There is absolutely no doubt that if you can create a sporting event that includes the name of the venue and establish that event over time, the value is enormous. Think about Le Mans or Monaco and then think of a sporting event. Think about the Vendee Globe, or the Indianapolis 500 or Cowes Week and then think about which airport is the closest. The links between sport and tourism are growing all the time, but can new events generate the same kind of returns that have been established over hundreds of years?
[cleeng_content id=”843772229″ description=”99 cents or 10,000 hours. The path to being an expert can be easy or hard. ” price=”0.99″]One event that is trying to use the same model is the Barcelona Round the World Race. The event’s organising body, the FNOB (Barcelona Foundation for Ocean Sailing), is trying to create a World Class event for professional offshore sailors, but also used the race to promote offshore yacht racing in Spain through the ‘Barcelona Ocean Sailing Base’; a structure that brings together industries, universities, logistical support and sponsor research to help foster new talent in the offshore sailing world. The initiative also supports the “Escuderia”, a sailing team that includes four IMOCA 60’s and gives a fantastic opportunity to some new and very talented sailors.
The World Yacht Racing Forum talks to Andor Serra, Director General of the FNOB in their latest newsletter. While it doesn’t touch on the calendar conflict between the Barcelona World Race and the VELUX 5 OCEANS Race – both for Open 60 yachts, the interview gives an insight into the goals of the project.
WYRF: What is your status of preparation towards the Barcelona World Race, six months ahead of the event?
Andor Serra: “We are on schedule! We have been organizing two big test events which took place over the Spring and last month (the New-York – Barcelona Transoceanic Sailing Record and the Vuelta Espana a Vela). This has helped us identify our weaknesses and correct them. We know precisely what we need to do before the race.”
WYRF: What are your current priorities?
Andor Serra: “We are developing some technological projects aimed at increasing the coverage of the race. Our biggest project is Barcelona World Race Television; it will help us to produce and distribute high quality footage of the event, and will increase our visibility.”
WYRF: So your main objective is the same as the America’s Cup’s?
Andor Serra: “There must be a good reason for this… The sport of sailing always struggles to be on television and it is essential for event organizers to invest in order to increase their return through television.”
WYRF: You are organizing an event on one hand and promoting offshore yacht racing on another, through (amongst others) a sailing team that comprises four boats. How do both projects relate to one another?
Andor Serra: “The two projects compliment each other; they are also independent from each other. We needed to create this structure in Spain because there was no culture of short-handed offshore racing in our country. We have therefore developed a structure that brings together industries, universities, logistical support, sponsor research etc. Its ultimate purpose is to generate value.”
WYRF: Can this concept be replicated? Perhaps it would be a good model for other countries…
Andor Serra: “Well, every country is different and has different needs. Our culture is very close to the French one and our model is the training centre in Port La Forêt. It is a very efficient model that can surely be replicated; however, before you create a structure in a country, you need to be sure you have enough candidates…”
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