Are we better off now than before?

Published on October 12th, 2022

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
The Yacht Racing Forum is the leading annual conference for the business of sailing and yacht racing, and after being cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, returns in 2022 on November 21-22 in Malta. It will be the 13th edition, and it is generally focused on how people can monetize the sport.

I used to rant a lot about event communication, creating an index for my wisdom, and found the forum has a session on the latest trends in communication and marketing, and how these can be applied to the sport. The panel is predictably led by people seeking to get jobs applying all these latest trends.

Of course there needs to be comms, and there always has been. However, with the arrival of the internet, and then social media, it has been this free-for-all of applying all these tools that events now ‘must have’. But do we really need them?

Event comms have three purposes. Before the event, they are to create interest in participating and inform participants. Once the event begins, comms are to promote future interest in the event and boat type(s). The third purpose throughout is to promote the host and sponsors.

But who pays for all this, and who is best to assume responsibility? The reality is to do a meaningful job, it is a significant expense that must be justified. Is it bolstering participation? Who is paying for it? Is this ego-driven? Most of the time it seems like another layer of complexity for hosting events that has risen the cost to participate.

The International Snipe Class shared a report by Pietro Fantoni on the topic, and I can certainly relate to the closing statement:

“In the sailing world, even just in the last 20 years, communication has changed a lot, if we look at the form and content of the news, but also at the medium on which the news is published: print magazine, website, newsletter, blog, social media. The medium has certainly changed the form and content of the news and also the reader’s habits.”

This is Scuttlebutt’s 25th year of providing sailing news, and we have seen all the trends. Are we better off now than before? What do you think? Send comments to

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