Chirps from Yacht Racing Forum

Published on December 7th, 2015

The Yacht Racing Forum is the leading annual conference for the business of sailing and yacht racing. The 2015 event is December 7-8 in Geneva, Switzerland. Here are some of the updates on day one from the Twitter account:

Ian Walker, Olympic medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper
– The sea is our playing field, let’s look after it. Three circumnavigations have shown the deterioration of the world’s oceans. Sustainability matters.
– Are kids getting over coached at youth level, so they leave the sport early?
– A lot has changed for the better in sailing, but are any more people taking part in the sport at grass roots level?

Alistair Fox, ISAF Events Manager
– Everything we are trying to do with the Olympics has the aim of helping other parts of the sport.
– We want to showcase the heroes in the Olympics.
– IOC is placing requirements for all Olympic sports to have people from every corner of the world competing at the Games.
– Probably been more media coverage of pollution in Rio, than about any other sport in the lead-up to the Games.
– Paralympic Sailing is now completely under the umbrella of ISAF. The Para chairman Betsy Alison is looking to get Para sailing back for 2024.
– With Robert Scheidt in the Laser, we could see up to half a million spectators watching the Olympic Regatta in Rio.
– Vital to create drama, create heroes in the Olympic Games. Rio is going to be a challenge for many reasons.

Volvo Ocean Race
– Hakan Svensson: We spent 9m euro on Puma in the Volvo Race and it took us 18 months to get 100m euro return on investment. I think that’s OK.
– Marketing director Gabriella Ekelund: Team SCA met or exceeded most of its Key Performance Indicators in the Volvo Ocean Race.
– Sarsfield Brolly: We went away from live coverage of Volvo Race, too expensive, went back to post-produced shows.
– Volvo Ocean Race’s Nick Bice: We used to be reactive in early days of VO70s, but now we apply expertise in different areas much earlier. We knew the sailors were going to treat the VO65s like a rental car, we had to overbuild them. Has seen three of the latest IMOCA 60s in build. He wouldn’t want to race them round the world in Vendee.

America’s Cup
– America’s Cup World Series UK director Rob Andrews talks about challenges of selling tickets at sailing events, especially when no racing. 40% of spectators at America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth were between 45 and 64 years old. Useful data for tailoring the America’s Cup spectator experience.
– Matt Sheahan, journalist: Trying to sell TV rights for 2013 Cup was a disaster. Making it free, plus that great finale, changed everything.
– Gary Jobson: Twice in my long career I’ve seen sailing reach far beyond its normal fan base – 1983 America’s Cup, and then the 1987 Cup.

Assorted
– Andrew Hurst, Seahorse editor: We are absurdly over coaching young sailors, few Optimist champions have gone on to win silverware.
– Andy Tourrell, Extreme Sailing Series event director: Extreme Sailing Series is constantly evolving, but always true to concept of ‘stadium sailing’. Going foiling must not compromise proximity to the shore.
– James Abraham, Sunset & Vine: The average age of a Facebook user is 38 years.

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