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  #31  
Old 04-27-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stewsam View Post
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..?
Very true, and have you seen the price of those things? A cool $$ grand for a RC boat.
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  #32  
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Not RC boats!! Dinghys!

ISAF : Presti Wins Swimming Pool Race
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  #33  
Old 04-27-2009
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stew - dude, not exactly what I had in mind.
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  #34  
Old 04-27-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Then you have the ratings issue
You could suggest to the YC that PHRF ratings shall be displayed on the transom in letters no smaller than 6" tall. It would help, simple cheap fix.

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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?
This will be hard to overcome. Too many people (like GeorgeB, no offense) like being able to do something out of the ordinary, they like the challenge that sailing provides. There's nothing wrong with that, I'm just saying there are people out there that don't want to share sailing with the masses. They enjoy the upper crust company found at Annapolis yacht club and aren't in anyway interested in lowering the YC membership fees to boost numbers.

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On the other hand, you have the Vendee and VOR. Very simple rules - same types of boats (like Nascar)
Like one design, which has turned into a hypocracy of itself. The original plan of OD was to keep costs down by making everyone race the same boat. J boats know this, that's why J24 are still expensive, not b/c they're a great boat, only reason is that they have a strong OD fleet. Now you need to have the lightest (most expensive) equipment and new sails every 2 years to even dream of keeping up. PHRF, not so much. PHRF is more like racing in the Trans am series, or LaMans. Different cars on the same track at the same time.

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I honestly don't think it's the expense that's holding it back.
Buy ONE single laminate sail and then tell me it ain't expensive. Buy 100 feet of 3/8" warpspeed line for a halyard ($2.82+shipping = just under $300, oh btw you'll need atleast 3 halyards = $800), and tell me its not the money.

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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.
I agree, but corporate sponsors are not interested in a sport that the general public doesn't give 2 shats about. How many american kids play soccer, baseball, basketball, football, etc. now think about how many sail. People don't know the rules of racing b/c they haven't raced or seen it on TV. Everyone in the US knows what a first down in football means.

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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?
history plays a big part in the dayona 500. We need to get the AC back on track and out of the hands of Erne$to. That would be a great start.
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  #35  
Old 04-27-2009
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Good post zz. I think the paradox here is on the one hand trying to figure out how to make "club" racing more appealing to and popular for the "masses", and on the other, how to capture the adventure and excitement of extreme sailing. And, as you point out, they are really 2 completely separate things.

The crux of your argument is that the public doesn't give "2 shats about sailing". True. But the question remains: why?

It can't be just the expense factor - else there wouldn't be widespread interest in stuff like Nascar. And it can't be just the "elitist" factor - else, again, people wouldn't care about guys like Penske or Andretti and the teams they run. On the contrary, you have a huge base of southerners that drop loads of money into their '74 Novas for the Friday night races.

So is it rules? You bring up soccer. Rewind 20 years and how many kids played it in the US? How many understood the rules? And what's the saturation of the sport now in the US? We may still suck at it on an international stage - but there sure are a lot of kids playing it on weekends now.

At the end of the day - I have no idea how to fix the club racing issues (PHRF/OD/whatever). But, I don't think that's the area to focus. That's where the boredom is. It'll never work to ignite interest in the sport.

As far as helping the public toss out at least one shat about the sport - I still think that having some compelling event at the top of the sport, with exciting televised coverage of it - would go a long way toward doing that. And I'd personally vote the Vendee or VOR for that event over the AC any day. It just needs better coverage.

Either that, or I've woefully underestimated the appeal of pool/fan sailing.
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  #36  
Old 04-27-2009
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It'll never be that popular. Just not in the times. Back in the days before most of us - entertainment was as easy as switching the channel on a 100+ live in your home deal. When sailing was the "thing", it was because there was nothing to distract them and having an opportunity to hang out and be part of an event was the social norm. I really do not think it is so today.

Look at the sports pages, very little is given to local 3K events (running). Back when - you had a local 3K race it was at least covered in one major news source. As stated - most of the racing news in the PNW centers merely around carnage. Not really a spectator sport (like sitting and whiffing in co2 emissions in a stand watching cars go round and round in a circle (who said golf was boring)).

The more popular events in the PNW - are ones that provide some kinda entertainment venue. The Elliot Bay Downtown series for example - free to enter, the SYC hosts a free food and drinks - and if you are are a sailor and wanting to capitalize then - you get to the finish before everyone else and eats and drinks what is at hand. Pull in under the "sail until it is impossible" - you'll be greeted at the clubhouse with a smiles and not a bev unless you bring your own - good times none the less. Mind you this a race with the only real rule - don't hit anyone (other than that sail - motor - do what ya have to).

It actually has a huge turn out both sailing and spectators.

It is also probably a huge expense (this year Bank of America is no longer the sponsor and now it is Audi).

