Jun 13, 2010, 10:30 AM
I hereby challenge the ICSA (Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association) to take the lead in getting team racing into the Olympics by 2020. Here is a possible road map to Team Racing 2020.
Global Team Racing Challenge
Our college sailing tour of the British Isles takes place every four years with BUSA (British Universities Sailing Association) sailors coming here in between. How about we take our tour on the road every summer beyond the British Isles. We need to hit non-English emerging nations that have great influence within ISAF.
2011: South and East Asia. Stops could include the World University Games near Hong Kong for sure but also possible stops in Mumbai, Singapore, and Tokyo.
2012: South America. How about Southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Brazil is a powerhouse in international sailing, Argentina has been a major force in Opti team racing, and Uruguay has been very good at the World Youth Champs. Could we fly to Ecuador and Southern Peru also?
2013: British Isles plus. The Brits have all the team racing infrastructure in place, that part is easy. How about including Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Marstrand and Kiel?
2014: Southern Europe. Go Italy, Switzerland, Croatia, and Greece.
It will be very easy to say "too hard, too expensive." Of course it will be hard, that's the challenge.
Sponsorship? Small amounts might come from orgs like ICSA, NEISA, Southport, New York YC and all the home clubs of the participants.
What about companies doing business in the the US and nations on the tour? They too are looking for emerging nations and new horizons.
Boats and Sails? There must be retired I-420s becoming institutionalized all over the world. It would be cool for us to sail anything though. How about we ship six colored main and jibs made to fit old I-420s, with sponsor logos of course. Perhaps these sails can be fitted with a place for the names of other countries we face. Bring bumpers and white duct tape too.
Trophies? We donate permanent trophies to live at their sites.
Educating? We provide team racing clinics for their youth teams in exchange for a chance to play in their boats. Our coach takes on many roles including, but not limited to: fund raiser, organizer, clinic director, commentator, writer. Meanwhile our sailors become team racing ambassadors which includes learning new languages and switching teams a bit.
Why is spreading team racing so hard? Language. Virtually all the medalists in the eight team racing worlds held to date have been from English speaking countries; namely USA, GBR, NZ, AUS, and IRE. Just as American football is hard to translate to the masses when compared to soccer; so is team racing, when compared to match racing. It can and must be done, however. When watching random sports of the Games on TV, we viewers become experts in two nights. Even non-sailors can be experts in basic combinations after watching two sessions with a good commentator.
We better hurry. There is a rumor that ISAF might lower the status of the Team Racing Worlds if more countries don't show up. There is currently no avenue to the worlds following Opti TR worlds. Let's change that. ICSA needs to help other nations enjoy team racing as soon as the next World University Games if not sooner. The USA used to dominate Olympic sailing medals, 1984-92. Then the other countries starting taking these medals seriously, very seriously. Perhaps they could be encouraged to do the same in team racing.
Thanks to Steve Wolfe for this idea of spreading the tour. Thanks to Bruce Hebbert (GBR) for believing in 2020 team racing. Thanks to Gary Bodie for his role in the World University Games and to Mitch Brindley for positioning the ISCA to enhance its role there.
ICSA coach of the 1985 British tour.