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Old 04-20-2009
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Sacrilege - Somebody's Gotta Do It

There has been an ongoing discussion about the decline of racing - on Salinet (a few times) and on SA (most of the time). Many are trying to come up with ways to increase the interest and participation in the sport both here in the US and it worldwide.

The main question in this debate is: why the decline?

My sacrilegious hunch? It's all pretty damn boring from a spectator standpoint. I mean - SUPER boring.

I watched the Olympics sailing events. Boring. I've watched many of the SA videos of various races. Boring. You've got a pack of smallish boats moving at 6-12 knots (if that) around a course. It's all kinda like watching this crap:

And now, as US27 just pointed out in another thread, "Morning Light" was COMPLETELY ignored. Disney's sailing movie for the masses...canned.

On the other hand, you've got extremely exciting and compelling races like the VOR and the Vendee. DEFINITELY NOT BORING. And they are covered pretty well. These events, in my opinion, could attract a far wider audience and interest in the sport. But these haven't been able to bust through to wide coverage (at least not here in the US). Why?

Now racing is obviously appealing to racers themselves. But that's obviously not enough to regenerate a dying sport. It's gotta be about the spectator I think.

To that end, I know exactly what I'm talking about here - because I AM a spectator (not a racer). I love sailing. I've learned a bit about it. I have a boat and I sail it (at a greenhorn level). And, though I've never "formally" raced, I'd like to eventually do it for kicks (although more passage racing than course racing). So - this makes me a truly vested spectator.

So the first question is...why is anyone surprised that lower tier racing is dying when it's so damn boring to watch? And the second question can the more exciting races be promoted to build general interest - and eventually feed the lower tier stuff?
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