Together We Can Grow The Lifestyle Of Classic Boating.

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The CCABC, ACBS And Woody Boater Working together in 2012

If you have been following the drama playing out on the Boat Buzz earlier last week, you have been enjoying this years Golden Pond on line spewing of meaningless rants from a small yet very vocal minority. It’s entertaining until you realize that there are humans involved and most importantly, folks that give a mountain of effort for nothing. And in some cases, give more than time.  I fell into this trap with the ACBS years ago when Woody Boater started, I was just dumb.. I am still dumb, just now it is that I know how things work. These days  I am grateful, not bitter.. The Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club has been plowing along for the last 5 years since Wilson handed it to new folks, growing at a very nice clip, it’s also done a fantastic.. wait.. amazing job of doing the impossible.. Converting to an online resource. It’s a massive undertaking. And yet, it’s been done..beautifully.. And at a yearly dues rate of $35 a year.. Which includes 4 issues of the amazing Award Winning Brass Bell, an online archive, and countless other resources. All along… Knowing that the income to cost ratio is impossible to sustain.. But.. During a tough economy do you raise dues?  With many of the members being folks that don’t want to spend one cent more on a cup of coffee bitching about 35 bucks, do you make the move to pay for all the benefits? Well, the business answer is yes.. The kind choice was no.. Grow the club and it will all work out.. Well..  Enter a glitch.. No content for the bell, delays production, that leads to a bad printer error, so the job is pulled and delayed.. Trying to save money has it’s high risk pitfalls… The issues don’t go out, and guess what, renewal orders don’t go out.. Then a choice to save money and hold the issue and ship two issues … Thus delaying renewals, ticking off advertisers and ya got yourself a bit of a spiral train wreck.. The margins are to tight for any problems.

So, that is where things sit.. Right? No not really.. Things are not what they look like on the surface.  Hard work has been done to improve things.. Things have also been under way at the ACBS, New Board members that are eager to make some important changes. To move forward.. A fresh new designed Rudder is out on your Coffee table as we speak. They have a new Web site, and a consistent email campaign. You can do things now on the ACBS web site that make life much much easier.  These are exciting times for all of us. The passion of Woody Boating can not grow and thrive if its fractured any more. Yet it can’t grow if it’s only one element fueling it. It needs all these organizations to succeed….. “We” need all of us to work together. So starting in 2012 that is going to be our focus here at Woody Boater. To be part of the binding agent for all that is good in the hobby. Just part of the epoxy.

Woody Boater and the  Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club.. It’s more digital, its got Brass Bells in a more robust state, and a new web site and forum design. All underway, actually designed and ready to go. The issue all comes back to money and the $35 a year rate.. It had to change in order to move forward..  Squawk all you want.. The dues will have to increase… Try and find a better value.. You can’t, everything is higher and not delivering a better product. This way you can get a better more reliable product and service, and things can continue..

Woody Boater and the ACBS.. Yes! We will be creating a special place for the ACBS on Woody Boater…We plan on working very closely with them to provide daily updates for what is one of the best event organizations in the country.

Woody Boater for 2012  is also going to be working with the Chris – Craft Collection at the Mariners Museum , in fact the entire left hand column of Woody Boater is going to be devoted to all three organizations. These are the tri fecta of what is important to all of us. Grow the lifestyle of Classic Woody Boating. The ACBS the governing body that sets standards and rules and works with a network of local organizations to promote and preserve our lifestyle with amazing live events and seminars, the Chris – Craft Antique Boat Club to be a resource for the largest boat marque in the world, and Museums that preserve the history that we all cherish and need.

Woody Boater is proud to help in any way we can. Providing a daily source of information and news for the all of us regardless of dues, or location. An open source for all that positive regarding our lifestyle… bad spelling and all.. hey, it’s free , you get what you paid for….

32 replies
  1. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I would gladly accept a 200% dues increase for Woodyboater, but ONLY if you promise to keep the spelling innovative.

    As for the other issues, I learned the hard way that preserving a club requires vigilance. Some of the accusations made on the Buzz were quite nasty and personal but that should not be a distraction. The fact remains that three out of four directors secretly resigned a couple of months ago and we don’t know why. Bill is now left alone with one heck of a burden to carry alone and that is not sustainable. We as a community need to get new leaders in place who can figure out what went wrong and take measures to prevent it from happening again. We can’t afford to let just a few individuals carry the load while we sit back and expect the benefits to keep flowing our way. Hopefully we can get this mess cleaned up and behind us before the lakes thaw, and if we work together as a community, there is no reason that can’t happen.

