10 lessons ISAF can learn from Perth 2011 to help the World Cup Sailing

Posted on 12/10/11 in Sailing, No Comments

A commentary for moving sailing forward.


1. Location, location, location – nothing beats great sailing conditions like we have here in Fremantle. The sailors will put up with just about anything if their days on the water are excellent. That’s why Cadiz and Cascais have all been remembered fondly to date, while Qingdao is remembered as a bit of a joke.

2. Embrace social media, don’t regulate it out. Coaches in Perth have been given strict instructions not to bring their cell phones onto the water. The organizers want Perth2011.org to be the first location results get announced. That is a huge mistake. The direct video feed from a tight finish to the ‘fans’ of a sailor is one of the best ways to generate buzz. Why cut that off.

3. Marry media coverage to the racing, don’t just have them dropped on top of each other and hope it all works out. As the Ben Ainsley  punch up proves only too clearly, driving motor boats through an active racecourse is an accident waiting to happen. The 49ers have voted to adopt Theater Style racing after the London games. It is a format the media should be able to thrive on. The extreme sailing series and Americas Cup have also done amazing things with formats and media… though nobody I’ve ever spoken with prefers racing in a windless river

4. Professionalize what it important. The ISAF model relies on the tireless efforts of volunteers. Too many critical functions are left to these volunteers, however. It’s not for the lack of trying, but volunteers, be they local or international often are shy of the exact level of experience necessary to do the professional job they are asked to accomplish. I can’t help but think a former circuit coach would be able to put a cameraman into a great spot for a photo without ruining the race of the best sailor in the world.

5. Put the athlete’s village in site of the racecourse and flags. A massive athlete’s village has been erected here in Fremantle on the grounds of the local university. Unfortunately, it is just a bit too far away from the boat park so that sailors can’t hang out there because they can’t see the signal flags that tell them when to race. Nobody wants to miss a start to sit on an oversized piece of furniture

6. The Perth2011 organizers jumped on the trend to partner the regatta with concerts thereby bringing the sailors and public together. This is a fantastic strategy… but when you invite INXS to play and then charge the sailors a $100 entry you’re shooting yourself in the foot. A better choice is an up and coming local band with a grass roots following. The band gets a shot to step up and the sailors get to meet real locals who also have some passion… and nobody is paying $100.

7. Reuse the same sailing website. Every event organization develops their own web resource for their regatta. Be it Delta Lloyd, Sail for Gold, or here in Perth… the result is a ton of work and money spent for a website that must learn all the same lessons of those before it. As the Perth2011 regatta organizers found out only too embarrassingly on the first day when the results system crashed and they couldn’t publish the scores on the first day. Furthermore the navigation is always different and the public must always search to find out where to follow the event from. Don’t charge the sailors for the end of event party. An epic party is planned for Saturday, Dec 10th. Unfortunately, the organizers forgot to ask how much a sailor normally spends to go to a party, which is usually $0. Instead it was priced at the local rate, $225! The sailors just want to go hang out with each other anyways so that was never going to work.

8. Containerize all regatta equipment so it can be used event to. The $22m spent on this event is the entire budget for every sailing team in the world (taking out the brits). If ISAF and the IOC want sailing to spread to the world then there should be a good plan in place to do so. Blowing up the world cup circuit is not a solution to itself. First off, ISAF should have figured out a way to get everyone to attend MOCR and SailMelbourne. Each event in itself is a top notch event. Yet for years attendance has lagged behind the European events. Supplying shipping and having a coherent schedule would do wonders for these events and would likely get the top 25 in each class doing the whole circuit. Then and only then would be the time to venture farther out in the world.

9. Timing between events. Make it physically possible to ship the fleets between the world cup events. For example, it is physically impossible to get a boat from Perth 2011 to Miami Olympic Classes regatta. The earliest a shipping container can get delivered is Jan 26th, but the event starts on Jan 22nd. If either Perth or MOCR were in a different time slot it would have been a nice circuit to hit.

10. What’s your call… number 10 could be so many other things!

Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *