jack_sparrow

VOR AUCTION - OPPORTUNITIES LOST & STILL THERE?

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With a two week breather now in Newport I thought this thread and discussion might help keep interest afloat.

With the owners of the VOR, being Volvo Cars (Zhejiang Geely Holding Group a Chinese Private Co) and Volvo Commercial/Other (AB Volvo a Swedish Public Co) looking to offload the VOR subject to interest, what are the mistakes or opportunities lost (or maybe still there) since Volvo took it over from Whitbread in 2001?

The reason for looking to identify those is to try and acertain why it has struggled to remain relevant since 2001 when alternative RTW formats have flourished and also give some indicator to its commercial value today and asertain if it indeed has a future? 

To kick discussion off my two quick headliners are;

1. Slow to Adopt to Change and Recognise Competitor Self Interest.

While this example pre-dated Volvo ownership of the race, they were the one writing largest cheques at the time. That example was not biting the bullet and persevering with a mixed class format in the 93/94 Edition putting Maxi's and the W60 up against each other. That simply sent a mixed message to how the Race Organiser valued sponsors and that carried over into subsequent editions when it became a single class event.

Behind that is an argument this was done solely to appease the demands of Grant Dalton having the backing for a Maxi.

2. Put Too Much Value on Stopover Income/Single Entry Encouragement.

The best example of this is the Abu Dhabi stopover introduction in 2012 where the entire course was put on its ear, arguably losing many fans, even those regarded as "rusted on". The rediculous race on top of a freighter was a another subset of that decision.

After two goes, and then winning the title in the 2014/15 edition using the new OD VO65, that replaced the V70, Abu Dhabi simply walked away from the VOR despite the capital invested in accommodating their demands. If Dongfeng win this edition do we see a repeat of that?

Is the lesson one that more effort be applied to securing long term stopover commitments, even though they don't necessarily field a team, to preserve RTW course integrity?

Australia being in and out since the races inception, yet fundamental to a decent race course incorporating the entire SO is one example. Another is the bizzare decision of NZ getting just a 48 hour pitstop (Wellington) in 2006.

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As expected and on Q Randumb indicating his forte is bagging the VOR and having no interest in its wellbeing or survival, let alone a positive contribution to same. 

Randumb however as first poster does get the free T-Shirt representing his marvelous input.

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Failure to attract household names as sponsors. Coke Cola, Apple, McDonald's, Facebook, Durex. 

Edit: & the free marketing they'll do for you. 

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It's a dead man walking.

It was once an adventure that attracted adventurers, now it been turned into a business where you have to pay people to drive the boats.

That's what corporations do.  Sex fingers ... they fuck everything they touch.

 

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39 minutes ago, random said:

It was once an adventure that attracted adventurers, now it been turned into a business where you have to pay people to drive the boats.

Point taken Randumb but for over 35 years not just the skipper but crews have been paid in some way to take these boats around the orange.

More importantly other RTW events in this period have prospered unlike the VOR on exactly the same pay for service/sponsorship model that has to underwrite a serious expense.

So your Corinthian/large benefactor like a  Conny van Rietschoten/Flyer2 in 1983 underwriting an adventure in a large/grand prix style boat actually really exist anymore?

 

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It's because the other races have passion in them.  The VOR is now a parade of brands that some of us have no idea what they do crewed by hired guns.

Get the Farr Office snouts out of the trough.  Open it up, take off the straight jacket.  Bring back the biff!

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20 minutes ago, random said:

It's because the other races have passion in them.  The VOR is now a parade of brands that some of us have no idea what they do crewed by hired guns.

Get the Farr Office snouts out of the trough.  Open it up, take off the straight jacket.  Bring back the biff!

Then your interest is well catered by this then, and the genisus to the Whitbread, so why bother doing your best to tear the only crewed high end RTW race in existence to pieces, but with nothing to offer other than cheap insults?

http://goldengloberace.com

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Sailing round the world is pretty ho hum these days, offshore racers appreciate the details and action of the VOR but no one else cares.

The public interest now is in foiling and 600+ mile days, and the public are mostly in Europe..

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1 hour ago, olaf hart said:

The public interest now is in foiling and 600+ mile days, and the public are mostly in Europe..

So olaf bearing in mind my point #1 in the OP that the RO has been slow to adopt change (and still no one has launched a RTW capable crewed foiler), the announcement by the RO this time last year (how time flys) of the platform for the next edition is clearly the way to go to save this event in your opinion?

 

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Not getting Ian Walker to replace Knut. 

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31 minutes ago, Miffy said:

Not getting Ian Walker to replace Knut. 

Before Knut was the biggest idiot.

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18 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Before Knut was the biggest idiot.

Isn't Glenn Bourke running some island resort in Australia now?

 

The guy is a dinosaur. His reaction to the likes of Sam or Dee completing the VG was "oh sailing isn't hard anymore we need more drama" 

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^^^ Yes and kissed on the dick post his Olympic Laser/Finn days and closest to him being outside the sight of land was CEO of Illbruck just after Volvo took over. Largest handbrake on the VOR I can think off.

 

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To me the biggest issue is that the model for sponsors is now too tightly restricted around what Volvo wants: corporate entertainment. If a sponsor wants to advertise, like Puma, there isn’t room for that in the current model. Volvo requires all teams to fulfil the same corporate entertainment duties at a huge cost and that doesn’t appeal to a huge number of companies that might be interested.

Volvo also now not only runs a race but provides everything in the package. That doesn’t appeal to all and the increase in potential sponsors by reducing cost is countered by the restrictions on what benefits they can get back. 

Return to running a race and see what teams turn up with, and only cater for the race needs, don’t force teams to do stopover stuff and let them decide what they need themselves.

 

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I think the big problem right now is that the boats are OD and prior to that is they keep changing the boat design rule.

The IMOCA open 60 has been around since 1986 which means there are plenty of old boats around for low budget teams to buy and pad out the fleet numbers. 

VOR needs to do the same and have a stable design rule. Perhaps the best solution would be to return to the VO70 box rule. The big money teams will build the latest and greatest to go for the win and the more modest budget teams will refit and update an on VO70. The bigger the fleet, the better the spectacle.  

 

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While you have been having a good old slash at me hoppy over on the Leg 8 thread these comments are purely devil's advocate.

1 hour ago, hoppy said:

I think the big problem right now is that the boats are OD and prior to that is they keep changing the boat design rule.

There has only been 3 rule changes in nearly 30 years. 2 box and one OD, the latter only 4 years ago. Hardly a lot of change there. See my OP Item #1.

1 hour ago, hoppy said:

The IMOCA open 60 has been around since 1986 which means there are plenty of old boats around for low budget teams to buy and pad out the fleet numbers.

While the Open 60 has been around for over 30 years the changes since then are simply too many to count. The only thing carried forward was their LOA. For instance look at their build dates and then how many non canters were in the last VG which has lot of enthusiasts not top line racers participate.

