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Our Sport Is Stupid

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Over the weekend I caught on the tube a program on this years Bells Beach surfing competition, part of surfing pro world tour. At the end of it, I knew who the best competition surfers in the World were, I watched the heats unfold, saw the manouvers, understood the scoring system and saw the sort of training they put in. Basically, if I had known nothing about surfing prior to watching, I would have a solid appreciation for it afterward. Straight after was one of the rolex events at Portofino. If I knew nothing about sailing – I still wouldn’t, what I would have learnt was there were some blokes there with some old boats, Portofino is a nice place with a long affiliation with the sea and apparently they did some racing. I say apparently, because they didn’t show any. Lame!!

 

It made our sport look stupid. Then I thought, its not fair to blame the sport for a TV producers perspective, but then I started thinking about nearly every sailing program I had watched and compared it to the surfing package. Every program focuses on the biggest, the most expensive, the location and/or claimed the sailors competing were the best.

 

Then I got to thinking, who are the best sailors in our sport? Ask a bunch of yachties and the argument would go for days – America’s Cup, no Olympics, no this class…... Look at the surfing model. Regional competitions, qualifications series then the best are on the World Tour, no ambiguity, no doubt. Everyone knows who the best is now and who is the best ever. I doubt you would get anyone to agree to that with sailing.

 

Of course our sport is quite technical, equipment plays a major part in the result outcome and unfortunately sailors cannot meet on a level playing field, much like motor racing. And like us motor racing has the same problems. Who is the best driver, F1, Nascar, IRL, Touring cars….. yet they have one thing up on our sport, they have massive audiences and fan support. At least they are smart enough to host their racing in a place people can see it and keep it formats that are interesting, so they learn about it and become passionate about it.

 

Not sailing, no, no, no. We make our sport as inaccessible as possible to anyone who might have the slightest interest in it. You know every World Championship I have been to bar one (and even that one took us 20 minutes past a perfectly sailable location) has required over an hour to sail out to the course. In the past we would sail one big race and then do it again the next day and so on. Now, we sail multiple big races in a day, miles from support should anything go wrong.

 

There are several consequences of how we conduct our racing nowadays. We are spending ridiculous hours on the water, which means you cant race at your peak, because subconsciously your body conserves energy when your mind knows you are going to be on the water 10 hours a day, day after day for weeks at a time. Its expensive. Multiple races a long way from the launch spot mean if you want to win, you have to have a support boat and driver out there with a full set of spares and it means chance could decide the result. Look at the 505 Worlds this year, (by the way Holty if you are reading this, this rant is not directed at you your event or St Francis, it is aimed at the sport as whole) if Martin and Nelson had broken their mast in race one instead of race two, they would have two DNF’s on that two race day and would have lost the Worlds, even though clearly they were the best boat there. Also, its not fun. Spending all day every day on a boat can wear thin pretty quick. The vast majority of competitors at any major meet have no chance of winning and so are competing for the ancillary benefits. But if you haven’t got time for the fun stuff, why go?

 

But most importantly of all, very few people want to head miles out and sit on a boat all day and watch boats sail around if they are to be stuck out there all day, especially kids and newbie’s. So we aren’t dragging people into the sport.

 

Of course, most people will just blow this off as me just having a sook. Fair enough, but remember this, I love sailing, I have been doing it my whole life, the only reason I write at all is to encourage more youngsters into our sport and yet lately, when I think how I would rather spend my time, going for a sail is near the bottom of the list. I have lost the love and if someone who has known no other life can think that, I suspect I know why numbers in our sport are so consistently diminishing.

 

So what’s the point of this? I think its time for change! When I tested Luca Devoti’s D1 recently, I noticed that the class rules require the regatta’s to be fun events. I love it! Lets make the sport fun again. Keep it short, keep it close to spectators, bring back handicap racing so everyone can feel like a winner, (think handicap racing is lame – have a look at the Melbourne Cup). Host regatta’s in great locations and make sure people aren’t on the water longer than three hours.

 

We need to do something, anything, please! Jump in with your comments.

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Over the weekend I caught on the tube a program on this years Bells Beach surfing competition, part of surfing pro world tour. At the end of it, I knew who the best competition surfers in the World were, I watched the heats unfold, saw the manouvers, understood the scoring system and saw the sort of training they put in. Basically, if I had known nothing about surfing prior to watching, I would have a solid appreciation for it afterward. Straight after was one of the rolex events at Portofino. If I knew nothing about sailing – I still wouldn't, what I would have learnt was there were some blokes there with some old boats, Portofino is a nice place with a long affiliation with the sea and apparently they did some racing. I say apparently, because they didn't show any. Lame!!

 

It made our sport look stupid. Then I thought, its not fair to blame the sport for a TV producers perspective, but then I started thinking about nearly every sailing program I had watched and compared it to the surfing package. Every program focuses on the biggest, the most expensive, the location and/or claimed the sailors competing were the best.

 

Then I got to thinking, who are the best sailors in our sport? Ask a bunch of yachties and the argument would go for days – America's Cup, no Olympics, no this class…... Look at the surfing model. Regional competitions, qualifications series then the best are on the World Tour, no ambiguity, no doubt. Everyone knows who the best is now and who is the best ever. I doubt you would get anyone to agree to that with sailing.

 

Of course our sport is quite technical, equipment plays a major part in the result outcome and unfortunately sailors cannot meet on a level playing field, much like motor racing. And like us motor racing has the same problems. Who is the best driver, F1, Nascar, IRL, Touring cars….. yet they have one thing up on our sport, they have massive audiences and fan support. At least they are smart enough to host their racing in a place people can see it and keep it formats that are interesting, so they learn about it and become passionate about it.

 

Not sailing, no, no, no. We make our sport as inaccessible as possible to anyone who might have the slightest interest in it. You know every World Championship I have been to bar one (and even that one took us 20 minutes past a perfectly sailable location) has required over an hour to sail out to the course. In the past we would sail one big race and then do it again the next day and so on. Now, we sail multiple big races in a day, miles from support should anything go wrong.

 

There are several consequences of how we conduct our racing nowadays. We are spending ridiculous hours on the water, which means you cant race at your peak, because subconsciously your body conserves energy when your mind knows you are going to be on the water 10 hours a day, day after day for weeks at a time. Its expensive. Multiple races a long way from the launch spot mean if you want to win, you have to have a support boat and driver out there with a full set of spares and it means chance could decide the result. Look at the 505 Worlds this year, (by the way Holty if you are reading this, this rant is not directed at you your event or St Francis, it is aimed at the sport as whole) if Martin and Nelson had broken their mast in race one instead of race two, they would have two DNF's on that two race day and would have lost the Worlds, even though clearly they were the best boat there. Also, its not fun. Spending all day every day on a boat can wear thin pretty quick. The vast majority of competitors at any major meet have no chance of winning and so are competing for the ancillary benefits. But if you haven't got time for the fun stuff, why go?

 

But most importantly of all, very few people want to head miles out and sit on a boat all day and watch boats sail around if they are to be stuck out there all day, especially kids and newbie's. So we aren't dragging people into the sport.

 

Of course, most people will just blow this off as me just having a sook. Fair enough, but remember this, I love sailing, I have been doing it my whole life, the only reason I write at all is to encourage more youngsters into our sport and yet lately, when I think how I would rather spend my time, going for a sail is near the bottom of the list. I have lost the love and if someone who has known no other life can think that, I suspect I know why numbers in our sport are so consistently diminishing.

 

So what's the point of this? I think its time for change! When I tested Luca Devoti's D1 recently, I noticed that the class rules require the regatta's to be fun events. I love it! Lets make the sport fun again. Keep it short, keep it close to spectators, bring back handicap racing so everyone can feel like a winner, (think handicap racing is lame – have a look at the Melbourne Cup). Host regatta's in great locations and make sure people aren't on the water longer than three hours.

 

We need to do something, anything, please! Jump in with your comments.

 

dude...you hired clean. wtf? you're a sook

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The slalom at the moth worlds was easy to understand, 30 secs to the beach (if that), racing last 1-2mins, and specatator friendly. Quick and had a clear and understandable winner (no worries about drops etc) and the glamour of a final with all to play for. Including these aspects into a regatta would be a good start.

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Yeah, pretty much,

 

I've given up on the standard round-the-cans BS.

 

Playing the games with a platform that is kid-friendly now. Well, 2 platforms I guess. But they are both stable, both quick, the gents I sail with a fun guys. Shoot, after a St Francis day we all decided just to sail out past the GG bridge cause it was fun.

 

The kids are enjoying both boats, and oddly enough the wife actually is planning days on the boat.

 

Make it fun, not work.

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Over the weekend I caught on the tube a program on this years Bells Beach surfing competition, part of surfing pro world tour. At the end of it, I knew who the best competition surfers in the World were, I watched the heats unfold, saw the manouvers, understood the scoring system and saw the sort of training they put in. Basically, if I had known nothing about surfing prior to watching, I would have a solid appreciation for it afterward. Straight after was one of the rolex events at Portofino. If I knew nothing about sailing – I still wouldn’t, what I would have learnt was there were some blokes there with some old boats, Portofino is a nice place with a long affiliation with the sea and apparently they did some racing. I say apparently, because they didn’t show any. Lame!!

 

It made our sport look stupid. Then I thought, its not fair to blame the sport for a TV producers perspective, but then I started thinking about nearly every sailing program I had watched and compared it to the surfing package. Every program focuses on the biggest, the most expensive, the location and/or claimed the sailors competing were the best.

 

Then I got to thinking, who are the best sailors in our sport? Ask a bunch of yachties and the argument would go for days – America’s Cup, no Olympics, no this class…... Look at the surfing model. Regional competitions, qualifications series then the best are on the World Tour, no ambiguity, no doubt. Everyone knows who the best is now and who is the best ever. I doubt you would get anyone to agree to that with sailing.

 

Of course our sport is quite technical, equipment plays a major part in the result outcome and unfortunately sailors cannot meet on a level playing field, much like motor racing. And like us motor racing has the same problems. Who is the best driver, F1, Nascar, IRL, Touring cars….. yet they have one thing up on our sport, they have massive audiences and fan support. At least they are smart enough to host their racing in a place people can see it and keep it formats that are interesting, so they learn about it and become passionate about it.

 

Not sailing, no, no, no. We make our sport as inaccessible as possible to anyone who might have the slightest interest in it. You know every World Championship I have been to bar one (and even that one took us 20 minutes past a perfectly sailable location) has required over an hour to sail out to the course. In the past we would sail one big race and then do it again the next day and so on. Now, we sail multiple big races in a day, miles from support should anything go wrong.

 

There are several consequences of how we conduct our racing nowadays. We are spending ridiculous hours on the water, which means you cant race at your peak, because subconsciously your body conserves energy when your mind knows you are going to be on the water 10 hours a day, day after day for weeks at a time. Its expensive. Multiple races a long way from the launch spot mean if you want to win, you have to have a support boat and driver out there with a full set of spares and it means chance could decide the result. Look at the 505 Worlds this year, (by the way Holty if you are reading this, this rant is not directed at you your event or St Francis, it is aimed at the sport as whole) if Martin and Nelson had broken their mast in race one instead of race two, they would have two DNF’s on that two race day and would have lost the Worlds, even though clearly they were the best boat there. Also, its not fun. Spending all day every day on a boat can wear thin pretty quick. The vast majority of competitors at any major meet have no chance of winning and so are competing for the ancillary benefits. But if you haven’t got time for the fun stuff, why go?

 

But most importantly of all, very few people want to head miles out and sit on a boat all day and watch boats sail around if they are to be stuck out there all day, especially kids and newbie’s. So we aren’t dragging people into the sport.

 

Of course, most people will just blow this off as me just having a sook. Fair enough, but remember this, I love sailing, I have been doing it my whole life, the only reason I write at all is to encourage more youngsters into our sport and yet lately, when I think how I would rather spend my time, going for a sail is near the bottom of the list. I have lost the love and if someone who has known no other life can think that, I suspect I know why numbers in our sport are so consistently diminishing.

 

So what’s the point of this? I think its time for change! When I tested Luca Devoti’s D1 recently, I noticed that the class rules require the regatta’s to be fun events. I love it! Lets make the sport fun again. Keep it short, keep it close to spectators, bring back handicap racing so everyone can feel like a winner, (think handicap racing is lame – have a look at the Melbourne Cup). Host regatta’s in great locations and make sure people aren’t on the water longer than three hours.

