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How to make Sailing more 'Televisual'

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Olympic Sailing
Forum Discription: The top end racing in our sport
URL: http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9732
Printed Date: 22 May 22 at 11:15pm
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Topic: How to make Sailing more 'Televisual'
Posted By: Oatsandbeans
Subject: How to make Sailing more 'Televisual'
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 9:28am
Reading about the olympic coverage on the TV there are many references to viewers getting absorbed and enjoying sports that are completely new to them. Sadly I have not yet seen any references to sailing in this way. I was thinking, putting aside, for a moment what we all suspect the sailors want, what could be done to the format, commentary style etc. to make it more appealing. Would it be more technology, miked up helm and crews, more on board cameras? Skimpier sailing gear (beach volley ball style)? Faster boats, slower boats?  Revise the rules to simplify the whole thing, ( what about no rules!).

Anyone got any ideas?



Replies:
Posted By: pondmonkey
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 10:24am
simple- sort out the medal race so that first across the line is the overall winner, second in silver etc.

Okay the only functional way I can think is timed starts- pursuits races, based on event score standings.  

Now I bloody hate pursuit races, I think they are awful, ruin boat on boat tactics and generally geared to either very fast or very slow boats when applied to handicap races.  I must confess to never participating in one with Personal Handicaps in a fleet race, which is effectively what the medal race would become with the 'handicap' reversed to favour the regatta leader, but I shall remain cynical and say it would still be a sh*t race, especially for something that is supposed to be prestigious like the 5 ring circus.

The bottom line- either the Sailing Olympics appeals to the sailing audience- who are all more than capable of following conventional regatta standings like we do our Sunday morning series.  Most of us would probably ditch the medal race due to the anomaly factor of weighting just one race, after all the 'series' is designed to eliminate the randomness and test the widest skill across varying daily conditions.  Or the Sailing Olympics must appeal to that elusive non-sailing audience (it never really will imho).... and do something radical with a qualification/timed starts medal race.  Or shorten the whole thing up.... one race- all or nothing...   


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 10:28am
Originally posted by pondmonkey

sort out the medal race so that first across the line is the overall winner, second in silver etc.


Yes, this is quite vital, because no-one in the world understands why the winner of the Formula 1/NASCAR (delete as applicable) champs isn't necessarilly the car that wins the last race, nor does anyone understand how teams can win or be relegated from football/anything else leagues before the last matches of the year.


Posted By: pondmonkey
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 11:03am
But these other examples are event series Jim... held over many months, season to season. By the way, the FA Cup is still a knock out, so it's not all league based, as to is the UEFA Champions League.... the final is a FINAL and the winner is a winner.

Within the context of 2 week window once every four years, the average bod expects the 'medal race' to finish with the winner in Gold.  That's what my non-sailing mates have said anyway when they were totally bemused by the scoring system. 

_edit: for fear of being accused of 'dumbing down', my personal POV is dump the medal race and stick with a conventional regatta format!!!


Posted By: alstorer
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 11:23am

People can manage to follow the Atheletics Heptathlon/Decathlon- that has a convuluted scoring system (much more so than sailing) and you don't have to finish first in the final event (the fact Ennis did in hers was something of an anomoly- it's a strong discipline for her and the power of the stadium will have been awesome).

 
I was also going to mention the cycling "omnium", which uses a six-event no discared low-points system, but that makes itself hard to follow by being so very, very odd.
 
On the other hand, the Modern pentathlon uses the "pursuit" format- in the run/shoot start times are determined by points scored, the leader starting first; first one across the line wins overall.


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-_
Al


Posted By: G.R.F.
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 11:56am
Folk watching things expect an outcome there and then, there were huge cheers when Nick went across the line in a very tight finish in RSX, that did more for competitive windsurfing amongst the young than anything previous.

10 Races is to many, five then a medal race would be more than enough given the lack of serious nature of the event and the need for it to be a televisual spectacle.

I'm not even sure the windward leeward courses are that ideal for a TV public, they probably don't get the tactical nature of the downwind bit any more than a BBC commentator does, whereas the procession like nature of the old triangle does at least smack a bit of the 1000mtrs.

We all like the inter boat stuff, but i"m not sure 'they' get it in the same way, but there again, isn't there a big enough sailing public paying enough of a license fee to justify leaving it the f**k alone and it be run the way we do it?

I get really fed up with all this dumbing down and pandering to the Sun like media of morons, and the IOC, did anyone else read that ISAF report?


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Posted By: bustinben
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 12:04pm
The main comment I've been getting from non-sailing colleagues at work is:

"Tried watching sailing, didn't understand what was going on".

Nothing to do with "the boats were too slow", "the boats weren't cool enough".  That is a complete red herring.

I could explain to each of them in less than 1 minute enough for them to understand.  The way that it's covered is the problem, nothing else.



Posted By: Peaky
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 1:13pm
If there is to be a medal race, I certainly think everyone in it ought to be in with a chance of a medal. Too many events had boats with absolutely no chance of a medal competing in the medal race. Whether you do that by making the medal race worth 100%, or 50%, or on a pursuit basis I don't know, but it is currently worth 18% and doesn't work.

