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Sailing Breeze
"Sailing is always a breeze at Windsong"

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Windsong Sailing Academy Press
3966 Secluded Circle, S.W.
Lilburn, Georgia 30047-2233


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Vol. 31


                    WHAT'S GOING ON THIS SEASON              .

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So you've got some difficult names to buy a gift for or you're the difficult one on someone else's list, we've got the answer! Gift Certificates for sailing classes make unusual tokens of one's affection or appreciation.  Certificates in any denomination or combination of classes are available year-round.  Let us make your occasion memorable for a life time.  Show a special someone how much you care or tell them what would make your day! Sailing Gift Certificates are the smartest most unique exchange of appreciation between loved ones or friends.

OH NO!  Fee Increases!
Effective January 1st there will be new prices for all programs. Yep, the boat insurance is going WAY UP and so are the dockage fees so we must stay in step with costs. 

Sailing outings will be $65, but "Early Bird Discounts" will be $59, so if you can plan 8 weeks in advance you can continue to sail at roughly the same price as last season. Ground school classes will be $179, but "Early Bird Discounts" will be $159, so if you can book 4 weeks in advance you can pay the same price as last season.  Compared to other "Recreational Alternatives" this still represents a huge value!  When considering that all of our boats are in excellent condition, come with a complete crew and a highly experienced certified instructor, these prices are still much less expensive than renting or owning your own boat. Plus, you just can't beat the great company that our other students provide.  In a time when most students don't even know anyone else to join them in sailing on a regular basis, our weekly outings provide an attractive way to enjoy the sport of sailing all year long without ever having to scrub a boat or varnish any teak!

Here's a HOT TIP!  
Book your 2005 sailing outing dates before 12/31/04 and get the current $55 price. 
Book any ground school classes before 12/31/04 and get the current $159 price.
(The actual class date can be anytime in 2005, but it must be booked before end of year!).


Capt. Dave's Tips What a Year it has been!  In a typical year, a lot of "Life" crosses my desk.  You know my saying; "Life is what occurs while we're trying to plan one".  Well, I talk to many hundreds of folks during a single year and I feel like family to a large number of our customers.  I hear stories of successes and unfair hardships and other challenges.  I hear of wedding, births, serious injures, illness and deaths.  I hear about creative and interesting hobbies, vacations, dreams and opportunities. Windsong and my own family certainly has its share too.   
Over the past 3 years I have lost near and dear family members and know personally family members of some of our customers who will not be with them this holiday season. My personal belief is that attending at least one wedding and one funeral each season keeps one's life in perspective.  Trust me; no one needs balance in their lives as much as I do. 

I tend to work very hard at all that I do and find that others who also share the love of sailing have similar addictions to their jobs; often at some expense to their families and spouses. Fortunately my job is a bit more fun than that of others.  It hasn't always been that way nor will it always be in the future.  Each job has it's days and mine has certainly provided my share of unforeseen challenges over the past two decades.  I call that "Life".  My mission though is to bring families and couples together to share quality time.  It's become a tradition and a way of life for my wife and I.  Sailing is merely the "Vehicle" or the excuse that can permit each of us to stop and "Smell the roses" for a few hours or days in some cases. Even our daughters reflect back on the times that we spent together as a family under sail at the lake as well as at the shore.  Many times after a loved one has parted, it is only the memories that remain.  When they're plentiful enough, that's all that's needed.  Yesterday I had the privilege to spend a couple of hours with a couple, who like many of our customers, have become personal friends over the years.  I'm sure that as you read this many of you'll feel that way too. If you're new to Windsong, you may not have made this connection, but after a year or two you will. Stick around and you'll become family; our Windsong family of special customers who have grown to appreciate each other's company and share in a hidden agenda of special opportunities that occur throughout the year.

Time passed too quickly as we sat in front of their Christmas tree looking out their windows over the water of their small community private lake. Over the years we have traveled to some exotic places to sail and shared some concerts on the lawn together and watched each other's children grow up, get married and have a family of their own.  We've always lived almost a hundred miles apart and often don't cross paths each year, but when we do, it feels like only yesterday that we were sitting at anchor in the British Virgin Island listening to Jimmy Buffet and sipping island drinks and sharing stories and dreams, all centered around some aspect of sailing adventures. Now we include talk of our grandkids that are within a month of the same age.  Sailing and the memories of times together with our friends and family transcend time. It is the only single activity that leaves everyone and every relationship changed that have experienced it for any time at all.  Sailing is a special bond that we share with a very special community of folks that defies explanation or definition.  It's a mindset and an attitude.  It's a personality.  It's a way of life that not enough folks experience.  It provides special memories that will last us long into our old age.  Our children will reflect upon those memories long after we're gone.  I guess it's a legacy and a unique treasure that we're honored to share.

