Time Commitment for the NAC


Can we open a conversation about shortening the time requirement for the NAC's?  We are six months away, and I already have trouble getting any bites to join me for the NACs.  It's just too much time to take off.
Anyone else have an opinion?  
Maybe we can skip the qulifiers, and race Thursday-Sunday.  

I too have a tough time getting the time off for the NAC or MidWinters.  IMHO, these events are perfectly suited for sailmakers and retired people, who can be there for a week +.  For younger famiies, who have to juggle work, and family vacation commitments, it can get difficult.
I have heard the arguments that the event has to be long, to justify the long drive to some venues, for some of the members, and I have also heard about how we need to keep the length to assure that "seriousness" of the event is maintained.
The two largest turnouts of recent time, were 3-day NACs in Fishing Bay in 2007, and Tom's River in 2008.  Fishing Bay had 119 boats, if memory serves me right.  (Yes, the same week had a big 50th Anniversary of the Class Bash at Deep Creek, and some would say that we had a big turnout due to the 50th.)  Tom's River in 2008 had around 85 boats, for a 3-day NAC.  The turnout for a long-format NAC in Tom's River in 2014 was lower.  My hunch is that a week of summer hotel rates at the Jersey Shore may have been a factor, because Tom's River is a great place to sail.
I also wonder if we are limiting ourselves in terms of venue, as the host club has to come up with about 9 days of volunteers, just to run the actual event.  There is also prep time and promotion which should not be underestimated.  I would guess that the number of clubs that can host us, and devote that amount of time is somewhat limited.
Maybe it's time to try a little experiment:

Three Day NAC, no qualifiers, you choose your division and sandbaggers get flogged.
Low Cost Charter Boats (for boat owning FSSA members, to facilitate flying in.)
Promotion of event in terms of the family-based trophies that are awarded. We currently recognize family boats, but I am not sure we promote it ahead of the event enough.

It may be too late to change for this year, but I think you are right to want it discussed.
BTW, would you go to Bay Waveland, if it were 3-4 days this year?  ( I don't know where you live)  This is also a great venue.

I am totally dedicated to 2015 NACs. I just can't find crew that can take the 6-7 days off...I am sure someone will turn up, but it sure would be easier if the NAC format would change to 3 or four days with a weekend included.  
Taking off  Thursday and Friday is infinantly easier than taking off Mon-Fri.  
The argumaent that people wouldn't drive unless it is a 5 day regatta is absurd IMO.  People will drive because it is the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.  We want to race against the best FS Sailors, and the best FS Sailors are at the NAC.  

I live in NJ and would have loved to go to this year's event but there was no way to pull off a weeks worth of coverage or vacation time with crew too. I think shorter is better. Just my two cents.

This is indeed a perennial subject.  
It's worth taking a look at what is the time committment for the typical sailor to attend an NAC.  For simplicity's sake, let's assume one day of travel is necessary to get there, and that your job is a Monday-to-Friday one.  The one-day travel assumption may not be true for you this year, but It certainly will be true in most years, as the event rotates from region to region.
Under the current five-day event format, you travel Saturday, measure Sunday, race Monday through Friday, and return Saturday.  That's 8 days away.  You have missed 5 days of work.
Under a theoretical four-day event (Thurs-Sun) format, you travel Tuesday, measure Wednesday, race Thursday through Sunday, and return Monday.  That's seven days away and you have still missed 5 days of work.
Under a theoretical three-day event (Fri-Sun) format, you travel Wednesday, measure Thursday, race Friday through Sunday, return Monday.  That's six days away and you have missed 4 days of work.
So, we can miss five days of work to attend a five-day regatta; or four days of work to attend a 3-day regatta.  The problem with shorter regattas such as four days or three days is that they reduce the odds of getting a sufficient number of days of decent weather.  For those of us who often have to travel not just one, but even two days in each direction, the risk/reward gets bad pretty quick when the number of potential sailing days in the regatta is reduced from five days to three.  If I am going to take off a full week of work, I want to know that there are decent odds that I am going to get a reasonable amount of racing in exchange for my investment of time and money.  Reducing the event to only three days means there might be only one or two days of racing.  Not good odds.
And, hey, it's the North Americans.  We need to have enough races to truly sort out the best.
The difficulty in finding crew who get away for long blocks of time, and who don't have to account to bosses, spouses, children, etc., is shared by everyone.  It's easier to find crew for local and regional events, which are on weekends and don't require long travel, than for national events which are often far away.  Just a fact of life, unfortunately.
Large attendance at certain past events is not attributable entirely to the length of those events.  It is also due to the location of those events (east coast is closest for the mostest), the degree of promotion and special nature of those events, the expected climate and wind conditions, and the hospitality and race management reputation of the venue.  For examaple, the 50th anniversary NAC at Fishing Bay was heavily promoted and centrally located for many Scot sailors.  By contrast some NACs hosted in hot venues in mid-summer, or venues which are a long drive for most Scot sailors, have difficulty attracting high numbers.  Corinthian (Texas) and Bay Waveland (Mississippi) come to mind as examples.    

I've not attended either and would love to. Shorter the better for me. 

2016 is Newport, so start saving vacation days.  Should be fun!