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Posted By: Jack Sparrow
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 2:36pm
How to make Olympic Sailing more TV friendly? Sail AC45's

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Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 3:28pm
The best parts of the sailing were when there were no useless commentary and we could just watch the boats racing. Same could be said for most of the sports, and the closing ceremony - just shut the **** up and let us watch!

Can't see that happening for the sailing in Rio.

Can't see the format going back to proper sailing, either.


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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446 Mirror 70686


Posted By: pondmonkey
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 3:36pm
Originally posted by Rupert



Can't see the format going back to proper sailing, either.


LOL whilst I quite agree with the sentiment and the temerarious choice of vocab, I do wonder if there is some negative influence creeping into the recreational classes too?  All courtesy of this silly medal race format.

Doesn't the D-One follow a non-discardable 'medal race' format for their regattas?  I know the RS100 had two non-discardable 'long' races at the first nationals... not sure if this is still the case?  I do hope both bits of info are now out-of-date, I really don't think a competitor should be overly penalised for heading ashore to the bar too early, it's just not on....


Posted By: Contender443
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 4:06pm
Having no discards would simplify things for the Olympic viewers. Every Olympic sailor should be fit enough to finish every race and have well maintained kit to avoid breakages.
 
All you need then is a sensible RO to can races when the conditions are not fair and a rule allowing a race to be stopped and re-started if a competitor breaks something especially in the event supplied classes.


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Bonnie Lass Contender 1764


Posted By: SUGmeister
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 4:13pm
From today's Butt....

AN IDEA OF OLYMPIC PROPORTION
The sailing events at the 2012 Olympic Games were the latest experiment on
how to present the sport to a larger audience. These efforts, which will
continue, tend to exploit venue location, positioning the course closer to
shoreside spectators... at the typical expense of consistent winds.

But what about the race format? Sailing, in how it determines its
medalists, remains acutely unique in comparison to the other Olympic
sporting events. As managing director of the Ronstan sailboat hardware
empire, Australian Alistair Murray offers an alternative that could help
the sport achieve the audience interest its leadership seems so eager to
gain...
----------------------------------------------------------------------
I loved the Olympics, and I loved the sailing events. Why? Because I'm a
sailor! Australia did well, so sailing was the talk of the town down-under,
and many non-sailors were engaged in conversations about the sailing
events.

But these people find the sport unfathomable! They don't understand the
scoring, the heats, the discard or that somebody coming 9th in the medal
race wins gold while the winner gets nothing. They tune out!

Let's continue with the regatta formats we all love, but the Olympics is
our shop window, the chance to showcase our sport!

The most understandable and exciting for the non-sailors was the match
racing, and it has been canned!

Why not have every sailing event race a 3 day, 3 race regatta around a 1
1/2 hour course, so that the luck of a shift or a poor start is largely
neutralized.

Everybody races in the first fleet race. The top 16 go through to the
second day's race, with the top 8 advancing to the third day and the race
for the medals. No point scoring, just elimination with the winners of the
final race winning the medals.

Formats similar to this work in other sports, and in fact, in the cycling
road races, marathons and triathlons you only get one chance.

TV covers sailing in grabs anyway. Show the start, highlights, finishes,
and televise the whole medal race.

My non sailing friends will love it, and I still will too! And the best
sailors will still win.

http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/archived_Detail.asp?key=5011



Posted By: Oli
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 4:34pm
a refined version of what i was trying to get to http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9688&PN=6&title=medal-race - here

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Posted By: blueboy
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 7:18pm
Originally posted by SUGmeister

But these people find the sport unfathomable! They don't understand the
scoring, the heats, the discard or that somebody coming 9th in the medal
race wins gold while the winner gets nothing. They tune out!


I've been fairly surprised to find colleagues, who know I sail but don't themselves, talk quite knowledgeably about sailing in the last couple of weeks. The presumption it is incomprehensible to the public seems more assumption than fact.


Posted By: blueboy
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 7:21pm
Originally posted by Oatsandbeans

Reading about the olympic coverage on the TV there are many references to viewers getting absorbed and enjoying sports that are completely new to them.

Anyone got any ideas?


ACWS has plenty of ideas and has spent a fortune to make a sailing event TV friendly. Know what? Compared to the Women's Match Racing, it quickly gets tedious to watch. Proper sailing, as we practice it, is actually more entertaining than a made-for-TV imitation of the real thing.


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 9:58pm
Is there anyone on here who would choose to watch sailing on the telly if they could be out sailing/racing themselves at the same time, even though there might not be quite the same quality of sailor on the water as on the TV?

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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446 Mirror 70686


Posted By: sargesail
Date Posted: 15 Aug 12 at 11:33pm
I'm with Blueboy - sailing's incomprehensibility is an assumption, not backed up in reality.  And there are two issues which are conflated:

1.  The event scoring system (discards, medal races et al). (At least we no longer have the "Olympic" scoring system (0 for 1st, 3 for 2nd, etc, 5.7 for 3rd, or the old low points with 0.75 - we've come a long way). 
2.  Understanding who is winning on the water.

