SCUTTLEBUTT #333 - May 28, 1999
GUEST EDITORIAL - By Peter Huston
Perhaps I can put this issue of acquiring and servicing sponsorship into
perspective given my relationship to this industry. I currently represent
a global entertainment event which has yet to make its public announcement.
This event has a sponsorship agreement with a huge multinational company
that is worth more than the collective amounts of all announced current
America's Cup sponsorships - it is north of mid-eight figures. The VP of
this company who is responsible for the execution of this agreement has 50
other such deals on his desk that he is responsible for monitoring. He has
a staff of one.
Sailing is simply not on the radar of very many companies in the US. While
the demographics of our sport are attractive, our reach is almost
meaningless to all but a handful of companies. And the image that has been
perpetuated in this country of the stuffy, drunken, litigious sailor
precedes every conversation with non-sailing marketing and/or advertising
purchase decision makers. The America's Cup is the bellwether by which all
aspects of sailing are judged by those who make these purchase decisions in
the media market place. Most of those decision makers still think the Big
Boat-Catamaran court case is unresolved, or if they have moved beyond that
they laugh about changing the rules in the middle of a series to create a
three boat "finals", or worse yet, they simply have a complete distrust of
the sport given the recent ESPN/Fox fiasco which was perpetuated by Young
America. And if you don't understand the implications of the recent
resignation by Rob Sutherland, the CEO of the America's Cup Village, you
are very naive in the ways that the sponsorship community operates.
Sponsors tend to not participate in events where key hospitality operations
people leave without notice only six months before the event begins.
The reason that European and Austrailasian teams/sailors are more easily
able to acquire sponsorship as compared to similar entities in the US is
because of their relatively undeveloped TV marketplace as compared to the
TV media choices available to US media purchase decision makers.
So, with the burden of trying to extract sponsorship money from companies
that have extremely limited resources with which to dissect your proposal
based on a sport that has an extremely negative image and proven
untrustworthiness, there is little left to understand why it is so hard for
anyone in the sport to acquire sponsorship dollars for sailing events/teams
in the US.
Then to wrap the Olympic veil over the sport probably hurts even more.
Companies are trying to wiggle out of their Olympic association as fast as
they can - just read the releases from David D'ellesandro, the CEO of John
Hancock, if you don't believe me.
And the truth about the Olympics is that the Asian factory workers who make
Nikes have more rights and benefits than do the vast majority of people who
compete on Olympic teams that Nike sponsors.
The sport of sailing is best served under it's original model - that as a
casual recreation for people who can afford to play the game within the
structure of their personal resources. To try and make sailing into
something like NASCAR is wishful thinking, at best.
San Diego, CA. The conditions on Saturday were excellent with winds ranging
from 8 knots in the first and third race to 12 to 15 knots during the
second race. The changing conditions kept most boats changing gears
consistently during the day. Seas were slightly choppy with a 3 to 4 foot
swell and wind from the South changing to the southwest and back during the
day. -- James Buley
Final Results (21 boats) 1. Andy Ladow (19) 2. Bruce Nelson (20) 3. Dennis
At noon tomorrow, PDT, (3:00 PM EDT) ESPN will broadcast a 30-minute Gary
Jobson Ultimate Sailing program on the Around Alone race. This program
shows highlights of all four legs, both the highs and the lows.
Ullman Sails is bringing you this issue of Scuttlebutt. If you enjoy it,
order a new Ullman sail for your boat - just like the curmudgeon did. At
least check into their web site for information or a price quote. It's more
affordable than you think:
* America True's bright yellow boat was christened America True Wednesday
but she will not be truly launched until she arrives in New Zealand in a
month's time. The plan has always been to keep the boat out of American
waters until after her cup campaign. "It doesn't make sense to set up a
base anywhere else but in Auckland," Dawn Riley said. "It's more cost
effective this way, and we'll get more time on the race track."
America True, or USA51, was designed by Phil Kaiko, who helped draw up the
winning America3 boats in 1992 and the legendary OneAustralia (now at the
bottom of the Pacific) in 1995.
