Ocean Racing is news!
'Our public doesn’t know anything about the Fastnet Race and not much about sailing either, so covering Team SCA won’t make it in the editorial meeting”, sounded the answer of our national sports channel upon my question to follow the Dutch girls onboard of Team SCA this summer. It remains a challenge to introduce sailing and in particular ocean racing to a wider audience in the Netherlands. However, the media exposure of the 34th America’s Cup in my country shows that it is possible…
It is not about Olympic fame or nail-biting high performance match racing for the ‘Auld Mug’, but it is about life at the extreme on rough and remote oceans. No comfort, sometimes life threatening conditions, sometimes dead calmness, human and intercultural interactions, physical challenges and many more other interesting elements belong to ocean racing. Offshore sailors are not good at just one thing, they are skilled in much more fields. So why is it that this sailing sports needs to fight so hard to get any attention in the sports media? Ok, I will focus on the Dutch media in this case, as this is where I come from.
The spectacular and outstanding images of the 34th America’s Cup, the greatest comeback in sports history by Team Oracle and the fabulous race machines conquered the world and not only sports fans. The whole spectacle has changed the image of sail racing for ever. So hopefully the national TV channels also dare to bring a bit more of the stunning sports of offshore sailing to their general public.
Nowadays there are plenty tools to produce exciting and appealing TV formats around ocean racing. The news value is incredible if you know how to bring it. Every race or leg there are moments of great loss and gains, related to the chosen strategy. There are moments of frustration and euphoria, of joy and fear, of fun and discussion and of doubt and self-confidence. Equipment can break and human beings can get sick or injured. Bring the action live to the audience and they will love it, for sure. It is something different with various angles to report from.
Next occasion will be the biannual Transat Jacques Vabres for 45 double handed teams, to start on Sunday November 3 2013 in Le Havre on the French West Coast. And of course all eyes will be on the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, to commence on October 4 2014 in Alicante, Spain.
Ocean racing is definitely news! Nations like France and Great-Britain are a good example. Yes, they do have their public heroes, but we have them as well. We only need to let the audience get to know them…
Diabo Sail Reporting
Photo: TJV Media