 

We need to do something, anything, please! Jump in with your comments.

 

Melbourne Cup - 5 & a half million prize money. Can't get that for yacht racing.

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we sail far out so that we dont have to worry about shallow water, and the land has less effect over the wind so that its not a crapshoot. sailing up agains the shore sucks. i;ve won regattas like that, but, its just frustrating. BTW, the VX40's sail right by shore, so, someone is trying it. I dont mind spending all day out on the water. It beats a day at work or school, and, chances are, im spending a good bit of money or at least driving time to get to the regatta anyway - want to get my time and money;s worth. Its always possible to find some energy after racing for the party afterwards.

 

I could care less who the best sailor is, its not possible to answer. If you are sailing anything other than a one person boat, its a team anyway. Its like saying who's the best football player (either version). The best tactician may not be the best trimmer, or helm, etc. And i couldnt care either way.

 

this is not to say that i think the format of the typical television program is correct, but, the format that we use for general regattas is fine IMO... Sailing always has been and always will be a unique sport and not spectator friendly. I think that if we want to make sailing a more spectator friendly sport, skiffs, cats, and DOGzillas sailing in high wind venues on a circuit would be the way to go. The WMT is interesting to sailors to watch, but i dont think the general public gives a rats fuck about it. But a 49er jumping off a wave or pitchpoling and throwing the crew 25ft in front of the boat, thats a bit more interesting. Fairly simple: he didnt crash, he won. he did crash, he lost... The general tactics of racing could be gently slipped into the commentary as well.

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Wow jFunk - you have introduced lots of issues.

 

I totally agree - doing regattas should be fun. A few classes ( I can think of Fireballs & Tasars) are starting to adopt a different criteria to regattas. Go to nice warm places where you expect some wind and that work with a small sail out to the race course. Only do one session a day (can be multiple races but relatively quick and most importanlty quick turn around between races).

 

I think a lot of race management forget that regattas arent just about the racing. They think that if there are 10 races scheduled then you must do 10 races. With the formats we use these days, its not so important. Do the racing if the conditions are worth sailing in.

 

 

As for the tv stuff, I get your drift, watching sailing on the tv is the worst. But I dont believe it is the sport that needs to be fixed, I think it is the way its commentated and packaged. It has been done well a couple of times. The 18 foot skiff stuff from decades a go was great, and some of the volvo stuff has been great. Getting to know the competitors is key, and packaging the sailing shots so that they and the commentory tell a story.

 

my 2 cents

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One of the problems with sailing is the equipment.

In baseball, a bat is a bat and a ball is so many millimeters in diameter and so many grams and each team fields 9 players.

In surfing you glide along on this board.

 

Maybe auto racing is a closer analogy.

You got your local racing in beaters.

You've got your WRC.

Your Formula 1.

Your NASCAR.

Very rarely do you see die-hard NASCAR fans following F1 or vice versa.

And you can select a team loyalty based on the car you drive, as abstract as that may be.

 

In the 19th century you could do the same with sail boats.

The general public followed the times of the clippers as they competed head-to-head -- no handicap -- for the monetary rewards of being first into port with the cargo or passengers or 49ers. You could get a ride on a record-breaker.

 

Now that sailboats are an anachronism, expensive of time and material, you sort of have to be "in the club" to "get it". Many able-bodied folks won't go sailing for the same reason I won't sail a foiling moth -- I'd look like a complete idiot.

 

Personally I can't think of any other participation sport where I enjoy the camaraderie and teamwork as much as sailing. Plus I just really dig gliding or punching through or skipping across the water being born by only the wind. And sailor chicks are boss-o-rama and groovy!

 

I don't know what I'm talking about or why I posted here..

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I can't remember the last time I had to sail for an hour out to the race track... Over here we just don't seem to do it any more: in the smaller fleet dinghies classes I race in at least, and good riddance. I imagine it still happens, but I can't remember much whinging about tide or wind distortions on courses of late, and in my experience it doesn't matter how one sided the track, the best folks still win anyway.

 

On one session a day... Hmm, not sure. When you get to my age its good to be able to slip ashore for a p*** at lunchtime. I've noticed that at AGMs sailors always want to do as many races back to back as possible, but on race day if there's the slightest chance of getting ashore for a quick cup of tea or whatever they go for it with enthusiasm...

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Over the weekend I caught on the tube a program on this years Bells Beach surfing competition, part of surfing pro world tour. At the end of it, I knew who the best competition surfers in the World were, I watched the heats unfold, saw the manouvers, understood the scoring system and saw the sort of training they put in. Basically, if I had known nothing about surfing prior to watching, I would have a solid appreciation for it afterward. Straight after was one of the rolex events at Portofino. If I knew nothing about sailing – I still wouldn't, what I would have learnt was there were some blokes there with some old boats, Portofino is a nice place with a long affiliation with the sea and apparently they did some racing. I say apparently, because they didn't show any. Lame!!

 

It made our sport look stupid. Then I thought, its not fair to blame the sport for a TV producers perspective, but then I started thinking about nearly every sailing program I had watched and compared it to the surfing package. Every program focuses on the biggest, the most expensive, the location and/or claimed the sailors competing were the best.

 

Then I got to thinking, who are the best sailors in our sport? Ask a bunch of yachties and the argument would go for days – America's Cup, no Olympics, no this class…... Look at the surfing model. Regional competitions, qualifications series then the best are on the World Tour, no ambiguity, no doubt. Everyone knows who the best is now and who is the best ever. I doubt you would get anyone to agree to that with sailing.

 

Of course our sport is quite technical, equipment plays a major part in the result outcome and unfortunately sailors cannot meet on a level playing field, much like motor racing. And like us motor racing has the same problems. Who is the best driver, F1, Nascar, IRL, Touring cars….. yet they have one thing up on our sport, they have massive audiences and fan support. At least they are smart enough to host their racing in a place people can see it and keep it formats that are interesting, so they learn about it and become passionate about it.

 

Not sailing, no, no, no. We make our sport as inaccessible as possible to anyone who might have the slightest interest in it. You know every World Championship I have been to bar one (and even that one took us 20 minutes past a perfectly sailable location) has required over an hour to sail out to the course. In the past we would sail one big race and then do it again the next day and so on. Now, we sail multiple big races in a day, miles from support should anything go wrong.

 

There are several consequences of how we conduct our racing nowadays. We are spending ridiculous hours on the water, which means you cant race at your peak, because subconsciously your body conserves energy when your mind knows you are going to be on the water 10 hours a day, day after day for weeks at a time. Its expensive. Multiple races a long way from the launch spot mean if you want to win, you have to have a support boat and driver out there with a full set of spares and it means chance could decide the result. Look at the 505 Worlds this year, (by the way Holty if you are reading this, this rant is not directed at you your event or St Francis, it is aimed at the sport as whole) if Martin and Nelson had broken their mast in race one instead of race two, they would have two DNF's on that two race day and would have lost the Worlds, even though clearly they were the best boat there. Also, its not fun. Spending all day every day on a boat can wear thin pretty quick. The vast majority of competitors at any major meet have no chance of winning and so are competing for the ancillary benefits. But if you haven't got time for the fun stuff, why go?

 

But most importantly of all, very few people want to head miles out and sit on a boat all day and watch boats sail around if they are to be stuck out there all day, especially kids and newbie's. So we aren't dragging people into the sport.

 

Of course, most people will just blow this off as me just having a sook. Fair enough, but remember this, I love sailing, I have been doing it my whole life, the only reason I write at all is to encourage more youngsters into our sport and yet lately, when I think how I would rather spend my time, going for a sail is near the bottom of the list. I have lost the love and if someone who has known no other life can think that, I suspect I know why numbers in our sport are so consistently diminishing.

 

So what's the point of this? I think its time for change! When I tested Luca Devoti's D1 recently, I noticed that the class rules require the regatta's to be fun events. I love it! Lets make the sport fun again. Keep it short, keep it close to spectators, bring back handicap racing so everyone can feel like a winner, (think handicap racing is lame – have a look at the Melbourne Cup). Host regatta's in great locations and make sure people aren't on the water longer than three hours.

 

We need to do something, anything, please! Jump in with your comments.

 

dude...you hired clean. wtf? you're a sook

 

Sook? mate were you even in San Fran?? after you sail a 505 worlds on the Berkley Circle (from St Francis), then you might be qualified to comment!

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As for the tv stuff, I get your drift, watching sailing on the tv is the worst. But I dont believe it is the sport that needs to be fixed, I think it is the way its commentated and packaged. It has been done well a couple of times. The 18 foot skiff stuff from decades a go was great, and some of the volvo stuff has been great. Getting to know the competitors is key, and packaging the sailing shots so that they and the commentory tell a story.

 

Maybe, but let's get to know them as sailors - I could care less what adversity they had to overcome - we get too much of that with the Olympics coverage.

 

"Fred was on the cusp of greatness, reaching the national finals of the heavy-shit-toss when his coach broke a nail and his dog died. Followed shortly by a diagnosis of pimples on the butt, Fred had to dig into his very soul. He sucked it up and took inspiration from watching a flight of free-living geese that blah-blah-blah"

 

None of that crap.

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Seriously!

 

And no sport should be in the Olympics where you can get points by "smiling at the judges!" :angry:

"She's the crowd sweetheart here, Chet. And oh!! Look at that! She's smiling at the judges! She's gonna get extra points for that, Chet!

--every fucking Olympic commentator

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The sailing that makes the telly is basically paid for by the competitors as one of the perks of the event (hence it's often some what brown nose quality at the expense of genuine race commentary) or it's of sufficiently low budget to be able to show the actual racing with the kind of production values needed for telly. In terms of the standards you set out ED, OTW is a joke. A kind of Jack Ass on Water. The stuff the 18s are churning out is the benchmark I'd say, although the presentation of the vids on their site makes it impossible to follow any sort of narrative.

 

...

 

Spending all day out in the water with my mates is good fun, even if a large part of it ends us being spent bobbing around. Mind you the quality of weather forecasting these days means that events can be called the day before and it's good to see that done when appropriate as that genuinely does let people do other things and not waste money.

 

...

 

Earlier in the year I was involved in a weekend regatta where it ended up being decided on one race. Actually I didn't think it was that bad a way of producing a fair result. Sure some times you are going to be on the wrong end of a shift or breakage but that's life. You might actually get a wider range of winners.

 

On the other hand many of the resources required to put on a regatta are fixed 'per day' over heads. If you're going to incur the cost then why not race to the max. Couple that with the length of time it takes for the race order to stabilize or the desire in some classes to keep racing short in order to keep it tight. That's why you end up with a multi race format.

 

What I really miss though are the big week long National Championships. 1 race a day, usually starting late enough to get over the previous evenings hang over, for 7 or 8 days (start on a Sat and end a week on Sunday). You really had the sense of immersed in an event. Each race seemed to count for more.

 

I did 3 national champs, an All Irelands, Volvo Dun Loughaire 'Week', and countless regional SB3 and match racing champs. Whoopy do for me, the point isn't exactly what they were just that basically I did something every other weekend from March to the end of October on top of 2-3 evenings of club sailing. Yet I've got to the end of the year still with 3 weeks holiday to take.

 

May be now that people are potentially a little less likely to take 5 holidays abroad a year there will be room again for the big family holiday regattas.

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Over the weekend I caught on the tube a program on this years Bells Beach surfing competition, part of surfing pro world tour. At the end of it, I knew who the best competition surfers in the World were, I watched the heats unfold, saw the manouvers, understood the scoring system and saw the sort of training they put in. Basically, if I had known nothing about surfing prior to watching, I would have a solid appreciation for it afterward. Straight after was one of the rolex events at Portofino. If I knew nothing about sailing – I still wouldn’t, what I would have learnt was there were some blokes there with some old boats, Portofino is a nice place with a long affiliation with the sea and apparently they did some racing. I say apparently, because they didn’t show any. Lame!!

 

It made our sport look stupid. Then I thought, its not fair to blame the sport for a TV producers perspective, but then I started thinking about nearly every sailing program I had watched and compared it to the surfing package. Every program focuses on the biggest, the most expensive, the location and/or claimed the sailors competing were the best.

 

Then I got to thinking, who are the best sailors in our sport? Ask a bunch of yachties and the argument would go for days – America’s Cup, no Olympics, no this class…... Look at the surfing model. Regional competitions, qualifications series then the best are on the World Tour, no ambiguity, no doubt. Everyone knows who the best is now and who is the best ever. I doubt you would get anyone to agree to that with sailing.

