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  #21  
Old 04-23-2009
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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.
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  #22  
Old 04-23-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
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.
I think nuking any midrange sailing would be counter productive. Covering it obviously wouldn't work but we still need it for ametures. Extreme sailing = extreme costs. One guy in the vendee race has 3 or 4 mortgages on his house to finance the race.

As for the rules, they are complex, but you can't do away with them. Maybe simplify them, but you need rules of how the game is played. The rules define sailing and any game/competition for that matter.

Quote:
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.
I agree completely.

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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.
I think the races have the excitement, its the story telling aspect of it that sucks.
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  #23  
Old 04-23-2009
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Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
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.
What is club racing afterall? I know I have abit more knowledge than you when it comes to racing in general. ODs have their own boundaries when even playing PHRF - but at least they have what is relatively a level playing field.

To put in perceptive, one of the series I participated in - running aground and all that crap, still beat out a boat that had their boom snapped in two. One could argue a whole bunch of things but the fact is to so dissimilar boats being so close to the last end of the ranking would matter?

Smack - love ya as a blow up doll but this strikes new highs for you. More carnage and what more catastrophes? Vendee is a hell of alot different from the around the lake races. They have real sponsors and stuff and they are actually doing what cruisers would do if they had the balls and insensitivity to their insurance premiums.

Fact is, yacht club membership is at a premium, frankly those that continue a membership - one rarely race anyways. You get the buzz - excite it for new people..

Guess what - carnage on a non-sponsored gig is end of boating - end of story.

FYI - and i have the receipts. To get going with a C-27, full on kevlar X-10 (now yester year) 6 k for 150 jib and battened main.. for what a 10 second response time? Hence why I never notified you I have those sails for you boat..

Seriously, lack of sailing interest is three fold:

1. Yacht clubs thinking it is dued to them and thus you should buy the frills and whistles.

2. Those that know better but still show up...pay a bit extra

3. Those you do NOT, about because it would raise questions,,

Fact is, racing like Whidbey Island as an another suggested - are in thousands of dollars to play - most whom spend it have boats equal to 1.20th of their re-sale value...

Human nature to play or pure idiotic tendancy?

We all sail for dreams that only we know... for some just doing is priceless - the rest of us blog........
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  #24  
Old 04-23-2009
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When I was a kid, I saw a photograph of Nina reaching in a big breeze and I knew I wanted to do that someday. I think US Sailing should get a couple of billboards and put up 49er or Laser photos, people who look like they are having fun. You know, the bow on shots that look like the boat is getting ready to launch itself. Get people to consider the sport. Park St. subway station in Boston has Puma stuff hanging up everywhere. People stop and look. They recognize something familiar, the puma logo, and that this sailing stuff sure looks like a sport.

Around Mass Bay, the races that draw the most participation are pursuit races. Everything from PHRF ratings -9 to 170. You get to see a little of everything and it is far less intense. No crowded mark roundings, no heavy tactical requirement, usually a reaching leg. Everybody seems to be having fun, sometimes with alot of beer. The Figawi and the Flip Flop are very well attended by cruisers and racers.

I think someone needs to write a screenplay with sex, drugs, rock and roll, and boats. Like a Tarantino remake of Wind. Without the womper.
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  #25  
Old 04-23-2009
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Sailboat racing just isnít popular in the US. In Europe, and especially France, on the other hand, it is. Go figure. I know that they tried to promote the 49r, 29r and the Aussie Skiffs out here as spectator races (and they used the NASCAR hook Ė ďcome for the crashes and wipe-outsĒ). But it just didnít take, just like when they tried to bring the Red Bull Air Racing to the Bay. Sailing is one of those things that is more fun doing than watching.

In the olden days the PHRF was developed so that all us Tupperware drivers could compete (ďrun what ya brungĒ) and the go fast guys were all in one design. The formula was too successful insomuch that OD racing is on the wane and the go-fast boys are now competing in PHRF which is driving us family wagon guys way down in the standings. If your goal in life is to race and win, buy that go-fast boat and make the commitment otherwise find other goals to pursue. Heck, I havenít finished higher than 4th racing Freya during the past few years and Iím still loving it.

Yes, racing is expensive, but so is sailing. Having put on a couple of regattas in my time, I can tell you that they are at best a break-even proposition. If you want to race for free, find someone else to pay for it, just donít look at me.

Explain to me how the rules are complicated? Thereís not that many of them and they are designed for collision avoidance and to keep you safe. Whatís hard about that?

Northern California seems to be bucking the trend in race participation. Iíve been in four races so far this year and all have had a hundred or more registrants. Next week, we will be in one with over 300 boats. Itís like racing in rush hour traffic. Smaller races are definitely easier on the nerves, but alas, their parties arenít nearly as much fun. In a way, I yearn for sailing to get less popular, to sail in solitude, not having to worry about crossing situations or wandering in front of forty J Boats, all flying spinnakers on Stb while Iím beating to windward on port.
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  #26  
Old 04-24-2009
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Jody - no doubt I don't have a clue about racing. But I do know something about entertainment. We all do really. To me, there are a myriad of problems with the racing side of the sport - many of which you allude to (expense, complicated rules, etc.).

