Living in the Scuttlebutt World
Published on March 16th, 2023
by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
When I released my soliloquy about how one of US Sailing’s iconic events will be won not by onboard talent, but by the best at “joysticking a 3-foot toy,” the online reaction was swift. The 2023 Championship of Champions would be competed in Radio Controlled DragonFlite 95s and I didn’t like it.
Most of the comments fell into three categories: people who thought the story was an April Fool’s joke (and said some not-so-nice things about US Sailing), those that thought it was good for the sport, and active RC sailors who thought it was a bad idea.
This was from Hall of Famer and iconic yacht designer Bruce Farr:
“Despite being a DF 95 regular sailor, and having sailed the DF 95 among many skippers who might be invited to a US Sailing Championship of Champions event, I agree with Craig’s sentiments that it is a wrong choice for this event for all the reasons he lists.
“RC sailing is very specialized in its own way, not quickly picked up by even experienced sailors. The AMYA, responsible for RC model yacht racing in the USA, already has a Champions event. Why would US Sailing want to upstage the AMYA, and don’t they already have a handful with the classes they do manage?
“However, I want to come and watch this event as it should be hilarious entertainment! I hope it is streamed!”
An area of the sport in which you do need to be onboard is at the Olympic Games, though building interest in the USA has been a struggle. I put a portion of the blame on today’s athletes who can’t adequately share their experiences. Bring us in on the journey and we will care.
But the comms within the US Olympic Program is also not great, and the turnover of administrators is a continuing concern. I caught up with the recently resigned Executive Director Paul Cayard for his view.
Thankfully, competing in the Olympics remains an unmatched experience that is worthy of the sacrifice needed. Hopefully the upcoming generation will see through the fog and pursue this lofty goal.
My intention to compete this weekend in the 2023 Sailing World Regatta Series – San Diego changed when the event organizers failed to grasp – again – the local market and resist any feedback on how to gain interest in their random leg division. Thankfully, March Madness will keep me busy… go Gonzaga Bulldogs!