  2. Ben
    Ben says:

    Hear, hear! While I recognize he ACBS and CCABC are not democracies, they are nonetheless group orgs with significant leadership and choice wielded by members. To that effect, we get the club we ask for. This scrutiny is painful, but necessary from time to time in order to make sure we’re all (leaders, members, all stakeholders) doing our utmost.

    I don’t like performance reviews or physicals either, but getting a finger up my butt every year keeps me honest with regard to my goals. Without it, I’d be lost to my worse nature. And physicals help me in the same way. The Clubs need a finger up the butt right now. Fun? No. Necessary? Yes.

  3. Frank Miklos
    Frank Miklos says:

    Volume of members is a better model than higher prices.. In business you will always make more money with higher volume with lower profit per item…
    If you loose 10% or more of the membership when you raise the price you are actually will have less money to work with …

  4. Alex
    Alex says:

    In these times, it seems everyone is trying to rape our back pockets.

    Banks are charging fees and penalties for everything, including the absolute gall of charging for making a deposit. Retail stores are playing ever trickier pricing games. Packaged good companies are reducing quality and sizes. And government at all levels is itching so badly to raise taxes they can hardly stand it.

    Just like 9% unemployment is an utterly B.S. understated number, so too is 3% inflation. Rising costs are everywhere. And it is making it to the consumer level just fine. Start with the above antics at the supermarket. Or how about fuel surcharges that never went away when prices dropped? Or the elimination of fast food 99 cent value menu items (or their replacement with $1.39 ones).

    “Less for more” is this year’s black. And “watch your wallet” is this year’s montre.

    If you’re like I, this leaves you vigilant, apprehensive, and at times resentful of rising prices. If you’re also like I, you resist when you can, switch/substitute when you can, and desist when you can.

    There are cases, however, where doing so is to your own detriment and/or not justified. In my view, the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club is one such case. Here’s why.

    Take what the Club offers and try to put a dollar value on each piece. Start with $35 for 4 Brass Bell issues. That’s only $7 a pop for a coffee-table quality publication worthy of re-reading, sharing with friends and family, and collecting. That alone is worthy of the annual dues. But then there’s the website. The Forum helps us connect with other boaters and troubleshoot/resolve problems. The Trading Dock connects us with boats and sometimes elusive parts to buy. The Directory allows us to reach out to other boat owners. The online Brass Bell lets us read the current issue and previous issues going back years before many of us even were Club members (making those issues essentially free, right?). The searchable Archive lets us see volumes of scanned publications including historical catalogs. And the Calendar informs us of fun activities and events worth attending.

    There’s more in there, of course. The point of this laundry list is to drive home the point that at $35, membership is a compelling DEAL. At $50, if that’s what Bill raises dues to, it would still remain a deal.

    Less so, but not much less. In fact, so much so, that I’d like to suggest the following… Those members who don’t see the value at that price point, and/or who don’t use many of the above resources the Club offers (and therefore, by their own choice, get less value from their membership), stop your griping. Please leave. Go see what your “saved” $50 buys you elsewhere. Go join another Chris-Craft Club. Oh, there isn’t one? Gee, sorry. Well then, use your new-found wealth to go pay less than one month of your cable bill. Or a half a tank of gas. Or a quarter of a tank of boat gas.

    Meanwhile, the rest of us that appreciate the fantastic job Bill, Don, and others do with the Club on a shoestring budget — even at higher dues — will begin to pay the real cost of the all the benefits it brings.

    So Matt, back to your question. “With many of the members being folks that don’t want to spend one cent more on a cup of coffee bitching about 35 bucks, do you make the move to pay for all the benefits?”

    Damn straight!

  5. Alex
    Alex says:

    Not to get technical in a fun blog, but price vs. volume sensitivity analysis is case by case.  It is not absolute.

    Much depends on barriers to market entry, availability of ready substitutes, and on the price elasticity of demand for the item / service.  

    Low barriers make it easy for new price-competing Clubs to sprout.  Ready substitutes make it easy for members to jump ship and join a similar Club at the former (or lower) dues.  

    The barriers are relatively high in this case. There is no other CCABC. And starting a competing one and building it to comparable quality would take years — years with no, or few, members.

    Of course, none of us “needs” the CCABC. But many of us want it enough to pay $35. And it represents a miniscule portion of income. Therefore, membership price is probably not very elastic — meaning most of the market would accept the increase. Raising dues to meet costs and perchance (gasp!) make a profit would likely have a marginal impact on member count, would raise dollar revenue, and would ensure the future viability of the Club.