For example, George you bring up a good point on the "come see the crashes" angle to get people out. Sounds great until you realize it's a tiny skiff that just kind of plops over in the water - or maybe it's even a bigger boat that broaches under spin and "leans over real far". Again, for a spectator, that's not a "crash". No explosions, no tires hurled over the wall, no ambulances, etc. It ain't no Nascar crash. So why try to market it that way?

Then you have the ratings issue which created the scenario that no spectator REALLY new who was actually winning the race. Kind of like watching a horse race with thoroughbreds, mules, shetland ponies, and pound dogs on the track at the same time (though now that I think about it - that would be more fun).

So, you guys are right that there are many strikes against sailing being adopted on a wider scale. But to me, again, one of the main issues is that there is no "Big Show" for sailing.

Obviously, it used to be the AC. But that's become a complete joke at this point. Furthermore, the "elitist" air that always surrounded it (fed by the old school Yacht Club mentality and the legal crap that's been going on with it) - make it a complete anachronism for today's audiences. Who gives a damn what these rich, whiney guys do?

On the other hand, you have the Vendee and VOR. Very simple rules - same types of boats (like Nascar) - first one around the world wins. And by the way - you'll be sailing through some really nasty crap that will beat the hell out of you. Broken boats, broken bones, rescues, etc. Now we're getting closer to Nascar.

I honestly don't think it's the expense that's holding it back. Think about the cost of Nascar. And again, the direct goal is NOT to get more people into club sailing - it's to increase the public's awareness of and appreciation for racing. From that you get the trickle down.

So if sailing had a "Big Show" that was freakin' scary and awe inspiring (like an Everest Expedition or, to the audience that likes that kind of thing, The Daytona 500) - and if it were covered to bring those personal stories and that danger and adventure to life - wouldn't it work to push the sport up a few notches?

And if this were the case, wouldn't it serve to feed the club races, etc. just like Tiger Woods helped fuel the hunger for Golf, and Sig Hanson helped fuel the desire in young kids to be a chain-smoking, coffee swilling, foul-mouthed captain of a crab boat?

What do you think 39? I'm thinkin' hell yeah!

Last edited by smackdaddy; 04-24-2009 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 04-24-2009
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Trust me its the expense

We ment last night and pulled are plans for Block Island race week 2009.

EVERYBODY has there hand out making it the most expensive one in history WTF you enter a race week and have to pay EXTRA to get in to the awards tent ?

To race around here US-SAILING,LISYRA,PHRF,and a summer series entry of 215 dollars for a NON-YACHT-club menber so i am looking at well over 400 dollars to go around the cans for and hour with my kids on wed night

Mind you i can show up Thursday and do the same thing with 50 friends for free SO we do Thursday and i do Wed as a crew on a OPB


And i know whats involved because i was captian of J24 fleet 89 and WE did all the work to allways kept cost as low as possable


Or for example one current issue is we race on a 35' boat sunday it takes 7 crew to do spin RIGHT do we really want to spend another 150 bucks to have a hotdog and pick up the pickel dish
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  #28  
Old 04-24-2009
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The big problem with the 49er and skiff circuit was the same as when they brought the Red Bull Air Races to the Bay Ė Most of the action took far away from the viewers and it was cold and miserable to sit four hours in the stands as SFís notorious fog and wind blew by. Far easier to get a hundred thousand people to swill beer in Talladega. And those folks will be buying STP, SUNCO gas and what not the next week. What will us sailors be buying? New sails? Hardly. Heck, nobody here wants to pay list price for West Marine so how are they going to afford a million bucks to sponsor an event?

Back when Larry and Roberto were still friends they did a series of match races ostensibly to scout out potential AC venues. They got Moet to sponsor and set up bleachers on Marina Green, hospitality tents at StFYC and had luminaries like Paul Cayuard give running commentary over the PA system. Was a lot of fun, but again, most of the action took place far away and they had a constant problem in keeping the race course clear of spectator boats. Needless to say, San Francisco, one of the best sailing venues on the planet, was taken off the AC venue list.

I like sailing as a niche sport. Iíd rather share the water with a relatively few, skilled sailors than have to deal with a whole lot of yahoos whose only connection to sailing is watching it on TV and thinking how difficult can that be?
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Old 04-24-2009
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bljones - I think you've got it. Having raced in the 40 footers & windsurfers in the 80's, then given it up, your description might get me back in the game. And the times might be right for it. It wouldn't just be who has the biggest bank account.
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Old 04-25-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeB View Post
The big problem with the 49er and skiff circuit was the same as when they brought the Red Bull Air Races to the Bay Ė Most of the action took far away from the viewers and it was cold and miserable to sit four hours in the stands as SFís notorious fog and wind blew by.
have you seen the racing in swimming pools with the big fans, i really enjoy watching that, but it's a long way from the racing i'd take part in myself..?
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