Gilmour talks about the current state of match racing at Stena Cup
by Katie Nicoll on 6 Jul 2012
Sail-World interview with Peter Gilmour:
Peter Gilmour at the Stena Match Race Sweden 2012 - Stena Match Cup Sweden 2012 Greg Nicoll
Peter Gilmour is now probably one of the most mature match racers still actively competing in the sport. He is a seven time winner of the Marstrand stop of the World Match Race Series. He has seen a lot in his many years of match racing and is excited about the new breed of sailors coming into the sport.
Recently there has been a massive shift to younger people. The 'old guard' of Coutts, Baird, Isler, and Dickson, along with Gilmour, started match racing in their late twenties in dinghies and then made the transition onto keelboats. The new guys coming in are averaging in age in their mid-twenties and have a higher degree of skill level and experience in the keelboats already.
Peter said, 'Where the old guard have the advantage is that they are more commercially savvy. A match racer is not just about the sailing components, but it is about building a business around you, and so to present to the media a commercial team.
The Tour is helping in this regard to give the younger sailors coming in the tools of how to build an image through interviews and TV presentations. In this way they will be able to build their commercial suaveness. This way the sailor gets to market themselves and the event organizers can market the event and the boats.'
Gilmour feels that more sponsors are now coming on board, at the event and the tour levels, which can offer enticing propositions and good exposure for their products and brands. Last year a real estate company dropped out of the sponsorship and four other real estate companies in Marstrand immediately queued up to come on board. There are a lot of discussions going on at the Tour level with companies such as Alpari (title sponsor of the World Match Racing Tour).
The challenging part of the Tour, as opposed to the Volvo, Extreme, RC 44s, and other such events, is that it is very much based around community involvement, but at the same time they need a commercial entity to run them. Yet, they are not driven by a time line and the quality of the events is good to see. Stena has stepped up as the main sponsor for the Marstrand event. The Stena Line Group is an international transport and travel service company and one of the worlds’ largest ferry operators.
When Sail-World asked Peter how the commercialism would affect the sailors’ camaraderie, he said, 'The sailors on the world tour all have a love-hate relationship. Everyone hates being on the end of a bad decision, a bad outcome, or losing control to their opponent. Yet, he feels that the sailors all respect the nature of the sport and what it is. He doesn’t feel that this is a sport of gossip where you see devious things happening. What happens on the water stays on the water. It’s all about sailing.'
Gilmour’s final comments were, 'As for the Marstrand stop on the Tour, it all depends upon where the wind goes. It will go down to the wire, and the quarter finals, which will be a new start. The tussle to get into the quarter finals will be the interesting one.' Gilmour presently sits in the fourth place in the round robin, with the top 8 going onto the quarter finals.
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