jack_sparrow

VOR AUCTION - OPPORTUNITIES LOST & STILL THERE?

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3 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

V65 - 2014 to present - USD $25 million.

 

34 minutes ago, Mambo Kings said:

Brunel's budget was a fraction of this.  

Mambo my cost includes all sponsor costs incl B2B etc which in the case of Brunels budget you mention are not included. Every sponsor decides what they will be and amortises those costs differently however they are huge and largely unknown to the general sailing community.

Even in the most public of company's those actual costs are buried, because the return is largely an intangible under most accounting rules worldwide.

Welcome to sponsor world.

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1 hour ago, Francis Vaughan said:

 

I'll call you on 1994 as the Internet. I had a workstation (Sun 2/50) on my desk at work in 1986 that was connected to the Internet. (I still remember its IP address.) OK, it was one of a select few in Oz, but that was the year we got our first permanent trans-Pacific link. Prior to that Oz used temporary connections to push and pull email and the like across. But there was a memorable day when we actually had a fully fledged IP connection. Within hours the US hackers were trying the locks on our machines. It has been downhill ever since. Porn on the Internet is probably about 1994. Maybe that is why most people think of that as the birth.

1969 : Four host computers connected via ARPANET .

1983:  ARPANET changed from NCP host protocol to TCP/IP host protocol.

1980s :  Emessaging (emails) being exchanged and commercial LANs proliferate. SNMP management protocol adopted . However there was no World Wide web. The national and international backbone (ARPANET and then NSFNET) was still controlled by an "Acceptable Use Policy" limited to research institutions (euphemism for research universities and  government agencies).  Francis's IP address was either part of a LAN or "a research institution" :ph34r:

1991:  Al Gore supports NRC's funding to investigate a public network "Rather than holding back, the U.S. should lead by building the information infrastructure, essential if all Americans are to gain access to this transforming technology"[11] [...] "high speed networks must be built that tie together millions of computers, providing capabilities that we cannot even imagine   (so you see- Al Gore really did invent the internet! :))

1994 :  NRC report finalizes proposal for a publicly available superhighway and 1995 the government controlled NSFNET was privatized.

1994 :  December 1994, Netscape releases Netscape Navigator the first public easy-to-use web browser.  

Adoption of web browsers on the internet went thru various important milestones after that but 1994/95 is as good an inflection point as any other.   Realistically 2004 is when the internet and the world wide web usage had gained media distribution traction.

Ignore image below.......it cannot be expunged.

 

image.png

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2 minutes ago, Mambo Kings said:

Francis's IP address was either part of a LAN or "a research institution" :ph34r:

129.127.8.3

Adelaide University computer science research network. Adelaide uni had a class B address, so we luxuriated in carving the address space up by departments and use. Things started to change very quickly after this. It was a pretty exciting time.

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1 hour ago, jack_sparrow said:

 

Mambo my cost includes all sponsor costs incl B2B etc which in the case of Brunels budget you mention are not included. Every sponsor decides what they will be and amortises those costs differently however they are huge and largely unknown to the general sailing community.

Even in the most public of company's those actual costs are buried, because the return is largely an intangible under most accounting rules worldwide.

Welcome to sponsor world.

You would love the guest reception that Brunel provides at its BtoB events, but it wont be the corporate entertainment budget that impresses you!  Brunel provides cookies and apples. The cookies are truly delicious! Melt in your mouth cookies with gourmet chocolate chips...but Brunel doesnt pay for the cookies, they are provided by a sponsor.   That leaves us with the cost of the apples.  (and I did include those in the budget)

No, the reason you would love the atmosphere at a Brunel event is that the company and the people exude a passion for this race.  They are a prime example of why folks like the former Randumb and H'cock are talking complete rubbish when they talk about boring, faceless sponsors and commercial interests damaging the integrity of the race.  The retired founder and major shareholder of Brunel loves this race heart and soul. The former CEO comes out of retirement to cheer on the team at every stop. The current CEO , like you, was up all hours of the night following the tracker across the North Sea. If Bouwe needed a few more dollars, hell, they would even slash the apple budget to get the job done.

Jan Brand, the founder of Brunel is a sailors sailor.  He is known for a beautifully restored  wood 8 meter that he raced in classic yacht races for many years.  You might think that, worth hundreds of millions after Brunel went public, that he could afford the restoration...but he did ALL the work himself. Plank by plank he restored every inch and she is a thing of beauty. I cannot conceive of how many thousands of personal hours he has into that boat. He raced her for many years but the years caught up with him some and so he passed her on to others to race now...because "you cannot own a boat, you are just her custodian for a generation....and she should always be racing".   When you mention the Volvo Ocean race, his eyes light up and he will catch your sleeve and talk of "the greatest challenge in yacht racing".   If there are a bunch of disheveled sailors in one corner of the room and a bunch of billionaires in the other corner of the room, then he will wander over to talk to the sailors. (Unless, someone is a potential Brunel customer, then he will collar them even though he is meant to be retired.)    And Wheatley talks about boring characters...give me a break! Give me Jan Brand over the CEO of a telco' any day. 

It is only the OD format that allows companies and personalities like Brunel to participate. Doubtless IMOCA would attract french banks and Im sure the catering would move up a step to a higher level.   But I highly recommend the cookies !

 

 

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7 hours ago, DickDastardly said:

2) Development budgets priced them out of relevance.  the VOR65 cam along when it became clear that the cost of VOR70s was a major deterrent to entries

And the flood gates opened.  Beating the doors down to get into one.  Had to limit the demand to 7 boats.  No VOR subsidies or anything.  

Just giving you a hard time.

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7 minutes ago, southerncross said:

And the flood gates opened.  Beating the doors down to get into one.  Had to limit the demand to 7 boats.  No VOR subsidies or anything.  

Just giving you a hard time.

No. No matter what, this remains the core problem. The money never came back. Much of the conversation keeps coming back to this. The GFC killed things, and the big money dried up. Now that the race is more affordable it is still a hard sell. 

IMHO, Jack got it dead right a week or so ago when he posted what amounted to a generational history of the race. There was a key implication in that history. We are overdue for the next generation. We cannot return to any of the previous generations. Time has moved on. RKJ sailing around the planet isn't fresh in memories to spur on the adventurous. Boats with crates of beer and the odd guitar for entertainment are things of the past. The race has moved through at least four distinct phases, with quite distinct natures. For the race to survive, it can't hark back to the past and some "golden age". (When I asked the question last year about what that golden age was, I got as many different times as answers.) 