 

Of course our sport is quite technical, equipment plays a major part in the result outcome and unfortunately sailors cannot meet on a level playing field, much like motor racing. And like us motor racing has the same problems. Who is the best driver, F1, Nascar, IRL, Touring cars….. yet they have one thing up on our sport, they have massive audiences and fan support. At least they are smart enough to host their racing in a place people can see it and keep it formats that are interesting, so they learn about it and become passionate about it.

 

Not sailing, no, no, no. We make our sport as inaccessible as possible to anyone who might have the slightest interest in it. You know every World Championship I have been to bar one (and even that one took us 20 minutes past a perfectly sailable location) has required over an hour to sail out to the course. In the past we would sail one big race and then do it again the next day and so on. Now, we sail multiple big races in a day, miles from support should anything go wrong.

 

There are several consequences of how we conduct our racing nowadays. We are spending ridiculous hours on the water, which means you cant race at your peak, because subconsciously your body conserves energy when your mind knows you are going to be on the water 10 hours a day, day after day for weeks at a time. Its expensive. Multiple races a long way from the launch spot mean if you want to win, you have to have a support boat and driver out there with a full set of spares and it means chance could decide the result. Look at the 505 Worlds this year, (by the way Holty if you are reading this, this rant is not directed at you your event or St Francis, it is aimed at the sport as whole) if Martin and Nelson had broken their mast in race one instead of race two, they would have two DNF’s on that two race day and would have lost the Worlds, even though clearly they were the best boat there. Also, its not fun. Spending all day every day on a boat can wear thin pretty quick. The vast majority of competitors at any major meet have no chance of winning and so are competing for the ancillary benefits. But if you haven’t got time for the fun stuff, why go?

 

But most importantly of all, very few people want to head miles out and sit on a boat all day and watch boats sail around if they are to be stuck out there all day, especially kids and newbie’s. So we aren’t dragging people into the sport.

 

Of course, most people will just blow this off as me just having a sook. Fair enough, but remember this, I love sailing, I have been doing it my whole life, the only reason I write at all is to encourage more youngsters into our sport and yet lately, when I think how I would rather spend my time, going for a sail is near the bottom of the list. I have lost the love and if someone who has known no other life can think that, I suspect I know why numbers in our sport are so consistently diminishing.

 

So what’s the point of this? I think its time for change! When I tested Luca Devoti’s D1 recently, I noticed that the class rules require the regatta’s to be fun events. I love it! Lets make the sport fun again. Keep it short, keep it close to spectators, bring back handicap racing so everyone can feel like a winner, (think handicap racing is lame – have a look at the Melbourne Cup). Host regatta’s in great locations and make sure people aren’t on the water longer than three hours.

 

We need to do something, anything, please! Jump in with your comments.

 

100% agree.

 

Have never advocated changing sailing for the sake of spectators, but a good start would be to make it fit in with the rest of the lives of participants and their immediate circles (friends family etc). Yacht racing is rapidly disappearing up its own backside and appears that participation is falling consistently. Ironically, in my home waters it's one of the oldest regattas which is the best example of what sailing should be for the mass market - Cowes Week.

 

Then again, the vast majority of surfers are recreational and do not compete, nor ever will. If you follow the comparison, maybe the success of sailing is in participation, not competition.

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Interesting post Ed. Most interesting I find is that if we brought more spectators to the sport, that would bring more people to to sport and then people like you would be bitchin that the water is too crowded...I can just see the front page piece now.

 

Sailors IMHO should spend time going sailing and forget this "saving sailing" and "sailing is failing" talk. The people who want to be sailing ARE sailing.

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I'll take a stab in the dark and assume that there is a much more limited amount of types of surf boards to compete on than sailboats. Thus leading to much simpler competition formats. Add to that the fact that a surf board is much simpler to travel with.

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I'll take a stab in the dark and assume that there is a much more limited amount of types of surf boards to compete on than sailboats. Thus leading to much simpler competition formats. Add to that the fact that a surf board is much simpler to travel with.

 

Depends on how you look at it. There's really an infinite amount of surfboards.

 

It is a lot easier to get places with than a boat. I definitely couldn't have just tossed my boat on a plane with me on my trips to Hawaii

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Yacht racing is a sport of the elite. Nothing is inexpensive about it and the speeds are not breath taking for 99.99 percent of sailing craft out there. There are no sailing stadiums for keel boats so fans are not even a consideration. This question is stupid, not the sport.

 

Dinghy racing is more of a sport that people get into and even watch. Only a small subsection of sailboat racing can be commercialized in the U.S. were the only thing shorter than tempers are attention spans. U.S. culture likely sees yachting much the way it views other elite aspects of the populace. The educated and intelligent are shunned for the loud, the obnoxious and the self important. Sailing does not have this problem in the E.U. where the supposed villain rating of sailing, IRC, was supposed to kill sailing yet it is bigger than ever. Perhaps it's not the rating system, the boats or even the sailors. Perhaps the population has not the appetite for this sport.

 

The U.S. as a country has decided that it loves average guy and views the educated with suspicion and even loathing. What makes anyone think that yachting, with its elite appearance, stands a chance at growing in that market? How much further removed from the general population could an activity like ocean racing be? This is the top of the sport, but it looks like some other worldly activity to many.

 

I came from an area and socio-economic status where the idea of a college education was a dream and luxury items could be counted on your garage shelves and the one item you might have been able to afford was kept in the shed out back for sunnier days. Old friends do not even know what to think of sailing when I try to explain it. I might as well be discussing space travel for the common man, as if everyone could do it if they only wanted to.

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Yacht racing is a sport of the elite. Nothing is inexpensive about it and the speeds are not breath taking for 99.99 percent of sailing craft out there. There are no sailing stadiums for keel boats so fans are not even a consideration. This question is stupid, not the sport.

 

Dinghy racing is more of a sport that people get into and even watch. Only a small subsection of sailboat racing can be commercialized in the U.S. were the only thing shorter than tempers are attention spans. U.S. culture likely sees yachting much the way it views other elite aspects of the populace. The educated and intelligent are shunned for the loud, the obnoxious and the self important. Sailing does not have this problem in the E.U. where the supposed villain rating of sailing, IRC, was supposed to kill sailing yet it is bigger than ever. Perhaps it's not the rating system, the boats or even the sailors. Perhaps the population has not the appetite for this sport.

 

The U.S. as a country has decided that it loves average guy and views the educated with suspicion and even loathing. What makes anyone think that yachting, with its elite appearance, stands a chance at growing in that market? How much further removed from the general population could an activity like ocean racing be? This is the top of the sport, but it looks like some other worldly activity to many.

 

I came from an area and socio-economic status where the idea of a college education was a dream and luxury items could be counted on your garage shelves and the one item you might have been able to afford was kept in the shed out back for sunnier days. Old friends do not even know what to think of sailing when I try to explain it. I might as well be discussing space travel for the common man, as if everyone could do it if they only wanted to.

 

Elitist!

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The keelboat handicap world has changed, and it has gotten stupid. I still like it enough to race though.

 

I think keeping family involved is key, and that aspect has shrunk to a large degree. 30-40 years ago, there were well attended point-to-point races with the majority of crews were families with an extra crew member here or there. For a kid, those are much more interesting than sailing in circles for a few hours. If you go somewhere, it becomes an adventure for the youngsters, and they see a purpose to it. They experience new venues, learn about patience and effort, and participate in the overall goal. We slept on the boat and sailed home the next day.

 

When you are rounding a mark every fifteen minutes, and then head home there is little chance to train a kid to join in, and they lose the point of sailing. Because frankly, what is the point? Plus the weekends are now absorbed by kid activities while the parents watch on the sideline. So what do we teach our kids? That the world revolves around them, and it is a bad message.

 

Bring back the family and adventure and the kids will join in with the parents, and everyone can enjoy it.

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I recently completed a 150 nautical mile race in what the Ed calls a pig boat. Its an expensive pig boat, but what the heck, pork is good.

 

This race had over 200 entries some of whom had traveled a long way to participate. While bellying up to the bar I struck up a chat with one of the entrants who had sailed 2 days to get to the start. He was very pleased to explain the wonderful features of his 38 footer. This included the BBQ grill on the stern, the AC, electrical generator and the home made gas powered blender. He asked me when I finished. When I said a bit before 2:00 got a nice smile on his face and let me know that he finished at 3:00. I just did not have the heart to tell him that my finish was the afternoon of the day before. Amazingly, learning of the 13 hours difference did not phase him at all. He was so happy to have finished the race that he just did not care whether he was last or first or somewhere in between. The smile on his face never changed. He and his crew had a fabulous time and were ready to do it again next year.

 

After this conversation I spoke to several other such sailors. All had the same glow. This race, mostly at night, was surely devoid of spectators. Most of the boats took more than one day to finish, but they were all ready to do it again and all wondered why there was only one or two such races each year. They clearly wanted more, but this was not so much about winning. It was about getting from one spot to another and having fun doing it. They all seemed to think that having a friendly crew focused on sailing well and having fun was more important then being first. Finishing in the money was certainly a great reward but it was not the primary reason for entering. I heard almost no negative comments from these guys.

 

It seems to me that if you can get 200+ boats out on a race that, depending on weather conditions, can be pretty harrowing (37 knots gusts on this one) one should be able to figure out how to get these guys on the water much more frequently. Not going to say that I know how to do this, but here are some things not to do.

 

1. Don't call their boats pig boats or 4 KSB's. They are happy with them as they are.

2. Don't insinuate how stupid they are because the have too much equipment on board, they don't get their bottoms cleaned every two weeks, buy new sails every year or hire the hottest pro to help them finish first.

3. Don't make them run handicap races against the latest hot Melges, Farr, TP, or other super fast sled.

4. Don't make them run short windward/leewards.

5. Don't treat them with disrespect. Some of the ones I know have sailed around the world in their 4 KSB's.

6. Don't award just the standard racing trophies for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

 

One thing that would probably work is to come up with some really fun trophies and some really fun stuff to do after the "race." Basically give them something other than windward/leewards with a decent destination and a great party at the end. These guys enjoy their boats with all the comforts they can muster and they really enjoy sailing with their friends.

 

I'll bet they all enjoy not reading the mostly nasty crap that passes for Sailing Anarchy as well. http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/style_ima...icons/icon1.gif

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Want to grow the sport?

 

Quit or reduce your racing when you have kids and take them on the boat. Go sailing and let them drag there feet, drop the sails and go swimming, spend the day at the beach with the boat anchored out, spend the weekend at anchor and play board games, have a campfire on the beach and make smores. Make it fun for your kids and they'll gravitate to sailing. Buy a cheap dinghy and let them sail it on there own, encourage them to join the race team when they are ready, don't be a soccer mom, let them play and enjoy the sport with their friends. And hopefully they'll quit racing and make it fun for their kids when that time comes.

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I recently completed a 150 nautical mile race in what the Ed calls a pig boat. Its an expensive pig boat, but what the heck, pork is good.

 

This race had over 200 entries some of whom had traveled a long way to participate. While bellying up to the bar I struck up a chat with one of the entrants who had sailed 2 days to get to the start. He was very pleased to explain the wonderful features of his 38 footer. This included the BBQ grill on the stern, the AC, electrical generator and the home made gas powered blender. He asked me when I finished. When I said a bit before 2:00 got a nice smile on his face and let me know that he finished at 3:00. I just did not have the heart to tell him that my finish was the afternoon of the day before. Amazingly, learning of the 13 hours difference did not phase him at all. He was so happy to have finished the race that he just did not care whether he was last or first or somewhere in between. The smile on his face never changed. He and his crew had a fabulous time and were ready to do it again next year.

 

After this conversation I spoke to several other such sailors. All had the same glow. This race, mostly at night, was surely devoid of spectators. Most of the boats took more than one day to finish, but they were all ready to do it again and all wondered why there was only one or two such races each year. They clearly wanted more, but this was not so much about winning. It was about getting from one spot to another and having fun doing it. They all seemed to think that having a friendly crew focused on sailing well and having fun was more important then being first. Finishing in the money was certainly a great reward but it was not the primary reason for entering. I heard almost no negative comments from these guys.

 

It seems to me that if you can get 200+ boats out on a race that, depending on weather conditions, can be pretty harrowing (37 knots gusts on this one) one should be able to figure out how to get these guys on the water much more frequently. Not going to say that I know how to do this, but here are some things not to do.

