Never Never Land


Never Never Land

A counterpoint to our Never Say Never piece, from anarchist Kantakerous Kate.

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.” 

That is how you started the “Never say Never” bullshit. What endless proof? Someone sends a photo of a few thousand Swedes watching the VOR and you decide it means sailing is a spectator sport. You didn’t notice all those Islands and peninsulas and lakes? Well, I’ve got news for you, they are the reason that EVERYONE has a boat in Sweden and, regardless of the VOR, would be out on the water on a sunny weekend, sunbathing off some island, or elk watching on a lake. Going by your logic, that must make sun bathing and elk watching spectator sports and I suppose I must concede that the “Show us your tits” brigade might see sunbathing that way.

What were the other things you mentioned? Oh yes, “the fabulously successful” iShares Cup. Well of course people are going to watch the iShares. Strolling along Amsterdam quays, or Hyeres seafront are usual weekend pastimes and, if something that looks part way to being exciting is happening on the water the strollers are going to stop and stare. You don’t have to know anything about sailing to figure that a passel of fast boats, careering around a short tight course, is a recipe for catastrophe, so they stay and wait for it. Do you think they’d stay if a bunch of cruising yachts were milling about in some incomprehensible regatta, where nobody who isn’t taking part has a clue who’s winning? As for the Vendée, those tens of thousands don’t go to Les Sables to watch sail racing, they go to cheer their heroes and France is the only country in the world where sailors get hero status.

Yeah, we know all about Virtual Spectator and how could we forget On the Water Anarchy when its hugely successful presenter keeps ramming down our throats how hugely successful it is, but do you seriously expect non-sailors to start tuning in to Clean’s every wind drowned, advertiser plugging word, whilst looking in awe at his shots of the Bonga Regatta, or whatever two bit event has let him career around their racecourse?

“Never mind Morning Light’s flop in US theatres” you blithely say, because it doesn’t support your ridiculous notion that sailing is, or will ever be a spectator sport. You should have tried reading the reviews and you’d have seen that “dull”, “mighty dull”, “a yawn” and other expressions of boredom were the reasons it flopped. The New York Times summed it up by saying “Morning Light never finds a way to make us care who wins.” Of course it didn’t, because nobody among the masses gives a damn who wins any sail boat race, unless they happen to be French and the race is around the world.

You claim that “sailing is now on the minds of more of the public than ever before”. Who says? Did you walk around San Diego and Charleston and ask “Is sailing more on your mind than ever?” Of course not and the truth is there’s sod all evidence that Joe Public gives a damn about watching sail racing, nor ever will except for the America’s Cup and potential crash, or sink stuff.

Instead of spouting nonsense and insulting guys like Dennis Connor, get it into your heads that sailing is a participant sport and mostly downright boring to watch and figure some ways of getting more people on the water. On the other hand, you could take a leaf out of the French book and try figuring out how to turn American ocean sailors into heroes. Oh dear, I forgot you don’t have any.

Kantankerous Kate