1 hour ago, hoppy said:

Perhaps the best solution would be to return to the VO70 box rule. The big money teams will build the latest and greatest to go for the win and the more modest budget teams will refit and update an on VO70. 

First how many V70's are left which are capable of going around again and if so haven't already had very serious money spent on them converting them to short course racing with or without powered systems? Answer very small list.

Secondly how many promotors/skippers will put aside other opportunities to spend say 12 months at least knocking on doors to get funding for a new V70 (a 10 year old design) costing around 50% more than putting a OD in the drink and doing a RTW race?

Alternatively how many principal sponsors would jump out of the woodwork and commit to a V70 program now?

Answer on both counts Zero.

The answer I suggest has absolutely nothing to do with the racing platform itself. That is quite frankly the easy bit.

The secret to success goes beyond that. The best inkling of that is suspension of the OD Foiling V60 by the RO (which was already at deck mockup pre-build stage 6 months ago) while that big picture is worked out, or alternatively they are doing nothing except seeking an IMOCA stop gap and just want to get out of Dodge.

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Hoppy,

i agree that the OD was part of the bigger picture of the event being too restrictive in lots of ways. To me it looks like there was too much focus on what Volvo wanted from the event and not enough on what other companies might want.

it was a shame to see the 70 die when it was looking like the last of the gremlins was about gone. I am sure that teams would have reined in the designers to create boats capable of finishing. I also think making it so you have to finish every leg to be eligible for the big trophy would get more reliable boats. But that ship has sailed. Volvo owns a fleet and boatyard What do they do with them?

have they already headed too far down this road? 

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20 minutes ago, Chimp too said:

Volvo owns a fleet and boatyard What do they do with them?

The current fleet (only designed to do 2 rounds) already written off in their books, hopefully at realistic value having regard for SCA being for sale in refit condition for 9 months and not a taker.

Boatyard is a knockdown movable show even at home. Lots of what you see is 3rd party sponsor owned. Value not a lot.

Clean slate it seems.

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1 hour ago, hoppy said:

I think the big problem right now is that the boats are OD and prior to that is they keep changing the boat design rule.

The IMOCA open 60 has been around since 1986 which means there are plenty of old boats around for low budget teams to buy and pad out the fleet numbers. 

VOR needs to do the same and have a stable design rule. Perhaps the best solution would be to return to the VO70 box rule. The big money teams will build the latest and greatest to go for the win and the more modest budget teams will refit and update an on VO70. The bigger the fleet, the better the spectacle.  

 

Before teams will invest, there needs to be some sort of committed schedule of events. 

Corporate sponsors from economies with actual shareholders and marketing savvy (excluding PR departments with cash to burn and no product to sell) are also increasingly cost sensitive and don't just want eyeballs but actual deliverables. 

IMOCA is an owner's class. There's a finite number of boats available and not every boat is grandfathered in as new regulations get out, but it is phased and with specific boats in mind. The balance between maintaining existing fleet vs new boats is managed by the owners. 

VOR has neither the stability to encourage long-term investment. Nor does it have sailing vested owners with actual control to guide it. 

I'd compare the VOR bureaucracy to an American major sport franchise. Only there's no stadium, no ticket sales, and the "product" is hard to measure. 

 

We still have dinosaurs who think stadium sailing will bring viewers. Not realizing that the world has already moved on to instant multinational broadcast. 

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Stability is what the race needs. With a model that requires significant investment from the race owner, stability is not easy to acquire. Reducing the overheads allows the event owner to provide stability over a longer period which, if expressed, gives confidence. Confidence is currently at an all time low as far as I see it. Not a time to sell, but a time to rationalise and set structure in place.

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7 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

Then your interest is well catered by this then, and the genisus to the Whitbread, so why bother doing your best to tear the only crewed high end RTW race in existence to pieces, but with nothing to offer other than cheap insults?

http://goldengloberace.com

Because it's a moving theme park, without the safety.

Rent-a-boat, designed to generate white water clicks where the SI's specify that the crew has to do what the OBR says.  Reality TV.

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4 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

There has only been 3 rule changes in nearly 30 years. 2 box and one OD, the latter only 4 years ago. Hardly a lot of change there. See my OP Item #1.

Exactly.... Just look at the affect of rule changes on the number of entries. You don't need many rule changes to start killing an event.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_Ocean_Race

How many entries do you think there would be if the teams had to buy the VO65's at full build cost?  Teams that invested in a brand new VO70 for 2011-12 (Telefonica, Camper) could not spread the in

 

4 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

While the Open 60 has been around for over 30 years the changes since then are simply too many to count. The only thing carried forward was their LOA. For instance look at their build dates and then how many non canters were in the last VG which has lot of enthusiasts not top line racers participate.

The biggest change I believe was in 2000 to do with righting... If the VO70 box rule stayed in place, yes the rules would change. Some changes might be to allow new design features so the boats can be cutting edge designs and some will be safety. Like IMOCA, some changes will render older boats less competitive and perhaps a safety change will make some older boats ineligible without a way to costly rebuild. 

I'm guessing Vendee Globe has at least 3 classes of competitors. 1) big budget teams building new boats like the foilers in the last race  2) Teams who have enough budget to put together a serious  attempt but with the limitation that they could only afford "last years model" from a big team 3) Enthusiasts and wannabes who scrape together enough budget to enter an old Open 60 that is still eligible.

6 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

First how many V70's are left which are capable of going around again and if so haven't already had very serious money spent on them converting them to short course racing with or without powered systems? Answer very small list.

Ok, perhaps using the existing V70 is an issue now. But it would be a different matter if they stuck with the the VO70 box rule rather than switching to VO65. Perhaps we'd be seeing the new builds from 11-12 doing their 3rd race in a 2nd tier team this year. 

Success can be measured in many ways, including does the event capture the publics attention and the number of entries. Right now the VOR is like Formula One with only Ferrari, Mercedes & Red Bull competing. It needs the teams that are regular point scorers but not contenders and it needs it's back markers.

 

 

 

You're other points are also valid. To be a success, they need to get the route, stopovers, sponsors, marketing, online coverage and the boats right to make it a success. 

5 hours ago, Miffy said:

Before teams will invest, there needs to be some sort of committed schedule of events. 

.

VOR has neither the stability to encourage long-term investment. Nor does it have sailing vested owners with actual control to guide it. 

and this is why they need to stop changing the route and the boat class. They need to make a long term commitment to a single class of boat and OD can never be that class. It needs to be a rule that allows the boats to evolve and stay cutting edge without 

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13 minutes ago, hoppy said:

Success can be measured in many ways,

How is success measured for the VoR?   Anyone know?

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10 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

So olaf bearing in mind my point #1 in the OP that the RO has been slow to adopt change (and still no one has launched a RTW capable crewed foiler), the announcement by the RO this time last year (how time flys) of the platform for the next edition is clearly the way to go to save this event in your opinion?

 

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I think that would work if there was also a rule you could crash your opponents out of the race.

people don’t watch motor racing for the racing .....

