Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars - North Technology

The sport of sailing is far too complicated

by Bernard Schopfer on 25 Sep 2008
Brad Butterworth Ivo Rovira /Alinghi
While the America’s Cup community awaits it’s next chapter, we caught up with America’s Cup veteran and Alinghi tactician Brad Butterworth on his views about the current state of the sport of sailing.

* Brad, what do you consider as the key issues the sport of sailing faces at the moment?

BB: There are too many conflicts with the race calendar. Many yachtsmen would like to compete more, but they can’t because the regattas take place at the same time.

The sport of sailing is also far too complicated and it just can’t be properly televised and understood. It definitely needs a good shake up in order to become more user-friendly.

* WYRF: Where do you think the complications are specifically?

BB: Well, there are many reasons but to start with, the rules are far too complex. The problem behind this is that sailing’s governing body, ISAF, has a long history of making rules. Every time we want to change something, it ends up in a Committee. The sport is not run by the sportsmen, but by Committees.

* WYRF: What about other issues?

BB: Sailing is not a TV friendly sport and a good example is the last Olympic Games, where it was just impossible to properly follow a regatta. There are also far too many classes and this is diluting the sport.

Finally, there is a serious problem with the racing calendar. In order to avoid overlaps, there should be an independent governing body. The ISAF could do this, but it is very difficult to find a body of truly independent people.

* WYRF: Do you think junior and Olympic sailing programs prepare young sailors well for a professional career?

BB: There are a lot of very good yacht clubs that help young people to get into the sport. However the problems arise when they reach their late teens and loose the parental support they had until then. They usually go from single handed dinghies such as Optimists or Lasers to double-handed or crewed boats. The transition is not easy and it is hard to keep people into the sport.

* WYRF: What advice would you give to young sailors?

BB: They should not be shy; they should dare to ask the good teams in their clubs for a ride, and they should be available to jump on the opportunities. Because the opportunities are there.

* WYRF: What's your feeling towards the current Olympic classes?

BB: It is disappointing to see the Olympic classes evolving towards slower boats. The races are boring to watch, whereas they should be fun & exciting and more athletic for the competitors.

* WYRF: The World Yacht Racing Forum will obviously be a good opportunity to debate these issues?

BB: It certainly won't hurt. Monaco is a great venue, and it is also great that the Yacht Club Monaco is encouraging this initiative. Meeting and talking will certainly be a good start.


Brad Butterworth will be a speaker at the World Yacht Racing Forum in December. He will debate the future of the America’s Cup alongside Bruno Troublé, Sir Keith Mills, Salvatore Sarno, Alessandra Pandarese and Paul Cayard.

World Yacht Racing Forum 2008 - http://worldyachtracingforum.com
Colligo Marine 660x82InSunSport - NZBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Indispensable Sunscreen Tips
This is the second part of a three-article series on sailors and the sun This is the second part of a three-article series on sailors and the sun Dr. Steve Horwitz has been an active PHRF, Lightning and Etchells sailor for quite awhile. While most sailors on Biscayne Bay are used to seeing him at the helm of Widespread Panic, he crewed for years before he became a dermatologist.
Posted on 26 Apr 2009
Skin Cancer - the Reality of being a Fair-Skinned Sailor
'One of the first skin cancer screenings was during 2001/02 stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race,' said Dr. Steve Horwitz 'One of the first skin cancer screenings that I did at a regatta was during the 2001/02 Miami stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race,' said Dr. Steve Horwitz. Steve is sailing’s skin doctor. He has been practicing dermatology in Miami for over three decades and has been sailing on Biscayne Bay for longer
Posted on 24 Apr 2009
Vestas Sailrocket - Out of time and at the bitter end
We did all we could as the weather once again played games with us. Vestas Sailrocket is attempting to break the World Sailing Speed record on Walvis Bay in Namibia. Their time period for attempting this record has come to an end. Latest from Paul Larsen. We did all we could as the weather once again played games with us.
Posted on 20 Apr 2009
Curtain raised on the new l’Hydroptère.ch
l’Hydroptère.ch the new lab boat will be a trial platform on a reduced scale for the future Hydroptère maxi On Wednesday during a press conference organized in Lausanne, on the campus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, which is the scientific adviser of the project, Alain Thébault and a part of his team unveiled the drawings of l’Hydroptère.ch
Posted on 18 Apr 2009
Vestas Sailrocket record attempt - And the answer is ...
Did we or didn't we???? We did a 45.68 knot 500 meter average and peaked at 47.6 something... Did we or didn't we???? As I sit here writing this and stuffing a basic chicken and cheese roll nto my mouth, Helena sits down the other end of the container trying to work out if we just broke the nautical mile record or not. I know it was close... We did a 45.68 knot 500 meter average and peaked at 47.6 something...
Posted on 10 Apr 2009
Vestas Sailrocket posts second fastest nautical mile run on record
Yesterday Vestas Sailrocket effortlessly posted the second fastest nautical mile run ever. Yesterday Vestas Sailrocket effortlessly posted the second fastest nautical mile run ever. Whilst yesterday was a bit light to hit top speeds, conditions were pretty ideal to ramp up the check-out of Vestas Sailrocket in preparation for what is to come...
Posted on 1 Apr 2009
Yacht Racing Design and Technology Symposium for 2009
Organisers of the World Yacht Racing Forum have announced the addition of a Yacht Racing Design & Technology Symposium Informa Yacht Group, organisers of the World Yacht Racing Forum have announced the addition of the Yacht Racing Design & Technology Symposium to run parallel to this year’s Forum, 9-10 December at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.
Posted on 1 Apr 2009
New World Speed Record- Macquarie Innovation breaks 50 - hits 54 knots
Simon McKeon and Tim Daddo leapt back into the history books Thursday when Macquarie Innovation averaged 50.43 knots Australian sailors Simon McKeon and Tim Daddo leapt back into the history books Thursday night when Macquarie Innovation powered down the Sandy Point speed course, near Wilsons Promontory in Victoria, at an average speed of 50.43 knots
Posted on 28 Mar 2009
Cowes Week to go ahead without sponsor
It’s business as usual for the world’s oldest and largest sailing regatta, Cowes Week It’s business as usual for the world’s oldest and largest sailing regatta, Cowes Week. The team at Cowes Week Limited, the organisation behind the world famous event, announced today that despite no new title sponsor being signed to date, they want sailors and spectators alike to rest assured the regatta will sail ahead as usual
Posted on 23 Mar 2009
Unlucky Friday 13th crash for Vestas SailRocket and Paul Larsen
Vestas SailRocket crashed at high speed and injuries to Paul Larsen, while attempting a world record run On Friday the 13th, the Vestas SailRocket team scheduled another world record attempt, which resulted in Vestas Sailrocket crashing at high speed and injuries to Paul Larsen. Larsen was hospitalised, but later released. Larsen was shaken but is determined to carry on.
Posted on 16 Mar 2009