Bringing thousands of sailors to town to race is one thing, but how do you also bring spectators and keep them interested? The Volvo Ocean Race has shown that there is a latent demand for watching sailing, but do Olympic Class boats have the same appeal as 70 foot speed machines? One advantage that the Olympic classes have is that there is a nationalistic element to the racing – it’s county versus country – not just brand versus brand.
The organisers of the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Perth, have made a commitment to involve spectators as much as possible. Speaking at an event yesterday, Event Director John Longley AM announced Skipper of Australia’s historic 1983 America’s Cup winning challenger Australia II, John Bertrand AM, as an Ambassador to the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships.
‘John Bertrand is an Australian sailing icon. To have him as an Ambassador to the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships is a real honour.’
Mr Bertrand said;
‘My association with the America’s Cup has seen Fremantle become a very special place to me. I have no doubt the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships will see Fremantle come alive much like it did during the 1987 America’s Cup defense.
‘Perth 2011’s opportunity is to take an incredible sport and to raise it to new heights of spectator accessibility by using the latest advances in internet technology and television broadcasting techniques.’
Mr Longley said that Olympic class sailing was something currently viewed from a distance.
‘Sailing is hugely physical and athletic, and we want to bring the spectator as close to the boat as possible, if not actually inside it, to see the race as the sailor sees it. As well as using the latest television and internet technology, we’ll be bringing the racing close into shore at Fremantle where spectators can see much of the action.’
Australian sailing apparel producer Zhik was also announced as official apparel supplier to Perth 2011.
Zhik Managing Director Brian Conolly said partnering with Perth 2011 underlined the core Zhik values of showcasing an Australian brand in an ISAF Sailing World Championship environment.
‘Zhik is the technical apparel of choice by the majority of the top ranked Olympic sailors worldwide, so aligning with the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships was an easy decision. The synergies between what Zhik and Perth 2011 hope to achieve mirror each other perfectly.’