 

1. Don't call their boats pig boats or 4 KSB's. They are happy with them as they are.

2. Don't insinuate how stupid they are because the have too much equipment on board, they don't get their bottoms cleaned every two weeks, buy new sails every year or hire the hottest pro to help them finish first.

3. Don't make them run handicap races against the latest hot Melges, Farr, TP, or other super fast sled.

4. Don't make them run short windward/leewards.

5. Don't treat them with disrespect. Some of the ones I know have sailed around the world in their 4 KSB's.

6. Don't award just the standard racing trophies for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

 

One thing that would probably work is to come up with some really fun trophies and some really fun stuff to do after the "race." Basically give them something other than windward/leewards with a decent destination and a great party at the end. These guys enjoy their boats with all the comforts they can muster and they really enjoy sailing with their friends.

 

I'll bet they all enjoy not reading the mostly nasty crap that passes for Sailing Anarchy as well. http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/style_ima...icons/icon1.gif

Good stuff.

 

Another thing that I think is great that most people have forgotten is the deliveries are half the journey. I started racing at about 5 years old on the old man's boat (41' IOR Admirals cupper from '77). Obviously I didn't race the serious races, but I was always there to help deliver. That was our family vacation every year, taking the boat places. And I loved every minute of it.

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This is why the Heineken Regatta is so successful. Serious fun!

 

I recently completed a 150 nautical mile race in what the Ed calls a pig boat. Its an expensive pig boat, but what the heck, pork is good.

 

This race had over 200 entries some of whom had traveled a long way to participate. While bellying up to the bar I struck up a chat with one of the entrants who had sailed 2 days to get to the start. He was very pleased to explain the wonderful features of his 38 footer. This included the BBQ grill on the stern, the AC, electrical generator and the home made gas powered blender. He asked me when I finished. When I said a bit before 2:00 got a nice smile on his face and let me know that he finished at 3:00. I just did not have the heart to tell him that my finish was the afternoon of the day before. Amazingly, learning of the 13 hours difference did not phase him at all. He was so happy to have finished the race that he just did not care whether he was last or first or somewhere in between. The smile on his face never changed. He and his crew had a fabulous time and were ready to do it again next year.

 

After this conversation I spoke to several other such sailors. All had the same glow. This race, mostly at night, was surely devoid of spectators. Most of the boats took more than one day to finish, but they were all ready to do it again and all wondered why there was only one or two such races each year. They clearly wanted more, but this was not so much about winning. It was about getting from one spot to another and having fun doing it. They all seemed to think that having a friendly crew focused on sailing well and having fun was more important then being first. Finishing in the money was certainly a great reward but it was not the primary reason for entering. I heard almost no negative comments from these guys.

 

It seems to me that if you can get 200+ boats out on a race that, depending on weather conditions, can be pretty harrowing (37 knots gusts on this one) one should be able to figure out how to get these guys on the water much more frequently. Not going to say that I know how to do this, but here are some things not to do.

 

1. Don't call their boats pig boats or 4 KSB's. They are happy with them as they are.

2. Don't insinuate how stupid they are because the have too much equipment on board, they don't get their bottoms cleaned every two weeks, buy new sails every year or hire the hottest pro to help them finish first.

3. Don't make them run handicap races against the latest hot Melges, Farr, TP, or other super fast sled.

4. Don't make them run short windward/leewards.

5. Don't treat them with disrespect. Some of the ones I know have sailed around the world in their 4 KSB's.

6. Don't award just the standard racing trophies for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

 

One thing that would probably work is to come up with some really fun trophies and some really fun stuff to do after the "race." Basically give them something other than windward/leewards with a decent destination and a great party at the end. These guys enjoy their boats with all the comforts they can muster and they really enjoy sailing with their friends.

 

I'll bet they all enjoy not reading the mostly nasty crap that passes for Sailing Anarchy as well. http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/style_ima...icons/icon1.gif

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Want to grow the sport?

 

Quit or reduce your racing when you have kids and take them on the boat. Go sailing and let them drag there feet, drop the sails and go swimming, spend the day at the beach with the boat anchored out, spend the weekend at anchor and play board games, have a campfire on the beach and make smores. Make it fun for your kids and they'll gravitate to sailing. Buy a cheap dinghy and let them sail it on there own, encourage them to join the race team when they are ready, don't be a soccer mom, let them play and enjoy the sport with their friends. And hopefully they'll quit racing and make it fun for their kids when that time comes.

 

Absolutely! The sport is by nature a participation sport - not a spectator sport. It will grow by getting more people out on their boats regularly and promoting the fun and comraderie that is sailing and racing. The racing programs at our club in MI is saving the life of the club as a whole. All my boys have been racing and sailing with me since infancy - no exaggeration. My youngest (20 yo) has 10 PH to Macs and 3 Chitown to Macs under his belt already and his two older brothers are pretty much the same. I've not only let them participate I passionately encourage it and they have all responded. They are each highly sought after crew and can walk the docks in Harbor Springs and find a ride on a 70 or any other hot boat looking for crew. I encouraged them to take out our family Pearson Flyer since they were 16 and they did and continue to do so. SA has been including excerpts of the new book out about this very subject and it's simple - make sailing and racing a fun lifestyle for the family and those are the ones who will buy a boat when they can afford it or find a ride when they need one and populate the sport in the future.

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There's a debate goign on in Ireland over whether there should be a white sails class at the IDRA national champs, or if that would be totally the oposit of the point. They had a trophy for them at the VDLW and bickering started immediatly over what constituted 'white sails'.

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Oh joy, another whining thread about how sailing sucks. But don't worry someone has the answer..... this time it's the Ed. Great. What's the matter, hits falling off some? Jesus, give the "I can fix sailing" thing a rest!

 

Winever.

 

Or better yet, just go sailing and take someone with you.

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Our sport IS stupid.

 

We can point the blame in many directions (Cough-UsAiling-Cough), but that's like planting bananas in Canada, it's just not very productive. We need to take a closer look as to why we suck, and what we can do to fix it. The first step I'd recommend in this process is to take a look at our hero's. I mean, the sport of sailing's heroes...

 

Imagine YOU are the living, breathing reincarnation of the OvercompensatinglyLargeDinghy Sailing Class... what similar class within a larger sport might you look up to???? Who is your hero?? Think for a minute... ahh, there it is... you eyes slowly gloss over as you realize that your hero is a sport you also may have looked down on from time to time... Jfunk, you mentioned it... it's NASCAR (ok, if you are ouside the 'merica you can ignore that last sentence and replace NASCAR with F1 from here on out). Unfortunately there is no one class in sailing that sticks out amongst its peers as NASCAR does amongst other types of motorracing. Regardless, let's compare our OvercompensatinglyLargeDinghy class with NASCAR and see where it leads us (btw OvercompensatinglyLargeDinghy is not targeted at a particular class).

 

So what does NASCAR have that the OvercompensatinglyLargeDinghy class lacks? Maybe that's too big a question to answer in this forum... how about this.. what do OvercompensatinglyLargeDinghy Class and NASCAR have in common?

1) We all like to party (so you drink heineken and they drink bud light, its the same difference).

2) We drive around in circles all day.

3) Sponsors are required to push the sport further.

4) A younger audience is required to carry the sport on into the future.

5) Both our sports have structured governing bodies.

6) Superstars (Anna T, little E, Jeff Gordon, Cayard).

7) TEAMS!

8) Girls!

9) Rules

10)...

 

SO... taking these ideas point by point, lets look at what we can do to be better...

 

1) We all like to party - Ahhh, the regatta party. Sailors have the party thing down, no doubt. I sailed in college, it was THAT good. The last race week I did was Whidbey Island earlier this summer, definitely an awesome party. NASCAR parties are also notoriously amazing. The difference? At regatta parties the sailors vastly outnumber the spectators, and NASCAR, well I don't think this needs explanation. What can we improve here? Step one would probably be to get some spectators out to the regatta. Do you have access to a boat and are not racing? This would be a great opportunity to get friends out on the water to watch the show (*don't charge unless you have a captains license!). Shit, chase the boats up and down the racecourse, we don't care! Just come out and watch us! Make sure you provide lots of drinks too, because like a NASCAR race, sailing around in circles can get boring without a drink in hand. To recap, increase the # of spectator boats and bring them to the after-party!

 

2) We drive around in circles all day -- Ok.. race dependent, but the point is, the racing in both of our formats is not always thrilling. However, not many people will turn down drinks on the water.

 

3) Sponsors are required to push the sport further -- NASCAR and sailing share the same mentality here at the highest level. However, what's up with the rules that make sponsored boats pay a higher entry fees? We should be encouraging this! Sailing is stupid.

 

4) A younger audience is required to carry the sport on into the future. -- Get your kids involved. No you don't need to spend 5g's on a new opti. Take him/her out with you on your friends boat for wednesday night races. I read the recent post about the Saving Sailing book. How is it possible that we loose most sailors at the age of 25? I live in Seattle, and there are dozens of boats that need crew of any ability... Why are we ignoring this generation? Are our yacht clubs not reaching out to them? Ahh... maybe we have something here... Every college sailor should have a sponsoring yacht club - fee free! -- get them involved, and keep them! They will pay you back in the future with dues and such when they get that hot new sportboat. How many college sailors out there are not affiliated with a yacht club? If you aren't you should at least join SA!

 

 

5) Both our sports have structured governing bodies -- Governing bodies... ahem... USAILING please remove the thumb from your ass. I think we could try focus on a more limited selection of one design boats. 20 different 18 - 20 foot sportboats is too much! Think "level playing field"! NASCAR has managed its success incredibly well. If you know anything about NASCAR you will have heard the name Bill France Jr. Apparently he was an incredible leader and one of the primary driving forces behind NASCAR's success. He also owned NASCAR, so he had some good incentives to grow the sport.

Does anyone think USSailing's non profit status interferes with the positive expansion of the sport? I'm not saying it is or isn't.... what do you guys think? Or is leadership the problem?

 

6) Superstars -- Ok, so sailing superstars aren't exactly on the same level as their NASCAR counterparts, but maybe they could be someday. A good portion of what drives the interest in NASCAR is what happens off the track. Which driver dislikes the other driver, shit talking and all that, it's just media hype, and sailing probably doesn't need that -- BUT -- we could use some more publicized rivalry amongst sailors. Its good for competition and the sport.

 

7) TEAMS -- Yes... Nascar has teamracing and so could our OvercompensatinglyLargeDinghy class. If you have never team raced then you ought to try it out. It's really awesome and will make you a better sailor. Not to mention, it's pretty fun to watch. Check out the videos from the ICSA team racing championship on sailgroove. Goodstuff.

 

8) GIRLS! -- HelmetLickers and PitLizards. I can only dream of the day when there is some innuendo-ish nickname for chicks that dig sailors... That being said, I can't count the number of girls that have stopped sailing b/c of verbal abuse caused by the animalistic/viking/pirate mentality that sets in once a guy steps foot on a boat. The number of female sailors that stop sailing after college has to be depressing. Seriously lets get more girls out on the water.

 

9) RULES -- Nascar has rules, they are enforced on the track. It'd be cool to see more races that decide protests on the water during the race. I'm confident that sailing would be more fun with less LAWYERING -- case in point, AC. Yes lawyers have managed to suck the life out of our greatest event.

 

10) ... - this has run on too long for a reply, sorry for hijacking but keep this going... maybe we can make some positive changes in our OvercompensatinglyLargeDinghy class.

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JFunk,

 

- according to www.sailinganarchy.com you are the author of this piece, not the Ed, right? –

 

I can see where you are coming from. I disagree however that the average sailor needs more spectators, sponsors and media attention. The Pros might. But would the rest of us really profit?

 

Right now in most classes an amateur can sail against nat'l or even world champs if they want. In most classes the nat'l champ will be an amateur. There are no pro leagues controlling entries to the competition, noone to tell us the rules of racing, the schedules, how to behave off the boat etc. We run our races in a way we want it, our volunteers that is. The priority lies mainly aimed in achieving optimal conditions for the competition. All of that makes sense to me. It is not a bad thing at all.

 

What if our sport was organized throughout like a pro and media event? Where would that take us? Some of us wouldn't be able to enter. We would need to compromise the choice of venues, conditions, schedules for the spectator and media needs. We would probably have more bureaucracy and less grass roots governance. Which weekend warrior, who make up 95 percent of the sport, would profit from that?

