On The Run
It’s been a relaxing few weeks for us here at On-The-Water Anarchy headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina. The three weeks we’ve been able to chill here is the longest continuous time we’ve seen our home since March, and we’re more than ready to hit the road again. A good thing, because this week begins a marathon that will make 2009 look tame for us here at the biggest source of live sailboat racing coverage in the world.
The Year In Review
2009 was an intense year for us. The travel takes a lot out of you, but the real work is constantly working to figure out ways to provide the best sailing coverage we can at a price that sponsors for a niche sport like ours can handle. And make no mistake – the reason that the media mantra has for so long been "you can’t televise sailing" is because you can’t "televise" it. It’s not that there is no audience – it’s because producing television-quality content away from land, over vast distances, in a harsh environment is just too expensive to be cost-effective for TV producers and distributors. But the internet’s ability to reach all corners of the world at a low cost, and the ability to access it offshore, has changed all that, and we can focus on making it better and better while pushing the available technology as far as we can.
This year saw our first-ever fully live streaming video broadcasts – first from the exciting Moth Worlds in Oregon, then with the fun Grade 2 Detroit Cup match race, and finally from the gray and dreary Melges 24 Worlds in Annapolis, Maryland. We also introduced something that’s become a real favorite – our live Cocktail Hour, where the most interesting people in the sport sit down and chat about racing, the sport’s big issues, and themselves. Our favorite Cocktail Hour – and the one really worth watching if you like hot sailor chicks – is here. And we brought in a new cast of characters including Venomiss, Katie Burns, Aaron the producer, and a giant pile of great volunteers that shared our frenetic pace and our booze on waters all over the world. We got bashed around in the big wave Melges 32 Worlds in Sardinia and the M32 Gold Cup, got covered in sand during the Tybee 500 beach cat race, became entranced with the beauty of Lake Garda at the Volvo Cup, and won the overall multihull trophy for the Chicago-Mackinac race. We watched the ascendancy of the sportboats at Charleston Race Week, reported on the coolest gadgets at the biggest sailing industry show in the world, caused trouble in Key West – well, actually we seemed to cause trouble almost everywhere. But damn, we had some fun!
Our audience continued to grow, with a great group always around to help us out as the research and logistics department that we can’t afford. And without all of them – all of you, we’d never be able to get this done. Our sponsors do our best to give away great swag for those that help us out, but our personal thanks and the feeling of contribution is the reward for most of them – so we thank all of the spectators, organizers, clubs, sailors, and of course to our sponsors for your support and your passion, and for recognizing the passion in us.
This month we’ve got two fun events for you, and though neither is full-blown live coverage, they’re both worth checking out, with racing video, fun interviews, and the kind of inside peek at racing that you can’t get anywhere else.
Our first event of 2010 is the A-Cat Invitational down in Islamorada, FL starting Monday. These sleek and ultra-efficient cats are some of the sexiest things out there, and until the Moths really got going, there was no singlehander faster – and that battle is still not decided. The Class is every bit as developmental and tweaky as the higher-profile foilers, and filled with some of the best multihull sailors anywhere as well as plenty of fun young guns that rock it at 20+ knots. You’ll find Ben Hall down in the keys, along with Extreme 40 gun Jonathan Ferrar and Tybee 500 alums like Baily White and Tripp Burd. Ben Moon loves to be on camera, and the shallow water begs for some never-before seen underwater video footage of these slender-foiled racers.
After that, we’re jumping on Stu Hebb’s Aerodyne 38 ‘Thin Ice’ for the Lauderdale to Key West Race, a 160-mile offwind blast that’s got a record number of entries and is run by the a reinvigorated SORC. This one’s got the cool IonEarth tracking, with pictures of all the boats and all the marks baked right into the race viewer, along with instant-replay functions and tracks displayed for all the boats, and possibly ghost boats representing the record runs. The race has a pile of multihulls and monsters like the Rambler looking to break the record, and if the current weather patterns hold, it’s a real possibility. We’ll be posting video, pictures, and text updates whenever my 235 lbs. isn’t peeling kites or holding down the rail and when tactician Mark Ivey lets me, while the effervescent ‘Dixie’ will be assembling info on shore from the fleet”s iPhones and Blackberries on this close-to-shore drag race.
After that, we’ve got the massive challenge of covering an America’s Cup that has no idea what the hell it’s doing. We might be the only live coveage on the water, we might be commentating over a Spanish-language feed, or we might be locked in a room by Alinghi’s security detail – we just don’t know what is going to happen. But we will be there, and along with the AC Anarchy army, we’ll be bringing you as much of this exciting race as we can as real-time as we can manage.
Then it’s off to the Dubai desert for the Puma Moth Worlds, then some fun times in Italy, then Charleston, and then a whole lot more, including a trip to Australia at the end of the year for the Sydney Hobart race (start saving, Ed…)
Just keep your eye on the front page and the OTW Anarchy forum, and tune in. It’s a lot more fun when you’re all riding along with us.