Being strategic to maintain momentum

Published on March 15th, 2021

One of the questions during the coronavirus pandemic for each race organizer is determining the goal. Is it to set marks and blow horns, or is it to host an event? Some regattas are just about racing, while others have a social aspect.

When the 2021 Long Beach Race Week was cancelled, they noted that without their traditional parties and other historical features, it just wouldn’t be Long Beach Race Week. The marquee regattas are more than just about racing, and generally have a premium entry fee, but if racing is all they can offer, there’s risk of them losing their relevance.

Over in Europe, they faced a similar dilemma with the 2021 edition of Lake Garda Optimist Meeting which attracts hundreds of international youth sailors every year to Riva del Garda in Italy. In 2012, the event set the Guinness World Record for the largest sailing regatta of a single class with 1,055 participants.

While the Italian government would allow the event to take place from a regulatory point of view, the ongoing health restrictions would still impact the opportunity for the children who gather from all over the world to have playful fun, leading the organizers to postpone the start of the 39th edition from April 1 to May 20.

“The fundamental reason that prompted us to take this decision was that of keeping the Lake Garda Optimist Meeting, as the name itself recalls, an opportunity for meeting, aggregation, and sharing; a sailing festival in short,” explained Alfredo Vivaldelli, President of Fraglia Vela Riva.

“The current conditions would not have allowed us to keep these promises which are the soul of the regatta that for years has made the name of the Fraglia Vela Riva shine in the World, and hence we took the choice to delay a bit and postpone the 39th edition to May.”

Successful events have a brand, and removing the attributes that contribute to their success may not be the best strategy to maintain momentum through this health crisis.

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