Posted by: Sam Carson | 23 September, 2007

Learn to watch sailing: 2008 will be worth watching.

The London Times claims 2008 will be the year of all years to learn to watch sailing.

What? Watch sailing? A sport that combines the fury of Curling, with the redundancy of Formula 1 racing, with the snobbishness of Croquet? What do you mean?

Well, anyone who saw the America’s Cup winning race in June will tell you there is plenty excitement on the water these days. I had missed most of the America’s Cup but tuned in for the final 5 minutes of it. Five of the most nail-biting intense excitement a spectator can have as Alinghi beat Team New Zealand by one great and holy second. If you have 2 and a half minutes, watch this:

2008 will be even more special as the opening rounds of the 2009 America’s Cup begin. The Olympics are the height of Dingy sailing, and a lot of exciting fun. But also, there are the two ocean races: the Vendee Globe (nutters sailing boats by themselves, really fast, around the world) and the Volvo Ocean Race (nutters sailing boats in groups, really fast, around the world).

Sailing has the deserved reputation of being a rich man’s sport. And that still holds… unless you have Kiwis on board. Kiwi sailors are not the eloquent privileged. They usually come from a small down with whose name has more syllables than the town has houses. They became good sailors by coaxing every last bit of boat speed out of some derelict hand-me-down “P Class” dingy (which were not speedy boats in the first place) while being muttered obscenities at by their stoic sheep shearing sailing coach.

This is why the race crews in the final race of the America’s Cup were filled with really large guys whose accent cannot allow them to use an “i” properly. Bless.

As sports go it’s a pretty “clean” sport. It’s hard to know where the doping scandal will come from. The stars of the game don’t win by strength, but by cunning, decisiveness and skill. The late courtroom dramas of the 1987-92 America’s Cup period have taught the sport a lesson, and though there are still legal stupidities in the sport they at least do not drag out.

But the number one reason to watch sailing now, more than ever, is that technology has made it interesting. I admit, watching the sport “live” is pretty dull and requires a remarkable amount of beer. But on TV these days, the graphics and commentary have really made the sport worth watching. The latest America’s Cup boats are fast, nimble, and prone to breaking. All of which adds to the drama.

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  1. […] Learn to watch sailing: 2008 will be worth watching. By Sam Carson The Olympics are the height of Dingy sailing, and a lot of exciting fun. But also, there are the two ocean races: the Vendee Globe (nutters sailing boats by themselves, really fast, around the world) and the Volvo Ocean Race (nutters … Carson's Post – https://carsonspost.wordpress.com […]


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