    Conversely, lowering dues would attract how many new members who are “shocked, shocked” by the current $35?

  6. Pumpkin & ARRRGH!
    Pumpkin & ARRRGH! says:

    Count me in! The Boat Buzz alone is worth the price – more so when you are beginning woody boating, but continuing as you run into problems – and we all do! There is a service on the web called “Just Ask”, which offers expert advice on just about whatever you have and need. (I have used it for my Expedition and my Beamer, and my iphone [no it didn’t involve spelling]). You present a problem, and they charge you $15 to $30 to help you through the diagnostics and repair. Boat Buzz costs nothing extra – it is a value adding benefit of CCABC. Send me a renewal every 6 months at $35!

  7. jimmuh
    jimmuh says:

    Agree with most of the points outlined above….(except Franks ;-). There is no alternative to raising the dues, other than to cut the Bell, few seem to like that idea. So, I am in favor of raising the annual dues to $50, with an option to contribute more; some of us will do that anyway, to everyones benefit.
    For those of my cohort, that means one less latte a month…I’ll probably survive…

    Oh, one more thing;

    For those publicly chastising BB for his actions; until I see you volunteering to do Basler’s job yourself, STFU! If you can’t help yourself, at least do it in a PM, and spare the rest of us.

    James Ferris
    (no anonymity here….)

  8. chad
    chad says:

    I’ll do whatever I can to help out ANY boat club. long as doesn’t require a finger in the butt.

  9. Rick
    Rick says:

    Although I may comment often here, in reality I’m just a casual woody boater. As such I was surprised to find out today the trouble CCABC is having. I only occasionally go on the site and only just today skimmed over the threads that have been going on for months. That said I would willingly pay an increase in dues to keep it functioning. When I have had a question the site has proved invaluable, often having a ready answer since others had previously had the same issue. The Brass Bell sits in our waiting area after I’m through reading it so others can also enjoy it (unfortunately no misspelled words). But do we HAVE to have the magazine quality that all others are judged by? Time to move back to an earlier version (cheaper). Whatever the final answer is Bassler has my support and I’m grateful for all he had done for us and will do in the future.

  10. chad
    chad says:

    Here’s an interesting factoid about the photo of the 3 barrelbacks at the top of the page; The young lad at the wheel in the closest boat is none other than Chris Smith, at the ripe age of 14.

    Chris told me that this photo never saw print because it showed too much spray. Chris Crafts were touted to be smooth rides and this photo showed a rough ride.

    It’s my all-time favorite CC photo. I have a signed copy of it hanging in my kitchen.

  11. Chris / Hagerty
    Chris / Hagerty says:

    First, I applaud Matt and to making the commitment of the site space as a sign of support. As all this gets kicked around, it has been stated countless times in the discusssion, it is really just a matter of the value proposition of the dues. Both of these groups enjoy enough membership to to approach other organizations to offer in kind discounts or services. ACBS does some of this with Hertz, Boat US, Real Runabouts, etc……I think more could certianly be done on both fronts that would easily recoupe the cost of membership to either or both these organizations. Consider the discount Hagerty offers club members…The savings from what our current average premium is for all classic boats policies is enough to cover the memberships for both Clubs. There are many ways the clubs can continue to build value. But as also stated….you will only get what you give…..

    • chad
      chad says:

      ALEXX, I’m still trying to figure out who I am. Can you recommend a shrink?

      As for turning 50, I’m still working on my “go-back machine”. The flux capacitor was replaced with a K engine and it needs a new impeller. You gotta have a cool-running engine when messing with the time/space continuum thing.

  12. Allen
    Allen says:

    It is more of a price vs value issue. The Chris Craft Club offers great value for the enthusiast. If cheap was the best way….we’d all drive Yugo’s and Fiat’s. I am a director in a local ACBS and as in any “club” or church or organization it seems the ones that wine the most are also the ones that do the least. Where are they at events that take manpower to run for the general wellfare of others. We have about 350 paid members…at any given meeting about 20 show up, at our major boating events about 30-40 volunteer their time…while the others enjoy themselves. Its just a fact of life……Bill Basler and Matt Smith and many of the un-named enthusiasts that have taken our hobby to a new and better level every year are to be commended for the devotion to the hobby and to our enjoyment through their often unrecognized efforts.
    Sure things could be more organized and I am sure they will…..I didnt hear any of the complainers offering to serve or run as a board member or take on any duties that might lesson and spread around the load……in my life I find the easiest thing to do is complain and the hardest seems to be to roll up their sleeves and do something constructive to solve the problems…..opinions are free and like someone said they are like a–h—-s, everyone has one…….just my 2 cents !!!