The mini generation just gone has been the race owner essentially selling slots in a race that they have otherwise funded. The boats have been built, the entire end to end service and stopover organisation ready to go. But Volvo baulked at taking this to a higher level again. Now we are moving to a phase where there will be no huge pot of money to fund such a scheme. But also one where the race may cease to be tied to the whim of a corporate owner. There is much history, much experience, and much support for the race. But no magic bullet. 

The entire package must work. The boat is important, in that it drives some of the other questions in the package, but that is all. Getting the entire thing to close is going to be far from trivial. 

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6 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

W60/V60 -  1994/2005 - USD $11 million.

VO70 - 2005/2014 - USD $55 million *.

V65 - 2014 to present - USD $25 million.

Not ignoring.

But new build (as Potter subtlety suggested).  One design.  With all the current design and build technology available. Structural integrity and weight savings are no longer mutually exclusive.

5 hours ago, Francis Vaughan said:

The trick is for the new race owners not to squander this. 

IMHO, OD, 70 foot, built to the same level of reliability as the 65. But no performance compromises. A boat that people will clamour to buy to do short races in various circuits in the future. Boat to last two races, same as this time. Then a new boat. 

Francis!  We agree.  One important factor in a new build is it's resale value and after market.  The VO65's not so good in this department although, maybe, the record might have changed some opinions.

3 hours ago, Mambo Kings said:

It is truly the third leg in the triple crown

This has only evolved at the tail end of the race.  Think back on the mood after the last Edition and after Hong Kong in this one. 

Smart people will capitalize on what three teams (and VOR media coverage) have done to temporarily revive the The Race.  A springboard into the heavens or into the depths?

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1 hour ago, Mambo Kings said:

Jan Brand, the founder of Brunel is a sailors sailor.  He is known for a beautifully restored  wood 8 meter that he raced in classic yacht races for many years.  You might think that, worth hundreds of millions after Brunel went public, that he could afford the restoration...but he did ALL the work himself. Plank by plank he restored every inch and she is a thing of beauty. I cannot conceive of how many thousands of personal hours he has into that boat. He raced her for many years but the years caught up with him some and so he passed her on to others to race now...because "you cannot own a boat, you are just her custodian for a generation....and she should always be racing".   When you mention the Volvo Ocean race, his eyes light up and he will catch your sleeve and talk of "the greatest challenge in yacht racing".   If there are a bunch of disheveled sailors in one corner of the room and a bunch of billionaires in the other corner of the room, then he will wander over to talk to the sailors. (Unless, someone is a potential Brunel customer, then he will collar them even though he is meant to be retired.)    And Wheatley talks about boring characters...give me a break! Give me Jan Brand over the CEO of a telco' any day. 

There's a cultural diff IMO - whether Ludde Ingvall or Jan Brand - ppl might make fun of their efforts but they like what they're doing and love their respective programs and boats.


In re OD. Cart before the horse wagon - let the designers decide the length, the brief should specify 24hr sustained performance in given conditions, cost to build and maintain, safety & volume for crew/loaded displacement for round the world gear. Forget the length. If foiling becomes an option, it won't happen if the waterline is forced to be 70 for nostalgic reasons. There's a point of diminishing returns in weight/strength/waterline - particularly more so when dealing with foiling.

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8 minutes ago, Miffy said:

In re OD. Cart before the horse wagon - let the designers decide the length, the brief should specify 24hr sustained performance in given conditions, safety & volume for crew/loaded displacement for round the world gear. Forget the length. If foiling becomes an option, it won't happen if the waterline is forced to be 70 for nostalgic reasons. 

Love foils.  But isn't there an inherent risk of them breaking often especially with a full crew pushing the boats as hard as they have been?  That would get old quickly. 

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9 minutes ago, southerncross said:

Love foils.  But isn't there an inherent risk of them breaking often especially with a full crew pushing the boats as hard as they have been?  That would get old quickly. 

Of course. Mast, sails, rudders break too. Like every long distance race - boat management should be part of the game. Electrical gremlins aside - I'm not one of the ppl who was blaming the boatyard or stick manufacturer when Akzo, MAPFRE or DF broke their respective sticks. It'll be the same with the foils. 

The nice thing about foils - the responsible designers are engineering them to have a intended point of failure, hit something? They break without breaking the casing or the boat. Also be nice if the design allowed foils to be replaced by daggerboard designs if it is to be leg with a lot of upwind work & during in-port racing.

Should note that during the VG this past edition, more non-foiling boats had to abandon due to damage, primarily because lack of downwind speed means they can't get out of trouble, they're routing to performance polars that puts them more in heavier air and rougher conditions. Once a boat is foiling - the rig is subjected to less forces. 

If VOR were interested in foiling - just allow the design potential for elevators on rudders. It'll push it ahead of IMOCA and let the VOR be an area of development while IMOCA can continue to maintain the balance in the fleet - a concern that VOR doesn't have if it adopts OD or box rule w/ balanced rules.
 

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1 minute ago, Miffy said:

Once a boat is foiling - the rig is subjected to less forces. 

All true.  And I'm sure the development has come along a ways since the last VG.  Looking forward to seeing the new Boss and changes made taking into consideration the last boat.

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Scallywag will have their patreon on board for the last Leg.  Although he has funded the entire Scallywag campaign, he rarely jumps on board.  This is true for other privately financed campaigns.  Having the time to do a two year stint is not an issue for private financing as an owner can jump on an Leg if he/she choses and fit it all into whatever schedule they have.

Like all things it's usually never one way or the other but a compromise.  All campaigns in next Edition may not be financed the same way.  Some private, a mix of private and sponsor, all sponsor.  At least the structure of the funding should provide for flexibility.

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3 hours ago, southerncross said:

Like all things it's usually never one way or the other but a compromise.  All campaigns in next Edition may not be financed the same way.  Some private, a mix of private and sponsor, all sponsor.  At least the structure of the funding should provide for flexibility.

No need, as according to Jack, because privately funded RTWR teams has been an aberration in the past and therefore there is no reason for this to change in the future.

Why would anyone want to spend tens of millions of dollars of their own money on a boat race if they are unable to sail on the boat in the race themselves. Why do you think Larry Ellison spent a fortune to race in AC? He could afford to run his business from the dock and only be away from the "office" for short periods when he sailed the races.