All my life, I've heard it said that the first day of the new year is special. It's a time to reflect and to plan. You should eat a special meal of beans and greens and a male must be the first person to walk through our doorway.  You must be the first to call someone near and dear and wish them a Happy New Year. I'm not sure if this belief has any basis, but I've learned through life that there are some things too sacred to question and this is one that haunts me to this day.  Now calling someone "too" early on New Year's day to wish them "Happy" anything troubles me a bit, so perhaps you should wait until after noon to call. Well among many traditions, I do go sailing on New Years Day.

It has been said that whatever you do on the first day of the year ensures you'll live a life full of happiness in the ability to continue to do those very activities to a very old age.  Well I don't have to tell you what one of those activities are because I'm sure that you've all already guessed.  If at all possible, weather conditions and health permitting, I must get my fix of sailing on this very special day of each year.  No matter how late I stayed out the night before or how few folks I'm able to drag along with me, I try to spend this day on the water, but in cold weather I try to do it in moderation.  I have noticed though that the cooler it is, the more I enjoy a hot chocolate and quite possibly a hot shower afterwards, but what things in life of true value come without some price?  Right! Well this year the 1st is on a Saturday; all the better because now I can share it with others who will still have 2 days to recover before returning to work.  This year you too can join me on my annual sail, the first day of the new year.  We have reserved Jamaica Lieu, the Hunter 28, just for this occasion.  We'll depart a noon and sail for 2 yrs. It won't be completely a training outing, but it won't be a pure social either. What it will be though is a very special but select few folks that book a seat while they last.  We'll even honor the old 2004 price one last time and ignore the 2005 price increases for just one more day.  Bring your stories and dreams.  Let's have some fun and enjoy the day.  No matter the ills, I've come to learn that "Sailing" is the cure.  Plan on your annual dose of prevention. I wouldn't delay if you plan to enjoy this day.  We can only accommodate 5 lucky individuals.

Been To A Good Boat Show Lately?
Mark your calendars for the Jan 12th - 16th Atlanta Boat Show at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Windsong will be in booth #253 again (Just to the right of the center concession stand) this year with some unannounced specials and great trips planned offshore this season. We can't say too much in advance, least we tip our hand to others who "try" to compete with Windsong, but Saturday the 15th you're going to want to be at the show for a series of programs you're not going to believe!  We're going to have some Las Vegas action going on at the booth and some of the finest speaker presentations the Atlanta show has EVER seen.  There will be something for everybody at the first annual "Windsong Speaker's Forum", a revolutionary new offering for the Atlanta Boat Show convention.

·     “The World Is My Play Ground Too; Women Under Sail!”
Sailing is often viewed as a “Guy” thing.  Come hear the truth about sailing from a wife and mother who will share the Woman’s view of adventuring around the world to countries that most can’t even pronounce, much less locate on a globe.  When you're off sailing in remote destinations and your boat breaks down, who you gonna call? Many around the world call world cruiser and renowned speaker Pam Wall, Outfitting Manager for West Marine for support and supplies.  Thanks to West Marine for flying Pam up from Ft Lauderdale exclusively for Windsong to share her truly inspiring stories of travels to remote destinations and hear the stories, challenges, beauties and truths from the female perspective.

·     “Family Sailing, Kids in Tow
You've read their stories hosted by our web site for months.  Now you can come meet them in person!  We’ve all dreamed of packing up the family, leaving “Corporate America” and setting out for destinations over the horizon.  Few feel they ever reach an opportunity in life to experience such an adventure.  Come hear and see the story of a family that did just that, with twin 4-yr olds!  “Life” is what occurs while we’re trying to plan one.  Join us to hear the story of our long term delivery captain Pierre Russell and his wife Kim tell their story as they searched for and acquired an appropriate sailing vessel and planned their escape to live the dream!  Anyone who has contemplated taking the entire family to sea will appreciate the stories and advice they have to offer resulting from 18 months living aboard their Lord Nelson 41 while sailing the east coast of North America. 

