Leave it to the Aussies to create a sporting format to bring sailing to the masses. Just like 50 over cricket transformed the game, we hope that events like the “Audi King of the Docklands” will be a massive success. Just like the iShares cup for Extreme 40 catamarans, this kind of event is to be congratulated.
The event will be sponsored by Australia’s most-prolific sponsor of competitive sailing, premium German car-maker Audi. And with the sponsorship comes some marketing smarts too. The event is a ‘winner-takes-all’ battle for the crown in which 25 divisional winners from the 2008 Skandia Geelong Week competition are invited to compete for a major prize valued at over $100,000 – including a brand new Audi vehicle and a yacht.
“On a micro course in the shadows of city skyscrapers, crews will have to combat fluky winds and strict one design rules in a winner take all contest. It has all the ingredients of a gladiatorial battle,” Event Coordinator, Doug Jarvis, said.
“Teams will have a one in 25 chance of winning the $100,000 prize, suffice to say the pressure will be on and reputations, as well as egos, will be on the line,” he added.
Audi’s managing director, Joerg Hofmann, says the company is keen to see sailing in the heart of the city where spectators can enjoy the experience from the dockside and take part in the excitement of competitive sailing.
“As a major sponsor of sailing, we believe sailing has a broad appeal to the Melbourne community and Audi sees great value in this. It allows us to invest into this important market by offering an event for consumers that is competitive, colourful and easily viewed and enjoyed from Docklands. For a sponsor, it is ideal to be able to offer this combination with a big prize to add even more excitement to a high-profile event,” Mr Hofmann said.
The 2009 event, with its brand new sponsor, will showcase the skills of a variety of sailors who will compete in identical, SB3 boats. The prize, one of the richest offered in Australian sailing, will be presented by Audi Australia and Oceanburo, and includes an Audi A4 2.0-litre TDI sedan and an international SB3 yacht. The winning crew will take home the car, whilst the yacht club represented by the winner will receive the boat.
The objective of the Docklands program is to bring sailing into the heart of a major city – a large scale promotion where the general public can touch and feel this highly colourful and competitive sport.
Assembling the top racing yachts (IRC-rated) at Waterfront City provides a rare opportunity for people to see the big offshore racing stars up close and personal, and allows spectators to engage with a sport that is usually out of sight and reach on the ocean.
“This exciting new format will allow the general public to experience the entertainment value of sail boat racing at close quarters. Short, sharp, in your face, racing that produces villains and heroes – yachting’s version of 20/20 cricket if you like”, said Doug Jarvis.
The two day twilight program will see the divisional winners compete in six knock-out heats with the winner of each heat progressing to the Thursday, January 22nd evening final. The support card will include slalom racing on Blades and a Schools’ Championship.
Each crew will be given equal time to practice. Boat and heat draws will be balloted.
The Audi King of the Docklands is scheduled for Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 January 2009 – See more at http://www.docklandsinvitational.com/kingofthedocklands/index.html