The show versus the competition. There is a new breed of regatta that I call the 'show', because they have stepped into that murky bog that separates competition from theatre. The Extreme 40 and America's Cup World Series are the leaders in 'show' regattas, and if you believe everything you read in the media you could be forgiven for thinking that this is the way of all sailboat racing. Thankfully the vast majority of regattas are all about the competition.
To distinguish between the two, just answer this one simple question: who is the regatta run for? If your answer is the sailors, you have a regatta, if your answer is the sponsors, TV and the general public, then you have a show.
It all sounds so wonderful. Get some sponsors to pay for regattas around the world and for our sailing, then we can pay all our expenses and pay ourselves too. It will be like getting money for jam. The sponsors want to maximise their exposure, so we seduce the media and the public!
Nice concept, but never forget this is a business deal... your sponsor will want his pound of flesh and more.
This column by Rod Davis was in the October issue of Seahorse magazine, and the full story can be found in the Scuttlebutt forum http://forum.sailingscuttlebutt.com/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=12691