Money versus impact in sailing

Published on May 19th, 2021

In a recent episode of the Yacht Business & Sailing Podcast, Mark Turner (left above, formerly of OC Sport and The Ocean Race) discussed the changing nature of sponsored sailing campaigns.

Gone are the days of sponsors just being the wallet so that people can go yachting. Teams and programs need to attach themselves to a larger cause, whether it be the reduction of single use plastic or promoting ideas around sustainability.

With the right combination of platform, audience, cause and brand, sailing is well positioned to deliver messages around the globe, leveraging the basic ideal of being ‘powered by the wind.’

There are many opportunities in offshore sailing at the moment – from The Ocean Race to The Ocean Globe Race – that offer sponsorship platforms for different sailing audiences. Events like the Vendee Globe also allow for SME sailing sponsors to participate due to a well structured ecosystem in countries like France.

On the other hand, the USA still has a more traditional approach to sailing and remains an ‘elite yacht club’ based sport that relies on rich private owners rather than commercial sponsors to drive the sport.

Sailing is well placed to help sponsors who currently support sports like the Formula E which seem to be facing some challenges.

In this wide ranging discussion, Mark Turner, who has been away from the sport of sailing for a while, talks about where the sport is at, including getting more women into the sport, the success of the French sailing sponsorship model, offshore sailing in the Olympics and how to tackle sustainability head on so that the sport has credibility as a platform for change.

To listen, click here.

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