This would be possible with a RTW race.

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6 hours ago, southerncross said:

Love foils.  But isn't there an inherent risk of them breaking often especially with a full crew pushing the boats as hard as they have been?  That would get old quickly. 

Besides HB, did any other boat break a foil? Alex still did pretty good considering how far he had to sail with only one. Not a big issue with the RTWR as the foils can be repaired/replaced so a boat is only slowed for 1 leg.

 

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8 hours ago, southerncross said:

And the flood gates opened.  Beating the doors down to get into one.  Had to limit the demand to 7 boats.  No VOR subsidies or anything.  

Just giving you a hard time.

I love a hard time but you’re probably not my choice of fluffier. 

The economics of OD are overwhelmingly more about support and maintenance costs - one boatyard vs 7, economies of scale in spares, sail design costs etc. 

That said, platform design and engineering costs where there’s no defined structure are also potentially huge ad teams push closer and closer to the edge in search of advantage.  Hoppy doesn’t get it.  The actual labour and materials to build the boat won’t be too different for OD than for custom as the build process is largely manual.  There will be economies of scale in materials - building x identical boats increases bargaining power with material and component suppliers.

But I have to disagree on one major point. There’s ALWAYS a trade off between weight and strength and reliability. Advances in materials don’t make that go away. They just alter the ratio of  weight to reliability and give designers a new optimum point to aim for.

Edited by DickDastardly
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Caught some of the Sailing World Championship on cable the other day, I think is was from late '17. A few points of interest relating to this discussion.

First and most obvious its all OD.

Volvo's name was all over it but not a naming sponsor. Among the team sponsors were other car makers, BMW and Audi were spotted.

Participation from China was high with many on the podium.

No idea what that all means but it struck me as relevant as I watched.

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2 hours ago, hoppy said:

Why do you think Larry Ellison spent a fortune to race in AC? He could afford to run his business from the dock and only be away from the "office" for short periods when he sailed the races.

I must have been away the day Lizard did that.

In recent times (last 25 years) there has only been one private owner and who jumped aboard as far as I recall.

In 2008/09 edition Oleg Zherebtsov, the founder of the Lenta hypermarket chain in Russia put together Team Russia so he could play bowman.

Was maybe not a good idea to be away from the fruit and veg section of his store. They had to bail out in Singapore at the end of Leg 3 supposedly due to ‘insufficient funds’.

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2 hours ago, DickDastardly said:

The economics of OD are overwhelmingly more about support and maintenance costs - one boatyard vs 7, economies of scale in spares, sail design costs etc. 

That said, platform design and engineering costs where there’s no defined structure are also potentially huge ad teams push closer and closer to the edge in search of advantage.  Hoppy doesn’t get it.  The actual labour and materials to build the boat won’t be too different for OD than for custom as the build process is largely manual.  There will be economies of scale in materials - building x identical boats increases bargaining power with material and component suppliers.

I do get it, but there is a limit to how much of a build cost savings that you can make when you are ordering components and material for 10 boats. The labour costs will still be a  huge part of the build. How much do you think the economies of scale of OD saved on a boat with a build price of $4.5m? I'd doubt it would be over $1m per boat and let's say there is another $1m for the design and R&D savings. $2m is a significant amount for a non-RTWR yacht and a huge savings for Volvo who financed the build. But when you start looking at the build savings for a VO65 campaign it's less significant and for an open cheque book VO70 campaign, it's quite frankly chicken feed.

The real OD savings come from the control of the campaign costs, limiting the number of sails, support team, training and so on. Much of the significant savings can still be made by tightly controlling what teams can spend.

- A lot of aspects of the current VO65 cost controls for the campaign be implemented for a Box rule boat (2 sets of sails for the race, training sails restriction etc..)

- Saving in the boat build and maintenance cost can be gained by specifying box class standard equipment that does not limit a designers ability to be innovative, such as winches and other deck hardware.

- Spars, rigging could be OD because it does not need to detract from innovative boat design.

- standard engine, generator, hydraulics & canting keel ram design

- Boats could either be limited to specific sails and even OD sails. I think it could be good to have a fixed set of sails, open to all sail makers and for the sake of innovation, allow each boat to have one "wildcard" sail.

- Strict timelines for boat builds and refurbishments to prevent big money teams from going through a constant development phase improving their boat through modification in the lead up to the event.

This will significantly control the campaign costs preventing blank cheque teams, whilst allowing designers to compete with each other when designing hulls and foils that fit within "the box"

 

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2 elements of 1 design being missed. 1st is potential lack of competituveness. There have been boats in the past where the team knew before the race started had no chance because their boat wasn't fast over a VOR race course. One design doesn't have that risk.

2. Cost savings. With any custom design you effectuvely build 2 boats, the plug, then the mould then the actual boat. With one design the plug & the mould costs (tooling costs) can be amortized across the production run producing a significant saving per boat.

one of my boats is custom one off & her estimated build costs were around 180% of a similar sized production cruiser

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3 hours ago, hoppy said:

I do get it, but there is a limit to how much of a build cost savings that you can make when you are ordering components and material for 10 boats. The labour costs will still be a  huge part of the build. How much do you think the economies of scale of OD saved on a boat with a build price of $4.5m? I'd doubt it would be over $1m per boat and let's say there is another $1m for the design and R&D savings. $2m is a significant amount for a non-RTWR yacht and a huge savings for Volvo who financed the build. But when you start looking at the build savings for a VO65 campaign it's less significant and for an open cheque book VO70 campaign, it's quite frankly chicken feed.

The real OD savings come from the control of the campaign costs, limiting the number of sails, support team, training and so on. Much of the significant savings can still be made by tightly controlling what teams can spend.

- A lot of aspects of the current VO65 cost controls for the campaign be implemented for a Box rule boat (2 sets of sails for the race, training sails restriction etc..)

- Saving in the boat build and maintenance cost can be gained by specifying box class standard equipment that does not limit a designers ability to be innovative, such as winches and other deck hardware.

- Spars, rigging could be OD because it does not need to detract from innovative boat design.

- standard engine, generator, hydraulics & canting keel ram design

- Boats could either be limited to specific sails and even OD sails. I think it could be good to have a fixed set of sails, open to all sail makers and for the sake of innovation, allow each boat to have one "wildcard" sail.

- Strict timelines for boat builds and refurbishments to prevent big money teams from going through a constant development phase improving their boat through modification in the lead up to the event.

