America’s Cup An Important Part of the Yacht Racing Industry.

In seven days, the 33rd America’s Cup will be sailed off Valencia. The event has been marred by legal fighting and controversy, but as many long time observers know, controversy is nothing new to the America’s Cup. While there is little doubt that lack of mutual consent between the Defender and Challenger has tarnished the sport, it is still the goal of many to be involved with this iconic event.

While Ernesto Bertarelli and Larry Ellison have made the headlines, each team is made up of hundreds of personnel, each at the top of their game. Waiting in the wings are several other elite teams, each providing employment to some of the sport’s top people. And the America’s Cup is only one event. The Yacht Racing industry is an ecosystem of competitors, suppliers, rights owners and media.

Despite the America’s Cup being the oldest competitive sporting trophy, the competitive sailing ‘industry’ is relatively immature. The sport is still wrestling with it’s corinthian roots and many in the industry fight amongst each other for share of voice, money and exposure instead of seeing the competition as other sports or entertainment.

In recent years, there has been a slow awakening of the industry, but there is a long way to go. The immaturity of sailing as a professional sport provides some great opportuities for companies that operate at the top of their game, but from the outside, the sport is seen as complicated.

Unlike Soccer, Tennis or Golf, where the game is pretty much the same everywhere, sailing is more akin to motorsport – with different formulas and event types. So how do people do business with the professional sailing industry? Who’s Who? Where to start?

In recent years, the industry has begun to define itself a little better. The World Yacht Racing Forum has been run twice and the DARK BLUE BOOK, the Who’s Who of Yacht Racing – a directory of key people, is to be published again in 2010.

The DARK BLUE BOOK aims to be a definitive reference for the industry, containing contact information and key facts about competitors, suppliers, media and other stakeholders.

In 2009, the first ever directory sold over 500 copies to major players in the industry and to people who want to connect with the business of sailing. An additional 250 copies were distributed to influencers in companies that currently don’t participate in the yacht racing industry, but who have participated in the past or have been identified as potentially entering the market in the future.

In 2010, the DARK BLUE BOOK will contain more names, numbers and important information about the business of competitive sailing. The industry is being encouraged to promote the opportunities that the sport provides to a wider audience through the directory.

The directory is currently accepting entries for the 2010 edition. The publishers are working with leaders in the business to create a guide that presents the sport in a professional manner.

Individual entries are free until the end of February, but have teamed up with the DARK BLUE BOOK to offer our readers 20% off company listings and advertising. To take advantage of this offer, simply enter AC33 in the coupon box when buying online.