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  #11  
Old 03-24-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

The America's Cup is elitist, and has always been from its inaugural event in the 1800's (the owners didn't even bother to sail their own yachts). The origins of "sailing for fun" are also elitist in case you forget, no matter how down to earth many cruisers and live-aboards are today. Nowadays, it simply is being commercialized, as is everything else. But is that very different from the expense-account ticket-holders in luxury boxes at football, baseball, basketball? The Olympics? Today's philosophy is to charge what the market can bear and push the financial boundary as hard as you can (and that is not entirely new, either). It has little to do with sailing, a lot with business. The irony is that the best view of all these races is not on some expense-account venue but on your comfy couch at home (assuming you are not living on board somewhere) watching the whole thing on TV. Thus, it has more to do with "networking" among business people and their hangers-on... and bragging rights.
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Last edited by flandria; 03-24-2013 at 01:40 PM. Reason: expand topic
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  #12  
Old 03-24-2013
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It's a simple formula. If it is on tv, who is sponsoring? if the commercials are for Bud and Tide, you're watching NASCAR. If it's Mercedes and Tag Heuer, you're watching tennis.
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  #13  
Old 03-24-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

Interesting thoughts. I've not come across anybody on this site here who seems to be too elitist to me . Seriously, though, my Canadian wife always is amazed how much more down to earth many sailors seem to be over here in the UK (her brother's in-laws in Quebec were avid sailors). When I still lived in Germany it also seemed to be much more elitist. I remember trying to contact an "Academic Sailing Association" whilst at university which seemed to be nearly as stiff as some of the very old fashioned student unions. Whilst there is certainly a rich "elite" that sails over here, I've come across old clubs that pride themselves of having a working-men history and background. I wonder if this does also have to do with the fact that sailing is luckily rather unregulated (or non government self-regulated) in the UK. Always thought of boating/sailing as an unwritten right of the inhabitants of these isles. Whilst the RYA is doing a great job educating and setting the background, anybody can buy or build a boat and go out in UK waters at their own peril as long as they don't harm anybody else. No need for a sailing "license" or to register your boat legally.
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Old 03-24-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

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Originally Posted by benesailor View Post
I realize this has been hashed out before; but, after looking at ticket prices for the America cup, it really makes you wonder. It makes NASCAR look good.

Sportsmark



That's just a sample of the America's Cup area. I'm a whole-hearted capitalist and i believe you charge what the market will bear. I wonder sometimes why America can't find talented sailors for the Olympics.
I'm glad i can watch sailing from any vantage point.
I have been on the two last America's cup in Europe and I cannot even remember if I paid anything and if I paid it was so inexpensive that I cannot remember it anymore.

I guess that is the American way to look at it. In Europe in races like the Vor 70 or the Vendee globe you don't pay nothing to go to the race village to see the boats and watch the in-port races, talk to the racers and be part of the action. The money come from elsewhere, from the TV coverage, sponsoring and publicity.

But for that you have to have an huge popular interest that permits returns in publicity from sponsorship and TV coverage.

In US where the sail is a lot less popular they cannot have money that way and it seems there are some from whom sail races are a fashionable jet set event so they make them pay. someone has to pay for it

Sailing as a Sport is only expensive if the racers are amateurs and in that case racing big boats is a millionaires's sport and kind of a funny sport because money is a big part of success. If the racers are professional and are paid to race on the sponsors boats than it is not an elite sport, not more than many others.

Cruising is another story, yes for that you have to have money and that could be considered a kind of elite activity but then cruising is not a sport.

Regards

Paulo
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Old 03-24-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

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Originally Posted by FinallySailing View Post
Interesting thoughts. I've not come across anybody on this site here who seems to be too elitist to me . Seriously, though, my Canadian wife always is amazed how much more down to earth many sailors seem to be over here in the UK (her brother's in-laws in Quebec were avid sailors). When I still lived in Germany it also seemed to be much more elitist. I remember trying to contact an "Academic Sailing Association" whilst at university which seemed to be nearly as stiff as some of the very old fashioned student unions. Whilst there is certainly a rich "elite" that sails over here, I've come across old clubs that pride themselves of having a working-men history and background. I wonder if this does also have to do with the fact that sailing is luckily rather unregulated (or non government self-regulated) in the UK. Always thought of boating/sailing as an unwritten right of the inhabitants of these isles. Whilst the RYA is doing a great job educating and setting the background, anybody can buy or build a boat and go out in UK waters at their own peril as long as they don't harm anybody else. No need for a sailing "license" or to register your boat legally.

It's funny you mention that. Friend of mine is from Cologne and knows how to sail. He was telling me the classes and school he attended in Elba to allow him to pilot anything under 20m..
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Old 03-24-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

As the ad says:
"An exclusive hospitality experience affording corporate groups the
unique opportunity to entertain 280-360 guests... (in) a first-class setting to
develop your business relationships."
They self defined themselves and the even as elitest. And apparantley don't have a problem with that. My only problem is that these entertainments are tax deductable business expenses and don't in my view meet any kind of reasonableness test.
This is nothing more than an opportunity for corporate fat cats to play big man on campus for a few days at stock holders expense.
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Old 03-24-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

Is sailing an elitist sport? Sure it is. Sport is elitist. The median household income of something like $32,000 does not leave a lot of wiggle room for any leisure activity that costs money. OTOH, there are plenty of people who work their ^ss off, and make sailing a priority, even at a shoe string level. More power to those who can operate at higher levels, as long as they don't deride the ones that do not have the same resources.
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

those prices are on par or less than Superbowl ticket prices, and I hardly think football is elitist. The top tier events of ANY sport is going to draw big ticket prices. Heck, even when the Stone Skippin' Nationals (yes, there's really such a thing) came to our town, tickets prices were high.
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  #19  
Old 03-24-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

I've been cruising and living aboard on less than $300 a month, for decades. I could never afford to live ashore on that amount. Doesn't exactly put me in the "Elite" category.
When I do offer people simpler and far more affordable ways of doing things, those who want to make it "elitist" get me kicked off the web sites and chatlines. I consider that sheer flattery. Sure glad they don't identify me as being one of them.
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Old 03-24-2013
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Re: Is Sailing an Elitist Sport?

Of course the America's Cup is elitist! Just look at the obscene amounts of money they pour into the boats in order to win a trophy. I don't begrudge them their exclusive parties and viewing areas. It's their money! Let them have the prime locations, there is still plenty of places the "masses" can watch for free!

As for sailing in general, no, I don't think it is elitist. There are plenty of ways for the average joe to get out sailing. In fact, sailboats are a more affordable way to get on the water than power boats! I certainly couldn't justify the expense of a 30' power boat! If I had to pay those fuel bills I would never go out!

Even yacht clubs aren't necessarily elitist. Some are exclusive in that you have to be able to afford membership, and certainly there are elitist people within the clubs, but by and large my experience is that regardless of the size and value of the boat you own, we all share a love of the water.

As with any sport, there are the elite levels, and then there are various levels below that right down to the kids just starting out and the "beer leagues".
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