Her shape was kept under wraps - she remains shrouded in plastic ready for
the next part of her journey. The boat was built in Truckee, near the
skifields of Tahoe. The boat will go back on the truck and move to Los
Angeles, to catch a ship leaving this weekend for Auckland. - Suzanne
McFadden, New Zealand Herald
For the full story: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/
* Syd Fischer will announce next week that he is not building a new
America's Cup challenger for next year's match in Auckland but will instead
develop his existing 1995 contender, Sydney '95. The announcement will also
reveal that the effort, which will start with the Louis Vuitton Cup
challenger selection trials in October, will become the launching pad for a
longer-term plan - a fully blown Australian challenge for the Cup in four
It is believed that a highly competitive sponsorship market that has seen
the Sydney Olympics as the star product has had considerable impact on the
fund raising efforts by Fischer and his team. This will be Fischer's fifth
Cup campaign, a record that will see him equal the number of Cup challenges
mounted by the legendary Sir Thomas Lipton. The only difference is that
Lipton actually was the actual challenger. Sadly for 72-year-old Fischer,
he has not been able to get to the top of the now standard challenger
selection process. - Rob Mundle
For the full story: http://www.sailing.org
* All but a handful of the 160 volunteers required to assist with the
running of the Louis Vuitton Challenger series have been appointed,
according to Vince Cooke, Regatta Operations Director for the Challenger
series. All but four or five of those selected were from Auckland, he said.
Most came from Bucklands Beach Yacht Club, which is the host club for the
Challengers in Auckland, but he said virtually every club in the city and
surroundings had somebody represented in the volunteer group.
The volunteers will assist with a wide range of duties, from checking the
startline to shifting racing marks. Cooke noted that three of the last four
winners of the Louis Vuitton Cup had gone on to win the America's Cup, the
most recent being Team New Zealand in 1995.
LETTERS TO THE CURMUDGEON
Letters selected to be printed here are routinely edited for clarity, space
(250 words max) or to exclude personal attacks.
-- From Glenn T. McCarthy -- One comment on the Peter Harken editorial, You
-- From Hugh Elliot -- As a business consultant , I can appreciate all the
points that Peter Harken makes in his guest editorial. Yes, indeed, all of
us who seek sponsorship have to be willing to give full measure for the
funds that are supplied and to accept that we are entering into a
commercial transaction. If a signage or other requirement is "too
commercial", then the club, class or team had better think again about the
price that it is willing to pay for the sponsor's dollars.
My difficulty can be found in the last paragraph where Peter says: "Our
company is working on it's own requirement rules". When I am talking to a
company, I really do not know what forms of sponsorship and fulfillment
make a good fit with its marketing plan. Few of us "seekers after
sponsorship" are professional marketing people and it would really be much
easier, and waste less of everyone's time, if the companies that receive
frequent requests for sponsorship had clear guidelines. Perhaps a
professional marketing person could do us all a favor and publish an
article in the sailing press explaining how we should go about the search
-- From Mort Weintraub - Peter Harken's The comments are very appropriate.
Peter, would you please describe some of the ways that individual teams and
regatta organizers could offer value to potential sponsors.
Curmudgeon's comments: If you want to do that Peter, we'll publish it here
and send you a free 'Butthead tee shirt.
-- From Nick Gibbens -- Why don't those Aussies figure out it would be a
lot more fun to race from Fiji BACK to Coffs Harbour!! How about a race
form San Diego to Seattle? Don't expect a big turnout next year.
-- From Richard A. von Doenhoff, Chairman, The Great Ocean Race, New York
Yacht Club -- Regarding Speed Records: The original transatlantic race
course established by the New York Yacht Club in December 1866, was from
the Sandy Hook Lightship to a point due South (true) of the Lizard
Lighthouse in Cornwall. This was also the course followed by the
transatlantic race in 1905, when ATLANTIC set the longstanding record of 12
days, 4 hours, 1 minute, and 19 seconds.
Only after the Sandy Hook Lightship was taken out of service did
record-seekers use the Ambrose Lightship (and later Ambrose Tower), which
was fixed approximately 2 miles southeast of the Sandy Hook Lightship. The
Ambrose Tower was dismantled in 1998, and nothing marks the site today.
For the Atlantic Challenge Cup in 1997 and for The Great Ocean Race in
2002, the New York Yacht Club Race Committee sets the pin end of the
starting line at 40 degrees, 29.6 minutes N., 73 degrees, 52.0 West - the
site of the former Sandy Hook Lightship.
-- From Randy Smith -- Why don't we sail the Lipton Cup in Farr 40's. The
class is at such a high level, flawless boat prep and new sail inventories
are standard. No modifications are allowed to hull, rig or blades, and the
racing is very close. You can't spend any more than what is already being
done. The deck layout is FARR more user friendly than the Schock or the
Curmudgeon's comment: I can think of two strong arguments against this
proposal - 1) SDYC does not have a Farr 40 in the club, and 2) unless Farr
40 sales pick up dramatically, it would be a VERY small regatta.
-- From Maxwell Rosenberg -- The Lipton Cup should not be sailed in J120s.
I have raced with Dave Janes on his 120 'JBird' and the downwind tactics
are more about speed, not lanes. The boats tend to one or two gybe a run
and this would make the downwind legs boring and parade like. The Shocks
are more crew work critical and because of this, better at representing a
team victory. The issue of the boats being unequal could be addressed by a
round robin and regatta sails.
