founded ?) only has 3196 members,
whose users have posted a total of 39,283 Articles.
compared to the
CruisersForum (founded 2003) membership of 16,811, whose members have contributed 213,927 Posts in 18,717 Threads:
You are kidding right? GordMay, there is a huge difference between articles and posts. SSCA has 39K articles??? Sounds like an intellectual feeding frenzy over at SSCA!


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Old 29-10-2008, 13:01   #13
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Michael:
I kid you not.
I reported the public statistics, as available at both sites.
I presumed "Articles" at SSCA to equate with "Posts" at CF; but may, most certainly, be wrong.
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Old 29-10-2008, 16:01   #14
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Looks like some myths need spearing...

Anyone is welcome to join the SSCA and become a member. Any member can be elected to serve on the Board of Directors, which are all volunteers (no pay) and do some of but hardly all of the dirty work. The SSCA is a 501.c.7 non-profit and we employ no high-priced preachers.

There are now 8 regional chapters located around North America that hold gams, conduct nautical flea markets, conduct seminars (just attended an excellent one in Punta Gorda, FL) and many other, smaller groupings that host monthly breakfast meetings.

We have two staff members who provide direct member service (full time folks earning meaningful but hardly handsome salaries and decent benefits) and the office ("Home Base") offers mail drop, internet access and other services to those members who drop by. We have a webmeister and professional writer (our Editor) on contract.

The SSCA's discussion board in no way justifies SSCA membership; it's a public forum/public service, just as this one is. OTOH the special offers to members for free Practical Sailor, water sailing">Blue Water Sailing and Ocean Navigator content, if that's of interest, alone sum to more than the membership fee. If you sit in an arm chair and aren't cruising, no doubt about it: some of our newest services aren't going to meet your needs.

We inherited a somewhat stale 20th century org so it ain't perfect and it takes time to fix everything...but some of us choose not to throw out the baby with the bath water. For example, I too think the Equip Survey example is pretty silly (altho' it does have some value if e.g. you care to see how quickly/slowly the [alleged] 'new generation' anchors are taking hold). We need to fix that. When you read a 20 segment category that covers sail hardware or water makers, and then can look past the relative brand rankings, you'll see anecdotal comment on chronic problems to avoid, which models have been problematic, who's now providing support for legacy gear, etc. IMO the ES is just not one of those things for which its value is easily capsulized. But it will mature for many years to come, as every respondent can re-enter his/her survey at any time, add a piece of gear and/or amend the evaluation as equipment speaks. I don't know of another such source of info, consolidated and statistically summarized, anywhere.

The SSCA - also the CA, the OCC, the CCA, all of which I'm also a member - isn't for everyone. Just trying to shed some light where there's darkness...

Jack
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Old 29-10-2008, 16:48   #15
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Looks like some myths need spearing...


Hmmm. I don't see that you've addressed my concerns in this post, which are primarily those of elitism and governance. From the SSCA website:

Quote:
All members join as Associates. After an initial year of membership, those Associates who have lived aboard their cruising sailboat for at least a year, have fulfilled a sailing distance requirement, and who have been sponsored by two current Commodores, may elect to become voting members called Commodores.
It's an interesting selection of criteria required to gain commodore status, fairly excluding in fact. And there's the usual shady bits allowing voting membership control. None of which I object to for a private club where the vast majority of the membership is voting membership. But in this case the vast majority of members are not voting members; they appear to be peons providing the lion's share of the budget.

Maybe you can spear my reservations and tell me it isn't so?
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