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false start

The fates seem determined to conspire against SailGP. After assembling what is surely an unmatched collection of the world’s best high-performance sailors for the first event in their 2021 series, the weather in Bermuda now refuses to play ball.

Winds forecast for Race 1 on Saturday 24 April are so light that the F50 cats would not have been able to get up on their foils and complete the scheduled heats for the day. 

But rather than just push back their program by a day, SailGP management have brought the first day of racing forward 24 hours to Friday, starting at 2:00pm local time. Why? Because the financial model for the whole SailGP circus relies on international television coverage. Sponsorships are next to worthless without guaranteed TV exposure.

But networks around the world fixed their timeslots months ago for the two days of “live” action from Bermuda. So the problem for SailGP is that the actual first day of racing will have taken place a full day before the scheduled TV broadcasts.

The only obvious solution to fulfilling their obligations to television is for SailGP to pre-record the first day of racing and provide that package to the television outlets as “pretend live” coverage. That’s what we can safely assume will happen. One problem. Any half-smart journalist or sailing fan should be able to discover the results within minutes of each race finish. Only the accredited reporters actually covering the event in Bermuda would be bound by any conditions of confidentiality imposed on them by SailGP.

It tends to take the fizz out of watching sport on TV when you know the outcome.  

Yet again, it seems SailGP have run out of luck. Shakespeare nailed it in Macbeth, his dark dark drama of bloody ambition: “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”.

– anarchist David