 

For instance many amateurs here in Europe apparently value spontaniety (sp?) a lot. Most racers register for races at the last minute. How would that work if we’d sell tickets, arranged for scheduled TV broadcasts etc.? Probably not at all. Maybe you’re only considering major events? But then, if you consider handycap racing as an alternative, this aspect should come into play.

 

I believe it is a blessing for the sport that it is so spectator- and media-unfriendly - and always will be. Look what happened with the AC 32 in Valencia. German TV reserved two or more hour slots for live reports and then racing was cancelled due to lack of wind, for days. When the teams finally took to the water they network was showing soap-reruns. I don't see how you are going to solve only this one problem that lies in the need for scheduled programming (Come or tune in to see the XY-regatta, maybe taking place this Sunday at 12 p.m., maybe later that day or on another day …).

 

Instead of praying to the TV heathen we could simply try to improve our racing on a local level. Include more fun elements. Shorten races. Think of alternative activities in case the wind dies or something alongside the racing, a tourist programm for the out-of-towners maybe, have a basketball tournament in case there is no wind (or softball or whatever). Have one-day-only events instead of two-or-more days so people can take time for their jobs, their families and friends too. Organize regattas where you can charter or just use club boats instead of hauling your own boat across the country. Wouldn’t it be cool to just fly to a regatta with just your gear bag (oh wait, we already have that, it’s called the Laser Worlds and it’s been very successful the past years). It’s all there and we need to ask noone to do it.

 

If it is stupid to you, you need to make it more sophisticated to fit your needs, not the TV viewers’ or the media’s needs.

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Not the Ed winever, Aussie dinghy racer jfunk wrote that one.

 

Something I'll add is another media issue, especially poignant for those who think sailing could never find interest in the mainstream.

 

Part of the reason sailing was so popular here in the US in the 70s was its relatively widespread media exposure. Ted Turner and Dennis Conner were on the front page of Sports Illustrated. The Worrell 1000 and Hobie regattas featured in the Southeast and Southwest newspapers. Ocean races made it into the sports section of the NY Times and Post. Part of this was about the personalities, and part was simply a better relationship between the leaders of the sport and the media.

 

Now the only thing that makes it to major mainstream media is the Cup shit. No bueno.

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I'd agree with the Dude on the point, that we need to make more out of local regattas, especially since there are lots of races in locations, where serious racing is difficult to organize. Venues with difficult wind conditions, on rivers and super small lakes and don't forget the majority of sailors who race for the fun and to meet some friends on a weekend.

 

But there's another point in delivering VOR, Foiling Moth or a (proper) America's Cup via media to non-sailors, who want to try a sport, which is competetive, fast, athletic and whatever criteria they need.

 

And I understand jfunk when I switch on the TV and see some sailing bullshit on Eurosport, where they show two boats starting, throw some names in and the next sequence that bloke tells me "And another won for Peter Gilmour " or whoever. We don't need this on TV because people ask me, if I love this sport for real (which I do) or if I am kidding. Save the money and the time for some explanations, a little virtual eye and some impressing pictures of people working on a boat. They could make a 3min story out of a race.

 

And having mentioned this: LVT on the Internet spoiled my days in the office ... but, I have to admit: only for an experienced sailor. For the rest of my family I gotta rely on the VOR clips.

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Not the Ed winever, Aussie dinghy racer jfunk wrote that one.

 

Something I'll add is another media issue, especially poignant for those who think sailing could never find interest in the mainstream.

 

Part of the reason sailing was so popular here in the US in the 70s was its relatively widespread media exposure. Ted Turner and Dennis Conner were on the front page of Sports Illustrated. The Worrell 1000 and Hobie regattas featured in the Southeast and Southwest newspapers. Ocean races made it into the sports section of the NY Times and Post. Part of this was about the personalities, and part was simply a better relationship between the leaders of the sport and the media.

 

Now the only thing that makes it to major mainstream media is the Cup shit. No bueno.

 

You can't just blame sailing for poor media relations. The media dropped sailing coverage for money reasons. Sailing journalists have been shown the door at the daily newspapers and sports mags as they cut budgets. I can remember when the NY Times and WCBS radio in NY used to have journos on the boats during the Around Long Island and Block Island races, and the winner of the Tempest v. Thunderhead standing bet (garbage can full of beer) was actually reported in the paper. Those days are long gone.

 

When Herb McCormick was viciously sacked, the Grey Lady sent a normal sports journo to cover the last Cup. If the media don't know the sport, they will focus exclusively on the personalities, spectacular gear failure, human interest stories or the legal disputes. Sailing becomes just another delivery vehicle for the same old crap.

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Yacht racing is a sport of the elite. Nothing is inexpensive about it and the speeds are not breath taking for 99.99 percent of sailing craft out there.

 

It's not a sport for "the elite" but it is definitely a sport for those who have an interest in physics... it may be applied intuitively, some of the best sailors I know mock the whole concept of "fluid dynamics," but it is a matter of physics nontheless.

 

Sure, every sport is a matter of applied physics, but every other sport is much more simple, obvious, and direct. Hitting a golf ball is obvious... smack that li'l f&&&er and it goes a long way... etc etc... whereas in sailing, the basic forces involved are invisible.

 

 

... ....

There are no sailing stadiums for keel boats so fans are not even a consideration. This question is stupid, not the sport.

 

umm, yeah

 

what didja expect?

:ph34r:

 

Dinghy racing is more of a sport that people get into and even watch.

 

I tend to agree, but the viewpoint has been for a long long time (here in the US) that racing small boats was for beginners, that it was the bottom of the sport, and it was dropped by the industry as unprofitable a LONG time ago.

 

And that view is somewhat correct, I think there is a cause and effect... no dinghy sailors, where are the big boat sailors gonna come from (other than yuppies buying J-105s)?

 

 

Old friends do not even know what to think of sailing when I try to explain it. I might as well be discussing space travel for the common man, as if everyone could do it if they only wanted to.

 

I fixed that by only having sailing friends. I'm kind of anti-social anyway.

 

FB- Doug

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so you watched a surfing contest, and from the prospective of a total noob thought it was cool. ever think that there's a forum of surfers somewhere probably bitching about how lame the program was, how it was tailored to kooks?

 

its all about perspective!

 

dont change the sport to make it media friendly, change the sport to make it more popular, and the media will gravitate to it. have to agree with clean that people in leadership positions in the sport need to be big media savvy.

 

growing the sport is simple, take noobs sailing. as long as selfish people like Anthony feel that just getting a boat to the line is contributing to the sport, the decline will continue (see the media matters thread). anthony, have fun on that starting line by yourself in 20 years!

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Want to grow the sport?

 

Quit or reduce your racing when you have kids and take them on the boat. Go sailing and let them drag there feet, drop the sails and go swimming, spend the day at the beach with the boat anchored out, spend the weekend at anchor and play board games, have a campfire on the beach and make smores. Make it fun for your kids and they'll gravitate to sailing. Buy a cheap dinghy and let them sail it on there own, encourage them to join the race team when they are ready, don't be a soccer mom, let them play and enjoy the sport with their friends. And hopefully they'll quit racing and make it fun for their kids when that time comes.

 

Seems reminiscent of my childhood in the '60s and early '70s, and here I am still sailing at age 50....maybe you have a point!

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Pussies!

 

Stop whining !

 

Fun sailing - hah - to win you've got to hurt. Want to have fun sailing go cruising.

 

As for making the sport more media friendly - Stop wasting time bitching. Educate by taking the press guys out racing. There are key points in a race that can measure the "horse race" but most people don't get the angles & hard work that makes up a race. Also there is a longstanding perception that sailing is for rich guys. As a result the media that gets attention is the racing that involves rich guys! In Annapolis we have 500 or more people out racing in a regatta on a saturday. However the press is covering the kids soccer tournament where the outcome is being watched by 2,000 -3,000 residents in the distribution area. Most of the media outlets are folding anyway so work the websites ... that is working these days!

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This thread seems to carry a basic premise that if sailing were on TV it would amke sailing better somehow.

 

Although the entire world seems to revolve around TV, we really do not need to have every single pleasure televised to keep sufficient participation going.

 

Is there TV coverage of posting on Sailing Anarchy?? Lottsa folks keep doing it.

 

Yes I am aware there are videos galore, but fucking is not televised and people still seem to find out about fucking and do plenty of it.

 

 

 

Sailing is a sport we do ourselves. if you want more people to start sailing, you need to concentrate on making the game available to everybody.

 

Taking people for introductory rides is just a start.

 

You need to make the game available for those you turn on to it.

 

Where do you get the toys?

 

How do you put them together?

Where do you store them?

 

When do you use them?

Where do the games happen?

 

How do you enter?

Who fixes the toys?

Where do you get parts?

Are there lessons??

 

All the answers need to be absurdly obvious.

 

 

 

The simple solution to promoting sailing is to tell the world there is lots of fun going on and when the individuals get interested make it super simple and essy to get involved in that fun.

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Good stuff.

 

Another thing that I think is great that most people have forgotten is the deliveries are half the journey. I started racing at about 5 years old on the old man's boat (41' IOR Admirals cupper from '77). Obviously I didn't race the serious races, but I was always there to help deliver. That was our family vacation every year, taking the boat places. And I loved every minute of it.

 

I always loved the deliveries too when I was a kid. It started on the 47' PCC my dad crewed on in the '60s and switched to the family's Erickson 35 during the '70s. My dad got too busy with work during the mid '70s so my brother and I started doing the deliveries ouselves when we were in high school. Great memories, and a great way to grow up. Our kids have asked for more long trips on our current boat....

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Not all sports need to have main stream audience appeal. Some sports, sailing and surfing included, can be about personal enjoyment. It's only when you start trying to make a buck off of it that the marketing types start telling us we're all "Stupid" for doing what we love to do without an audience.

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Sailing is not a spectator sport and never has been.

If anyone is trying to make a "NASCAR for boats", if you somehow could do it, I would want no part of it.

When sailing was growing, it was NOT because it was on TV or had a spectator-friendly crashes and pro-wrestling personality drivers.

I swear the worse things get, the more some people want to do more of what hosed it up in the first place!

 

The post about elitism also rings true. My "manly macho man joe-sixpack" coworkers hae a standard set of interests. They like watching major sports on TV. They like NASCAR. They are likely to like old muscle cars and may have one or maybe a Harley. If they have a boat, it is a bass boat. Sailboats to them are something for faggy rich assholes and they'd rather send their kids to work in a whorehouse than to a sailing program!

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Seems like NASCAR sorta sucks as something to aspire to...

 

Just looking at (SWAG) US numbers, there are over 100 million drivers in the country, and (maybe) 50 NASCAR drivers?

 

To imply NASCAR is a good model is to essentially say that sailing would be better if we could all sit on our asses and watch it on TV!

 

Sailing is a bunch of different things, none of which are inherently better than the other. To me, WATCHING a Volvo 70 is a hell of lot less fun than plunking around the lake in a beat up dinghy.

 

Participation doesn't occur because an activity is popular and "on TV". It happens because it's something people find enjoyable, whatever that means.

 

I don't really think sailing needs fixing. If there aren't enough boats out on the water in your area to satisfy your idea of healthy sailing, then it's always been up to you to get more people excited. What that takes varies by your goal and the area.

 

Haz

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Getting the kids involved early and ensuring they have fun is key, of course. However, get rid of the NHL, NBA, MLBA, NFL, NASCAR, etc and see what happens to youth participation. Almost every professional sport has a top level league or series that the masses can follow and use to determine who is the best. It is human nature to want to celebrate success, relish anothers failure and establish a champion. Even golf has gone this route (with moderate success) in the FedEx Cup.

 

In professional sailing a "fan" has to handle an endless number of world champions, olympic champions, Americas cup sailors, Hobart winners, VOR competitors etc. A couple of years ago it seemed like the TP52s might be getting close to being close to this, but since there is no continuity year to year between the "teams" or their "players" it becomes little more than just another big regatta.

 

Like all the above mentioned sports it takes 1 person, or a group of people with a vision and money to start a professional league or series. I bet the amount of money spent on the AC in the last few years would've been adequate start up capital.

 

Once you have a league you have teams with ownership. When you have ownerships you have players with contracts. You know have a schedule with a beginning and an end, as well as a defined champion when its all over. With a set number of teams, players and events the media can now build organized coverage.