This will significantly control the campaign costs preventing blank cheque teams, whilst allowing designers to compete with each other when designing hulls and foils that fit within "the box"

 

Groan....

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Between legs and a rainy day so I thought I might scribble. Sorry about the length but a 25 year old bun is pretty large to dissect and without the supporting data just a bunch of unsupported gobblygook if anyone is interested in interrogating either my viewpoint or seeing something I could well have missed.

SHOW ME THE MONEY

A. EDITION/FLEET STATISTICS - 1993 to PRESENT

Editions - 8

Boats - 67

Maxi's - 5 (1 edition)

W60's/V60's - 27 (3 editions)

VO70 - 21 (3 editions)

VO65 - 14 (2 editions)

Average Fleet - 8.4

Average Fleet Without 1993/94 Edition - 7.6

Largest Fleet - 14 (1994)

Smallest Fleet - 6 (2011/12)

Smallest No of Legs - 6 (1993/94)

Largest No of Legs - 10 (2001/2008/2017)

Inport Races Introduced to 2005/06 Edition

Shortest Course - 31,975 nautical miles (1993/94)

Longest Course – 45,000 nautical miles (2017/18)

On Board Reporters – Added 2008/09 Edition

B. COMMERCIAL SPONSOR BRAND CATEGORIES – 83%

 Note: For Teams that have a mixed sponsor brand category this has been recognised in the following Table. Stats compiled by Jacks Stats Inc.

1.Telecommunications -              11%

2. Eng/Construction Services -    8%

3. Tobacco -                                    8%

4. Insurance -                                  7%

5. Clothing/Footwear -                  7%

6. Manufacturing -                         7%

7. Tourism -                                     7%

8. Financial services -                    6%

9. Energy -                                        6%

10. Transport/Machinery -            4%

11. Media -                                       3%

12. Sporting goods -                       3%

13. Education services -                 3%

14. Freight/Postal -                          1%

15. Liquor -                                        1%

16. Electronics -                                1%

17. Property -                                    1%

C. NOT COMMERCIALY SPONSOR BRANDED – 17%

1. Regional/National -                    10%

2. Philanthropic /Ecological -        3%

3. Private/Pro Sporting Team -     4%

D. SPONSOR CATEGORY NUMBERS

 7 Categories = 54%

10 Categories = 46%

E. MULTIPLE ENTRIES BY ONE SPONSOR - 31 Entries or 46%

 Telefonica/Movistar (4)

Brunel & Brunel/Sunergy (4)

Ericson (3)

Amer Sports (2)

Puma (2)

Abu Dhabi (2)

ABN AMRO (2)

Merit (2)

News Corp/Fox Studios (2)

Mapfre (2)

Dongfeng (2)

Vestas (2)

EF Education/Language (2)

F. RETAIL BRANDS – 20%

Tobacco -                      8%

Clothing/Footwear -    7%

Sporting goods -          3%

Liquor -                          1%

Electronics -                  1%

G. SPONSORS NO LONGER PERMITED   7 Entries or 10%

Fortuna

Merit Cup X 2

Winston

Silk Cut

Swedish Match

Heineken

H. SPONSOR CATEGORIES for 2008/09 & 2011/12 EDITION

Telecommunications -   36%

Tourism –                         21%

Clothing/Footwear -       21%

Insurance -                       14%

Regional/National –        7%

I. SPONSOR CATEGORIES for 2014/15 & 2017/18 EDITION

 Manufacturing –                        20%

Eng/Construction Services -     13%

Philanthropic /Ecological -         13%

Insurance -                                     13%

Transport/Machinery –               13%

Energy –                                          13%

Tourism –                                         7%

Property -                                           7%

J. CAMPAIGN COSTS

The total campaign cost of a well-supported top tier team inclusive of all internal sponsor business to business costs at stopovers etc is estimated as follows. This is expressed in todays costs (2018).

1993 to 2002 (W60/V60) - USD $11 million.

2005 to 2012 (VO70) - USD $55 million.

2014 to Present (VO65) - USD $25 million.   

K. SUMMARY 1993 to PRESENT

1. The average fleet size of 7 plus boats has remained relatively constant over 25 years.

2. Platform/Boat Design has changed every three editions.

3. Of the 67 Boats entered, the biggest number entered is the W60/V60 Design (27), followed by 21 VO70’s

4. Volvo stepping in as Race Organiser for 2001/02 Edition saw the number of legs. Leg numbers have subsequently remained in the order of 9/10 legs

5. The length of the race course has increased significantly from 31,975 nautical miles (1993/94) to 45,000 nautical miles (2017/18) or a one-third increase.

6. Approximately 83% of Team/Names are commercial brands leaving 17% Unbranded or Non-Commercial.

7. The top three brand categories are Telecommunications (11%), Engineering/Construction Services (8%) and Tobacco (8%). The top combined related sector is Retail 20%.

8. Of the 17 Commercial Categories, 7 account for 54% of the total.

9. Multiple entries by the one sponsor account for 46% of total entries. The largest number, Telefonica/Movistar (4), Brunel & Brunel/Sunergy (4) and Ericson (3) are from the top two commercial categories of Telecommunications and Engineering/Construction Services.

10. 10% of entries are from Tobacco/Alcohol sponsors and are no longer permitted.

11. The source of sponsorship has significantly altered and become more diverse in the period post the 2005/06 Edition. Up to 2011/12 Edition 78% of sponsor categories came from the Telecommunications (36%), Tourism (21%) and Clothing/Footwear (21%) sectors. This compares post this inclusive of the 2017/18 Edition where 72% came from Manufacturing (20%), Engineering/Construction Services(13%), Philanthropic /Ecological (13%), Insurance(13%) and Transport/Machinery (13%) sectors.

12. Private/Pro Sporting Team (unbranded) such as Chessie Racing accounted for 4% of teams by category

13. Putting aside the 2005 – 2012 period campaign costs have increased by approximately 100%. This increase is caused by design and construction costs going from a smaller fixed keel platform to a larger and more sophisticated canting keel arrangement, on board media costs and all costs associated with an increase in race course length and the additional number of stopovers.

L. CONCLUSIONS

1. Sponsors Have Disappeared

 The potential sponsorship pool now appears very fragile. Up until recently fleet numbers have been supported by a large number of multiple team entries and often in the same edition. The traditional sectors of Telecommunications, Tobacco, Clothing/Footwear, Financial Services and Tourism that could be relied upon have all but disappeared as a source of sponsorship. In the last 25 years these 5 sectors have accounted for nearly 40% of entries by brand category. The combined Retail sectors (20%) have likewise disappeared.

