Promote participation by listing crew

Published on January 24th, 2022

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
Are you old enough to remember when major league baseball players didn’t have names on the back of their uniforms? The first thing you’d see at the ballpark was a small stand with a vendor yelling, “Programs, Programs…you can’t tell the players with a program”.

While heightened media has improved our familiarity with baseball players, sailing still struggles to highlight the players.

As race management systems have evolved, the shift toward online scoring has had a massive impact for connecting the race course to race fans. However, like most technology, the benefit is only as good as the people providing the information.

When entering a race, listing crew names is often omitted. It got bad enough for the J/70 Class to require it. I suspect it was an oversight for some skippers but hiding the identity of high level crew prior to an event also seemed strategic.

Going to the online results, and clicking on the boat reveals the crew list. But if they aren’t inputted, they aren’t available, which is a shame as credit and exposure should be extended from stem to stern.

One of the close battles at the 2022 Southernmost Regatta was in the J/111 Class which ended in a tie between Andrew and Sedgwick Ward’s Bravo and Ian Hill’s Sitella, with Bravo winning on countback. When the final report listed the full crew on the Bravo team, it was facilitated by their names being online. As for Sitella, only well-known tactician Terry Hutchinson was mentioned.

“It was great to read about the most recently completed Southernmost Regatta, but an important part was left out of the report,” said Hutchinson in an email to Scuttlebutt. “It properly mentioned the entire Bravo team which had an excellent week and were worthy winners. However, I feel that it is important though to highlight the entire Sitella crew as well.

“Led by owner-helmsman Ian Hill, mainsheet trimmer Bubba Martin, upwind/downwind trim Joe Gibson, pit Jenn Norwood, mast-man Sam Neubert, Floater Chuck Eberwine , and bowman Sean Henry, we fell short on the tiebreaker but the entire Sitella team raced hard displaying an entire team effort.”

It’s great for Terry to extend props to the team, but someone should have entered their names in the scoring program, though the winning crew were also not listed in the GL52, ORC, and J/70 Classes. In this online world, particularly with the focus on sharing, promote participation by including crew names.

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