·     Just My Son and I; Sailing”
The perception that adventure sailing requires a large crew is dispelled by a single father who decides to sever ties with the “Regular Pay Check” and spend time with his teenage son for a year; sailing.  Come follow the adventures and challenges mastered by Windsong senior student
Bill Rountree and his son Robert as they enjoy quality time afloat that anyone would envy.  As demonstrated by their successes, the Windsong programs can make it possible for those determined to realize their dreams! Come enjoy their story as they depart the east coast of North America and journey into the Bahamas.

·     “I Can’t Stop Dancing; An Annual Black Boater’s Party!”
You don’t have to be a sailor to go sailing!  You don’t even have to know how to swim! The annual Black Boater’s Summit held in the British Virgin Islands is a party not to be missed!  There are quiet moments and socializing bashes that bring together fun loving folks from all regions.  There are power boats, mono-hulls, multi-hulls and lots of dancing!  Did we mention food?  Yes, if you’re seeking adventure combined with some of the worlds best sailing anchorages you don’t want to miss this presentation by Kendall Minter about the 2005 expedition.

  Sat 1/15 12:00-1:00  The World Is My Play Ground Too; Women Under Sail
  1:30-2:30   Family Sailing, Kids in Tow
  3:00-4:00 Just My Son and I; Sailing
    4:30-5:30   I Can’t Stop Dancing; An Annual Black Boater’s Party!


Sun 1/16

12:00-1:00 The Basics Of Sailing
  3:00-4:00 How to Go Bareboat Charter Sailing

The speaker sessions will be conducted in the "Seminar" room to the far right end of the exhibition hall.  There should be a large RED lettered banner over the entrance doors to the area. 

(Click Above)

2005 Calendar of Outings Posted
Each year we add something new and do something different.  This year is BETTER THAN EVER! 

More Convenient Outing Locations:
For 2005 we are reopening our training facility on Lake Allatoona.  We will be training aboard a high performance J-24.  The outings calendar will note outings scheduled for Allatoona as "Instructional Sailing - Allatoona" or coded as "ISA", otherwise the assumption is that the outings will be on Lanier. Capt Rich is U.S. Sailing certified and has an extensive racing, cruising and offshore background.  He has run Caribbean charter operations and marinas in addition to commanding the U.S. Navy Sailing offshore summer cruises.  Although his soft spoken and congenial manner can be misleading, Capt Rich has taught sailing and trained and certified instructors for U.S. Sailing for a number of years and brings his life long passion for sailing to the Windsong family. More details will be published when this facility comes online in March but the dates are already listed on the
Calendars and Outings and available for reservations now.

For those who prefer to beat the heat in July and August we're offering a 10 am "Early Bird Sail" outing if you want to get off the lake before the hottest times of the day.  On the same days we offer a 6-8pm "Late Sail" for those who enjoy the calm of the lake after all the weekend boaters have gone home. This was a suggestion by one of our students during our annual "Opinions Survey" that some of you were asked to participate in.  If you haven't returned your survey, you're missing your chance to tell us what new offerings you want to see for the new year.

Web Enhancements:
The "Calendars" web link has been updated to include references to sailing outings as well. "Instructional Sailing - Lanier" will be coded as "ISL" and Allatoona outings will be coded as "ISA". Now you can view all our activities from a single source and then hyperlink over to actual outings times available with a single click. 

Additionally you can click from the calendar to view each course description and then click the "Back" button to return to the calendar you were viewing. We've begun an effort to revamp the web so you may notice some differences as we move into the year.  It is hoped that online web registration for classes will become available shortly.  This will be a huge value to our customers, but it won't be rolled out until we become absolutely sure that it can be secured with your personal id and password.

More Fantasy Trips:
Corsica has been added as a new fantasy destination.  Check out the class Description or our web Calendars for dates and times during September.

British Virgin Islands!
 More trips this season than ever!
Check the class Description or our web Calendars for dates and times during February, April, May and November.

Hilton Head Fun Sails
are new this season too!  Thinking of an island cruise but not sure what to expect.  The Hilton Head Fun Sail is an excellent opportunity to experience a short Sat/Sun coastal sail within the protected waters of the Intercostal Waterway and harbors before committing to a longer trip.  Possibly being your very first experience at coastal boating, you'll actually participate in the operation of our luxury 47' Tayana center cockpit luxury yacht as well as meal preparation and sleeping one night aboard.  You define the agenda and we'll take you where you wish for a wonderful taste of the good life!
Check our web Calendars for dates and times during April, May and June.