2. More Sponsor Diversity Required

As a result of the above it has and will become necessary to secure sponsorship from more diverse sources. The most successful example in that regard has been the introduction of Philanthropic/Ecological sectors that in the current edition support two teams (Vestas11 and TTOP) or nearly one third the total. For the last two editions combined manufacturing has become a key sponsor sector (Alvimedica, SCA and Akzo), however in the current edition only one remains. This more diverse source of sponsorship is encouraging however reliance on greenshoots like those is in itself a problem in the event these sectors decide to retract from the race.

3. Why Have Sponsors Disappeared

The question is can this softening in sponsorship interest be sheeted home to any particular attributes attached to the race that don’t make it an attractive marketing platform? On the positive front the race offers up a global audience and with the curtailing of costs attached to the last two editions, it is hoped the Return on Investment aspect is close to optimum. In the writers opinion the problem areas to date have been three-fold.

a)  The Disjointed Procession

The race has become a series of legs and the overall concept of a RTW Race has consequently lost some of its lustre. The best way to describe this is that it has unfolded as collection of unconnected “short stories” instead of a “suspenseful novel” building chapter by chapter. The reason behind this complex but in general taking the race away from the Southern Ocean to China and then Abu Dhabi and then that combined with boats failing to finish legs, particularly in the VO70 era that introduced a large disconnect including racing on freighters. Overlaying this was a disparity between teams both in talent and campaign budget. All this led to was each disjointed  “short story” becoming a procession.  

The best analogy I can give to that was the absolute shocker of a F1 Race in Canada last week where Ferrari’s Vetal started then led the procession around the track where at the end the next few places were taken by the usual suspects and the tailenders lapped a couple of times. If fans aren’t connecting with this RTW Race because there is no narrative driving a grand conclusion, then it doesn’t require one to be Einstein to work out what a potential sponsors decision will be.

b) Race Naming Rights Did It - Not the Butler  

Up until 2001 when Whitbread was the Race Organiser (RO), they didn’t leverage the race’s name to much degree, if at all on account they were not marketing a global product. That all changed in 2001 when Volvo (Volvo Cars/Ford and Volvo AB/commercial) took over as RO and unashamedly began marketing it as Business to Business (B2B) model under the Volvo banner. This in concert with the advent of improved on-board satellite speeds, provided a more visual and informative platform that concurrently opened up the race to a wider global market, particularly outside Europe. However it is the writers opinion this began to alienate potential sponsors who were not willing to invest in underwriting the Volvo marketing model. The best analogy I can think of is Red Bull never sponsoring a F1 Team in an event called the Pepsi F1 Challenge.

c) A Sponsor Audience Disconnect

Volvo global reach moving away from their traditional European markets and particularly since the 2008/09 edition when the race was taken to China for the first time. This was amplified when Ford sold Volvo cars to a private Chinese carmaker and where China is now Volvo Cars largest country market in the world.

The impact of this can be seen in the following audience statistics for the 2001/02 (Cumulative TV)  and 2014/15 (Total Media Value) Edition. Unfortunately I haven’t got a side by side comparison however albeit different it makes the point. In 2001/02 Edition Germany had the largest audience (33%) and China isn’t even mentioned. Ilbruck (Germany) a competitor and Kiel being the Finish Port wold have had some impact upon this. Conversely in 2014/15 Germany doesn’t rate but China has a 25% share by publicity value and the largest single country market. The UAE also features noting both countries had a team competing and hosted stopovers. Interestingly the USA’s audience as proportion has shrunk since 2001/02.

While this may suggest the pie has grown which it obviously has, this remains a significant shift away from the traditional European audience and a weakening of others that all would be deemed important to a potential sponsor, particularly those from the Retail sector. The China centric approach taken by the RO since 2008/09 may well be a significant and contributing factor to a declining interest from traditional sponsors of this race.

M. THE FUTURE

Ironically the future “could” be very rosy for this race if the following principles are adopted or if in place maintained to make the race more attractive to sponsors. I say ironically because of Volvo’s exit, some could not be prosecuted by anyone other than by an independent RO.

1. The surprise is the “drunken conga line of the 2014/15 Edition has not been repeated, arguably by introduction of a more focused skillset being brought to bear from those like AC and Olympic sailors more used to the minutia. That augers well for a high level of talent supporting this race going forward.  

Therefore this edition has proved to be closer to a “suspenseful novel” building chapter by chapter rather than a collection of unconnected leg by leg “short stories” and then a procession. The genesis to that is the above for those that want to be ultra-competitive, race has finally returned to the Southern Ocean and the VO65 platform is robust yet entertaining. The current results speak for themselves where going into the final leg three teams are tied, it is possible for a team to win overall without winning a leg and teams outside the current podium have won individual legs. There is a "comeback king" and a 600 mile 24 hour record has been set. Save for a tragedy leading to one DNF, only one boat has replicated the VO70 DNF shambles and ironically on account of an early good showing remains 3 rungs off the bottom of the leaderboard ladder.

The only remaining negative may be the route comprising 4 equator crossings but that is best dealt with as a marketing/sponsor support decision that has to warrant that. The biggest risk to this aspect unfolding is the “next generation” platform and it not being able to match the VO65’s robust factor if not having a high One Design (OD) flavour at least.

2. While the cost of campaigning may have increased 100% in the last 25 years in todays dollars, many of those extra over costs are attached to vessel design advancement, operational costs and providing sponsors with a better return on investment, albeit that investment is higher. The biggest risk to this is attached to moving to the “next generation” platform and in doing so, costs of campaigning being let out of the tight box they currently sit in. The biggest risk to this aspect is a potential marriage between this race and IMOCA. It is not rocket science a “cheap and cheerful” VO65 displaces 12 tonnes and a foiling IMOCA60 8 tonnes when the issue of robust design and longevity with minimal operational expense is concerned in a crewed versus short-handed platform sailing different race courses.

While beyond this discussion I can’t see that IMOCA marriage being anything but race teams set up on an appropriate platform for a crewed RTW Race entering IMOCA events “offseason”. The two doing a crewed RTW Race course together does not make sense unless the above “must haves” are disregarded.   

3. By Volvo giving up their position as RO the race can now for the first time be “unbranded” to unlock wider and more diverse sponsorship opportunities for individual teams.

