The 2018 Yacht Racing Forum, held last month in Lorient, France, is known as the leading annual conference for the business of sailing and yacht racing.
More than 430 yacht racing industry professionals gathered for the 2 day forum to discuss everything from growing youth involvement in sailing to the latest cutting-edge technology advancements in the upper end of the sport.
MySail founder Deborah Dalziel attended the event and summarizes some of the key ideas and strategies discussed around growing participation in the sport in an article in mysailing.com.au.
Some of the highlights are:
Future of Yacht Racing; Growing Participation
The participants recognized some of the challenges in growing the sport are: (1) busy lifestyles of interested people, (2) the perception that sailing is an elitist sport or something many people ‘can’t do’, and (3) the real and perceived barriers to entry created by the geographical requirements of sailing, the structure of yacht clubs, cost of boat ownership, etc.
The question of affordability was also a common theme – costs of yachts and equipment, participation costs at races and regattas, etc.
These challenges have to be addressed to welcome new sailors and allow current sailors to become more active in the sport.
Pathways and Promotion
Two ways to help increase participation are to: (1) promote sailing as a fun and accessible activity to attract people to the sport and (2) provide pathways to help people get involved and grow in the sport.
There should be an effort to promote the amateur and social aspects of sailing in order to improve public perception of sailing as an accessible, attainable and fun activity.
Cost as a Barrier to Participation
Keeping costs in check through new business models, by regulating equipment or looking at ways to reduce costs to enter and participate in regattas, can ease the burden of cost as a barrier to participation in sailing.
Technology to Improve Accessibility
Social media platforms and digital recording equipment connect people to information, events and other sailors and are great tools to increase awareness and involvement in sailing.
You can read the full article in mysailing.com.au.