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Global Team Racing Challenge
Team McLube


The Publisher

Jun 13, 2010, 10:30 AM

Post #1 of 3 (17443 views)
Global Team Racing Challenge Log-In to Post/Reply

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.

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.

How about:
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.

Ken Legler
ICSA coach of the 1985 British tour.


Jun 22, 2010, 11:25 AM

Post #2 of 3 (17385 views)
Re: [The Publisher] Global Team Racing Challenge [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Three cheers to Ken for picking up the idea of spreading the team racing spirit and running with it. Nothing breeds success like success and the BUSA tour has been a boon to collegiate sailing in the US and the UK for decades.

An international collegiate team racing tour has "win-win" written all over it. More than any other sailing discipline team racing engages its participants on multiple levels - there's the obvious --- athletic boat handling, rules knowledge and teamwork. But, there is also the less obvious but equally important - the team racing culture is all about comraderie and sportsmanship -- I know personally the great racing and life-long, international, friendships it encourages. What better way to achieve the Olympic credo - "higher, faster, stronger" and the Olympic goal of friendly competition among the youth of the world than a high energy and spectator friendly team racing event with a 100 races a day, in color-coded boats, at a venue close to shore. With good commentary, a video feed from the water and overhead, and interviews with the players on the Internet and TV, the spirit can grow virally (see what Sailgroove posted daily from this years ICSA/APS Team Race Championships at U-Wisconsin Madison or Gary Jobson's efforts to televise team racing for ESPN U).

But let's not stop with the college crowd. If we want to see team racing in the Olympics, we need to infect people at all levels of the sport - especially those who make decisions at national and international levels. Yacht Clubs and Sailing Associations across the US have built fantastic team racing programs as a major recruiting tool for new and younger members. Let's engage them in the effort too. It turns out, like tennis and golf, team racing is something that you can do forever. Clubs now host open, Masters and Grand Masters events in dinghies and small keel boats - let's invite participation from around the world and have the "adults" travel too.

As the new chair of the US Sailing Team Racing Committee, I'd love to hear more ideas about how we can spread the spirit around the US and the world - so please, continue the thread. ICSA, ISSA, Yacht Clubs - let's hear what you all have to suggest. And let's follow Ken's led and launch a plan. I'd sure like to be on the water in 2020 to hear the commentator say "Today's first race: Croatia versus Japan -- Japan leds off the line with a 1, 4, 5 but that's an unstable combination, Croatia's boat in third is trying to pass-back France's boat in fourth... Starting in two minutes it's the USA against GBR..."

Steven Wolff

The Publisher

Jun 22, 2010, 1:41 PM

Post #3 of 3 (17381 views)
Re: [swolff] Global Team Racing Challenge [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

* From Brent Boyd:
Ken Legler is lost in his own remote world concerning Team Racing. Most television viewers - and this is what it takes to make a sport take off - can barely understand what basic sailing is all about because they have never tried it therefore have no empathy or basis for comparison. Everyone has thrown a ball, run a footrace, or tried to jump over an object and knows the difficulty and limitations. Another step up in sailing is America’s Cup match racing as well as other match racing events; even with diagrams, virtual imaging, and excellent narrative I have non-sailing friends who barely understand the basics.

Team racing brings a whole new set of rules to flaunt, several unidentifiable boats to follow on maze like courses, and action so fast the average barca lounging, beer drinking viewer is hopelessly lost shortly after the start if not before. The channel is quickly changed to Star Trek reruns or NASCAR.

There are many more obstacles to overcome than perceived language differences. Sorry Ken, but you have a long, difficult hill to climb. I wish you the best of luck.

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