Never Say Never
Despite endless proof to the contrary, there still remains a cadre of holdouts who seem unable to let go of their mantra that “sailing will never be a spectator sport.” Hell, even Hobie Alter and Dennis Conner told us as much during their Innerviews last year, but if you’re not as old as these guys, you really don’t have any excuse for this archaic thinking anymore.
It’s nearly impossible to ignore hundreds of thousands of people turning out for sailing events; like the fabulously successful iShares Cup, the Vendee Globe start, and the more and more near-to-shore events that seem to be popping up lately. Or how about the millions of viewers around the world of the race trackers that are part of almost every major race now? What about the hugely popular Volvo Ocean Race Game, Gucci spectating solutions like the MedCup’s Virtual Spectator, post-race trackers like Kattack, and of course, near live (and soon to be fully live) video coverage from On-The-Water Anarchy? Never mind Morning Light’s flop in US theaters; the fact is that sailing is now on the minds of more of the public than ever before. If you want some visual proof, start with this photo, taken by our friends at the Swedish Coast Guard during the Stockholm VOR in-port race.
There are 2808 spectator boats in that photo, with an average of about 15 living, breathing people on each one. That means that more than 42,000 people came out to actually watch a pair of races off Sweden, a country whose national football arena can hold 36,000. Numbers don’t lie, and the future may be bright indeed – at least in Sweden! If you’ve ever been curious about how one counts this many boats, here’s your answer. And if you wonder what 3000 boats looks like on radar, click here.