4. The question of re-centering the race more towards its traditional European markets and unlocking the USA than chasing new frontiers is complex and beyond this discussion. My only comment is sponsors have deserted the race in large numbers, particularly those from the Retail and Telecommunications sectors and it would appear on account Volvo prosecuted a contrary approach. There is a clear correlation between stopover Host Cities, matching Teams and audience and this needs close examination, particularly those hosts that warrant having a more permanent stopover status so they can build facilities with confidence that will support a growing race and satisfy their own aspirations for making that multi-purpose infrastructure investment. The race course needs more certainty, not the ad hoc approach adopted to date.        

Every decision made about this race is interconnected and comes back to where does the money come from? Without that, this thing is going nowhere quickly.

That is all I have. If you waded through the above and are still of sound mind, go shout yourself a beer.

The Sparrow                

2001_02 TV Audience_SS.jpg

2014_15 Publicity Value_SS.jpg

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18 hours ago, Mambo Kings said:

You would love the guest reception that Brunel provides at its BtoB events, but it wont be the corporate entertainment budget that impresses you!  Brunel provides cookies and apples. The cookies are truly delicious! Melt in your mouth cookies with gourmet chocolate chips...but Brunel doesnt pay for the cookies, they are provided by a sponsor.   That leaves us with the cost of the apples.  (and I did include those in the budget)

No, the reason you would love the atmosphere at a Brunel event is that the company and the people exude a passion for this race.  They are a prime example of why folks like the former Randumb and H'cock are talking complete rubbish when they talk about boring, faceless sponsors and commercial interests damaging the integrity of the race.  The retired founder and major shareholder of Brunel loves this race heart and soul. The former CEO comes out of retirement to cheer on the team at every stop. The current CEO , like you, was up all hours of the night following the tracker across the North Sea. If Bouwe needed a few more dollars, hell, they would even slash the apple budget to get the job done.

Jan Brand, the founder of Brunel is a sailors sailor.  He is known for a beautifully restored  wood 8 meter that he raced in classic yacht races for many years.  You might think that, worth hundreds of millions after Brunel went public, that he could afford the restoration...but he did ALL the work himself. Plank by plank he restored every inch and she is a thing of beauty. I cannot conceive of how many thousands of personal hours he has into that boat. He raced her for many years but the years caught up with him some and so he passed her on to others to race now...because "you cannot own a boat, you are just her custodian for a generation....and she should always be racing".   When you mention the Volvo Ocean race, his eyes light up and he will catch your sleeve and talk of "the greatest challenge in yacht racing".   If there are a bunch of disheveled sailors in one corner of the room and a bunch of billionaires in the other corner of the room, then he will wander over to talk to the sailors. (Unless, someone is a potential Brunel customer, then he will collar them even though he is meant to be retired.)    And Wheatley talks about boring characters...give me a break! Give me Jan Brand over the CEO of a telco' any day. 

It is only the OD format that allows companies and personalities like Brunel to participate. Doubtless IMOCA would attract french banks and Im sure the catering would move up a step to a higher level.   But I highly recommend the cookies !

 

 

Mambo that was an enjoyable read.

I would steer clear of the Brunel hospitality tent if all those tight arsed Dutchman had on offer was apples. I take my teeth out to clean them :-)

You are so right about the ilk of Jan Brand and CEO. When I have been on the sponsor trail, I put 80% of my success down to people like them either passionate or want to be passionate about the sport. It is a hard road without that leg up around the sponsors board room table.

Little wonder Brunel are on my top of the chart upthread as number of times (4) they have sponsored this race (tied with Telefonica). I am glad he/Brunel persevered after being shafted by Warrington post race and after he saved Warringtons arse in the 2005/06 edition when he ran out of money arriving at the end of Leg 2 in Melbourne. What a catastrofuck that whole VOR program was.

In case you don't remember the aftermath.

https://www.clubracer.be/2006/6/22/volvo-ocean-race-neemt-grant-wharington-wraak-brunel-update

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16 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

They are a prime example of why folks like the former Randumb and H'cock are talking complete rubbish when they talk about boring, faceless sponsors and commercial interests damaging the integrity of the race.

It has been so boring that I stopped watching and criticizing, it was too easy.  Even shafting Witty lost the fun factor after he started coming last all the time.

Someone capable of restoring their own boat should also be capable of recognising a traveling circus when he sees one ... but maybe not.

 

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18 hours ago, southerncross said:

Francis!  We agree.  One important factor in a new build is it's resale value and after market.  The VO65's not so good in this department although, maybe, the record might have changed some opinions.

Southern that depends entirely on the race course and then the build for it whether it has an afterlife or not.

Open 60's are either the subject of major chop jobs or if not VG corinthian hand me downs which preserves their value. Some of the new generation being presold before they cross the VG starting line reinforces that.

A robustly built crewed RTW racer is a lot harder to recycle for coastal stuff. Bottom line is no one factors in aftermarket value in their decision making to plunge into this race. It is bugger all in the whole scheme.

In addition the handbrake reality on value is that return is a fraction of the money the new owner has to spend to bring it up to speed for an after life of significance.. aka money spent on the good VO70's keeping them sharp would feed a small nation.

SCA would have been a good buy. Could now put a ransom price on it if the VO65 is going around again.

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Designing a OD class with aftermarket value in mind is pretty amazing concept - how many VO70s are left out of the fleet? How many have been destroyer or abandoned?

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Why I said it wasn't all that important but a nice to have. It doesn't affect the economics of the race much. Flogging off a boat that has just a round of the planet is not going to see much of a return. But it offends some sensibility I have to see a once proud boat chainsawed. Some VO70s have had new lives, a few are well cared for.  Others languish in very reduced circumstances, punted around with hand me down rags, and little love. Others have vanished, maybe some being fed into a chipper. Hard to know.

Worth noting that those VO70's that are being campaigned are all older than the VO65s. The pace of development is not such that these boats are totally obsolete and useless. I suspect that anyone bringing a VO-70 back into play will command respect for some years to come.