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12 hours ago, random said:

The VOR is now a parade of brands that some of us have no idea what they do crewed by hired guns.

 

Well that doesn't seem to trouble the sport of pro cycling. The Tour de France only gets couple of million people watching it live on the side of the road and a global television audience of around 1/2 a billion. How many of them know what say Katusha-Alpecin flog? 

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1 hour ago, random said:

How is success measured for the VoR?   Anyone know?

Number of posts on Sailing Anarchy obviously. 

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5 hours ago, random said:

 Reality TV.

Well yes, except for pro wrestling that is exactly what all sports are. But apart from the shape of your head, what is your point?

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1 hour ago, LB 15 said:

Well yes, except for pro wrestling that is exactly what all sports are. 

Is it a sport? I thought pro wrestling was modern day Shakespeare for trailer park trash.

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I don't watch WWE etc but a handful of those guys are excellent wrestlers & athlete's. Some ex Olympic wrestler's & of course Brock Lesnar who has fought in the UFC. So yes staged, but don't be fooled a few of them can mix it with the best. 

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3 hours ago, random said:

How is success measured for the VoR?   Anyone know?

For someone who abhors the concepts of publicity and professionalism, beware these words are going to feel like holy water on a vampire.

Event race village numbers, corporate guest numbers, audience figures via TV, print, online and social media etc, print and TV publicity values, stopover economic impacts, journos accredited  blah blah. Then some of the above done on a team basis.

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40 minutes ago, SCANAS said:

I don't watch WWE etc but a handful of those guys are excellent wrestlers & athlete's. Some ex Olympic wrestler's & of course Brock Lesnar who has fought in the UFC. So yes staged, but don't be fooled a few of them can mix it with the best. 

I agree. Superb athletes.

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" If Brock Lesnar wanted to fuck you i'd be his call"  

"I'm not really worried Brock would fuck me, it's that he'd use me as a condom to fuck something way bigger" 

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1 hour ago, jack_sparrow said:

For someone who abhors the concepts of publicity and professionalism, beware these words are going to feel like holy water on a vampire.

Event race village numbers, corporate guest numbers, audience figures via TV, print, online and social media etc, print and TV publicity values, stopover economic impacts, journos accredited  blah blah. Then some of the above done on a team basis.

I expected that response, my trolling is improving all the time.

The problem with the race is that all of the above shows, people can see that shit and lose interest in the sailing.  An example.  While at a boring BBQ many years ago in country Queensland a Radio Executive I was introduced to asked what I thought of his local station, it went like this,

"I haven't listened to it for a while now, last I heard it was shit."

He wasn't smiling now.

"........why do you say that?"

"You have music breaks between the ads instead of ads between the music, you don't even back announce them half the time."

"So?  We are a commercial station and the sponsors want their ads up front!"

"Yes but you do not have to make it so blatant.  You can provide entertainment "brought to you by", otherwise people like me won't even hear the ads, because we have switched off"

Translate this to the VOR, it would be Team America, Team Holland, Team Australia .... proudly supported by!  No one gives a fuck about Vestas winning.  Brunel who?

Or go feral!  The VOR, there are no rules, just the Boats, the Ocean, there is no second place!"

Bring back the mongrel, bring back the biff!  Have Witty bad mouthing the other teams instead of saying nice things, like he would in real life. 

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5 hours ago, hoppy said:

I'm guessing Vendee Globe has at least 3 classes of competitors. 1) big budget teams building new boats like the foilers in the last race  2) Teams who have enough budget to put together a serious  attempt but with the limitation that they could only afford "last years model" from a big team 3) Enthusiasts and wannabes who scrape together enough budget to enter an old Open 60 that is still eligible.

There is little point thinking the Vendee fleet format can be replicated in a crewed round the world race.

The enthusiasts you speak of make up a large number and put their campaigns together on the smell of an oily rag. It is a non-stop format so once at the starting line they can throw their wallet away. The difference in costs attached to doing that on crewed boats with multiple stopovers is astronomical. This is why enthusiast style teams all but disappeared from the Whitbread around 35 years ago.

Stopovers are costly things to put together and sustain for even just a two week period for just fleet support. A fleet from grand prix to enthusiasts would be spread across oceans and months (as evidenced in the VG) making it cost prohibitive and logistically impossible to provide stopover support to a fleet composition like that.

The answer lies neither in back to the future or copying what works in SH RTW events. A fresh approach has to found.

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30 minutes ago, random said:

The problem with the race is that all of the above shows, people can see that shit and lose interest in the sailing. 

 Actually existence of that shit is where the money indirectly and directly comes from. Who funds the sailing utopia you speak of, a Fairy Godmother, Centrelink..?

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1 hour ago, random said:

 

otherwise people like me won't even hear the ads, because we have switched off"

 

I doubt he gave a fuck. There are no other people like you. 

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I think the close racing afforded by the one design concept is worth it, and since this generation of boats are done, they can really get it right for the next couple of cycles based on everything they've learnt plus the R&D associated with the Imoca boats. To my mind, the design competition should be before the design selection process - put out a brief, everyone who wants to submits their best shot, then run the VPP plus give the teams input, and build the winner. The one big change is that I would keep sails open (to both encourage innovation and avoid the whiff of 'monopoly'), and possibly the business end of the foils as well (make inboard end/controls etc one design similar to what they are doing with AC75s, but allow some latitude for the lifting section design) . I honestly don't see how a boat optimised for full crews would have enough overlap with one optimised for solo sailing to make a shared design feasible, but they can certainly share technology and specific systems (power, canting mechanisms etc) between the two classes.

I've also come around to Mr Sparrow's view that a little bit of compromise is in order for the finish (depending on venue), sometimes for safety, sometimes to avoid the crapshoot pile up at Newport - although to be fair, as has been noted, they could've just as easily finished during daylight hours fully lit, so I think the line position would need to be a flexible in real time based on projected ETA's for that to work out. 

 

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22 minutes ago, surfsailor said:

To my mind, the design competition should be before the design selection process - put out a brief, everyone who wants to submits their best shot, then run the VPP plus give the teams input, and build the winner. 

Surf they actually asked a number of designers to make submissions in response to a brief before Guillaume Verdier were selected this time last year. They then bought in user and builder input, including coming up with this beta cockpit mockup to assist this process. That was when it was put on hold.

 

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Something to keep in mind - IMOCAs are usually commissioned in multiple sets. Three owners may have the same nautical architect, with customization and variation - but built on the same hull molds. The solution may to allow box rule, common hull mold. Deck is open design. Foil or not is up to you. Team gets to keep the boat. VOR pay for initial mold development and fabrication.

The IP developed is shared by the VOR & associated teams - like how ARM processors are licensed.

Also something yet unaddressed by the proposals - IMOCAs are like 2 seat sports cars. The newest builds are held to higher safety margins than the likes of the PRB, but are still more optimized for downwind sailing. I've yet seen any serious detail re fitting a full crew in said "2 seat sports car" while also strong & light enough to foil.

