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Okay - now we're getting somewhere. It sounds like tradition, arcane and overly complex rules, and expense is killing the sport. So let's do this - let's take out the "middle". In other words, nuke all the club sailing - which is actually the most boring stuff to watch for a typical spectator anyway. Hell, let's even nuke the AC. And let's figure out what "extreme sailing" looks like.
Let's compare it to mountain climbing. "Beyond the Limit" is a pretty successful television show. It's about climbers tackling Everest. And it's pretty freakin' gripping. Now think about all the logistical issues with making a show like that. Could it possibly be any more difficult than covering an extreme sailing event?
So - what makes "Beyond the Limit" so appealing then? The life and death nature of it? The skill level of the participants? The personal stories? The fear factor?
My point is that EXTREME sailing events like the Vendee or VOR are very similar to an Everest expedition. The story is just not being told very well in my opinion.
So here's the next question - are the Vendee/VOR events extreme enough? Would they have to up the danger ante to make them more appealing? Or does a new race - that's just completely insane - need to happen - something that's the equivalent of summitting Everest.