I'm going to ignore the first for now.  The problem with the second is that you can't take in the full view through a camera and the telephoto lens makes boats seem closer than they are, and at a distant you need elevation to get perspective on boats on opposite tacks, or the same tack with separation.

It was the elevation which made the Nothe such a good place to watch from (in my view there should have been no Medal race in certain directions and below certain windspeeds - hard to have elevation without geographical effect.

The computer graphics help, but they only give a distance to mark, or (on the more sophisticated versions, a time to mark) but that ignores things like which gate mark is closer, and much more improtantly that one boat has a faster angle to sail.  How many times did you watch Ben or Ian and Bart appear to be 10 to 20 meters behind on the system, but further to leeward, only to find that they were level or ahead at teh mark or finish as the downwind and upwind boats converged.

At the Nothe I ran my own commentary for my Dad - halfway through the day he and I realised that it was quiet around us because people were listening to my (marginally less than the commentary team's) b**locks - and a few commented that they had understood much better once i had explained teh angles and the gusts and shifts, all of which were very visible.

So it just takes commentary and perspective/view.  Neither of which are easily delivered, but neitherof which are impossible!


Posted By: getafix
Date Posted: 16 Aug 12 at 12:13pm

+1 a lot depends on the commentator involved, in fact I'd go as far as to say 80% as during the Olympics I found myself watching (and listening while driving) events I have no idea about, like taikwondo, water-polo, 3-day eventing and gymnastics, but well explained they were none the less enjoyable because I don't really "get" the way the sports work from actually being a participant at some level



Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 16 Aug 12 at 12:28pm
Originally posted by getafix

but well explained they were none the less enjoyable because I don't really "get" the way the sports work from actually being a participant at some level



I think I enjoyed the sports I didn't understand more than the sailing, as I wasn't getting annoyed about things that were said!

Apart from Waterpolo, which just appeared to be lots of coloured caps throwing a ball around then chasing it.


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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446 Mirror 70686


Posted By: pondmonkey
Date Posted: 16 Aug 12 at 12:39pm
Originally posted by Rupert

Is there anyone on here who would choose to watch sailing on the telly if they could be out sailing/racing themselves at the same time, even though there might not be quite the same quality of sailor on the water as on the TV?

oh christ no... I only watched it online at work* and when feeding kids in the evening.  If I had 'free time' to go and do some sailing myself during the Olympics, I'd have been down the beach at Hayling or at the local pond.

* even work was more exciting than the 49er coverage


Posted By: a_dowley
Date Posted: 16 Aug 12 at 12:45pm
This is something the Tornado Class have been working on for the past few years.

Some of you may have seen Tornado Speed Sailing, we've had some big sponsors across the World such as Audi and AXA on board.

Close racing, close to the shore, quick turn around races, awesome commentator to explain what's happening. Close to the shore also means big wind shifts which can take the sailors from hero to zero.

Do this and the racing never gets far away, you can see and hear what is happening on the boats. The boats also don't spread out as much. You can run up to 10 races in a 2 hour period.

See the video.

[TUBE]N7umw4t0Hpk[/TUBE]

Cheers

Andrew


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Posted By: SoggyBadger
Date Posted: 16 Aug 12 at 1:09pm
Originally posted by Rupert

Is there anyone on here who would choose to watch sailing on the telly if they could be out sailing/racing themselves at the same time, even though there might not be quite the same quality of sailor on the water as on the TV?


I went sailing Big smile I would watch programmes about sailing/boating (like many of my generation it was Swallows & Amazons on the telly that go me interested in sailing) but it would have to be things like programmes about Thames Barges and the like to get me watching.


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Best wishes from deep in the woods

SB



Posted By: ASok
Date Posted: 16 Aug 12 at 2:27pm
Apologies if this has already been posted -  http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/08/irishman-gives-expert-olympic-sailing-commentary-video - http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/08/irishman-gives-expert-olympic-sailing-commentary-video



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Posted By: Teamvmg
Date Posted: 17 Aug 12 at 1:55pm
I don't think that you will ever get better equipement for televising sailing than was at Weymouth. I think it was badly used.
To suddenly cut away from a start at 30 seconds to go in order to interview someones bloody mother on the Nothe was totaly Crass.
There was too much zooming in of individual boats too.
 
Wider shots along start lines and gate roundings, cameras filming across the front of the fleet as it moves upwind.... stuff like that to allow us and the commentators to follow and explain things.
 
When you watch a bike or car race on TV, you have a regular pattern of camera angles as the racers go round the track. This gets you used to the format and thus follow the race. If the director is flashing camera angles around like a bloody pop video - no one can follow it!
 
 
In fact.... get me to direct it!  SARGESAIL can do the commentary. Can any of you lot handle computer graphics and on the water commentary and RIB driving and cameras?



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