  13. anonymous
    anonymous says:

    Regardless of whether or not fees go up how much does Bill need right now to keep the group afloat? I would be willing to contribute toward it.

  14. brian
    brian says:

    First – a disclaimer. I am naive, new to Woodyboating and I am not an accountant.

    With that, why are there many clubs – ie the Century club with their dues and website and publication, and a Chris Craft club and a Gar Wood club etc etc etc?

    Why can’t there be a huge, general wood boat club – with one huge publication and corresponding website – that would serve all makes and who could pair up their publications and resources and serve everyone with a small yearly dues return?

    Seems as if there is much duplication.

    And what of folks like myself. I don’t pay the dues for the local club but I am on the Woodyboater site each and every day.

    I would pay a $10 fee per year for this great site.

    Just asking….

    • DonD
      DonD says:

      There IS such an overall club and corresponding website, has been there since the beginning:

      The Antique and Classic Boat Society has been around since the early 70’s.

      It has been reduced, in effect, by the individual ‘marque clubs’ stealing their thunder, as it were. Keeping from it the latest data found (note Matt’s donation of Suzy’s hull card to the MM).

      I believe all materials should be copied for (yeah…, you can keep the originals to frame and sell on E-bay, whatever), and coalated and made available by our NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM, the MARINERS’ MUSEUM.
      They really are currently set up to handle and diseminate this information.
      (The Chris-Craft archives are but a tiny, tiny, part of what they have there!)

      They should have all Gar Wood archives as well, Century, Hacker, Thompson, Sunflower boats, etc., etc.

      The Antique and Classic Boat Society should be a part of this archiving.

      They should hire Basler Design Person to oversee the digitizing of all this.

      The marque clubs can still arrange the shows, judging, all manner of publications.

      I’ve argued for higher subscription fees in the past.
      Heck, the difference between $35 and $75 is miniscule for the Brass Bell when a proper restoration is $20-$100K.

      Any and all ‘clubs’ offer NETWORKING of information, really the most valuable asset.

  15. Matt
    Matt says:

    As much as I would like to take everyones mula.. The business model for this site is eyeballs equals marking opportunities for sponsors.. We are going to break 3 million clicks this year.. If I charged a nickle, we would loose 3/4 of that. if not more.. Looks like about 3,000 visitors a day on a normal day.. We want to remain an open book for new folks to the passion.. Be a gateway so to speak. Support the sponsors, and tell them about Woody Boater, thats how we all grow.

  16. Matt
    Matt says:

    The pic is from texx’s secret stash.. I widened it to fit. And no she is not topless… I looked.. Over and over again..

  17. Scott Ales
    Scott Ales says:

    Clubs are like churches, if you find the perfect one don’t join it. You’ll ruin their record. For me the bottom line is simple, if you appreciate any club for any reason you have two choices. Work for free or send money. If the club is in peril, offer MORE time or send MORE money. If you don’t care, do nothing. But realize the consequence of the latter before the end. Worrying about how your contribution compares to another will only frustrate you. You may have notice in life that NOTHING is equal. Might as well get used to that concept, it’s here to stay.

  18. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    Alas, the bottom of the comment section. This was all good reading but l just wanted to say….

    Woody Boater has become such a great site for the hobby, passion, lifestyle over such a short period. It is absolutely amazing. Matt, thanks for sticking with it and developing this site into the wonderful asset that we all enjoy today.

    Your commitment to ACBS, CCABC and The Mariners’ Museum in 2012 will add much more value to us, your supporters. I look forward to seeing these 3 great organizations represented here.

  19. Don Ayers
    Don Ayers says:

    BTW Chad.

    the guy in the first boat (17 barrel) I do not believe is Chris Smith but rather that is Chuck Smith.

    Chuck had the big hair and is in many of the prewar pics. His job was to test run the boats.

    When you look at the speed test records most have C.C.S. at the bottom.

    Chris would have been a little boy then.

    chris likes to tell the story of being a small boy and running a 16′ Race barrel red and white into the dock.

    • chad
      chad says:

      It’s Chris, he told me in person. I had a 40 inch copy of the photo sitting in front of him. I thought he was more like 17 in the pic until we did the math using the date on the photo and his age. He also rattled off the names of every other person in the photo.

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