Monday, January 30, 2006

The future is pretty bright...

Sailing will never ever be a spectator sport. There is no fun standing on the dock or on the deck of a spectator boat seeing boats sail round and round the buoys. Never has been, and never will be even for the most addicted of us. The really good stuff you get when you sit behind your computer.

New technology brings new opportunities to our sport and web-TV is definitely one of them. On for instance and SEILtv, I’m involved producing and promoting the latter, you can watch sailing programs when you want. You decide when its prime time, and the sponsors and events get a chance to reach their viewers through our most powerful media; TV.

When Windows Media Center gets in to your living room and up on your flat screen there will be no telling what will happen to the usual sport programs. In the comfort of your sofa we can just switch from traditional “football”-TV mode to web-TV mode and enjoy exactly the content we want, when we want it.

There are even more good things to come with the launch of new gizmos. In the next couple of weeks I will write about the bright future that lies ahead. Please pull down your sunglasses.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Volvo Ocean Race by the numbers

Here we finally have some good and realistic communication from Volvo Ocean Race Management: - If all the boats fall apart, or even if we are down to just two, we will have a problem. But by the time we get to the last leg, from New York to Portsmouth, everyone will be talking about how tough and strong they really are, said Anders Lofgren, commercial director for the Volvo Ocean Race, in Sweden Wednesday.

He spoke to Paul Weaver in The Guardian and managed to get some of the message through with the use of numbers and statements from success cases.

Here’s the numbers:
Volvo invested £30m, spread over a four-year period, when they took over from Whitbread as sponsors for the 2001-02 event.
Main sponsors have paid between £8m and £15m per boat…
…and according to Bourke they will get "four or five times that return on their investment.
Over 811m viewers watched the last leg.

- The extra money we paid for our sponsorship, which was €20m [£13.7m], has paid dividends because it gave us more time to prepare and more time in the water than the others. This is our first major global sponsorship and we are delighted it has been such a success so far. Our target was €60m [£41m] of media value worldwide and we are well on the way to achieving that, said a spokesperson for ABN AMRO.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Simrad goes solo in Scandinavia

The Scandinavians are flocking to the shorthanded scene. The next big thing will be a 250 nautical miles solo regatta with stop overs starting August 1st 2006. Simrad Marine is backing the event with full force and they are title sponsor for Simrad OneStar.

- Our ambition is to make Simrad OneStar one of the best solo regattas in Northern Europe in the years to come. The goal is to expand the regatta and crank up the level each year, says Øyvind Vedeler, eager solo sailor and the man who kicked of the shorthanded interest in Norway.

All the major offshore regattas in Norway have incorporated shorthanded classes in their concepts this year and two double handed regattas have been born the last years: Frydenbø Doublehanded between Bergen and Stavanger, and Watski Skagerrak TwoStar with pit stops in both Norway and Sweden. This last solo addition to the shorthanded regatta where tested out last year when 15 eager OneStar-sailors tested the course. They where all smiles when they returned after 200 nautical miles hard solo racing.

Simrad OneStar will be even harder than the training regatta. The boats will start from the Race Village in downtown Fredrikstad August 1st 2006 and dive south to the Swedish islands of Väderöarna. After rounding the islands they will cross Skagerrak and arrive in Arendal over 24 hours later. The worst case scenario will give the sailors 10 hours rest before they are sent out on an 8 hours course to return to Arendal for some more R&R. The start from Arendal to Fredrikstad goes early morning Friday 4th, and hopefully the boats will be back at the Race Village the day after. The total length of the regatta is 250 nautical miles.

- - This is a true adventure and shorthanded sailing has become the big thing in the last couple of years here in Scandinavia. Simrad OneStar will give us an excellent opportunity to showcase our products for the sailing community, says Jan-Hugo Schnelle, managing director Simrad Marine AS.

The regatta is open for all boats with LYS (Norwegian handicap) over 1,15 and sailors from all nations are more than welcome to the start line. Right now the largest boat on the entry list is a 56 foot racing trimaran and the smallest are the fleet of 6 Mini 6.50s. The presentation of the new regatta was done Wednesday in front of 150 keen shorthanded sailors in Oslo. 25 of them where all ready signed up for the solo adventure and the organizers are hoping to max out the 50 available spots.

- This is the ultimate regatta for the experienced sailors that want to push their limits and experience a real adventure. Skagerrak is our play ground and we want this regatta to develop together with the sailors, says Vedeler.

See for more information about the race.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Volvo and safety

Ten sailors on board Pirates of the Caribbean are in the middle of the Southern Ocean with a keel problem that can turn in to a possible catastrophe. But it's also an opportunity for VOR to do something right.

The best thing they can do right now is get a rescue or navy ship steaming towards Cayard and his men. If the boat gets to shore in one piece they have showed that they take safety serious, and after all, that’s what Volvo (the cars, that is) has built its reputation on. If the boat turns turtle, we most certainly hope not, they have help standing by - and again: Volvo has showed they take safety serious.

What are you guys waiting for? Get out there and show that you can manage the situation you have put your self in, and be sure that you communicate it the correct way.

No good Farr PR

While the ABN AMRO boats are surfing along to new podium places and world records, there is a whole different case for the Farr boats in the Volvo Ocean Race. All their boats have been out of the race so far. Pirates of the Caribbean and movistar broke down on the first leg and Ericsson and Brasil 1 on the second.

The teams don't get bad press from this. It all comes back to VOR that created the class and gave the team’s very short time to do proper R&D. Farr don't come out to good neither. As for the teams - we just hope they all make it to the next port.