I’m interested in this topic since it touches on some important elements of (my) BOA membership. For me, although I bought my Bav40 new in the UK in 2001, about 4 years ago I sailed it down south to the Basque country for a couple of years and it’s now in Perpignan, France. So, much of the BOA social focus is not really open to me. For general boaty chitter chatter, there are other more diverse forums and so I don’t really think it’s a worry if the BOA one is not terribly active, in terms of posting numbers.
So, for me, reference content and very welcome advice from fellow owners is my main interest in being a member. Although there is lots of info, it is rarely enough (for me anyway!) and I mean no disrepect to the small number of people who have bothered to add to the info store (all credit to the core of names that appear) ..This isn’t a complaint!
I’m sure we all agree that the Bav owners manual is not the most useful, detailed document in the world but at least every BOA member probably has one. Why not appeal to members to have these scanned and loaded onto the site, searchable by model and age? Suddenly, a lot more info might be available. Are there those people within BOA savvy enough about the model changes year on year (Bavaria do release new versions very frequently) to list what these changes are? Could anyone write a review of the test reviews (to avoid copyright issues)? Finally, surely there exists someone somewhere, (even in Bavaria itself) that has a description and model number for pretty much every part on a standard Bav. Ideally, and I accept I’m in letter-to-father-christmas mode here, I’d like to select say my model, see a plan, zoom into the area I’m interested in and see the descriptions of the parts, perhaps with a Bav part reference. Further, since so many Bavaria parts are fitted from other manufacturers (eg Lewmar, Raymarine, Elvstrom, Eberspacher, Volvo etc), it should be possible to access more details of such parts that are relevent to Bavarias from these suppliers. By the way, one advantage of at least the Hints and Tips reference section of the site being closed to allcomers might be that such manufacturers, including Bavaria itself, might be more willing to share a bit more information with the BOA.
Every major marina in the UK has boat fixers of various sorts from sailmakers, engine repairers, to riggers and general repairers. Surely many of these have experiences of bavs to tell and would be willing to share, at least for a bit of publicity? Look at the furore over corroding seacocks…I’d like to know what type mine has (though most have been changed in recent years, mainly because they seized!). So, it’s not necessarily new content that needs to be written, just existing stuff with a few observations/facts about how it relates to Bavarias. I’d also quite like to know about typical depreciation and whether it’s a myth (or not!) that Bavs depreciate faster than many other brands (setting aside the number that have a harder life as charter workhorses).
Although I speak enough french to get by, I’ve found it really difficult to get work done in France, apart from just not having the vocabulary for unusual items. This is largely because, the boat is there, and I’m here, and I’ve struggled trying to get info on for example, the common rudder bearing issue (where without doubt, there’s more info on the ybw site and some US ones), teak deck re-caulking, ST60 wind vanes, replacement heads mirrors, hatch blinds, new replacement flexible pipe connection for the dreadful Techimpex cooker – the list goes on. A site that had a ton of stuff relevent to bavs would make it easy for me to justify an annual fee ten times the current rate. I don’t think I’m that unusual, in general terms.
I don’t want to come across as anti-social (I’m not honestly!) but I know how much effort goes into organising a rally (and as this year, re-scheduling them..) and so I wonder whether BOA has the mix of effort right across its doubtless small band of volunteers and whether a shift to information might provide a greater impact and be a bigger reason for members to join and stay. Given the number of Bavs in circulation, I’m surprised that the membership isn’t far greater.
I’m not sure why the OP got so aerated about the site not being open. I notice the rebel one he set up is hardly a hive of activity either. But I do have some sympathy for his point though, I’d prefer it if the BOA site became a reference library rather than say a Tesco, where repeat footfall is a metric of success. It’s the value of relevant info that matters, not the traffic.
Hope this helps.