It'll either be a very BAD IMOCA - like Conrad Coleman/Enda's boats bad, or extremely underbuilt and with so few creature comforts VO65 will seem like a luxury hotel.

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The larger the crew or less crew plus power the harder a boat will/can be pushed. Large crew numbers and foiling are mutually exclusive. Small crew numbers and uphill race tracks are mutually exclusive. The only choice left then seems to be is either ditch uphill stuff (ie 2 equator crossings only) or add some powered systems.

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Reclined seated leg grinding for hydraulic systems? One leg grinding station inside for standby crew. Another in cockpit with seats on either tack and pedal/crank in the middle. Person seated can hold the mainsheet. 

 

I'd also say it is time to allow autopilots. 

 

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2 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

 Actually existence of that shit is where the money indirectly and directly comes from. Who funds the sailing utopia you speak of, a Fairy Godmother, Centrelink..?

What sailing Utopia?  I can't see one.

Glad you are admitting that it's not about sailing.

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6 minutes ago, random said:

What sailing Utopia?  I can't see one.

It is engraved on your stick.

unnamed.gif

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4 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

For someone who abhors the concepts of publicity and professionalism, beware these words are going to feel like holy water on a vampire.

Event race village numbers, corporate guest numbers, audience figures via TV, print, online and social media etc, print and TV publicity values, stopover economic impacts, journos accredited  blah blah. Then some of the above done on a team basis.

What part of that is about sailing?

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It's sailing,  it not a mainstream sport. Attempts to turn it into an extreme sport and gain attention hasn't worked.

Its a sport for an interested few. 

 

I would prefer it if sponsorship was opened up, boats were a box rule and outside assistance was banned.

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2 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:
19 minutes ago, random said:

What part of that is about sailing?

$

My point exactly, no passion, no guts, no heart or soul.

This event, like everything else in sport has be 'commoditised'; yours for a price.  Read about Peter Blake's campaigns.  First he decided to do it, second he looked for the money.  But it was his passion for sailing and adventure that drove him.  That has been turned on it's head.  Now a company hawks the VOR product to other companies, then they look for crews.

Intelligent people understand this, sadly.  Others are far more fortunate and they just suck up what is placed in their swill bowls and say thank you.

 

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Just now, jack_sparrow said:

Out.

Fucking hell Jacky, you started it.  Now just as we were on the verge of contracting me as a consultant for $5k a day, you bail!

Weak as piss mate.

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4 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

There is little point thinking the Vendee fleet format can be replicated in a crewed round the world race.

The enthusiasts you speak of make up a large number and put their campaigns together on the smell of an oily rag. It is a non-stop format so once at the starting line they can throw their wallet away. The difference in costs attached to doing that on crewed boats with multiple stopovers is astronomical. This is why enthusiast style teams all but disappeared from the Whitbread around 35 years ago.

In terms of VOR teams, the "enthusiasts" would be the multi-millionaires who finance VO70's, maxis and the like in the worlds ocean races.

 

4 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

Stopovers are costly things to put together and sustain for even just a two week period for just fleet support. A fleet from grand prix to enthusiasts would be spread across oceans and months (as evidenced in the VG) making it cost prohibitive and logistically impossible to provide stopover support to a fleet composition like that.

The spread fleet in IMOCA is a result of the race being non stop and because some entrants can't maintain the same level of intensity as the top solo racers. It's more likely that the fleet spread for several VOR generations would only be a couple of days, not weeks or months. 

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All sports cost money, and at the top level they cost a lot. Even the Clipper fleet are covered in sponsors logos. Name one sport where sponsors haven’t exploited fans interest.

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Hoppy,

Doing a personal campaign, like Maxi72 or TP52 might cost $1-2m a year, and take 30-40 days commitment from the owner. A Volvo is $10-15m and takes a full year of commitment. Different level and not something that owner drives or gets involved with. If you earn that sort of money, you can’t commit your life to sailing. That is why it has become a sponsorship event. 

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No sponsorship, no race.

Success requires more sponsors, not less.

Its time volvo became an ordinary sponsor. Lets get volvo competing against audi, maserati etc....

 

 

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1 hour ago, hoppy said:

. It's more likely that the fleet spread for several VOR generations would only be a couple of days, not weeks or months. 

Hoppy using Cape Town as the first stopover delta arrival as an example.

In the last VG HB was the first one to round Cape of Good Hope in 18 days. 6th placed Beyou was 3 days behind. At the same time the stragglers were just crossing the Equator and well over a week behind.

A mixed fleet in old and new V70's and grand prix to enthusiast, just like this VG fleet composition as you suggest will have a hypothetical (this case Cape Town) stopover arrival deltas no different than this and so measured in weeks not days.

This spread will only get worse as the race progresses into tougher conditions as evidenced by VG deltas.

Bolstering fleet numbers using multi generation boats crewed by a wide mix of talent and budget as you suggest simply won't work in a RTW crewed race with stopovers as already outlined above.

2016-11-25_7-01-56.jpg

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22 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Hoppy using Cape Town as the first stopover delta arrival as an example.

In the last VG HB was the first one to round Cape of Good Hope in 18 days. 6th placed Beyou was 3 days behind. At the same time the stragglers were just crossing the Equator and well over a week behind.

A mixed fleet in old and new V70's and grand prix to enthusiast, just like this VG fleet composition as you suggest will have a hypothetical (this case Cape Town) stopover arrival deltas no different than this and so measured in weeks not days.

This spread will only get worse as the race progresses into tougher conditions as evidenced by VG deltas.

Bolstering fleet numbers using multi generation boats crewed by a wide mix of talent and budget as you suggest simply won't work in a RTW crewed race with stopovers.

2016-11-25_7-01-56.jpg

It won't work?

In what context?

If your only criteria is close racing, then you're correct .

If other criteria are the number of boats, participants and interest, then it definitely couldn't hurt.....

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23 minutes ago, ease the sheet said:

It won't work?

In what context?

Context in Post #37 above.

 

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1 hour ago, Chimp too said:

Hoppy,

Doing a personal campaign, like Maxi72 or TP52 might cost $1-2m a year, and take 30-40 days commitment from the owner. A Volvo is $10-15m and takes a full year of commitment. Different level and not something that owner drives or gets involved with. If you earn that sort of money, you can’t commit your life to sailing. That is why it has become a sponsorship event. 

So you are saying that a mega rich guy who is interested in yacht racing would not buy/lease a boat and pay a crew of sailors, let's say his maxi crew, to represent him and do the VOR?

Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag

Under normal circumstances, I would expect that the boat/team name would be either the owners company's name or an independent sponsor... 

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29 minutes ago, hoppy said:

So you are saying that a mega rich guy who is interested in yacht racing would not buy/lease a boat and pay a crew of sailors, let's say his maxi crew, to represent him and do the VOR?

Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag

Hoppy name one other in the last 35 years???