 

Would it be successfull out of the gate? Or course not. None of the leagues that now dominate sports started out as they are now. They all had people with the vision and the money to get them going, the players with the commitement and the drive to make the sacrafices necessary to make the league successful and the investment of time to give it an opportunity to grow. And I am in no way proposing that a professional sailing series can be on the same level as NFL. For those in North America consider ther CFL. May not drive the dollars like the NFL but it's been around for a long time, accomplishes all the goals mentioned above and in some places (Saskatchewan) has as strong a following as almost any other pro team.

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I know few sailors that have much interest in watching sailing on TV and even fewer that agonize over not having a team to root for.

What always defined sailing for me was we are doing it, not watching it.

YMMV

 

 

Getting the kids involved early and ensuring they have fun is key, of course. However, get rid of the NHL, NBA, MLBA, NFL, NASCAR, etc and see what happens to youth participation. Almost every professional sport has a top level league or series that the masses can follow and use to determine who is the best. It is human nature to want to celebrate success, relish anothers failure and establish a champion. Even golf has gone this route (with moderate success) in the FedEx Cup.

 

In professional sailing a "fan" has to handle an endless number of world champions, olympic champions, Americas cup sailors, Hobart winners, VOR competitors etc. A couple of years ago it seemed like the TP52s might be getting close to being close to this, but since there is no continuity year to year between the "teams" or their "players" it becomes little more than just another big regatta.

 

Like all the above mentioned sports it takes 1 person, or a group of people with a vision and money to start a professional league or series. I bet the amount of money spent on the AC in the last few years would've been adequate start up capital.

 

Once you have a league you have teams with ownership. When you have ownerships you have players with contracts. You know have a schedule with a beginning and an end, as well as a defined champion when its all over. With a set number of teams, players and events the media can now build organized coverage.

 

Would it be successfull out of the gate? Or course not. None of the leagues that now dominate sports started out as they are now. They all had people with the vision and the money to get them going, the players with the commitement and the drive to make the sacrafices necessary to make the league successful and the investment of time to give it an opportunity to grow. And I am in no way proposing that a professional sailing series can be on the same level as NFL. For those in North America consider ther CFL. May not drive the dollars like the NFL but it's been around for a long time, accomplishes all the goals mentioned above and in some places (Saskatchewan) has as strong a following as almost any other pro team.

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Nice to see you, Ed, hating the game this time.

 

Yes, venues where you have to sail upwind in 20 knots to get home do suck. I don't know how that choice is made, but I'm sure the 505 organizational folks had some influence. Otherwise they could have raced on the City front, it's fun, a little heady, and it can get just as windy. But, I'm pretty sure it was the fleets choice on the venue for the worlds.

 

This winter I've been racing with some friends, PHRF in a one design boat. My buddy who owns the boat can't get Saturdays off to make the OD racing. He wasn't going to race, but I encouraged him to still go racing on Sunday, signed up his boat and paid the entry fee -- he's letting me drive. I talked to a few other club members with boats close in ratings and encouraged them come out on Sundays as well, looking for a little more competition. It took us an hour last race to get out to the course, there was a postponement, and we hung out, drank a beer, ate sandwiches, and BS'ed while watching for the wind at Blunt. The lady who did our foredeck is a sailing convert from the local hood. She first started with some of our club members who have open invitations on beer cans. She's been racing with the local light keelboat OD fleets ever since. I was really impressed when on the sail out, once she got her assignment as foredeck, went right to work rigging the pole, packing the chute, and we were all set to go once the wind picked up. She's started understanding the finer points of trim, and really has turned into a pretty good sailor.

 

This past summer I beer can raced with some women who were looking to up their game a little. One of them is a yoga teacher, and I brokered a deal -- racing lessons for yoga lessons. I wanted to learn how to do Sun Salutations. I'll always remember showing up to the boat for our first race. The poor little boat had about 3 inches of grass growing on it! While we sailed out, I started to ask some questions to get a feel for the skill level we had onboard.

"How did you guys do last race?" I querie.

"Well, we didn't actually finish last race." They respond.

Silence from me.

"We need a bigger jib, they say."

 

Since then we've got our bottoms cleaned. We've got a team who's ready to graduate to spinnaker sailing. My skipper has gone from a tentative, sometimes angst driven sailor, to a confident skipper who has no quarms about putting her boat up on the line every Wednesday night and bringing it. We were second for the fall season. More importantly, we had a great time, I learned some yoga, and made some new friends. I have at least two more converts to racing.

 

This is what I do for my sport, along with as much race committee volunteering I can afford. I hold the belief love conquers all. Sailboat racing isn't stupid. It's a great sport. Maybe not well understood, not for the general public, but it's still one of my favorites. Stopping the hating would be a good first step to promoting the sport in my eyes.

 

You and Clean need to get with the program -- this isn't about you asshole.

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kent_island_sailor Posted Today, 01:40 PM

I know few sailors that have much interest in watching sailing on TV and even fewer that agonize over not having a team to root for.

What always defined sailing for me was we are doing it, not watching it.

YMMV

 

 

QUOTE (Fluffy @ Nov 24 2009, 01:10 PM)

Getting the kids involved early and ensuring they have fun is key, of course. However, get rid of the NHL, NBA, MLBA, NFL, NASCAR, etc and see what happens to youth participation. Almost every professional sport has a top level league or series that the masses can follow and use to determine who is the best. It is human nature to want to celebrate success, relish anothers failure and establish a champion. Even golf has gone this route (with moderate success) in the FedEx Cup.

 

In professional sailing a "fan" has to handle an endless number of world champions, olympic champions, Americas cup sailors, Hobart winners, VOR competitors etc. A couple of years ago it seemed like the TP52s might be getting close to being close to this, but since there is no continuity year to year between the "teams" or their "players" it becomes little more than just another big regatta.

 

Like all the above mentioned sports it takes 1 person, or a group of people with a vision and money to start a professional league or series. I bet the amount of money spent on the AC in the last few years would've been adequate start up capital.

 

Once you have a league you have teams with ownership. When you have ownerships you have players with contracts. You know have a schedule with a beginning and an end, as well as a defined champion when its all over. With a set number of teams, players and events the media can now build organized coverage.

 

Would it be successfull out of the gate? Or course not. None of the leagues that now dominate sports started out as they are now. They all had people with the vision and the money to get them going, the players with the commitement and the drive to make the sacrafices necessary to make the league successful and the investment of time to give it an opportunity to grow. And I am in no way proposing that a professional sailing series can be on the same level as NFL. For those in North America consider ther CFL. May not drive the dollars like the NFL but it's been around for a long time, accomplishes all the goals mentioned above and in some places (Saskatchewan) has as strong a following as almost any other pro team.

 

Just because you follow a professional sport doesn't mean you can't participate in it as well. As orginally mentioned professional sports leagues are succssful because they play on simple human nature. Not many people on this board would rather follow sailing than actually go sailing, however as is apparent in GA, there are lots of us that still follow pro sports.

 

To say that sailing is the only sport that doesn't need a pro league because we would all rather be sailing is a little elitest. Hell, this board is proof that sailors around the world have a lot of time to dedicate to sailing when they are not actually sailing.

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Interesting post Ed. Most interesting I find is that if we brought more spectators to the sport, that would bring more people to to sport and then people like you would be bitchin that the water is too crowded...I can just see the front page piece now.

 

Sailors IMHO should spend time going sailing and forget this "saving sailing" and "sailing is failing" talk. The people who want to be sailing ARE sailing.

 

Yeah, sailing the sport into oblivion, crews getting older and older, boats getting fewer and fewer. Going sailing won't solve it...going sailing and dragging the kids, neighbors, powerboaters from the club will...along with making it fun.

 

A bunch of people live anecdotally and they will respond by saying my clubs strong or my crew is yound but the sport of sailing as a whole is failing and we better get off our duffs and get to work.

 

Yes I am practicing what I preach, I will be picking up a bunch of boats next week to start local one design racing in the sailing desert that is my town. The ultimate goal...a few strong one design fleets and a high school sailing team.

 

Wish me luck.

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Oh yeah...editor may be you wanna start showcasing some local talent like highschool sailing and small one design racing and not make the whole thing glamour shots of BOR and Moths. Not that I don't love that shit too but lets get some of the everyman sailing on here.

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Ed, (or whoever the hell you are)

 

Once again we've got another post that is so utterly self serving it's pitiful. Yes, SA's web site would make the entire SA team a lot more money if it were a big money media sport, and it would certainly be "great" if SA were the gang to bring Sailing to the heights of say NASCAR or dare I say Baseball. But, that is all about making money for the gang at SA. It has nothing to do with sailing or sailors, except that a few of them would be the "talent" you'd be reporting on. Your entire snivel is all about what's wrong with the sport from the point of view of a person trying to make Money from our sport.

 

Note: It's "our sport" that you're trying to make money from, and only yours to the extent you are actually sailing and are not a web journalist.

 

I was on the race committee for the 5O5 worlds, and was almost always the first chase boat out there and the last boat home, towing folks from Angel Island back to the beach etc.... You don't seem to understand that the 5O5 fleet chose to sail where they did. A year earlier we held a 5O5 regatta and let the folks in the fleet sail on the San Francisco city front and on the Circle. The location choice was made by the fleet, including most of the best sailors and exactly the people you mentioned in your post. Yes, if they broke down they would have a problem. Yes, it was a long slog upwind to get home. Yes, it is really HARD to sail a 5O5 in San Francisco Bay all day and still walk to the bar. But, the point (when you're not whining about it not being enough of a media event) is that the sailors chose the location. Sailing a World Championship is about sailing, not media. I would propose that this is exactly the right way to do it. No media baboon should choose the location of a World Championship just so he can make more money off the reporting - period.

 

Note: Media coverage provides most of the money to the Media and not the contestants. How much of a NASCAR event goes to the winner and how much to the TV Network covering it? Care to guess?

 

Finally, I think the discussion about how "famous" or "well covered" or "important" sailing is as a sport is entirely self serving from a media type. Good grief, if the sailors want to race in front of a crowd they certainly can. If they want some doe-eyed young thing fawning over them (like in NASCAR) they can get that too. But, the choice - just like the location of the 5O5 Worlds - needs to be made by the sailors and not by some folks who are basically parasitic on the process. BTW - tens of thousands of people (including media types) show up for sailing event in Europe, the fastest growing segment being classic yacht racing. Why is that? Maybe it's because the boats, women and venue are beautiful and something a lot of us aspire to.

 

BV

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The HOBIE CAT crowd has been doing this? (for years)

Let's copy what works.

and make it illegal for lawyers to sail in ANY class.

Lawyers don't like simple and fun. (less billable hours)

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The HOBIE CAT crowd has been doing this? (for years)

Let's copy what works.

and make it illegal for lawyers to sail in ANY class.

Lawyers don't like simple and fun. (less billable hours)

 

The Hobie's actually came up in a convo I was having earlier. Nobody seems to want to count em anymore. They are having a blast down here in VB all summer long. Sunfish too.

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... ... ...

A bunch of people live anecdotally and they will respond by saying my clubs strong or my crew is yound but the sport of sailing as a whole is failing and we better get off our duffs and get to work.

 

A lot of clubs offer the cheapest possible storage for boats, that one reason why they have a full membership. The question is, how is participation in SAILING at these clubs?

 

Yes I am practicing what I preach, I will be picking up a bunch of boats next week to start local one design racing in the sailing desert that is my town. The ultimate goal...a few strong one design fleets and a high school sailing team.

 

Wish me luck.

 

Excellent! More people should be doing this... instead of letting boats sit around going to seed, and kvetching about how their class isn't what it should be.

 

FB- Doug

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Then again, the vast majority of surfers are recreational and do not compete, nor ever will. If you follow the comparison, maybe the success of sailing is in participation, not competition.

 

hit the nail on the head

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Ed, (or whoever the hell you are)

 

Once again we've got another post that is so utterly self serving it's pitiful. Yes, SA's web site would make the entire SA team a lot more money if it were a big money media sport, and it would certainly be "great" if SA were the gang to bring Sailing to the heights of say NASCAR or dare I say Baseball. But, that is all about making money for the gang at SA. It has nothing to do with sailing or sailors, except that a few of them would be the "talent" you'd be reporting on. Your entire snivel is all about what's wrong with the sport from the point of view of a person trying to make Money from our sport.

 

Note: It's "our sport" that you're trying to make money from, and only yours to the extent you are actually sailing and are not a web journalist.

 

Not to quibble, but I think NASCAR brings in more money than baseball & football combined. And if sailing were the popular mass-media sport that The Ed seems to want it to be, then he wouldn't have been able to get a place at the table. OTOH the article did what was really intended, drive up traffic.

