Let me make no secret of it – I really want SailGP to be successful. I think any effort to bring our sport to the masses in an exciting and dynamic way should be applauded and not vilified as some seem to want to do.
I am also biased towards Team China – c’mon, my screen name is Shanghai Sailor after all.
Add to that I know, and count as friends many members of the team, Bruno, the Chinese Guys on the boat and the shore and backup teams. In fact we have known recent joiner Wang Jue since he helped us run some racing in Shanghai over 10 years ago. Even then he could lift the anchor with one hand that it took me all my strength to lift with two. He can now bench press 150% of his own weight. The man is a bear and still as cool a guy as ever – AND he sails a Finn when he wants to go slower.
I think there is a clear ‘home advantage’ for the two Aussie skippers of AUS & JPN as the race course had more holes than a sting vest and at just the wrong wind speed to mean foiling/ non foiling. Could be wrong and I do not intend to take away from their performance with especially Japan’s consistency throughout the afternoon. (Just my opinion but home advantage usually counts for something)
We had 5 screens going at one point – My wife watching the English feed, and commentary which by many accounts was, I am told, dire but that’s what you get when you have a non-specialist commentator. It hear it was like Peter Montgomery or Ken Reid commentating on synchronised swimming.
I was watching the QQ or Tencent feed fed on to the big screen and the coverage was excellent – true HD – with Xu Li Jia, London 2012 Laser Radial Gold Medalist doing the tecky stuff and an experienced CCTC (China Central Television) experienced anchor doing the fill in for the non-sailing masses.
The drones were hanging back a bit and I think they were frightened to get in too close as these boats, should they light up, are faster than the fastest drone but that will come with experience I am sure. If it were me I would bring in a couple of VOR OBRs as drone pilots as they are the best there is.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that this was day one of event one of something brand-new with enormous potential as a showcase for our sport and it doesn’t matter what preparation we humans do, if Mother Nature only gives us 8-10 knots it is kind of difficult for produce the sort of speeds these boats are ultimately capable of.
I have had some feedback from VIP guests and they were, in the main, well impressed with the whole offering and though the boats were ‘dramatic’ given their understanding of yacht racing.
Sharpen up the commentators with people that understand our sport, get the ‘in air’ shots closer and please, please more wind (C’mon Sydney I thought you always had big breeze in the afternoon this time of year ☺) and I think this series will have real legs.
Easy to be critical but if people had discounted Motor Racing Grand Prix back in the day when it was straw bales instead of Armco and run off areas then F1 would not be the huge sport it is today – bear that in mind guys.
Tomprrow’s another Day and San Francisco another event but knowing the likes of Russell Coutts and his team, they will learn from this and it will, I am certain only get better and better – it’s already pretty good, wouldn’t you say? – SS