Not one Maxi/Mini Maxi owner I can recall in that period has ever wanted a bar of doing and or funding a Whitbread/VOR campaign. When you look at that list in terms of interest/financial capacity, including those going around today, that is very sobering.

That example you picked is also a complete aberation and  someone who has only been involved with sailing for literally 5 minutes. So while there might be be more out there like him, I would really hate to be holding my breath waiting for another one to pop up.

Corporates/Public Awareness Entities and the sponsorship model is still the only financial game in town at this level.

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1 hour ago, jack_sparrow said:

Hoppy using Cape Town as the first stopover delta arrival as an example.

In the last VG HB was the first one to round Cape of Good Hope in 18 days. 6th placed Beyou was 3 days behind. At the same time the stragglers were just crossing the Equator and well over a week behind.

A mixed fleet in old and new V70's and grand prix to enthusiast, just like this VG fleet composition as you suggest will have a hypothetical (this case Cape Town) stopover arrival deltas no different than this and so measured in weeks not days.

This spread will only get worse as the race progresses into tougher conditions as evidenced by VG deltas.

Bolstering fleet numbers using multi generation boats crewed by a wide mix of talent and budget as you suggest simply won't work in a RTW crewed race with stopovers as already outlined above.

2016-11-25_7-01-56.jpg

 

1 hour ago, hoppy said:

The spread fleet in IMOCA is a result of the race being non stop and because some entrants can't maintain the same level of intensity as the top solo racers. It's more likely that the fleet spread for several VOR generations would only be a couple of days, not weeks or months. 

Translation... some people can't function as well as others when sleep deprived. I'm betting the guys at the sharp end of VG are the ones who can function better.

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11 minutes ago, hoppy said:

Translation... some people can't function as well as others when sleep deprived. I'm betting the guys at the sharp end of VG are the ones who can function better.

Yes but still 3 days delta even at that sharp end (#1 - #6) and the estimate you put to the entire fleet.

Mate you epitomise the drowning man who will even grab hold of a snake.

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12 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Hoppy name one other in the last 35 years???

Not one Maxi/Mini Maxi owner I can recall in that period has ever wanted a bar of doing and or funding a Whitbread/VOR campaign. When you look at that list in terms of interest/financial capacity, including those going around today, that is very sobering.

That example you picked is also a complete aberation and  someone who has only been involved with sailing for literally 5 minutes. So while there might be be more out there like him, I would really hate to be holding my breath waiting for another one to pop up.

Corporates/Public Awareness Entities and the sponsorship model is still the only financial game in town.

35 years ago, China probably had 0 billionaires 

In 2015 there were 50 Chinese billionaires with net worth of over 2.8 billion and probably countless more worth 1B to 2.7B

Scallywag, can if VOR play their cards right be just the tip of the iceberg.   

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1 hour ago, jack_sparrow said:

Context in Post #37 above.

 

Stop overs? Valid point.

So, as I  asked in post 59, what criteria do we use to measure success?

 

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4 minutes ago, hoppy said:

35 years ago, China probably had 0 billionaires 

In 2015 there were 50 Chinese billionaires with net worth of over 2.8 billion and probably countless more worth 1B to 2.7B

Scallywag, can if VOR play their cards right be just the tip of the iceberg.   

Putting aside the owner of Scally and principal cheque writer is actually Malaysian not Chinese, I will let someone like Shang comment upon the desire of the Chinese wealthy to fund a RTW Sailing team. If Kwok won't do it I doubt anyone else there will step up to the plate as you suggest.

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I have no idea what the solution is..........Do you have any specific ideas Jack?

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6 minutes ago, mad said:

I have no idea what the solution is..........Do you have any specific ideas Jack?

No, but he seems to like shutting down others ideas if he does not agree.

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The idea of a one design hull probably has a lot of merit. It can eliminate two of the more unfortunate things we had with the VO70 fleet. 

1. A race where the overall decision of where to place the performance tradeoffs could determine the race winner before the first leg,
2. Fragile designs and resultant poor racing.

A hull built to close to VO65 levels of robustness with pretty much all else left to the teams (probably want a standard keel fin and hydraulics) could be a very nice mid-way path. Gets back multiple sail vendors, and opens up part of the design envelope. With the advent of foils, leaving the foil design free might encourage some further valuable development (although it risks reintroducing the chance that a boat may be uncompetitive out of the box again.) With a standard hull one could imagine some teams electing to share a deck design to lower costs. Similarly other major components that have high design and tooling costs. Lead time for both design and build of a boat would be much reduced.

However, it is becoming clear that none of the questions about boat design are addressing the real issues.

The race has clear problems, and problems that don't seem to want to go away.  

A critical problem is getting a team up and running long before the race starts. Even now a team assembled a year before the first leg is not unreasonable, yet we saw teams essentially being dragged together with weeks to spare as the boat waited at the dock with the sponsors logo still wet on the sides. And we never did see boat 8 sail.

The race needs to be able to engage sponsors a long time ahead. With the race owner providing OD boats the last minute teams managed to work. But this is unlikely to be something we see in the future. Moving away from OD will add significantly to the lead time. The midway path as suggested by Miffy is also a mid-way lead time solution. The additional lead time may however still be too much to make the mid-way hybrid design idea work.

Crew costs seem to blow out terribly with the stopovers. This looks like a core problem. We keep hearing about the need to cut crew more than anything else. (Which at first sight I found surprising, but can now see the problem.) And the tension is clear. B2B sponsors want to milk the stopovers as a key part of their ROI. This drives the stopover schedule and format. It is possible that to some sponsors the single most valuable thing about their sponsorship is the Pro-am race - where they get to take highly prized clients out on the boat to rub shoulders with AC winners and Olympic champions. It may be that half an hour sharing a grinder with Peter Burling is enough to swing a massive deal to supervise construction of a fleet of oil platforms. 

If the cost blowout of stopovers is the need to fly in the sailor's families and accomodate them, maybe the solution is to send them all home, and structure the timetable in a manner that allows for a minimal team presence during stopovers. This is easier said than done. Obviously it is up to the teams to decide on this, but it may be that part of the answer is for the VOR to work with the teams and sponsors on stopover scheduling with an eye to cost reduction. Clearly there is a tension - sponsors want it both ways, low costs, but expensive demands. Sadly sometimes there is no middle ground, and that is where things fail. But it looks a lot as if this is where the key lies, not in trivial things like the boat design. 

Countering this is a race that brings in the mass market brands. As has been noted previously, the real major brands don't sponsor teams. There are no sports teams anywhere on the planet that are sponsored by Apple, Microsoft, CocaCola etc. It isn't just the VOR that fails to attract them. They don't do teams.  They might sponsor an entire sport, but they never sponsor anything smaller. The next tier down do. One brand that is often mentioned but never seems to quite come to the party is Red Bull. They are an obvious one, and the reasons why they have never stepped up to the plate would be very telling to know. (Along with Vestas, I would not be surprised to see them involved in a purchase of the race. Indeed the VOR becoming the Red-Bull Ocean Race is rather appealing.) But there very few Red-Bulls out there. (If Red-Bull did buy the race we would probably end up with inshore cat racing during stopovers after all - but probably not with the ocean going crews.)