As for overall popularity, YCs don't have the money or the inclination to make it a spectator sport. They are lucky just to have a race, participaints and the what nots. The problem with sailing and racing now a days it all falls under the pretense "you have to solicit money to make money, so have them spend theirs" and the sailing community as it dwindles is ok to do spend that money. It is no longer about a real sport in terms of participating. No real drama related stories about comeback kids or anything - club racing is predicatable as it stands and that provides about interest as a bunch of 1st timers to golf playing to win a million dollar prize against "Tiger".
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  #37  
Old 04-30-2009
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Okay - so, Chall, how do we produce a "Deadliest Catch" version of the VOR next year? What are the logistics. We need to make this happen.
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  #38  
Old 05-01-2009
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Character development for starters.
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  #39  
Old 05-04-2009
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Smack,

Ok let me say from the outset as someone who is involved in Television and sailing, that my stance is that there is absolutely no reason why the two shouldn't be a great combination.

Having said that, I have been involved (at just a production level I must add) with the coverage of the Sydney to Hobart race in Australia on a few occasions with two different networks, and have always been bitterly disappointed with coverage that really failed to deliver to on its potential.

I agree that an event like the VOR is extreme enough and exciting enough that it should hold huge intrinsic interest.......Rob Mundle an Australian sailing journalist managed to write a best-seller( locally anyway) on it a few years back called 'Ocean Warriors'. It told the tale of the people and the phenomenal journey, and it's success is proof enough that this is definitely an event that people are interested in.

Logistically Smack?, well the moment you wanna do anything live it becomes a pain in the ass.

That has always been our problem with Sydney to Hobart we cover the start live, but with a limited budget and only a couple of cameras on a couple of boats, and so a few chopper shots of a bunch of boats in a harbour becomes old very quickly, and does not really convey the tension, adrenaline and anticipation that makes a Sydney to Hobart start line an unbelievably exciting place.

I think VOR would be similar, Start lines are exciting. This is where you get to show the andrenaline of yacht racing. This is the 'action-packed' bit.

I think then however on passage, you need to move past 'sport coverage' mode and then more into telling the stories.

Logistically I think it is all about having camera's and mic's on the yachts. Lots of unmanned Lipstick cameras, getting the crew to do video diaries etc. Interviews with them via Satellite Video Phone.
I think getting TV folk on the yachts would be hard. No VOR yacht wants the extra weight of a crew member who can't sail, is going to get in the way, not do watches and add unnecessary weight. A satellite uplink on every boat would mean you can turn the stuff around quickly (a couple of hours) to get something to air.

There is a couple of thoughts Smack, I need to reserach a bit more what they do logistically for the VOR now. I think the regular update shows etc they are doing are of a very similar nature to what I suggested above, so maybe the question is, if you haven't answered it already, what don't you like specifically about the current VOR coverage??
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Last edited by chall03; 05-04-2009 at 04:57 AM.
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  #40  
Old 05-04-2009
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Chall - thanks for the feedback mate. I knew you'd have some good insight.

Honestly I think the problem of the current race is that it is either "live" coverage of the race OR an after-the-fact documentary, both of which miss the mark.

I assume you're familiar with "Deadliest Catch"? That's more along the lines of what I'm talking about from a production/storytelling perspective. The after-the-fact, episodic nature of that show takes the logistics (and potential boredom) of live coverage out of the equation. It mitigates the risk - since the risk is so high already. They shoot during the several weeks of the two crabbing seasons (HDV on the boats, HD for everything else) - then bring back the footage, pull the story lines, edit it down, film more backstory as needed, then release it over 10+ episodes the following season. This also gives them a good deal of time to mine the story, get great b-roll, do back stories, etc. There's no time crunch in trying to coincide coverage as it happens - it's more about telling the story and putting the viewer there. And it's been a HUGE hit.

This is the kind of production approach I'm talking about. It could work for the VOR - at least from a production logistics approach.

The big hitch in it all, as you rightly point out, is having a production crew on the boats. To make this happen - I don't really see a way around that. Otherwise you're doing nothing new. They're already using lipstick cams, fully wired audio, sailor interviews, etc. But they're still missing the excitement.

So how do you get a skeleton crew of 2 on a race boat where minimalism is key? That I don't know. But, the more important question is why is everyone leaving SO much money and overall value for their event/sport on the table by not telling the story well? There has to be a way.

For example, maybe you enter 4 "production" boats into the race. They are skippered/crewed by pros but with the understanding that it's about the story, not necessarily winning the race. Although, of course, there would be a very tasty bonus on the table for any production boat that won. You could then rig the hell out of these boats and put people in the drivers' seat. The skippers and crew accept the challenge of being overweight and short-handed and will still race like hell. And the sponsors of these boats get a great deal of coverage. Everybody wins.

Hell, I'd watch it. If we're going to do this we'd better get started now!
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