Welcome to the new USA Flying Dutchman website! We are pleased how it has turned out visually. But more importantly, the entire site is filled with features that will hopefully involve all class members, as well as friends of the FD class. We thought long and hard about this project before starting. Just coming up with a bright shiny and new website would be nice, but hardly worth the effort. We have very specific goals with this new design which are:
- Help fleets grow with an integrated set of organizing tools
- Foster a community with dynamic information and idea sharing
- Build an extensive, search-able body of FD knowledge on many subjects over time
The Trapeze magazine, which served the Class so well for decades, is now officially decommissioned. I am a little sad about that, but we all know the world of communication has significantly changed. We now take for granted that information arrives via the Internet. And the process, time and cost of producing a paper based newsletter/magazine has become prohibitive. We may find value in producing a document in the future, but it would likely be a result of the content that will be developed through this new website.
Some of the key features I'd like to point out to you:
- Fleets are a primary focus. Each fleet can make use of its own page to collect names, communicate with mailing lists, schedule events, keep an ongoing journal or blog of activities, pictures, comments, local polls and so on. Even publish Tweets. All the information from the local fleets is also organized so the the rest of us can easily keep in touch with what is happening all across the country through the home page.
- Anyone can register for a login on the site; access provides access to additional information and features
- Class members can register and pay dues online through the secure PayPal interface. Yearly notices and reminders will be generated through the website.
- Registered users can comment on most of the articles. Anyone who wants to be an author can submit their own articles for publication and upload all kinds of information.
- Lin Robson and Paul Scoffin have agreed to provide commentary once or twice a year. Paul and Lin's collective wisdom will surely be valuable to us all. Watch for them! Additional featured columns will be added over time.
- One item of particular interest to me is the "Minute FD Seminar" that will highlight a random series of racing photos that are set up for anyone to comment on. This doesn't replace a valuable debriefing after a race, but the idea is that we can all learn a bit more by analysing photos - or help others learn more. Some of the more interesting conversations may end up being articles on their own.
There are many other features like the complete US FD historical boat registry, search capabilities, classifieds and so on. In January, 2011, the time of this writing, all the material is not in place. It will all get here soon enough. Remember - this is not all about a webmaster putting a bunch of photos and text on the Internet. This is totally about you and your interest in the FD.
See you on the water (and on the website!)