So, as Jack says, there has to be a significant change. What that change is is however far from clear. It isn't a matter of choosing the right boat rule and imaging that the sponsors will beat a path to your door. It needs to be a ready to roll package, with clear ROI, costs, schedule, low risk, high reward. So far the ROI has been a bolt on. Whatever impressive figures have been bandied about, the reality has clearly not been enough to convince sponsors to flock to the cause. 

 

 

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Re sponsorship at stopovers. The Melbourne stopover consisted of some volvo trucks and some cars. The average visitor had no idea who the boat sponsors were. Very little  roi....

 

As I said previously,  its sailing. Niche sport, small audience, expensive to participate.....

 

 

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3 hours ago, mad said:

I have no idea what the solution is..........Do you have any specific ideas Jack?

Fuck now you have put me in a corner Mad you sneaky prick :-) 

Well I do..well sort of have an idea. You will have to excuse me for the early history, however I think it is a valuable pointer to the future as well aquaint younger readers to it.

1. This Race Is a Business - The Beginning.

The founders of this business was probably two sailing bloke's sitting in a English pub in the early 1970's talking about the 1968/69 Golden Globe Race, RKJ's achievement and how loopy Crowhurst and Moitessier were.

One was a Whitbread Brewing executive and the other some guy from the British Royal Naval Sailing Association. After their 10th pint the Whitbread was born. They are now both probably long dead.

2. The Glory Years 1974 - Late 80's

In this period really no one could screw this thing up even if they tried.

The money came from wealthy enthusiasts like  Conny van Rietschoten through to Corporates who funded campaigns put together by Blake and others. The era of the professional sailor was born and if not sitting on a Whitbread boat he was plying his trade on the Maxi Circuit, the AC down through the IOR ranks. Using those pros a newcomer could also be up and running and collecting silverware. Bob Oately is one that comes to mind in that regard.

However the Perfect Storm was on the horizon and came in so many guises it was hard to detect.

It ranged between world wide economy issues, wider leisure opportunities, the support base aging, tobaco sponsorship restrictions, the recognition that IOR was no longer televant and even the power of large Euro boatbuilders chasing the cruiser/racer market having their influence and the costs of campaigning (pro sailors being just one) etc etc all started to bite.

Let's also not forget that in this period a competion for capital and resources to support top end sailing erupted. It came in the form of Australia winning the AC in 1983 and then every man and his dog wanted to show up at the defence in Fremantle in 1987. The BOC Challenge leading to the VG kicking off in 1989 in a SH format arising in part from those across the English Channel taking to SH since the Mini Transat's introduction in the mid 70's and that country starting to worship it's SH sailors, with the consequential Franco sponsorship money flow arising from that interest.

3. The Business is Dying- Late 80's to Present.

I won't go into too much detail but in response to the above the box rule W60 was born on 1993/94 but still in conjunction with some Maxi's to appease some self interest. See my OP.

Whitbread finally threw in the towel in 2001 and a principal Whitbread sponsor Volvo took over, who in itself itself had suddenly had a huge makeover with Volvo Cars being sold to Ford and the Swedish public entity retaining Commercial/Trucks etc. The V60 was replaced by the V70 and it in turn replaced by a the OD V65 around the time Ford divested itself of Volvo Cars to a Chinese private company. It is important to note that in the decade Ford owned Volvo Cars it produced hardly stellar returns unlike the current ownership. This placed pressure on the event.

The upshot is that the Whitbread/VOR for over two decades now has been a mere shadow of its former self. Every 3/4 years depending on edition a handful of boats have fronted up to the starting line.

The world has not stood stiil. In this period  a thing called the Internet has been invented and some of the sailing programs I have mentioned above have budgets now larger than some small nations. In fact if it wasn't for the NZ taxpayer, they wouldn't know what the Cup looked like.

4. The Problem and the Business Solution.

No one who started this business is around anymore. The owners of the business are not in the sailing business so they have employed CEO's with no skin in the game to run it. For anyone who questions that ownership/management critique look at who owns the AC, the IMOCA Class and the VG.

The result in varying degrees under the stewardship of the CEO on deck at the time, has been knee jerk reactions to financial opportunities and constraints and decisions made accordingly. I can think of no major decisions being made with a long term horizon in mind other than the next race at best. Some of the decisions have been just plain loony.

Those CEO's are really not to blame as they have been plucked out of the sailing community, be it ex Olympians, ex competitors etc having a mix of administration or business acuman. Without exception none have either started a major business or been involved in securing capital for it to exist and grow. Outside sailing and in the larger commercial world they are unknowns.

So in simplistic terms the approach in my humble opinion the owners of this franchise should take is:

a) Stop arranging the deck chairs be it the next boat offering, potential stopovers, race format etc. Establish what your selling and whether it has traction to be accepted and if not modify it.

b) Abandon the existing funding model which in essence has individual skippers, who are least equipped to do so, albeit some have professional help, pounding the pavement looking for money. This is with the franchise/promoter/RO being a partial underwriter and in some cases maybe a marriage broker. How that model has survived is testimony to the perseverance of those skippers to date.

c) Park the CEO and find someone of substance (call him the Chairman if you like) who can walk into any boardroom in the world, be recognised and who can both sell the product (that he has been involved with formulating) and find the big licks of money for it, or at least an interest in providing it subject to future detail. While a difficult thing for a corporate to swallow, instead of one of its subsidiary entities and its management selling this thing, there has to be a face to it. 

d) Then go about having the CEO and team putting the pieces together to come up with the final product and make it happen within the confines of the capital available.

Mad I hope I have answered your question.

 

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2 hours ago, hoppy said:

No, but he seems to like shutting down others ideas if he does not agree.

Actually numb nuts look closely and you will see it is you who first challenged what I put forward. If you don't like my response that is to bad. That is not shutting someone down. That is me supporting my original opinion, something you have difficulty doing it seems.

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12 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

The answer lies neither in back to the future or copying what works in SH RTW events. A fresh approach has to found.

Good thread/posts, Jack.  I'm so used to the old Jack I hardly recognize the new.  Twins treating you right?

Fresh approach for sure.  Can't see an IMOCA class working for a crewed race.  Against less crew and autopilots.  That is about as far from the original concept as you could get.

3 hours ago, Francis Vaughan said:

So, as Jack says, there has to be a significant change. What that change is is however far from clear. It isn't a matter of choosing the right boat rule and imaging that the sponsors will beat a path to your door. It needs to be a ready to roll package, with clear ROI, costs, schedule, low risk, high reward. So far the ROI has been a bolt on. Whatever impressive figures have been bandied about, the reality has clearly not been enough to convince sponsors to flock to the cause. 