As I noted earlier, a class like the Maxi-72 could almost accept a VO-70. The class has a nice ethos - basically: up to 72' LOA, fixed keel, yardstick correction, owner drive. Fix the keel and a VO-70 could just about work. A new OD RTW class could maybe find a home feeding similar classes. That they would be a known quantity could mean they could be welcome in many areas. As Jack notes, the sticking point is probably that they would be a bit overbuilt to compete against purpose built coastal or Mediterranean fleets. That and none of these boats are any sort of bargain. Cyncily I have noted before that the second hand value for any maxi seems to top out at about $1M. No matter how superb the condition, how many new sail and spares or whatever. This seems to simply reflect the reality that the purchase price isn't the dominant question. It is the upkeep required to campaign it.  $1M is just a notional price that makes it not just a giveaway to a good home. For any new boats in the next RTW race, the resale is also only going to be such a notional price. It will never figure into the economics of the race.

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1 hour ago, Francis Vaughan said:

Why I said it wasn't all that important but a nice to have. It doesn't affect the economics of the race much. Flogging off a boat that has just a round of the planet is not going to see much of a return. But it offends some sensibility I have to see a once proud boat chainsawed. Some VO70s have had new lives, a few are well cared for.  Others languish in very reduced circumstances, punted around with hand me down rags, and little love. Others have vanished, maybe some being fed into a chipper. Hard to know.

Worth noting that those VO70's that are being campaigned are all older than the VO65s. The pace of development is not such that these boats are totally obsolete and useless. I suspect that anyone bringing a VO-70 back into play will command respect for some years to come.

As I noted earlier, a class like the Maxi-72 could almost accept a VO-70. The class has a nice ethos - basically: up to 72' LOA, fixed keel, yardstick correction, owner drive. Fix the keel and a VO-70 could just about work. A new OD RTW class could maybe find a home feeding similar classes. That they would be a known quantity could mean they could be welcome in many areas. As Jack notes, the sticking point is probably that they would be a bit overbuilt to compete against purpose built coastal or Mediterranean fleets. That and none of these boats are any sort of bargain. Cyncily I have noted before that the second hand value for any maxi seems to top out at about $1M. No matter how superb the condition, how many new sail and spares or whatever. This seems to simply reflect the reality that the purchase price isn't the dominant question. It is the upkeep required to campaign it.  $1M is just a notional price that makes it not just a giveaway to a good home. For any new boats in the next RTW race, the resale is also only going to be such a notional price. It will never figure into the economics of the race.

The VO 70 would be absolutely useless in the Maxi 72 fleet. The 72s race windward leewards in the Med mostly, they would outpoint the VO70s upwind by about 20 degrees! With a fixed keel the 70s would be too tender to carry the necessary sail area to make up for their extra weight downwind. 

That would just not work.

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1 hour ago, Potter said:

The VO 70 would be absolutely useless in the Maxi 72 fleet. The 72s race windward leewards in the Med mostly, they would outpoint the VO70s upwind by about 20 degrees! With a fixed keel the 70s would be too tender to carry the necessary sail area to make up for their extra weight downwind. 

That would just not work.

And I'm still wondering how the IMOCA class proposal would work re preserving current owner value and preventing 7 new boats owned by VOR from shaking the class up. 

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18 hours ago, hoppy said:

I do get it, but there is a limit to how much of a build cost savings that you can make ....

This will significantly control the campaign costs preventing blank cheque teams, whilst allowing designers to compete with each other when designing hulls and foils that fit within "the box"

Not sure about getting it. Your cocktail of ingrediants simply promotes a return to the same old leg by leg procession where there is no close competition, bows fall off and costs (capital and operating) skyrocket. No-one is interested in drinking that concoction anymore, be they in the audience or those paying the bar tab. 

To be understood you need to identify what is the essential ingrediant(s) that OD can't provide and your chasing.

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15 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

Between legs and a rainy day so I thought I might scribble. Sorry about the length but a 25 year old bun is pretty large to dissect and without the supporting data just a bunch of unsupported gobblygook if anyone is interested in interrogating either my viewpoint or seeing something I could well have missed.

...

That is all I have. If you waded through the above and are still of sound mind, go shout yourself a beer.

The Sparrow                

 

 

Epic JS.  Good read, thanks!

Beer duly consumed.

What did strike mein reading that is the parallels between the early Whitbread era RTW Race and the French scene.

Whitbread had limited (no?) global marketing ambitions so their sponsorship of the event must have been either philanthropic, aimed at the UK domestic market or both.  Back then the event was a UK event - a RTW race pitched at a UK audience, so getting eyeball traction, or even any attention elsewhere in the world didn't matter.  The audience would have been part UK market and (incidentally as there was no value to Whitbread in this) part global sailing fanboys and the odd girl here or there.  After a while the French got involve don the back of Tabarly, Colas and a few other passionate players, in boats branded for French audiences like Kriter, Disque D'Or, Cote D'Or etc.

Fast forward and look at the IMOCA and Ultime fleets and events.  The majority of the commercial sponsors are French domestic brands.  Macif, SMA, Sodebo, Banque Pop, Prince de Bretagne, Maitre Coq etc.  Safran started out using their sponsorship for non-marketing reasons, but by 2016 their focus was building a unified global brand and once that was done they pulled the pin.  These French events carry a veneer of globality, as does, for example the Dakar Rally - which has actually taken place in South America since 2009, but they're fairly and squarely focused on the domestic market and in many ways are expressions of French national pride.  Macif doesn't even have an English language homepage...

So for team sponsors in those events and classes there's a clear and engaged target market, and minimal need to engage with the rest of the world, even in global events like the Jules Verne and the Vendee Globe (which of course don't touch land).  These sponsors don't care how many views they get in China.  Global eyeballs are cream on the cake for them but bring limited reward. 

Look at today's race - how enthralling has it become towards the end of the event given the closeness and intensity of the comeptition?  It's compelling for a sailing audience but despite this can we really say that it's getting any significant traction elsewhere?  There's a World Cup on right now so it seems likely that the end of the VOR will be swamped by that - both in B2C and B2B domains.  Unfortunate timing.

Volvo and now the new RO have been trying hard to come up with some sort of a coherent proposition to attract both investment and audiences from around the globe to make the race sustainable, let alone grow.  Perhaps this is an unnatural act?  Maybe there just isn't a global proposition involving long distance ocean racing?  That being the case then if the event is to survive, "less is more" - it needs to simplify, get even cheaper to both run and compete in and develop a business model that is focused on domestic sponosrships - and this nods towards the nationality card again...

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, DickDastardly said:

There's a World Cup on right now so it seems likely that the end of the VOR will be swamped by that - both in B2C and B2B domains.  Unfortunate timing.

