Celebrating the First Anniversary
Discussion Group List’s Launching
December 1, 2005
It was one year ago today that this discussion
group was launched!
We have survived the first year, have thrived -- the test of any
The seed was planted after days of Dick King and me wrestling with a
spam attack he was suffering from an Internet domain address in --
France! I finally tracked it down to a company in Paris and he was
ultimately able to end his aggravation. Then came the attack from
China. My pursuit of the source led me to the old SailNet Catalina 22
discussion group: SailNet, unbeknownst to most of us, was publishing
our e-mail addresses on its website, in an archive from which the
spammers were harvesting by the bushel!
I'd considered starting a C22 discussion group after Catalina Direct
changed to its "Clubhouse" web-based format (where we can't contact
each other off-list without surrendering our address to the same
spammers), but then I discovered the SailNet list, to where many of my
newfound friends and gurus had emigrated. Why bother investing my time
and money if something else was already available? Those spam attacks
were the last straw. It was then time, or prepare for ceaseless spam
and virus attacks, for they had begun. We'd unwittingly all just
become potential roadkill on the worldwide information superhighway.
Beginning in mid-November 2004, Skip Meisch, Bob "Hobie" Davidson,
Dick King and I spent a lot of time on the phone discussing first the
need, then the potential -- the viability -- of a new, heck yet
another, C22 discussion group. It had to be easy to use -- but secure.
I didn't want a whole bunch of rules, and I wanted to make it casual,
We agreed that my plan could work, that I might be able to pull it off
over time. I set up the introduction and application form on the Chip
Ahoy website, redesigned the site to offer an invitation on every page
with a link to it, we tested and tweaked the form a number of times,
and were soon ready to launch the new discussion group.
And so it began, December 1, 2004. After a year or uninterrupted
service, I've now dropped the "New" in my "Catalina 22 Discussion
List" blurb on the Chip Ahoy website: It ain't new no more!
But a year ago I was walking the plank. If I didn't greatly prize the
other lists and all the readily available experience and advice, then
I wouldn't have even considered starting my own. To start my own
risked being blackballed from the other much-valued lists, my
prospective competition and me theirs. But what is life without risk
So I took the leap, made the preparations, paid for the service and
set it up, and launched "The New Catalina 22 Discussion List" on
December 1, 2004. After working out a few start-up bugs, the rest is
Below are the first week's subscribers -- the beginning of where we
Sunday, December 5, 2004 6:17 PM
Dan Keagle - "North Light"
Sunday, December 5, 2004 6:21 PM
Cliff Willoz - "Isabel"
Sunday, December 5, 2004 6:28 PM
Tom "Turk" Terleski - "Miss Kitty"
Sunday, December 5, 2004 6:39 PM
Pete Kover - "Wind Toy II"
Sunday, December 5, 2004 7:01 PM
Bill O'Brien - "OBIE1"
Sunday, December 5, 2004 7:44 PM
Richard Byrd - "Byrd's Nest"
Sunday, December 5, 2004 8:00 PM
Stephen Brown - "Mama T"
Sunday, December 5, 2004 8:27 PM
Bob Conway - "Spindrift"
Sunday, December 5, 2004 8:49 PM
Chuck Bennett - "Mya Scape"
Monday, December 6, 2004 5:16 PM
Gordon Thomas - "Bon Reve"
Monday, December 6, 2004 10:20 PM
Chris Hallinan - "Wings High"
By the end of Week One there were fifteen subscribers counting Skip,
Hobie, Dick and me; a decent start but a long way to go. As someone
mentioned recently during the discussion over financial support of
this list, "contributors" also means those with information and
experience to add to an ongoing discussion. Without that a discussion
list is useless, though this list even in the beginning had some of
the best-and-brightest. We had to keep it growing, and we certainly
did, persistently in some instances, often slipping in subtle
invitations to join on other lists, other times not so subtle. The
Chip Ahoy website itself (today with over 19,400 "hits") drew in many
By the end of Week Two we'd added another twenty-two
member-subscribers, and over the coming weeks and months the list grew
steadily. "Build it and they will come" happened.
As we grew, I added the "Member Services" section to the Chip Ahoy
website. In the spirit of this growing community the "Discussion List
Members in Their Own Words" page was created, so we could get to know
each other as more than an e-mail address and sail number. When many
wanted to submit photos of their boats (instead of themselves) to that
page, I established the "Discussion List Members' Boats" page, and for
those who wanted to publish photos unrelated to either, the "Photos
Submitted by List Members" page was added. Before long this clutter
all had to be organized on the Member Services page. Recently, Dan
Schafer ("SeaBatical") set up a
"Frapper" webpage that pinpoints our
individual locations. You're each again invited to join in,
participate on any of these pages, if you haven't done so already.
We've even gone international! Member-subscribers include: Bo Broomé
("Cold Shot") of Norrköping, Sweden; Piotr Zabiello ("Marina," a
Jaguar 22) of Basel, Switzerland; Michael Coghlan ("Relentless") of
Canberra, Australia, and of course our other Aussie friend Paul David
("Reflections") of Melbourne, currently on sabbatical -- and though
not so distant, there are our seven Canadian neighbors.
We're up to 221 current subscribers in twelve short months. (I know
they're short because Chip Ahoy is again sitting out in my yard
covered for another winter, right where it was when this list was
launched!) Over the past year I've vetted and subscribed 315 (and have
rejected half a dozen or so "suspects"). Though some over time have
left, if they gave a reason it's usually that the list has become too
busy. That's understandable: it has handled over 10,000 individual
messages since its birth. (I keep them all in an e-mail archive file.)
We've come a long way in only a year. We now have 56
that we didn't have last December when the expense was entirely mine.
A few of those have contributed more than once; even the Catalina 22
National Sailing Association sent a check toward the list's ongoing
maintenance -- and bestowed its
2005 "Recruiter of the Year" award on
me, the Chip Ahoy website, and this list! The cost no longer is coming
out of solely my pocket thanks to those generous list sponsors. This
discussion group can go on well into 2006 -- but still needs your
share of support, if you value it and haven't already sent your check
to support it.
This discussion group started out as "free" and I intend to keep it
that way. There's been a marked improvement over where it was but six
months ago (with only 15 "List Sponsors" besides me). As of today, its
first anniversary, about 25 percent of our member-subscribers have
made a voluntary contribution to keep it going. That leaves only 75
percent to go!
Thanks again to Chris Hallinan ("Wings High" then, a C36 now, but
still a member-subscriber) for administering the list during my
absence last summer while on my annual extended cruise. There wasn't
so much as a hiccup, even though out of nowhere the list
service-provider suddenly was bought out and changed ownership while I
was away. (Incredible timing!) Great job, Chris.
When I launched this discussion group a year ago I had no doubt that
it would succeed: It was time; it was necessary; it was "a better
mousetrap." All it required was some thought and planning, effort and
risk, my time and seed money -- and it has succeeded beyond my
expectations. It has certainly been worth it: this thriving community
is now ours. It remains secure, continues to grow, and will last as
long as our mutual interest in C22s does.
Happy birthday discussion group -- we've come a long way together in
the first year!