New Course Offerings: If you've ever wondered what regatta racing is all about join us for a two night Racing Clinic covering the rules of racing as well as the selection considerations for a club, boat, equipment, crew and events.  Topics will also include the steps of crew orientation and development in addition to suggested practice drills and a discussion of the skipper's meetings prior to the race.  We've added two new programs this season.  Engine Maintenance covers those pesky seasonal issues with both gasoline and diesel engines including outboards.  Basic troubleshooting of fuel, cooling, electrical and seasonal maintenance issues will also be discussed.  Students will get to actually replace an impellor and bleed a fuel system.  Also 12 Volt Systems has been added this season to cover basic troubleshooting as well as proper installation of that new gadget on your boat. A discussion of charging systems and battery selection should prove to make this a popular seminar this season. 

Early Bird Savings! Price increases are a way of life as our operational costs for insurance and facilities go up with each new season, but when you register early for ground school classes and outings you can save! The new ground school prices are now $189, but if you register 4 weeks in advance an "Early Bird"  $159 price will be available.  Outings are now $69 per 2-hr class but when you book 8 weeks in advance an "Early Bird" price of $59 price will be available.  Obviously Early Booking ensures a more efficient utilization of our resources and your sailing dollars.  Either way the quality and effectiveness of our programs is always a great value.  Just ask a fellow student and you'll understand why. 

The cat is out of the bag! We have posted the Sunset Sail dates.  These fun social outings have been extremely popular in past years and we look forward to sharing them with students again this season.  They are purely social and non instructional in nature.  Grab that "special significant other" and share the delights of a casual sail down Lake Lanier on selected evenings (See the "Outings" web page).  Grab some jeans, shorts, or dress up, but importantly grab your space today!! These outings always go fast because they are attractively priced at $65 for a 3-hr outing, making it the best value of any of our outings!  Light snacks and soft drinks will be provided.  Bring a jacket to because it can get cool at sunset.

It's That Time Of Year Again!
Boat U.S. Memberships are coming due again soon. This is a reminder that Windsong offers discounted Boat U.S. memberships for $9.50.  That's 50% off the retail price of $19 and enables students to take advantage of the great values at Boat U.S. all season long.

If you need a membership form, let us know and we'll drop you in the mail to you. 


I Love My Job, most days.
Okay, you're right, it's a PASSION, not just a job.  If you haven't read the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" go buy a copy today.  Tomorrow go read his newest book "The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness".  It reaffirms what I've always known, kinda.  You need to find your place in life and pursue it with a passion.  Find your passion. Everybody has something that is unique.  Something that they can better or more uniquely than most.  Something that is uniquely their strength, love or passion that can and must be shared with others.  Mine was making money.  Okay, more accurately, mine was chasing money.  This was often at the expense of happiness.  Okay, I thought I was happy at the time, but later realized that I wasn't.  Many of you at some point in your life will realize that it's not about the "Money".  It's about fairness, honesty, fellowship, contribution and sharing. Life's not about consumption, individualism, or about "Me". 

I love my job and the potential for a significant impact on the quality of lives and relationships of our customers. Okay, let's be fair, even the perfect job has it's moments.  I love everything about my job except explaining and enforcing our "Late Cancellation Policy".  Fortunately only about a dozen times per year does the issue arise when someone for unexpected reasons is unable to attend a sailing outing for which they have registered.  I call that "Life".  As a business owner it is my responsibility to the share holders to meet expenses and ideally make a profit.  Even a great product or service is not a bargain if the business won't be around in the future to meet subsequent needs. Anyone with any business experience knows this. When the Atlanta Braves caused the new stadium to be built, someone in the front office had to deal with a cancellation policy.  When Delta airlines prices their tickets, they must deal with it too.  When the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra  prices their Christmas performances they must set a price that permits a profit at less than full capacity.  When the ice skating "Tour of Champions" came to town they had to set a price too. At Windsong we too have to ensure a fair and competitive price that ensures profitability.  There are a number of ways each business can do that.  In nearly all cases, businesses either don't permit cancellations, PERIOD, or they just add a premium to all the other ticket prices to create a "Slush Fund" to ensure profitability "in the event" of cancellations.  This makes sense if your business has a lot of cancellations.  If they are fairly infrequent, there's going to be unnecessary costs to everyone to fund an event that seldom occurs. There's not magic math here! Prices reflect policies.  At Windsong we strive to offer affordable Prices with the highest Quality and extremely responsive Customer Service. If you dispute any of these I'd personally like to hear your story!

