Crowdsourced Sailing Sponsorship With A Twist For British Keelboat Academy. 2


Sponsor the British Keelboat Academy for 5 miles and win a day sailing on a TP52

There are not many opportunities for UK companies to sponsor UK sailing in UK waters. While TEAMORIGIN are putting together a team of current keelboat rockstars to compete for the America’s Cup, there is no obvious place for the next generation of talent to come from. While offshore sailors now have the Artemis Academy, those wanting to make the step up from dinghies or Olympic classes to larger boats have to make their own path to success.

The British Keelboat Academy has a lot of potential, but hasn’t quite cracked the right business model to give it the recognition it deserves. Those taking part in the program have been getting good results and the RORC Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is a great opportunity to showcase the talent developed via the academy to a wider audience.

The British Keelboat academy has access to a TP52 “John Merricks II”. The team have worked to convert that boat from an inshore racing yacht to a platform capable of taking on offshore challenges.

From a sponsorship point of view, the ‘Round Britain and Ireland Race’ is quite an opportunistic deal. Just as Jaguar tipped in some cash to get some benefit out of TEAMORGIN’s participation in the 1851 Cup, so too could a sponsor pick up the sponsorship of the British Keelboat Academy at the last minute for much less than it would typically cost to sponsor a boat of the same size in the same race.

The team at the Academy say:

Our budget for running the boat for a season is less than similar boats spend on one mainsail, all of our work had to be done creatively in house. This said, it’s impressive what you can do if you have the right people, time and a little guidance or advice from our supporters within the marine industry. Some big modifications include building and fitting a nav. station from scratch, rig modifications, sail modifications and offshore sheeting options to list but a few.

From our Fastnet experience we had a long list of obstacles that had to be tackled before we could think about leaving the dock for the startline: watermakers, batteries, safety equipment, crew experience. All of which have been overcome bar one, unfortunately we are still just short of our target budget to be able to start the race. With this in mind a couple of the team have designed a website where supporters of our campaign can sponsor miles of our race.

The sponsorship campaign is a nice twist on the crowdsourcing model that has been tried with limited success in the past. Rather than sponsor a percentage of the boat or hull, the team is looking for a more traditional ‘per-mile’ sponsorship campaign to get to the start line.

It’s a big ask in a short period of time. The team needs over 1500 people to contribute to the campaign, but they are asking for just £5 you can sponsor a mile. For corporates, there is an added bonus: Anyone who sponsors 5 miles will be entered into a prize draw to win a day sailing with the team, which will provide the once-in-a-lifetime chance to sail a high performance 52’ racing yacht. £5 for a day’s sailing on a TP52 – that sounds like a good deal to us!!

Sponsor the British Keel Boat Academy at www.johnmerricks-rbi.co.uk