 

... ... ...

Finally, I think the discussion about how "famous" or "well covered" or "important" sailing is as a sport is entirely self serving from a media type. Good grief, if the sailors want to race in front of a crowd they certainly can. If they want some doe-eyed young thing fawning over them (like in NASCAR) they can get that too.

... ... ...

 

Where?! Where??!?! If I could have a doe-eyed young babe fawning over me, it would no longer bother me so much that my wife won't let me buy a bigger boat.... ...

 

Actually I have sailed in front of a crowd, didn't care for it too much. Of course, I was racing a JY-15 thru a fleet of Optis, the crowd (many of them rather attractive Opti moms) response was not overall positive. B)

 

FB- Doug

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Mainstream sailing never has been a media event. I still don't understand the insistence that mainstream media coverage is required, or that the lack of it is not healthy. At least in this country, the average Joe doesn't give a rat's ass about sailing. It is perceived by most as an elitist white man's sport that is beyond most people. It is confusing for a non sailor to figure out the strategy, and as exciting as watching fish fuck. The only coverage most non sailors ever see is the Americas Cup, pro event or the occasional watered down Jobson special, which is the cinematic equivalent of Nyquil. That is simply not the type of sailing that almost all of us do.

 

I would agree with some of the earlier comments. Grow the sport by getting new people involved, we all need to make a better effort to take new people sailing, and getting neophyte sailors racing in low key events. I have some non sailing friends that love to do deliveries, and at least is now thinking about buying a boat. Hold events that offer quality racing and social/entertainment for a reasonable price, including more family events. Sorry Clean, but the average 4SKB owner that make up the huge majority of the sailing population isn't interested in doing keg stands and vodka luges until dawn as the main attraction for the regatta.

 

Produce media coverage that sailors and their families want to see, they are really the ones that care about it. Get more people involved, and the sponsors and media will come.

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Why the need to define the success of sailing as a sport by the same metrics we use to define the success of very different athletic pursuits?

 

Maybe we need to adjust what we consider a success.

 

Is the only definition of success lots of sponsorship? Lots of spectators? Lots of media coverage?

 

How about lots of people of all abilities out on the water, competing and having fun? Is that not success?

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Treating sailing like a pro sports franchise makes no sense to me.

Imagine a football game where most people are just eating a picnic lunch in the middle of the field and a few of them get up and run around the field :lol:

 

 

Media hype isn't why anyone I know went out sailing for the first time or the 1,000th time.

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Treating sailing like a pro sports franchise makes no sense to me.

Imagine a football game where most people are just eating a picnic lunch in the middle of the field and a few of them get up and run around the field :lol:

 

 

Media hype isn't why anyone I know went out sailing for the first time or the 1,000th time.

 

I think you are missing the point. Pro sailing needs to be treated like a pro football franchise. This has nothing to do with what you or I are doing. The NFL has no bearing on what people do on Thanksgiving tossing the football around, no more than the Medcup defines you cruising the bay. It's a massive difference with many levels along the way. You can't extrapolate the solution to one onto the other, they are separate entities.

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Sponsorship, spectators and more media coverage lead to more people being able to make a legitimate living in the sailing industry. I honestly don't know, but when top college sailors graduate college, how legitimate is it for them to pursue a career in pro sailing?

 

The WNBA has never been profitable league but one of the reasons that people push for its existence is it gives young women an opportunity to play basketball for a living. The benefits are felt all the way down through the college level, high schools and so on. The opportunities go beyond just the players, on to the coacher, trainer and even the people working in the office.

 

It isn't necessarily about millions of dollars. The average CFL player barely earns enough from their contract in a year to live on. They aren't doing it for the money, they are doing it because they love to play the game and the CFL gives them the opportunity to do so. How is this a bad thing?

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Racing was doing much better than it is now when people didn't have sponsors or the ability to make a living doing it for the most part.

Why some TV sailing show, that of necessity would have to be filmed in an area with constant wind and warm water or be boring as shit, would relate to anyone's local sailing scene is beyond me.

 

Sponsorship, spectators and more media coverage lead to more people being able to make a legitimate living in the sailing industry. I honestly don't know, but when top college sailors graduate college, how legitimate is it for them to pursue a career in pro sailing?

 

The WNBA has never been profitable league but one of the reasons that people push for its existence is it gives young women an opportunity to play basketball for a living. The benefits are felt all the way down through the college level, high schools and so on. The opportunities go beyond just the players, on to the coacher, trainer and even the people working in the office.

 

It isn't necessarily about millions of dollars. The average CFL player barely earns enough from their contract in a year to live on. They aren't doing it for the money, they are doing it because they love to play the game and the CFL gives them the opportunity to do so. How is this a bad thing?

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... ... ...

I think you are missing the point. Pro sailing needs to be treated like a pro football franchise. This has nothing to do with what you or I are doing. The NFL has no bearing on what people do on Thanksgiving tossing the football around, no more than the Medcup defines you cruising the bay. It's a massive difference with many levels along the way. You can't extrapolate the solution to one onto the other, they are separate entities.

 

True enough, but where do the people sailing in the MedCup come from? Is there a secret pipeline to develop "pro" sailors which is totally seperate & isolated... maybe using it's own secret ocean & gov't-subsidized wind generators... that none of the rest of us can see or know about?

 

"Sailing" is a sport that is massively diffuse. It is many many different things to different people. Football is football, and while some companies make some money off selling footballs to kids who toss it around their yard, the majority of money in the sailing business is generated by selling sailboats & gear. Which oddly enough, doesn't really affect the sport because everybody who wants a sailboat can pretty much have one, at whatever price level they aspire to.

 

FB- Doug

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... ... ...

I think you are missing the point. Pro sailing needs to be treated like a pro football franchise. This has nothing to do with what you or I are doing. The NFL has no bearing on what people do on Thanksgiving tossing the football around, no more than the Medcup defines you cruising the bay. It's a massive difference with many levels along the way. You can't extrapolate the solution to one onto the other, they are separate entities.

 

True enough, but where do the people sailing in the MedCup come from? Is there a secret pipeline to develop "pro" sailors which is totally seperate & isolated... maybe using it's own secret ocean & gov't-subsidized wind generators... that none of the rest of us can see or know about?

 

"Sailing" is a sport that is massively diffuse. It is many many different things to different people. Football is football, and while some companies make some money off selling footballs to kids who toss it around their yard, the majority of money in the sailing business is generated by selling sailboats & gear. Which oddly enough, doesn't really affect the sport because everybody who wants a sailboat can pretty much have one, at whatever price level they aspire to.

 

FB- Doug

 

Football is equally as diffuse, maybe more so. It just doesn't seem that way from the outside. Hell, the rules are completely different, unlike sailing where the RRS are pretty standard. Flag football leagues or backyard touch games are about as far from Pro football as you can get. Certainly no closer than Wed night beer cans are to the AC.

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Then again, the vast majority of surfers are recreational and do not compete, nor ever will. If you follow the comparison, maybe the success of sailing is in participation, not competition.

 

 

Yes, but also participating in competition in smaller amateur venues is growing in some areas. In SE CT we race one design in lasers, JY's and Etchells for 9 months of the year, from early March to early December. For bigger boats there are PHRF and larger one design classes that enjoy Off Soundings, BIRW, and all the ECSA stuff. Plenty of opportunity for young newbies to get involved in one form or another. Our fleets are not large like Dago, but plenty of opportunity to participate and race in a Corinthian atmosphere. Narragansett Bay is not far if you want to travel for larger fleets. While I enjoy good TV coverage of our sport at the higher levels (VOC, AC, etc.), it's otherwise like watching golf for the most part. Why watch it, if I can go and actively participate instead??

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I'm always amazed when I have to explain to non sailors how sailing is, in fact, a sport. Well actually, sailing around the lake is a hobby or activity, but racing sailboats is a sport.

 

Sports exist and are successful at a professiona level for so many reasons beyond being able to watch it on TV. One of the reasons why many pro leagues became successful before television.

 

The spirit of competition, success in the face of adversity or the anguish of defeat, the rise to greatness of a truly great player or team are the core drivers of pro sports. These are the drivers of sports at all levels, but pro sports give us all an opportunity to enjoy it at the highest level. All of these things can exist in a game of pick up basketball just as it can exist in a beer can race. However, there isn't a comparable theatre in sailing for this to occur as it does in the NBA.

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All of these things can exist in a game of pick up basketball just as it can exist in a beer can race. However, there isn't a comparable theatre in sailing for this to occur as it does in the NBA.

 

Exactly

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Then again, the vast majority of surfers are recreational and do not compete, nor ever will. If you follow the comparison, maybe the success of sailing is in participation, not competition.

 

hit the nail on the head

I agree. When we speak of 'Our Sport', are we referring to Sailing in general,

or Sailboat Racing specifically. A vast majority of the people who surf, ski ,

bicycle, etc... do not participate in any competitions. They are just out there

enjoying their sport. You need to learn how to sail before you can learn how to race.

We need to draw more people into sailing, to draw more people into sailboat racing.

Sailing , with a few exceptions, is not a media friendly spectator sport. But it does not

need to be. Someone does not get into a sport like rock climbing or backpacking because

they watched an exciting televised competition.

I bet that without any difficulty, each one of us could get at least one more person

hooked on sailing. Take your friends and neighbors for a sail, invite a co-worker out

for an informal race. Or take your power boating slip neighbor, your children's friends,

or that bikini clad passer-by, for a sail.

Why don't we devote 2010 to a 'Get Someone New Out On the Boat' drive.

The Revolution Will not Be Televised.

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Don't necessarily agree with all of what you said.

 

The amount of time spent on the water has to vary with the event. In the MedCup, those guys are being paid to be professional athletes and are there solely for the competition - getting as many races in as possible, so that the best boat on average will win, has got to be the priority.

 

Somewhere like Cowes or Cork, however, and the racing is only (at most) half the fun, so it makes sense that you only do one race a day and are either back on shore early or get a lie in.

 

If I had to pick an event that combined the two very well indeed, it would have to be the Swan Worlds for the 45s - they raced within a mile or so of the shore, were generally in by 1500ish after some really short sharp races and still had time for (lots) of boozing afterwards.

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Not the Ed winever, Aussie dinghy racer jfunk wrote that one.

 

Something I'll add is another media issue, especially poignant for those who think sailing could never find interest in the mainstream.

 

Part of the reason sailing was so popular here in the US in the 70s was its relatively widespread media exposure. Ted Turner and Dennis Conner were on the front page of Sports Illustrated. The Worrell 1000 and Hobie regattas featured in the Southeast and Southwest newspapers. Ocean races made it into the sports section of the NY Times and Post. Part of this was about the personalities, and part was simply a better relationship between the leaders of the sport and the media.

 

Now the only thing that makes it to major mainstream media is the Cup shit. No bueno.

 

After Stars and Stripes won the cup back in 1987, they had a Ticker Tape Parade in NYC and all went and hung out at the White House. Can you believe that?

 

I doubt we will ever see another US sailor on the cover of SI, unless Anna wins the triathalon, radials and match racing in England.

 

Total off topic side comment....

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Over the weekend I caught on the tube a program on this years Bells Beach surfing competition, part of surfing pro world tour. At the end of it, I knew who the best competition surfers in the World were, I watched the heats unfold, saw the manouvers, understood the scoring system and saw the sort of training they put in. Basically, if I had known nothing about surfing prior to watching, I would have a solid appreciation for it afterward. Straight after was one of the rolex events at Portofino. If I knew nothing about sailing – I still wouldn’t, what I would have learnt was there were some blokes there with some old boats, Portofino is a nice place with a long affiliation with the sea and apparently they did some racing. I say apparently, because they didn’t show any. Lame!!

 

It made our sport look stupid. Then I thought, its not fair to blame the sport for a TV producers perspective, but then I started thinking about nearly every sailing program I had watched and compared it to the surfing package. Every program focuses on the biggest, the most expensive, the location and/or claimed the sailors competing were the best.

 

Then I got to thinking, who are the best sailors in our sport? Ask a bunch of yachties and the argument would go for days – America’s Cup, no Olympics, no this class…... Look at the surfing model. Regional competitions, qualifications series then the best are on the World Tour, no ambiguity, no doubt. Everyone knows who the best is now and who is the best ever. I doubt you would get anyone to agree to that with sailing.

