I’ve just been thinking, as I struggle to outlive the last 8 days until I swap jobs, what sailing could do to make things a little more exciting. As a sport, sailing is never going to reach the likes of football or rugby in viewing statistics etc. You aren’t surprised? Didn’t think so… Yet for the people who are fans, why don’t we shake things up a little?
I’ve come up with 10 amazing ways to make sailing a totally awesome sell out sport (sell out as in selling tickets, or selling out? Hmmm)
1: New rules to insist all boats run on foils.
2: Over the top American commentators. “Team McDonalds showing their bouncebackability!”
3: Effeminate umpires on jetskis, dressed like badgers (black and white, not actual badgers. That would be silly) charging around the race course making elaborate penalty decisions with arm gestures and whistles. “2 minute minor for unnecessary roughness”
4: Penalty bins
5: Cheerleaders (and yes, I am being serious on this one.)
6: Legalised fighting. No more rules etc, just duke it out if you feel wronged..
7: Extra time multi-ball (not sure why, saw it on an advert)
8: Rolling substitutions. Nice lanky crew for the upwind legs, who tags in a demon powerhouse for downwind.
9: Rather than races, why not have one boat dressed up as a rodent, complete with fake plastic rodent teeth, and several boats dressed up as gangsta cats?
10: Running out of ideas, so lets go with each boat must have a trained monkey as part of the crew. Called Mojo.
As you can probably figure out, I’m not entirely serious (except for the cheerleaders and fighting). My point is that although we seem to be receiving some hefty changes to the classic format of racing, I’m not entirely sure it’s needed.
Sailing is never going to be a majority sport, and will never be watched on TV by large audiences who don’t know the rules. Why do we try to make a regatta exciting to watch with the medal race? Surely the best performer over the week deserves to win? Why does the 49er need a rig change? Surely it’s fast enough as it is? Finally, why would we EVER want to get a 49er up onto foils, or any other two man skiff for that matter?
If we want to play a majority sport, take up ice hockey for the fights, penalty bins, and rolling subs, American Football for the cheerleaders, baseball for the commentators, rugby for the referees and a little bit of 5th gear for the rodent versus cat shenanigans. Sailing is a sweet sport, enjoyed by people around the world. Lets leave it that way?