I'm with Hoppy on a NEW build V70.  Not an old refurbished V70 although they are still taking down records.  Don't step back or sideways.  Go forward with a magnificent yacht that exemplifiers the glory of offshore team racing.  Build it!  And they will come.  

There is no shortage of wealthy benefactors willing and interested in high end, offshore racing.  The cash and close competition is focussed on OD classes spattered around the globe.  Fast 40's.  TP 52's. Too many to mention.  But these are toys in a can race compared to the VOR.  The VOR was once a pinnacle of offshore racing and skippers and crew were nothing short of heroic.  That was the value proposition!   That's what drew the money and the competitors.  The adventure.  The glory.  The challenge.  Vanity!

Why do the wealthy engage in sport?  Competition.  Love of the sport.  Ultimately it's for the bragging rights. The glory.  Vanity.  And they'll throw whatever amount of money necessary to have at it.  Yacht Racing is a Vanity Sport par none. Larry Ellison to name but one in a long history of wealthy trophy seeking yachty wanabes.

What is currently available for a trophy seeking wealthy yachty wanabe?  S2H. Transpac.  Fastnet.  Med races.  A trans Atlantic record perhaps?  Meh.  Annual pastimes, I'm sure.  But not really that edgy anymore.  Not the big one.  What happened to the big one?  

What was the story that was spun to get so many on the line for a revamp of the Golden Globe?  What was the essence of that story?  What emotion did it stir up?  What was the story that started the Whitbread in the first place or the Golden Globe?  They all came because of the story and nothing else and by hook or by crook made it happen.  Anyone inspired by the story will make it happen as they have done so many times in the past and continue to do in races all over the world.

The money is there for the VOR.  Sell a story around a legendary boat in the most epic race of all time and it will come.   

Build the boat to break all the records.  Build the most breathtaking monster possible. Make it the story that it once was, the pinnacle, the ultimate race, the race that decides it all.  That's what the money wants. Glory.  Historical significance.  A legacy.  To be the best (at all costs).

 

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As a hundred millionaire,  said person can build whatever boat they want and do the classics except Sydney Hobart, cross the Pacific, Atlantic etc, even nonstop circumnavigate and have fun on board while having my professional crew take care of it. 

Say I'm a traditional person and I don't give a shit about random bald bearded ppl shitting on my beamy carbon carrier of a monohull. Or a trimaran monster. I can do both at once even. 

What's the vanity appeal of VOR for said person? The PR is being controlled by VOR. The OBR isn't their lacky. 

Say I'm really vain, I can create a YouTube channel and call it Team XYZ and hire a few talented young kids to do all my editing and recording on board. Much easier cheaper and also more fun. 

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19 minutes ago, Miffy said:

Much easier cheaper and also more fun. 

Since when has a billionaire been interested in cheaper?  At what cost since it's inception to win the AC, the Kentucky Derby etc etc?  Money is no object.  Never has been.  It's the prize that matters.  And not just the silver trophy.  What attracts them to the prize?  Fame.  Glory.  The historical significance.  It's the story. The stories that are passed down from generation to generation, spoken about in bars and to children at the dinner table.  Legends and legendary acts that are remembered.  Not likely a billionaire will ever become a heavy weight champion.  But they can win the America's Cup.  They can have "legendary" with enough money thrown at it. 

19 minutes ago, Miffy said:

What's the vanity appeal of VOR for said person? The PR is being controlled by VOR. The OBR isn't their lacky. 

My point.  This is the failure. 

19 minutes ago, Miffy said:

As a hundred millionaire,  said person can build whatever boat they want and do the classics except Sydney Hobart, cross the Pacific, Atlantic etc, even nonstop circumnavigate and have fun on board while having my professional crew take care of it.

Because, ultimately, even that becomes boring.  Think like someone who has it all and has done it all ad nauseum. Where can they find something honorable.

 

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Races come and go, but yet sailing goes on. The Admiral's Cup and SORC come to mind. Maybe the same process will occur with the VOR.   

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They will come because it is their pleasure.

 

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The Vendee is a perfectly healthy regatta, IMOCA as a class is a perfectly healthy boat. If I were them I wouldn't touch that rotting corpse of a Chinese dinosaur with a ten foot (carbon) pole. 

 

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Here most offshore races are arranged so that teams can offer enough ROI to their sponsor, there are entry fees which pay for the organisation of the race plus a profit. I am not sure why the VOR wouldn't work under this proven model. Find how much sponsors are willing to put for the ROI the race can offer and tailor the race so that it makes sense. A VOR on class 40 that makes financial sense to sponsors is better than a V70 VOR that doesn't pay for itself in term of marketing exposure.

I know somebody who did the route du rhum by finding out how much a company was paying Ouest France for ads and who then went to see the CEO to explain him he could get more exposure for less sponsoring him, 20 years later the company is still profitable, still in business and one of the usual suspect who keep sponsoring modest teams.

The other point that people seem missing here is that the more entrants the more exposure, the better for all, if there was a 30 entries class 40 VOR, that would create more media exposure because all 40 teams would be making noise than the half a dozen expensive entries format they currently have.

The IMOCA option might make sense, IMOCA team will see it as a way to add extra funding to their team and will be able to sell a four year cycle with 3 races with major ROI (Route du rhum, VOR and VG) . Much easier to justify than a one off boat for a single race. 

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3 hours ago, southerncross said:

Since when has a billionaire been interested in cheaper?  At what cost since it's inception to win the AC, the Kentucky Derby etc etc?  Money is no object.  Never has been.  It's the prize that matters.  And not just the silver trophy.  What attracts them to the prize?  Fame.  Glory.  The historical significance.  It's the story. The stories that are passed down from generation to generation, spoken about in bars and to children at the dinner table.  Legends and legendary acts that are remembered.  Not likely a billionaire will ever become a heavy weight champion.  But they can win the America's Cup.  They can have "legendary" with enough money thrown at it. 

My point.  This is the failure. 

Because, ultimately, even that becomes boring.  Think like someone who has it all and has done it all ad nauseum. Where can they find something honorable. 

 

I'm not sure I understand your pitch then.

It seems to be focused on a singular notion that the number 70 has a special appeal for millionaires and billionaires? But it is still predicated on them building these boats with the idea that the boats have the endurance for a VOR campaign, a design trait that makes them less than optimal for a lot of other interesting events.

If they win the VO - can they take the event over and run it as they please like the America's Cup? As you say - there's no shortage of rich ppl, but they're also not rich because they enjoy being scammed or paying taxes. If they don't already sail, it is a tough sell. If they do sell - they might already be the benefactors behind a very successful consistent program. VOR has to actually court money away. Which is tough.
 

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15 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

Surf they actually asked a number of designers to make submissions in response to a brief before Guillaume Verdier were selected this time last year. They then bought in user and builder input, including coming up with this beta cockpit mockup to assist this process. That was when it was put on hold.

 

m102724_crop169014_1024x576_proportional_1503499461f88c.jpg

m102726_crop169014_1024x576_proportional_1503499471f01a.jpg

I saw that at the time - honestly, I was surprised how conservative it was in terms of bow geometry (why no scow, especially on a boat that's carrying serious crew weight) and that it didn't seem to tap into as much of the HB Imoca concept as I would've expected. My gut is they know a lot more one year on, with another burst of progress coming due to the AC75s (aggregate program cost nearly 1B US), so maybe discarding that was not the worst thing that could've happened?

A lot of the resistance to one design that I'm hearing has more to do with the specific design (too conservative, too wet, not faster than the 70s etc) rather than the fact that the boats are the same, although it is not always framed that way. But the other side of the coin is that there have been no structural failures, extremely exciting and close racing, etc, so again - to me - the metric that needs to be addressed is the design brief. The boats just need to be more radical, and I believe some aspects like sails and foil design should be opened up to some extent to encourage innovation which will translate to the boats having a longer life since they will keep getting faster.

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7 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

Fuck now you have put me in a corner Mad you sneaky prick :-) 

Well I do..well sort of have an idea. You will have to excuse me for the early history, however I think it is a valuable pointer to the future as well aquaint younger readers to it.

1. This Race Is a Business - The Beginning.

The founders of this business was probably two sailing bloke's sitting in a English pub in the early 1970's talking about the 1968/69 Golden Globe Race, RKJ's achievement and how loopy Crowhurst and Moitessier were.

One was a Whitbread Brewing executive and the other some guy from the British Royal Naval Sailing Association. After their 10th pint the Whitbread was born. They are now both probably long dead.

2. The Glory Years 1974 - Late 80's

In this period really no one could screw this thing up even if they tried.

The money came from wealthy enthusiasts like  Conny van Rietschoten through to Corporates who funded campaigns put together by Blake and others. The era of the professional sailor was born and if not sitting on a Whitbread boat he was plying his trade on the Maxi Circuit, the AC down through the IOR ranks. Using those pros a newcomer could also be up and running and collecting silverware. Bob Oately is one that comes to mind in that regard.

However the Perfect Storm was on the horizon and came in so many guises it was hard to detect.

It ranged between world wide economy issues, wider leisure opportunities, the support base aging, tobaco sponsorship restrictions, the recognition that IOR was no longer televant and even the power of large Euro boatbuilders chasing the cruiser/racer market having their influence and the costs of campaigning (pro sailors being just one) etc etc all started to bite.

Let's also not forget that in this period a competion for capital and resources to support top end sailing erupted. It came in the form of Australia winning the AC in 1983 and then every man and his dog wanted to show up at the defence in Fremantle in 1987. The BOC Challenge leading to the VG kicking off in 1989 in a SH format arising in part from those across the English Channel taking to SH since the Mini Transat's introduction in the mid 70's and that country starting to worship it's SH sailors, with the consequential Franco sponsorship money flow arising from that interest.

3. The Business is Dying- Late 80's to Present.

I won't go into too much detail but in response to the above the box rule W60 was born on 1993/94 but still in conjunction with some Maxi's to appease some self interest. See my OP.

Whitbread finally threw in the towel in 2001 and a principal Whitbread sponsor Volvo took over, who in itself itself had suddenly had a huge makeover with Volvo Cars being sold to Ford and the Swedish public entity retaining Commercial/Trucks etc. The V60 was replaced by the V70 and it in turn replaced by a the OD V65 around the time Ford divested itself of Volvo Cars to a Chinese private company. It is important to note that in the decade Ford owned Volvo Cars it produced hardly stellar returns unlike the current ownership. This placed pressure on the event.

The upshot is that the Whitbread/VOR for over two decades now has been a mere shadow of its former self. Every 3/4 years depending on edition a handful of boats have fronted up to the starting line.

The world has not stood stiil. In this period  a thing called the Internet has been invented and some of the sailing programs I have mentioned above have budgets now larger than some small nations. In fact if it wasn't for the NZ taxpayer, they wouldn't know what the Cup looked like.

4. The Problem and the Business Solution.

No one who started this business is around anymore. The owners of the business are not in the sailing business so they have employed CEO's with no skin in the game to run it. For anyone who questions that ownership/management critique look at who owns the AC, the IMOCA Class and the VG.

The result in varying degrees under the stewardship of the CEO on deck at the time, has been knee jerk reactions to financial opportunities and constraints and decisions made accordingly. I can think of no major decisions being made with a long term horizon in mind other than the next race at best. Some of the decisions have been just plain loony.

Those CEO's are really not to blame as they have been plucked out of the sailing community, be it ex Olympians, ex competitors etc having a mix of administration or business acuman. Without exception none have either started a major business or been involved in securing capital for it to exist and grow. Outside sailing and in the larger commercial world they are unknowns.

So in simplistic terms the approach in my humble opinion the owners of this franchise should take is:

a) Stop arranging the deck chairs be it the next boat offering, potential stopovers, race format etc. Establish what your selling and whether it has traction to be accepted and if not modify it.

b) Abandon the existing funding model which in essence has individual skippers, who are least equipped to do so, albeit some have professional help, pounding the pavement looking for money. This is with the franchise/promoter/RO being a partial underwriter and in some cases maybe a marriage broker. How that model has survived is testimony to the perseverance of those skippers to date.

c) Park the CEO and find someone of substance (call him the Chairman if you like) who can walk into any boardroom in the world, be recognised and who can both sell the product (that he has been involved with formulating) and find the big licks of money for it, or at least an interest in providing it subject to future detail. While a difficult thing for a corporate to swallow, instead of one of its subsidiary entities and its management selling this thing, there has to be a face to it. 

d) Then go about having the CEO and team putting the pieces together to come up with the final product and make it happen within the confines of the capital available.

Mad I hope I have answered your question.

 

That is still doomed to fail.   Where in the above is it about sailing?

The other currently successful events are about sailing, at least that's the public face of them and that has attracted passionate followers.  If you are talking about walking into boardrooms (and I have done that and also been on the receiving end) your plan would not impress me.  If the aim is to have a successful business I could think of a dozen other less risky places to put my money.If you want to run a high profile sporting event, the type that a company want to be associated with,  you would have my attention.

You see it's about intent, the primary aim. 

  1. If you work hard you often get what you wanted but it is possible to run a successful business around this but the sailing format could suck and lose interest over time. 
  2. On the other-hand you could run a truly exciting sailing event (as the primary goal) that would be successful financially ... because it was so exciting.

Right now it is option one and it sucks balls.  It shows that the primary aim is $ and you have confirmed that.

 

 

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20 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

For someone who abhors the concepts of publicity and professionalism, beware these words are going to feel like holy water on a vampire.

Event race village numbers, corporate guest numbers, audience figures via TV, print, online and social media etc, print and TV publicity values, stopover economic impacts, journos accredited  blah blah. Then some of the above done on a team basis.

So how'd it go Jack?  Hit us with the targets and actual takings so we can analysis this.

You know a bit of good old Group-think, will solve anything.  Hit us with it.

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