Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Dinghy Wetsuits

Isn't sailing an Outdoor Sport????

by Molly Winans on 9 Feb 2013
Ericsson 3 mastman Anders Dahlsjö on the foredeck - hardly being a couch potato Gustav Morin/Ericsson Racing Team/Volvo Ocean Race © http://www.volvooceanrace.org
Every now and then we need to step back and take a breath... Spinsheet magazine Editor Molly Winans looks at sailing from a mainstream angle in a recent magazine editorial.

Here is an extract from that editorial ...'when interviewing Bob Lippincott, early in his college sailing career, I asked what his favorite television shows were. His response sticks with me: 'I’m an outdoor guy. I’d rather be out bike riding or taking a run than watching TV.' He had me at outdoor.

Every sailor I know is an outdoor guy, but somehow, with the exception of Lippincott and Nicholas Hayes in his book Saving Sailing, few of us use the words 'outdoor' or 'outdoor recreation.' It’s as if we think that campers, backpackers, rock climbers, white-water rafters, and those who own crampons and ice axes own the copyright to them.

In an effort to expand and reach out further with our Start Sailing Now guide’s sixth edition in 2013, I did some research on the websites for Under Armour, Patagonia, REI, and Eastern Mountain Sports. What did I find about sailing on those websites? Zilch. Nada. It was as if the sport of sailing wasn’t invited into the exclusive world of outdoorsiness. As someone who has donned labels from all of those companies, I was surprised.

How strange to be a member of what some perceive as the elitist club of sailing and to realize that we’re not acknowledged by the giant retailers of the outdoor recreation world. Now, you can say, who cares? We have West Marine, Fawcett Boat Supply, Annapolis Performance Sailing, Landfall Navigation, and the like. We have our niche suppliers for our nichey world of sport.

Who cares? I think that anyone who is concerned with the future of our sport should care. A quick keyword search
of the October issue of SpinSheet, the largest one of the year, revealed only five mentions of the word 'outdoor' and 61 of the word 'marine.' I wonder what one would find if they searched the same keywords in Sailing World, Cruising World, SAIL, or Sailing?

We are in the marine industry, so that’s only natural, right? Perhaps in Climbing Magazine, they have fewer mentions of the word 'outdoor' and more of 'boulder' or 'belay,' but I bet that the word 'out-door' gets more ink than sailors give it. It’s worth examining. It’s worth entertaining the thought that perhaps, we in the sport of sailing limit ourselves and build walls around our sport with language.

What if we made an effort, especially in print and digital formats, to replace our favorite words—marine, Corinthian,
yacht race, regatta, commodore, clubhouse, and charter—with a few that would make sense and sound intriguing to non-sailors? A few ideas: waterfront, sportsmanlike, sailboat race, on-the-water challenge, sailing competition director, sail center, sail-sport open house, sail travel, and sail fitness. How about 'novices welcome'?

What if we stopped talking like Thurston Howell III and started talking like cutting-edge outdoorsmen and women who are dedicated to inviting other fit, outdoorsy, adventurous, thrill-seeking, nature-loving, competitive people of all ages and backgrounds into our exciting outdoor world?

If we chose our words to target such souls, would more curious people find sailing opportunities on the Internet? Would REI, Patagonia, and Under Armour start recognizing us as sport enthusiasts in synch with their out- door philosophies? If one of these giants featured sailing among its website’s sports, would it attract newcomers to sailing?

Sailors are inherently outdoorsy.

There’s nothing indoorsy about our sport or the people who get out in the wind, sun, rain, or even sleet to do it.

We just need to mind our words. We must update our vocabularies to welcome the next generation into the sport of sailing.

Mackay BoatsNorth Technology - Southern SparsPredictWind.com 2014

Related Articles

Moth Worlds – Moth speed uncovered
C-Tech’s Tim Willetts takes time to reflect on changes in Moth class rig design and development over the past six years With the 2017 Moth world championship starting Tuesday, C-Tech’s Tim Willetts takes time to reflect on changes in Moth class rig design and development over the past six years. A lot has happened behind the scenes that is giving the top sailors the edge by staying ahead.
Posted today at 9:25 am
Int Moth Worlds - Zhik returns to its spiritual home at 2017 Worlds
Zhik is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships Zhik, the innovative sailing apparel specialist, is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships. And, ten years on, the Moths are returning to their spiritual home on Lake Garda. Zhik and the International Moth class are virtually synonymous with each other.
Posted on 20 Jul
World Sailing confirms strong presence at Yacht Racing Forum 2017
The tenth edition of the Yacht Racing Forum, in Aarhus, Denmark will reassemble the sport’s key personalities and actors The tenth edition of the Yacht Racing Forum, in Aarhus, Denmark (November 27-28) will once again reassemble the sport’s key personalities and actors, including a strong delegation of World Sailing representatives.
Posted on 19 Jul
Watch Change in Crosshaven - UK Sailmakers under new command
'Our strength has always been service, quality and people. Right now, they are Graham, Claire and Barry.' The famous Crosshaven loft that is part of the UK Sailmakers organisation will shortly have a new crew on deck. Barry Hayes, Claire Morgan and Graham Curran are taking over from Des McWilliam who is stepping down after 39 years in the business and 25 years at the helm of McWilliam Sailmakers.
Posted on 3 Jul
When the going gets hot Zhik has the answers on what to wear afloat
Whilst many of us Brits are looking in the sailing bag wondering what on earth to wear afloat in this heatwave Whilst many of us Brits are looking in the sailing bag wondering what on earth to wear afloat in this heatwave, Zhik the Australian sailing apparel innovators are set up for dealing with extreme heat, moisture management and sun protection.
Posted on 22 Jun
AkzoNobel named as official supplier to the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard
The competing boats– including team AkzoNobel’s brand new Volvo Ocean 65– have already been coated with Awlgrip products AkzoNobel will be the official coatings supplier to the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard in 2017-18, after signing a deal to ensure that the fleet of Volvo Ocean 65 racing yachts will be coated with the company’s International and Awlgrip range of products
Posted on 29 May
World Sailing and Volvo join forces for the future of sailing
The partnership is a signal of the Volvo Ocean Race's commitment to the sport and future of offshore sailing. As part of an ambitious plan, World Sailing will partner with the Volvo Ocean Race, owned by Volvo Group and Volvo Car Group, to develop the next generation of offshore sailors.
Posted on 18 May
TIMEZERO by MaxSea extends navigation partnership with Clipper Race
TIMEZERO by MaxSea, has been named as the Official Navigation Software Supplier for Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Returning for its second race partnership, TIMEZERO by MaxSea, has been named as the Official Navigation Software Supplier for the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race.
Posted on 18 May
North Technology buys Hall Spars from receivership
North Technology Group (NTG) has announced the acquisition of the Hall Spars business out of receivership. North Technology Group (NTG) has announced the acquisition of the Hall Spars business out of receivership. The Hall Spars US parent company announced in early 2017 that it would be closing the doors due to well publicized financial challenges. The acquisition covers Auckland and Brekens and Hall Spars will re-establish in Rhode Island
Posted on 9 May
SAP brings cutting-edge solutions to World Sailing
World Sailing announces SAP, a market leader in enterprise application software, as its Official Technology Partner Over the next four years, SAP will bring its cutting-edge, innovative solutions to World Sailing's World Cup Series of events. SAP will transform the events by improving performance on the water, reinventing the fan experience on the shoreline and at home, simplifying operations for sailors and coaches and supplying media with information and insights to deliver a more informed commentary.
Posted on 2 May