Dec 9, 2010, 9:08 PM
Post #12 of 18
Surely Paul Henderson's comments are correct, BUT let us explore this subject further. Is it really true that the "equipment" and its size does not matter?
Re: [The Publisher] Focus on Heroes and Stop Prostituting the Sport
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Sailing has the advantage over many other sports that spectacular "equipment" can potentially add a lot to the public image and media attractiveness of the sport. If we go back to the pre-WWII years of the Olympics, the larger keelboats that were used were Skerry Cruisers/Square Meter Yachts and Meter Yachts. At that time these boats were the most advanced, fastest and beautiful yachts ever produced.
I believe that the public image and media attractiveness of Olympic sailing would increase dramatically today if we learned from Olympic sailing a century ago, as well as from the America's Cup, and allowed each country to participate with a 12 Meter yacht again! Our entire Western tradition of recreational sailing was shaped by early sailing heroes like Lipton, Fife, Herreshoff, Vanderbilt, Sparkman & Stevens, etc.
Paul Henderson is also right when he says that sailing will "never" be dropped from the Olympics. Sailing represents freedom, adventure, heritage, competition, glamor, technology, nature, oceans, wind power, and many other positive attributes.
Would a 12 Meter Olympic keelboat match racing discipline attract the very best sailing heroes in the world (think Conner, Bond, Koch, Bertrand, Melges, Turner, Coutts, etc.)?
Would the size, beauty, majesty, heritage, glamor and inspiration of a 12 Meter Olympic "flagship" yacht attract millions of potential new sailors to the sport, and thereby indirectly benefit all the less expensive and widespread boat classes, and attract more sponsors than small boats?
Without a doubt!
Furthermore, the America's Cup defender abandoned the 12 Meter Yacht (IACC) just at a time when large developing countries, like China, were finally able to participate. With the ISAF and IOC stepping into this vacuum, and re-introducing the Olympic 12 Meter Yacht (IACC) in 2016, China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, etc. will be able, for the first time, to put together their own national 12 Meter Yacht teams, and significantly raise the profile of sailing in these countries representing 3 billion people, and inspiring millions of new sailors!
This new Olympic 12 Meter yacht will be a strict one-design class, supplied only by a few ISAF appointed builders, to keep costs down. The objective is to create a large beautiful "flagship" to show the glamor and heritage of sailing to the remaining 3 billion people in the developing world, like China, India, Brazil and Indonesia, who have never experienced this, and these developing countries can now afford to buy such a boat. You need to inspire the grassroots to become grassroots.
Combining the greatest sailing heroes of all times AND the most impressive and beautiful Olympic 12 Meter Yacht "flagship" would not only help sailing in the Western world, but also bring the sport to a whole new world which has never experienced sailing.
Nis Peter Lorentzen
12 Meter Yachts:
6 Meter and 12 Meter Yachts at the 1936 Olympics:
SK30 Square Meter Yachts / Skerry Cruisers: