Official RS:X Olympic Windsurfing Class Website

The World is Changing Fast: Can Sailing Keep Up?

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We agreed yesterday that there are always people, be they windsurfers
or not, who are reluctant to accept change. They know what they have
always done works for them, are comfortable with it and find it easy to
pick holes in new ideas.

It's always easy to do that isn't it?

The trick is to harness the ideas of those most against change to leverage the evolution required to meet the challenge set by the IOC. Namely that sailing does more to make itself spectator friendly and attractive to the media.

It's easy to look back and say that sailing will never achieve these goals because it never has in the past.

But the world is changing fast. Technology is evolving very quickly indeed. Only this week, we have heard that the umpires for the 34th America's Cup will probably never go on the water. Instead they will make their 'calls' using simplified rules and new technology from a booth on the shore.

At Olympic Class level, the necessary technology is available to relay live images from the water direct to the Internet complete with LIVE commentary and if it's able to do this, those images can be relayed to mega screens on the beach too.

The thing is that spectators do not go to a sporting venue to watch large TV screens alone. They go to see the action happening LIVE right in front of them. This requires that we pay much more attention to venue selection as the Extreme Sailing Series are doing.

They said today that ...

"First and foremost, we are looking for (sic) a suitable venue that can facilitate the 'stadium' racing concept, that has strong support from local governments and authorities, that has the ability to attract tens of thousands of spectators and that has a solid regional and national marketing & communications plan"

In there somewhere, other technical issues, like the prevailing wind conditions, will be factored in but first and foremost they are looking for a suitable venue to facilitate 'stadium' racing or as the RS:X Class call it "City Centre Racing".

This short course racing gets easier to run each time the number of sailors are reduced and incidentally more fun for the spectators to watch.

For racing outside the Olympic Sailing Regatta, the proposal is to split the top half of the fleet -max 64 - into groups of 16 and race a quarter final, semi final and final. Each taking place on one day. This will reduce the amount of 'down-time' to a minimum and ensure that competitors can easily keep track of developments in just the same way as the crowd of spectators.

The final would be the best of three races with the bottom 50% being eliminated after each race. The winner of the last race would be the gold medallist.

Got a comment? Have an idea? Then please contact us with your thoughts...

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 02 March 2011 15:09 )