As a consumer I hate it when I buy tickets to an event that I later can't attend.  There are usually reasons, some unavoidable, yet admittedly some cancellations are a matter of convenience and not total necessity.  Some are because I didn't plan appropriately or someone else was in control of my calendar and it was necessary to resolve a conflict.  The issue here is that the reason for the cancellation isn't relevant.  As a consumer, I intellectualize that there were probably two options.  Overcharge me for tickets all year long so that I could cancel when needed or lower prices and offer NO REFUNDS.  With a very liberal cancellation policy, I certainly could envision room for abuse and potentially even high prices as a result. Ideally a policy might offer cancellation up to a reasonable period before the event to permit the vendor to attempt to replace me so that the seat doesn't go empty on the day of the performance.  That sounds like a fair compromise to me, but I understand that if the seat goes unoccupied somebody's going to be paying.  There's no magic math!  When you can't pay your bills certainly some reasons sound more acceptable than others, but our creditors are only interested in one thing; your payment, not your reason.  The bottom line is that the operational costs must be covered and when they're not, reasons don't eliminate the issue. The perception is that Windsong is profitable and that we should absorb the costs whenever a customer cancels.  We could do that if we planned our business model and pricing to accomplish that.  The fact is that we chose not to in order to offer the lowest price and best value to the majority of our customers.  To do otherwise would unfairly punish the majority through higher prices, higher prices that even those who occasionally had to cancel would be overpaying all year long for the rare instances where late cancellations caused a seat to go empty on a boat at the last minute.

Presently the outing cancellation deadline is 4 days prior to the outing.  Having the deadline 4 days out, we have the opportunity to try to fill any remaining holes by Friday before being forced to call the remaining students on that same outing with the bad news of their outing not "Making".  So next time you go sailing and notice that the boat is not full.  Understand that your outing was made possible that day due to our cancellation policy.  Otherwise through no fault of your own, you could have arrived at the dock prepared to sail that day and be told that your outing was cancelled 15 minutes ago because someone woke up sick and can't attend.  If anyone has ideas for a better policy I want to personally discuss it.

Back to my premise at the beginning of this discussion.  Our cancellation policy is not about making money.  It's about fairness to everyone; customers, creditors and share holders.  So why take so much space in our Holiday Newsletter Issue to discuss a business policy.  Ask yourself how many other businesses that you buy from would really care that much.  I think you'll then understand a bit more about why Windsong is so unique. We do really care about our impact and the fairness to others.  As I'm sure many of you already know. Life isn't only about "Me".  We stretch the rules in everyway that we can to help others, but if we don't cover our costs, we won't be there tomorrow to meet your future needs.  (:>).

Ever noticed that all official Windsong emails have the word "WINDSONG:" in the subject? That's so that you can use a filter or rule to intercept and redirect Windsong emails into a dedicated folder based upon this trait.  That way we won't ever wind up in your SPAM folders and accidentally deleted.  This is actually a two-way street.  Any replies from you will automatically contain the same identifier in the subject and we can prevent it's accidental deletion as well.  So any emails from you to us should contain the words "WINDSONG" in the subject or you risk censure by our anti spam software.  Daily we receive just over 400 SPAM emails and find the use of filtering software imperative.  Don't risk loosing our emails, filter TODAY!

Let Windsong solve your problems.  Tell everyone to buy you sailing gift certificates for Christmas.  Annually Windsong offers gift certificates year round in any denomination or for any combination of classes our outings.  Let us know what you desire and we'll gladly ship you a gift certificate for that "Difficult To Buy For" person on your shopping list.  If you think that might be "YOU", make the job easier for others and have them give us a call!  This also is a great way to encourage a friend or that special someone to take the plunge and go sailing with you!  Remember, friends don't let their friends drive. Sailing is a whole lot safer and satisfying! 


Friends don't let their friends go through life
without experiencing sailing!

Invite someone to join you today!


                We're listening!!

Many times students' suggestions are implemented on the spot!  We pride ourselves in our customer service and attention to the needs of our students. If you have thoughts or ideas, drop us a line or give us a call.  All things are possible; you simply need to ask. 

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all our students for their loyal support through the season(s) and encourage everyone to bring one new friend along each year as you sail.  As we grow and expand our operation, we want to make our products and services available to all who may be interested, but some one has to make the introduction.  Share the love of your sport with those who may be interested in our unique collection of programs. You'll be glad you did and so will they!