Sailing is not a spectator sport

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by CT249, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Well, Doug, the last time foiler spectator numbers came up here you made claims that were completely incorrect (ie you claimed that Brexit and terrorism caused the huge drop in attendance at the Portsmouth ACWS, which cannot be since the other major spectator events affected by those factors had no such decline). There's no reason to think that your claims about the numbers of people who want to watch foilers are any more accurate.

    Considering that last time your claims about foiler spectators were completely incorrect, you have no right to make slurs about other posters merely because your personal views on the issue are different to theirs. Please note the forum rules and stop misrepresenting and insulting what I have written and stop making slurs about the honesty of others.

    I note that you did not attempt to address the fact that extreme "visually exciting" events do not actually rate higher. That's a basic issue with the whole "make the boats more extreme and people will watch" that is always ignored by those promoting such boats.
     
  2. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member

    Maybe introduction of more gambling to sailboat racing might help, seems in NSW there's a hole opening in the market with the banning of greyhound racing, of course nobody watched that either...
    The whole accepted tv marketing of gambling is actually disgusting as we see with football..... & don't the kids love it, could well be best to keep sailing a secret.
    Jeff.
     
  3. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    =============================
    What I said was this:

    ------------------
    I have no confidence that your opinion -loosely tied to other events- is any more accurate than mine. You say I made claims that I did not make. I said you omitted major factors such as Brexit and recent terrorist activity in your "analysis" --which you did.
    You're the one that impugned my honesty as well as personally attacked me(post 28)---which you do if my opinion is different than yours.
    And for the record: I never suggested "making the boats more extreme and people will watch". That is simply false.
    You have a habit of stating your opinion as fact where anybody elses opinion is questionable at best. There is no proof whatsoever that the completely new boats(monofoilers) and concepts(GC32's racing as a team) would not improve viewership of Olympic sailing as well as possibly improving participation. Any so-called "facts" in support of your position are based on comparisons of completely different technology and no more credible than my opinion that these new technologies deserve a place in the Olympics and in televised sailing because they represent a new and visually exciting development in sailing never seen before in history.

    GC 32 picture by Sharon Green:

    [​IMG]

    GC32 by Gulain Grenier:

    [​IMG]

    Moth and Optis- photog unknown:

    [​IMG]
     
  4. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    It's a fascinating question, isn't it! Here's a list of TV ratings from 2012 in descending order, with the cumulative viewing hours. Info from
    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/which-countries-medal-in-the-sports-that-people-care-about/

    Track and field 2,300
    Swimming 1,509
    Gymnastics 1,442
    Soccer 1,300
    Basketball 804
    Diving 784
    Beach volleyball 781
    Cycling 564
    Badminton 562
    Volleyball 519
    Table tennis 461
    Judo** 443
    Tennis 371
    Weightlifting 320
    Wrestling** 318
    Boxing** 302
    Handball 265
    Field hockey 233
    Shooting 215
    Fencing 202
    Rowing 196
    Canoe/kayak 195
    Water polo 194
    Equestrian 181
    Archery 162
    Rugby* 141
    Synchronized swimming 113
    Triathlon 100
    Golf* 942
    Rhythmic gymnastics 92
    Taekwondo** 88
    Sailing 87
    Trampoline 67
    Modern pentathlon 32

    None of the most popular sports are very "visually exciting" or "extreme", with the possible exception of diving and the pole vault discipline of track and field - but of course judging from media profile, running events are much bigger than pole vault.

    The fact that sports in which the leader is easy to see rate well seems to underline the issue with the spectator appeal of boats that tack downwind.

    The figures above don't break canoe/kayaking down into separate disciplines, but figures for early Olympics clearly show that the events in which it's easy to see who is ahead and/or which have higher participation rates (ie the "boring" flatwater ones) rate higher.

    Events involving graceful somersaults etc rate well, but graceful events that may seem to be too much like dancing tank - even when they show off more of the body than beach volleyball.

    The fact that modern pentathlon combines the two most-watched sports with a bunch of medium-rated sport and then completely tanks must mean something; there's a bunch of possibilities.

