Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Anglo - French Conflict

It was in Scuttlebutt 3208 (Oct. 28, 2010) when Sailing World blogger Tim Zimmermann pronounced that the Route Du Rhum, the 3542 nm solo race from France to West Indies, would be “hands-down be the most exciting sailboat race of the year”. Speaking to his American audience (though the Internet knows no limits) that lacks the same passion as its western European ally, his words were equal parts information and persuasion.

Hopefully his words had some impact for those who witnessed them. The Route Du Rhum only happens once every four years, and it always delivers intense sailing action (which sometimes reaches the level of serious carnage). The last edition drew 1.2 million visitors to the race village and 250,000 people thronging to the coast to view the start. With 1,000 accredited journalists at the start, the event received over 88 hours of TV broadcasts, 5,200 press articles and 60 radio hours. Clearly, the event has an audience.

This year, the RDR had 87 registered skippers, and the event website brought us onboard with reports, photos, video, and tracking. The five divisions were filled with the elites of this realm. The maxi multihulls, famous for their speed records, shared the spot light with the IMOCA Open 60, clearly the dominant player in professional shorthanded competition. But it was the new kid on the block, the Class 40 with its 44 entries, which also warranted space on the stage.

WARNING: A Scuttlebutt rant is approaching...

So given the depth of competition presented by the Class 40, why would an event that had made a significant investment to share the action of this contest to a global online audience, stop providing event updates before the first Class 40 crossed the finish line? The final story - “Here come the roaring 40's!” - would report how the Class 40 fleet would start arriving in a day or two.

Funny thing happened in the world of this French produced event... they stopped translating the stories to English. The website has a French and English language option, and the English version of the website stops on November 16th (as of press time) while the French version continues on. So for any Anglo interested in the six Class 40 entries yet to finish, better luck next time. And we wonder why the Americans don’t follow this foreign affair.

Event website: http://www.routedurhum-labanquepostale.com/

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At 7:28 AM, Blogger Blogger said...

I have come to learn that the organizers of the 3542 nm Route Du Rhum from France to West Indies had always intended for the English translation to conclude on November 16th, regardless of whether the race was completed (and it wasn’t). The reality is that English speakers should feel fortunate they got that much coverage.

The race is French owned, the sponsor is French, the audience is overwhelmingly French, and the race was comprised of nearly all French entries. As a business decision, it was deemed not vital to spend the race budget to reach beyond the borders, though it clearly was a slap in the face for the Class40. As one of the five race fleets, the Class40 accounted for over half the race entries, and was the only fleet with a significant Anglo component. As for when the English race coverage stopped, it occurred before the first Class40 had crossed the finish line.

Hopefully the Barcelona World Race, the doublehanded Open 60 round the world race that starts in December, will better serve the English audience. Considering that their key objective is to promote a forward looking cosmopolitan city and extend its global profile, the first language of the race is English. -- Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt editor


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