Sailing is not a spectator sport

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

  1. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member

    I'd like to think extreme might be circumstances driven... like quiet lake sailing in a gentle breeze as to big breeze & large swell in something as simple as a laser... or canoeing a quiet reach to some rapids... or walking in a grassy field to up a treacherous mountain, same human but differing levels of fitness..
  2. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Plenty of fast non-foiling cats have been called "extreme", as in the "extreme sailing series". The older (defunct) Nacra 17 was advertised by some as a boat for "extreme sailing", and F18s etc have been called "extreme". In some ways it's a silly term, and to use it for many X-Game type sports is a debasement of the French climbers who created the term. It was merely intended in the same way it has been used by others; as a shorthand way of describing very fast craft that (some say) will attract more interest into the sport.

    On the other hand, the Nacra 17 is faster than 96% of cats (SCHRS figures) and is the fastest boat its length, so would be well in the top 1% of all sailboat classes in terms of speed. Many would call something well into the top 1% as 'extreme' in some way.
  3. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    Well, if extreme doesn't mean that then there's something very badly wrong with my dictionary.
  4. Blether
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    Blether Junior Member

    How hard would it be to arrange a live camera feed from each boat? A GoPro-type camera on a 2-axis mini-gimbal on an arm mounted on the transom isn't enough weight to affect performance. The transmission set can be mounted more centrally.

    Add in commentary from proper experts and you'll soon have a show that'll draw in an audience:
  5. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    But they've already got camera feeds on the boats, and it's not drawing much of an audience.

    Just look at the changes that have been made to the AC in pursuit of the spectator;

    1- They've gone from one race a day to several;
    2- They've spent tens of millions on broadcast technology;
    3- They've tripled the speed of the boats;
    4- They've brought in course boundaries;
    5- They've brought in a complete ACWS;
    6- They've adopted multis;
    7- They've adopted foilers;
    8- They've brought in live aerial filming;
    9- They've brought in onboard cameras;
    10-They've brought in live commentary;
    11-They've shortened the courses.

    If all of those changes (and more) haven't done the trick, why will commentary from "proper experts" suddenly make it all work?

    It's not as if people haven't been saying "all they need to do is X" for the past couple of decades. Time and time and time again we keep on getting told "success as a spectator sport is just around the corner". Maybe now it's time to stop assuming that success is just a couple of steps away?
  6. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Very true!
  7. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    spectator sport

    No matter how good all these changes are when "management" makes a decision to move the Americas Cup venue from San Francisco to Bermuda something is very, very wrong-in my humble opinion.
  8. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    They have done the trick for me! I am loving the media output and all of my viewing is counted (unlike TV).

    Compared to AC past, I think the latest is a great gift to sailing of media technology. The last Volvo is also commendable for it's coverage.

    Blether, I think you are absolutely right -cameras should be standard. They cameras don't need to be $200-500 go pros. Waterproof cameras are $50 with enough memory to cover a race in high def. If cheap cell phones were used the broadcast could be monitored real time with GPS and gyroscope included. Fouls could be called with great accuracy -even without any officials on the course.
  9. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    When I think "extreme sports", I think sports that put your life on the line.

    I think the French mountain climbers would agree,
    as would American big rock climbers,
    Mini class ocean sailors, and certainly Vendee challenge ones, and their like.

    Other than that, I think the word is now mostly advertising hyperbole.

    I agree that there should be at least some foiling in the Olympics. Foiling under sail is a reality and it is not likely to go away. Even so, it is a specialty sub-sport of sailing, which IMHO is never going to be a major part of it.

    IMHO, making more and more of the Olympic sailboats more and more endurance and physical strength tests, as well as un-obtainably expensive, is going to have the opposite effect to the one intended.

    To most of us mere mortals, the sport of sailing is one that is more skill than of physical prowess, more like golf than cycling.

    IMHO, it can never be a spectacle, like gymnastics, where the drama is to see the very limits of what the human body can do.

    At best, its fans are to be those who are sailors themselves.

    Even then, it is a sport where nature has the last dibs.

    You can control most of the conditions of a high jump, or gymnastics for that matter, even the temperature and the humidity, if you have an enclosed, air conditioned stadium.

    With sailing, you have to take the conditions as they come on the event day, be they near flat calm, or near gale.

    Dumb luck is as likely to determine the out come, as actual sailing skill, especially if the skill levels of all the sailors in the event are about the same. For this reason, there is no such thing as a legitimate record, such as the fastest 400 meter run, only the somewhat more dubious one of total number of races won--the more races in this number, the more legitimate the record.

    My suggestion is to have at least one class where the boat is much use among the sailing community, or at least very familiar. And this boat should not be overly expensive, or overly complex. It should also be trailerable.
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  10. Blether
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    Blether Junior Member

    CT249, yes, and yet again I think the America's Cup is a different game altogether. It's like "why don't top fuel dragsters have the same audience that F1 does?", because they're both based on cars. The AC is about the ultra-rich playing with their money. And I guess Bermuda's a tax dodge.

    It takes time to build an audience, but the Olympics are a good starting point.
  11. Barra
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    Barra Junior Member

    For those interested the Etchell worlds are on.

    Some very low budget, read boring, videos posted each day.

    The main attraction is the real time tracker.

    Great watching the races unfold with Bertrand (currently leading) making safe
    middle of the line starts and sticking to the middle of the course, playing it safe.

    The pace may be glacial (5 knots upwind) but the racings great.
  12. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    It's amazing to see how few "Corinthians" there are in that fleet. Good to see yet another NSW Laser sailor on the leading boat, though!

    I've just been playing with numbers about the Olympic classes. While many people keep screeching about the need to get viewers, the official IOC documents show how highly they rate international entries and success. They list each sport according to the entries and medals won by each of the five "continents" (as defined by the IOC, not geographers).

    It's interesting to see that since 1992 and until 2016, not one Asian country had entered a cat and only one African country has entered the cats, finishing second last. In 2016 we had an Asian and African cat which is great, although they were last and second last. It would be interesting to find out why there has been a change.

    Similarly, the 49ers have seen basically no Asian or African representation. In contrast, the windsurfers and Radials have seen Asian sailors win medals. In fact if it wasn't for the politics that saw Israel squeezed out of Africa into Europe (for the IOC's purposes) sailing would now be looking pretty healthy in terms of the spread of medals because of Gal Fridman's windsurfing success.

    The yacht classes have been disasters in terms of spreading medals and entries around, with the exception of the Brazilian Star successes. Although the yachts should (IMHO) be in the Games as they represent so much of world sailing, they've shot themselves in the foot by not building up truly worldwide classes.

    So the "spectacular" classes are actually posing a problem for sailing and its attempts to remain in the Olympics, because they make the problem of lack of African and Asian entries and success even worse. That's not saying they shouldn't be in the Games (hey, I just bought a new cat myself) but it does show that the way some people want to push the sport could bring major problems.
  13. Barra
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    Barra Junior Member

    Another problem has just come to mind while watching the start of the Etchell worlds.

    In race 9 we are up to start attempt number 11. Reasons: general recalls , windshifts and poor visibility due to fog. Not necessarily in that order.

    Good luck with getting the tides , wind and atmospherics as well as the competitors eagerness to get a good start to fit into a prime time TV spot.:p

    I think we are now a couple of hours into cutting donuts (very slow but tactical:) 4.9 knot ones) in the start area and still no action.
  14. Blether
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    Blether Junior Member

    Surfing's built itself an audience. Ski-ing's popular enough.

  15. OzFred
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    OzFred Senior Member

    Minor quibble, it's the Echells Worlds.
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