    The thing that baffles me is why people cling so tightly to the belief that "spectacular" events rate well, when the figures for Olympics after Olympics show that they don't. It seems to be almost a religion; in fact someone I know has drawn parallels between those who claim that high-performance sailing is about to become popular with those who belong to doomsday cult. In both cases, people say fervently that the event is just around the corner, and each time it fails to occur as they claimed it would, they simply change the date to the future and keep on preaching, rather than trying to reflect on why their prophecies failed last time.

    Over time I'm slowly drawing up a last of the many public announcements from significant sailing figures about how "extreme" sailing was about to go big time. It's taking a while to put together because the same empty claims have been made since the '50s.
     
  5. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Doug - you claimed that "major factors such as the effect of recent terrorist activity and the effect of Brexit and its after-effects on the people" should have been taken into account when discussing ACWS Portsmouth numbers. There was no possible reason for you to raise them unless it was to imply that they were factors in the massive drop in spectator numbers.

    If you were not implying that the huge collapse in the ACWS numbers was related to Brexit and terrorism then why in the world did you choose to raise those factors?

    I raised the issue of your honesty because you claimed that what I wrote was ""pure nonsense" when it is an undeniable fact that people have in the past claimed that more exciting boats would raise Olympic ratings, and that has not occurred. The fact that I referred to was correct. For you to claim it was not implied that I was being dishonest. I was not.

    I did not, however, suggest that you made such a claim. I wasn't responding to you in that post. That post was in response to another poster. Why you believed it was about you, when it referred to 49ers, is up to you.

    I didn't say that there was proof that foiling would not raise ratings. I said that claims that moving to more "extreme" boats would raise ratings had been proven incorrect in the past.

    I am not stating my opinions as facts. I am stating facts, such as the figures from the IOC's, as facts. The IOC's official report is here;https://stillmed.olympic.org/Documents/Commissions_PDFfiles/Programme_commission/RIO2016_International_Federations_Report.pdf . That is not "an opinion".

    I am also (as the post below indicates) going off studies from independent academics and research so thorough that it includes corresponding with museum curators on isolated islands about 18th and 19th century developments in small craft design, as well as interviews with most of the world's top dinghy designers (and a bunch of multi and yacht designers). I am NOT claiming to always be right, but there is a huge amount of research behind the questions that are being raised.


    PS - as a matter of interest, isn't the Sharon Green pic clearly marked "copyright"?
     
  6. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    The greyhound guys may just start gambling on this; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYaBr7zMiaI . It still involves dogs and you could fix the owners, the judges OR the dogs.

    :)

    There's some interesting historical stuff about the influence of gambling on 19th century sailing and rowing. Rowing used to be a vastly more popular sport than sailing and (IIRC) horse racing in Sydney, but it collapsed partly due to gambling and the race fixing that comes with that. Daryl Adair from UTS has done some interesting work in the area.

    It's funny to see quite a few people who imply that the days when sandbaggers, skiffs and keelboats were involved in racing for big wagers were 'the good old days". The few accounts from those who were there sometimes speak of things like cheating, fear and corruption, and of owners of such dark character that their own crews were worried that they would murder someone. All that sort of stuff puts the efforts of those who wanted to drive such activity out of the sport into a different light.

    It may be significant because there are many claims made about the popularity of skiff racing around that time, but it turns out that even then many more people watched "two dots in the distance" (to use Adair's description) racing on flat water. Since people have preferred to watch rowing than skiffs for over a century, and still do, it's odd that so many people in the sailing media keep on claiming that more extreme boats will lift ratings.

    It could also be that the change in rowing boats from more stable and usable "skiffs" to the specialised outrigger shells also played a part, but no one seems to have studied that.
     
  7. Barra
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    Barra Junior Member

    ^^ Thanks CT249, really interesting info you are posting.

    I wonder if all the new tech classes we are seeing are actually damaging the profile of sailing through reinforcing the elitist profile the sport carries.

    Certainly isn't getting any cheaper to compete.

    Personally have never enjoyed watching equestrian events as always viewed it as some rich ******* bouncing around on the back of a weed spreading chaff burner. If I Did watch then I always rooted for the horse to dislodge the freeloader on its back.

    Maybe a bit of this attitude from the ignorant for the sailing.
     