 

Of course our sport is quite technical, equipment plays a major part in the result outcome and unfortunately sailors cannot meet on a level playing field, much like motor racing. And like us motor racing has the same problems. Who is the best driver, F1, Nascar, IRL, Touring cars….. yet they have one thing up on our sport, they have massive audiences and fan support. At least they are smart enough to host their racing in a place people can see it and keep it formats that are interesting, so they learn about it and become passionate about it.

 

Not sailing, no, no, no. We make our sport as inaccessible as possible to anyone who might have the slightest interest in it. You know every World Championship I have been to bar one (and even that one took us 20 minutes past a perfectly sailable location) has required over an hour to sail out to the course. In the past we would sail one big race and then do it again the next day and so on. Now, we sail multiple big races in a day, miles from support should anything go wrong.

 

There are several consequences of how we conduct our racing nowadays. We are spending ridiculous hours on the water, which means you cant race at your peak, because subconsciously your body conserves energy when your mind knows you are going to be on the water 10 hours a day, day after day for weeks at a time. Its expensive. Multiple races a long way from the launch spot mean if you want to win, you have to have a support boat and driver out there with a full set of spares and it means chance could decide the result. Look at the 505 Worlds this year, (by the way Holty if you are reading this, this rant is not directed at you your event or St Francis, it is aimed at the sport as whole) if Martin and Nelson had broken their mast in race one instead of race two, they would have two DNF’s on that two race day and would have lost the Worlds, even though clearly they were the best boat there. Also, its not fun. Spending all day every day on a boat can wear thin pretty quick. The vast majority of competitors at any major meet have no chance of winning and so are competing for the ancillary benefits. But if you haven’t got time for the fun stuff, why go?

 

But most importantly of all, very few people want to head miles out and sit on a boat all day and watch boats sail around if they are to be stuck out there all day, especially kids and newbie’s. So we aren’t dragging people into the sport.

 

Of course, most people will just blow this off as me just having a sook. Fair enough, but remember this, I love sailing, I have been doing it my whole life, the only reason I write at all is to encourage more youngsters into our sport and yet lately, when I think how I would rather spend my time, going for a sail is near the bottom of the list. I have lost the love and if someone who has known no other life can think that, I suspect I know why numbers in our sport are so consistently diminishing.

 

So what’s the point of this? I think its time for change! When I tested Luca Devoti’s D1 recently, I noticed that the class rules require the regatta’s to be fun events. I love it! Lets make the sport fun again. Keep it short, keep it close to spectators, bring back handicap racing so everyone can feel like a winner, (think handicap racing is lame – have a look at the Melbourne Cup). Host regatta’s in great locations and make sure people aren’t on the water longer than three hours.

 

We need to do something, anything, please! Jump in with your comments.

 

if you like to sail then you sail, who really cares about it being on TV

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Not the Ed winever, Aussie dinghy racer jfunk wrote that one.

 

Yeah, thanks for the correction, my bad. Guess that proves there really is a front page. ;)

 

 

Winever.

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PEOPLE- GO SAILING!

 

Forget all this crazy talk. Want to get people out sailing? Go sailing. Grab a some family, friends, beers, whatever blows your hair back. Just do it. This thread is stupid, started by the Ed posting someone elses comments. We've got people comparing sailing to NASCAR, NBA, NFL, Jeeeeeeeeeesus. We are micromanaging ourselves to death here

 

Ed, here is what YOU can do to "unstupid' thie sport.

 

1. Get rid of Clean.

2. Clean up the front page, titles like BULLSHIT and Kiddie Porn are tasteless efforts to get traffic and you know it.

 

You've built a great thing here have the following, don't blow it

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Football is equally as diffuse, maybe more so. It just doesn't seem that way from the outside. Hell, the rules are completely different, unlike sailing where the RRS are pretty standard. Flag football leagues or backyard touch games are about as far from Pro football as you can get. Certainly no closer than Wed night beer cans are to the AC.

 

Umm, I see it very differently.

 

All football games have the same scoring system. Sailing, no.

All football games have teams, although the number vary slightly (does anybody play with more than 11 per side?). Sailing... yeah you know. Each boat can be a team (some more so than others), or boats of many types can be sailed singlehanded. Then there's 'team racing' which involves teams of boats sailed by teams (skipper & crew). Hmmm

 

All football games have a ball, and play is stopped intermittently to allow reorganzing into "plays." Sailing, well sometimes it seems organized but it's up to the players. Sometimes there are starts, sometimes there are courses.

All football games are played on a field which a player can run the length of in a matter of seconds. Sailing can be done anywhere boats can float, and many places where they can't.

 

Etc etc etc.

 

Not to be argumentative, but sailing is a lot more diffuse & diverse than any sport I've ever heard of.

 

FB- Doug

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Not the Ed winever, Aussie dinghy racer jfunk wrote that one.

 

Yeah, thanks for the correction, my bad. Guess that proves there really is a front page. ;)

 

 

Winever.

 

NO THERE ISN'T

 

FB- Doug

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I doubt we will ever see another US sailor on the cover of SI....

 

 

Sure we will. Just as soon as Uncle Larry wins the America's Cup, then he'll buy SI and be on the cover as often as he wants. :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

 

Winever.

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Football is equally as diffuse, maybe more so. It just doesn't seem that way from the outside. Hell, the rules are completely different, unlike sailing where the RRS are pretty standard. Flag football leagues or backyard touch games are about as far from Pro football as you can get. Certainly no closer than Wed night beer cans are to the AC.

 

Umm, I see it very differently.

 

All football games have the same scoring system. Sailing, no.

All football games have teams, although the number vary slightly (does anybody play with more than 11 per side?). Sailing... yeah you know. Each boat can be a team (some more so than others), or boats of many types can be sailed singlehanded. Then there's 'team racing' which involves teams of boats sailed by teams (skipper & crew). Hmmm

 

All football games have a ball, and play is stopped intermittently to allow reorganzing into "plays." Sailing, well sometimes it seems organized but it's up to the players. Sometimes there are starts, sometimes there are courses.

All football games are played on a field which a player can run the length of in a matter of seconds. Sailing can be done anywhere boats can float, and many places where they can't.

 

Etc etc etc.

 

Not to be argumentative, but sailing is a lot more diffuse & diverse than any sport I've ever heard of.

 

FB- Doug

 

I have one question. Have you never played backyard football?

 

Common rules for it include two completion for a first down, only one blitz per 4 downs. Numbers of participants can be pretty much any number you dream. Field dimensions include markers such as 'that tree over there' and the crazy bitch down the streets fence'.

 

I know this isn't what people think of when they think football, but it's the meat of the participation, and is so far away from the NFL it's almost another sport that happens to use the same ball. 99.9% of people who 'play' football as adults are doing this. I can't possibly see how sailing is more diffuse than that. As i mentioned, we at least use the same rules across the board.

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Two words to make our sport not look stupid and compete with your surfing competition comparison, Ed.

 

F-Eighteen

 

OK, actually a letter and a number (F-18) unless you're Aussie then it's one word Eff-I-Deen.

 

 

644962444_RGiHw-L.jpg

 

644980491_apqX9-L.jpg

 

Take that! :P

 

J

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Football is no more similar to sailing than it is to golf, but they both have a top level league or tour and a overall champion. Golf only did this recently because they realize that people wanted to know who was the best. Football and golf are like almost all other sports in that they have a top level where the best of the best compete to determine a champion.

 

Sailing has nothing like this. The best of the best are scattered across different fleets. Is there even an event where the best keel boat course racers in the world come together to compete against eachother?

 

I've always argued that sailing is not an elitist sport, but to say that sailing doesn't need a top level series and everything that comes with it is elitist.

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Sponsorship, spectators and more media coverage lead to more people being able to make a legitimate living in the sailing industry. I honestly don't know, but when top college sailors graduate college, how legitimate is it for them to pursue a career in pro sailing?

 

The WNBA has never been profitable league but one of the reasons that people push for its existence is it gives young women an opportunity to play basketball for a living. The benefits are felt all the way down through the college level, high schools and so on. The opportunities go beyond just the players, on to the coacher, trainer and even the people working in the office.

 

It isn't necessarily about millions of dollars. The average CFL player barely earns enough from their contract in a year to live on. They aren't doing it for the money, they are doing it because they love to play the game and the CFL gives them the opportunity to do so. How is this a bad thing?

 

 

I fail to see why it should be some sort of right to make a living doing what amounts to a hobby on the backs of sponsors and spectators.

 

How about sialing for the love of sailing?

 

Sailing is not basketball. It is done over a large area, spectators get in the way more than anything, it can be mindnumbing boring to participate in, let alone watch. The rules can be complex.

 

Can't we all just enjoy it for what it is rather then try to make it something it's not, and probably never will be? Isn't that good enough?

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Sailing sure is diffuse with surfing less so, more a worldwide recreational hobby enjoyed by a huge number of folk very few of whom ever compete. So you only ever see the surfing elite on TV - all in one spot all riding similar equipment - pretty simple compared to sailing. So how to get pure enjoyment out of sailing? Choose your weapon carefully - Moth, windsurfer, high performance skiff - then wait until the forecast is 'fresh to frightening' and go out and send it hard. Can't see the AC leadmines in that picture can you?

The photo is a 12 foot skiff on Sydney harbour

 

 

"Sailing" is a sport that is massively diffuse. It is many many different things to different people.

post-41550-1259098730_thumb.jpg

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+1

 

I can't see any reason or way to commercialize sailing like NASCAR or NFL. Unless the boats crash and explode, NO ONE WILL CARE ANYWAY.

Ya wanna fix sailing, fix the middle class so they have actual spare time and money again. Fix family life to be adult-centric, not kid-directed. Short of those two things, an uphill battle for sure.

 

 

 

Sponsorship, spectators and more media coverage lead to more people being able to make a legitimate living in the sailing industry. I honestly don't know, but when top college sailors graduate college, how legitimate is it for them to pursue a career in pro sailing?

 

The WNBA has never been profitable league but one of the reasons that people push for its existence is it gives young women an opportunity to play basketball for a living. The benefits are felt all the way down through the college level, high schools and so on. The opportunities go beyond just the players, on to the coacher, trainer and even the people working in the office.

 

It isn't necessarily about millions of dollars. The average CFL player barely earns enough from their contract in a year to live on. They aren't doing it for the money, they are doing it because they love to play the game and the CFL gives them the opportunity to do so. How is this a bad thing?

 

 

I fail to see why it should be some sort of right to make a living doing what amounts to a hobby on the backs of sponsors and spectators.

 

How about sialing for the love of sailing?

 

Sailing is not basketball. It is done over a large area, spectators get in the way more than anything, it can be mindnumbing boring to participate in, let alone watch. The rules can be complex.

 

Can't we all just enjoy it for what it is rather then try to make it something it's not, and probably never will be? Isn't that good enough?

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I didn't ever say that it was a right, just a privlige. In the case of the WNBA you see how it can positively benfit the sport while providing minmal to no profit.

 

More people play basketball football or golf every day for the pleasure of it than sail. Having the elite sailors showcased on platform that can be enjoyed and followed by everybody will do nothing to diminish people sailing for the fun of it.

 

Every sport is different yet every other sport (that I can think of) offers an elite league and a champion. It gets more people involved in the sport, it offers people an opportunity to make a living doing something we all love.

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Ya wanna fix sailing, fix the middle class so they have actual spare time and money again. Fix family life to be adult-centric, not kid-directed. Short of those two things, an uphill battle for sure.

 

Absolutely true.

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Assuming anyone would care about a "champion of the world sailor", how on Earth could you pick one?

Choose among:

The guy that can jump around in his 420 fast enough to get around the course in no wind?

The guy that can sail a Laser faster than any Laser has sailed before?

The guy that can read GRIBs and get his 60 foot trimaran across the ocean banging lows faster than ever before?

The guy that can push a 120 year-old schooner to the limit and get that old beast across the line first in a tall ships race?

 

What kind of race could rate them against each other?

 

 

I didn't ever say that it was a right, just a privlige. In the case of the WNBA you see how it can positively benfit the sport while providing minmal to no profit.

 

More people play basketball football or golf every day for the pleasure of it than sail. Having the elite sailors showcased on platform that can be enjoyed and followed by everybody will do nothing to diminish people sailing for the fun of it.

 

Every sport is different yet every other sport (that I can think of) offers an elite league and a champion. It gets more people involved in the sport, it offers people an opportunity to make a living doing something we all love.

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