Not at all.. The date of the world cup was known before the previous VOR had even started. The timing of the final legs of this VOR is a complete fuck up.

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37 minutes ago, hoppy said:

Not at all.. The date of the world cup was known before the previous VOR had even started. The timing of the final legs of this VOR is a complete fuck up.

Dope.  That's exactly what I meant.  Unfortunate timing on the part of the VOR organisers...

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1 hour ago, hoppy said:

The timing of the final legs of this VOR is a complete fuck up.

 

47 minutes ago, DickDastardly said:

Unfortunate timing on the part of the VOR organisers...

They already round Cape Horn to late in the season so the only timing opportunity was to bring forward the start...or maybe shorten it, after all it has grown over one-third to find places to put Volvo hospitality tents...

...or maybe forget the bullshit of Leg 5 (equal points) from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, a pitstop complete with In Port races.

However as RO you are in the business of selling cars into China, have a Chinese Team sponsor breathing down your neck, so having two Chinese stopovers and spending a couple of weeks there soaking up it all up outranks any other consideration surely??

This is just one thing on a long list of many where Volvo have blindly ratfucked this race in favour of their own commercial endevours.

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Excellent use of the term ratfucked.

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4 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

 

They already round Cape Horn to late in the season so the only timing opportunity was to bring forward the start...or maybe shorten it, after all it has grown over one-third to find places to put Volvo hospitality tents...

...or maybe forget the bullshit of Leg 5 (equal points) from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, a pitstop complete with In Port races.

However as RO you are in the business of selling cars into China, have a Chinese Team sponsor breathing down your neck, so having two Chinese stopovers and spending a couple of weeks there soaking up it all up outranks any other consideration surely??

This is just one thing on a long list of many where Volvo have blindly ratfucked this race in favour of their own commercial endevours.

Given that Volvo would have considered the two Chinese stopovers important, then they should have started the race earlier or cut it short, by only having one European stopover at the end.

I wonder if there could have been any benefits from finishing in St.Petersberg the weekend before the WC. It's possible that FIFA rules may have ruled that out.   

EDIT...

On second thoughts WTF are they fucking around with a couple of pointless short legs and in port races after the RTWR boats have completed their RTW journey. The last leg should be from the US to the finish port in Europe. Let the sailors go home. 

An Atlantic crossing is a fitting finish to the race, not a costal commute that dozens or perhaps hundreds of Swedish yachts do every summer.

If they really want the boats to piss fart around in Europe, finish the RTW race and after a refit and a couple of month break have a grand prix circuit late in the summer.

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8 hours ago, DickDastardly said:

Volvo and now the new RO have been trying hard to come up with some sort of a coherent proposition to attract both investment and audiences from around the globe to make the race sustainable, let alone grow.  Perhaps this is an unnatural act?  Maybe there just isn't a global proposition involving long distance ocean racing?  That being the case then if the event is to survive, "less is more" - it needs to simplify, get even cheaper to both run and compete in and develop a business model that is focused on domestic sponosrships - and this nods towards the nationality card again...

On the money.

45 minutes ago, hoppy said:

The last leg should be from the US to the finish port in Europe. Let the sailors go home. 

An Atlantic crossing is a fitting finish to the race, not a costal commute that dozens or perhaps hundreds of Swedish yachts do every summer.

Not on the money *****

**** Hoppy marketing is not your strong point.

The RO/Volvo with a fixation towards China and global and believing international internet clicks, did exactly as you sort of suggest in the 2011/12 Edition by totally alienating the greater European audience with the race route.

The last legs were Miami, Lisbon, Lorient and finishing in Galway, effectively ignoring the northern Europe audience who have supported the race via teams and sponsorship from its inception. Then read sponsors.

Why did the the RO do this being a Swedish manufacturer? The answer is simple. Volvo's largest European markets are mature starting with Sweden. Their take clearly was "why take ice to Eskimos" and who gives a fuck about the races history and involvement with an audience who have supported it, but are not at the top of our global domination list. 

Ratfuckers.

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26 minutes ago, hoppy said:

Given that Volvo would have considered the two Chinese stopovers important, then they should have started the race earlier or cut it short, by only having one European stopover at the end.

I wonder if there could have been any benefits from finishing in St.Petersberg the weekend before the WC. It's possible that FIFA rules may have ruled that out.   

EDIT...

On second thoughts WTF are they fucking around with a couple of pointless short legs and in port races after the RTWR boats have completed their RTW journey. The last leg should be from the US to the finish port in Europe. Let the sailors go home. 

An Atlantic crossing is a fitting finish to the race, not a costal commute that dozens or perhaps hundreds of Swedish yachts do every summer.

If they really want the boats to piss fart around in Europe, finish the RTW race and after a refit and a couple of month break have a grand prix circuit late in the summer.

Easy answer. Auckland, Cape Town, Melbourne, Newport were stopovers that were expensive for the race, as although helped with VIK, they paid little or no fee. However Cardiff, Gothenbourg, Arhuus, Den Hague have all paid to have the race there, which helps with the running costs.  So you have to balance the iconic and loved stops, like Auckland, with the ones that help to pay for the running costs of the race.  Those places are not going to pay the same amount of money for some other grand prix event, and some of the teams do not have the operating costs to do that either.

Whilst I agree that the final leg is bullshit, the penultimate one was brilliant in terms of offshore sailing.

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41 minutes ago, Potter said:

However Cardiff, Gothenbourg, Arhuus, Den Hague have all paid to have the race there, which helps with the running costs.  So you have to balance the iconic and loved stops, like Auckland, with the ones that help to pay for the running costs of the race. 

And in the Hague's case the municipality have also tipped money into the Akzo campaign.

That aside since Volvo took over stopover selection outside mandatory (who are smart enough to realise they don't  have to pay) for them has been an income source directly via money in the till or indirectly fulfilling their marketing agenda. Actually Auckland refused to play the Volvo game on two occasions so they were cut out for two editions. The race itself doesn't get a look in with that RO primary agenda.

Whitbread the brewer as a RO comparison had greater ideals about the race. For instance in scraping up the cash to run it the winners trophy was called the Heineken Cup. Imagine this edition ending where the winner picks up the Subaru Sprint Trophy.

That corporate self centered combination has resulted in a catastrofuck in terms of both appealing to and engaging with a wider and deeper sponsors network and preserving the attributes of a true RTW Race. Volvo killed their own race.

Actually they are worse than ratfuckers, but I've lost my Thesaurus.

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