  8. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member

    I like it...The addition of doggy mascots to the craft might seem to help given their popularity on youtube, maybe cats too, just gotta keep them doing cute stuff to win the ratings. My employer has a dog for the purpose of keeping seagulls off the wharves, seems more popular than the other attractions.

    Jeff
     
  9. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

    I look at the ratings and wonder if it isn't tied more directly to what sports people feel they have a direct stake in. Running is very popular, lots of adults do it and constantly attempt to push their own PB. They are also likely to have kids who do little athletics so there is a tie in for their children's interest too. It has a direct link to health and fitness in a progressively more sedentary world.

    If I mention I'm into sailing most people are interested to know more about it and most see it as somewhat quaint or elitist. That I think is tied into the popularity of sports, low entry equipment requirements and ease of competing in organized events. In sailing that used to be served by having lots of old beater dinghies and beach cats that were suitable for beginner sailors available. Now that supply has dried up somewhat and the general community interest has dropped it has effects on the entry cost and popularity of sailing. My local yacht club feels more like gods waiting room than a fun and funky place to be. It has the requisite group of old guys propping up the bar and has vastly more social members than active sailing members.

    The fact that most regattas when viewed from the shore appear little more than sails in the distance doesn't help either. The whole boat performance argument to my mind is way oversold. I can see a jetski flogging along at top speed it wont make me want to look at it or be impressed by the speed. Why would a faster sailing boat attract my attention over and above my already stated interest in sailing and watching boats that are derisively dismissed as slow floaters in comparison to the latest foilers?

    In the days when sailing was doing well lots of people had trailer sailors, dinghies, keelboats or knew someone who did. I'm sure people look around at what their neighbours do and the community at large and that influences their decisions as to what they get involved in or take an interest in.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
  10. Barra
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    Barra Junior Member

    All good points Corley'

    Why then should we give a toss if sailing is a spectator sport or not?

    I was one of those that ran out and bought a windsurfer when they first hit our shores. Yes the one with the teak booms and timber dagger.

    Through word of mouth we organised races and fun sails at different locations around Perth on the weekends. There was no yacht club involvement. Turnouts that clubs would dream of currently.

    We eventually talked NYC into running our first state title.
    The yacht clubs eventually accepted windsurfing as sailing and not a circus act.

    Windsurfing died for me when the "gear" arms race started. This was not what the concept was about.

    30 years later when I stopped regular competitive sailing it was because I had had a gut full of the ******** from the clubs and the AYF. Not because I fell out of love with sailing.

    Those looking for answers as to to the decline of sailing would do well to look elsewhere and not at the media coverage angle.

    IF PEOPLE WANT TO SAIL THEY WILL SAIL
     
  11. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

    Agreed, I think chasing mass market and spectator appeal is a waste of time for sailing. Rebuild sailing from the inside out and make the fun and adventure and family aspects central to the experience. I think sailing can stand on it's own as a pastime, I still remember the first time as a kid I sheeted in the main on a dinghy and went sailing with my dad.

    P.S. CT, love your blog have been reading your well researched articles with great interest.
     
  12. Barra
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    Barra Junior Member


    Linky?
     
  13. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

  14. oldsailor7
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    oldsailor7 Senior Member

    I disagree with this emphatically. During the decade of the 1970's, we, that is Jillian and I, sailed exclusively with girl crews. Sure they looked good ,and we dressed them up with white bell bottom trousers and light blue, well fitting tops, with our boats name on them.
    But this wasn't for show, because all our girls had come from racing dingy and beach cat backgrounds.
    As a result we found girls, as racing crew, were amazing. They all had that killer instinct. They wanted to win. They knew what to do with one word and , and never argued with the skipper. :p
    In those days, in Toronto, all the yachts, mono and multi, sailed together in harmony. We all sailed in the different classes with 5 min intervals between starts. Small monos first, medium, then biggest and multihulls last.
    Our girl crew drew great respect. When we rafted up at the hosting clubs dock after the finish, the crew of the biggest mono, a 60 ft C&C sloop would all come and clamber over our Crowther racing trimaran, with their tinnies, to chat up the girls which had beaten them. We all had great fun.
     

  15. OzFred
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    OzFred Senior Member

    Your sarcasm–o–meter may need recalibration. ;)
     
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