-- From Greg Tice - If John Welty would have put off joining US Sailing
until North Sails Race Week, they would have thrown in a T-shirt as well.
-- From Janet Baxter, US SAILING Vice President -- We often get suggestions
for give-aways to entice new members. In fact, every member gets one
rulebook every four years. The rules are not supposed to change except at
the four year cycle, but sometimes they do, so when the rule books are
reprinted (for new members and guys like me who leave theirs in the bilge)
we print the revised version.
I'm sorry that John Welty got the new member solicitation. We send lots of
those, and while we try to not send to current members, that mailing must
have failed the "merge/purge" match to current members. Please pass it
along to a friend. US SAILING does appreciate your membership, and we hope
that you renew faithfully- that is the lowest cost for us, and less hassle
for you. Expiration will interupt your magazines, as it takes some effort
to start a new subscription.
On Friday, June 11, at 8:30 AM, some 240 sailboats will cast their
docklines off and sail away from the Chicago cityfront. But as these boats
disperse beneath the skyline, they won't be heading for a leisurely day
away from the office. They will be sailing into a competition where the
pressure will be full-on at the opening races of the Chicago GMC
Yukon/Sailing World NOOD (National Offshore One-Design) Regatta--a national
sailboat-racing series where competition tops the scale in intensity and
finishes, literally, come down to mere seconds.
Returning to Chicago for the 11th year in a row, the three-day Chicago
NOOD--the fifth stop on a nine-event national racing circuit--is hosted by
the Chicago Yacht Club, June 11-13, and sponsored by GMC Yukon. Each year,
the Chicago NOOD draws the largest fleet in this series. A field of 240
boats from 24 to 70 feet in length will compete in 21 classes, and the
vintage of classes will run the gamut: from designs that were launched in
the 1970s and have remained virtually unchanged since hull #1 hit the
water, to the latest breed of one-design boats to emerge from the offices
of U.S. designers.
The Chicago NOOD has drawn one-design, level-rated (of identical speed),
and rating-band classes (boats that race within a tight PHRF or IMS rating
band). In addition to the one-design classes, the fleets making their way
to the starting line include: a 40-Foot Class, IMS, Level 105-117, Level
126, Level 35, Level 36' to 42', PHRF Racer/Cruiser, PHRF 48-51. - Cynthia
Event Website: www.sailingworld.com.
Balboa YC in Southern California is looking for a full time Sailing
Administrator. This professional position with salary and benefits oversees
the planning and execution of BYC's year-round racing program. He or she
will support the efforts of club committees, write NORs, Sailing
Instructions and help staff and operate a variety of BYC race committee
boats. Applicants must have a background in race management, sailing skills
and a working knowledge of the ISAF and US Sailing structure. For more
information please contact Luis Chavez, General Manager, Balboa Yacht Club
1801 Bayside Drive, Corona del Mar, CA 92625. (949) 673-3515 or
WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES
The Olympic Sailing Committee of US SAILING has announced the Team that
will represent the U.S. at the 20th World University Games. Held every two
years, the World University Games is open to student-athletes between the
ages of 17 and 28 who must be registered for a full course study at a
university, or have obtained their degrees within a year of the Games.
The '99 World University Games, which will feature sailing competition for
the first time, are scheduled for July 5-12 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain,
with racing in the Europe, 470 (men and women), Laser and Mistral (men and
women) classes. (The U.S. will not send competitors for the Europe and 470
1999 World University Games Team - Yachting Competing in the Laser event
are: Daniel Meade (New Orleans, La.) a junior at the University of
Southern California and Eugene Schmitt (Pass Christian, Miss.), a '99
graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Doug Stryker (Edison, N.J.) a
sophomore at Rutgers, and Taylor Duch (Savannah, Ga.), a freshman at Eckerd
College, will compete in the Mistral Men's and Women's events,
respectively. Competing in the 470 Men's event are skipper Kevin Teborek
(Winnetka, Ill.) with crew Talbott Ingram (Fair Haven, N.J.), both juniors
at Hobart & William Smith Colleges, and Steven Hunt (Poquoson, Va.) with
crew Michael Miller (Fairport, N.Y.). Hunt is a '98 graduate of the
College of Charleston where Miller is a junior. Both 470 Men's teams are
members of the 1999 US Sailing Team. Heading the U.S. sailing delegation
will be Team Leader/Coach Skip Whyte (Bristol, R.I.). - Jan Harley, Media Pro
THE CURMUDGEON'S OBSERVATIONS
The only cure for insomnia is to get more sleep.