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We need more sailing on the TV!

Wow! Isn’t it refreshing to see sailing on the TV as part of the Sport reflief ‘Hell on high seas’ challenge!

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In case you haven't seen it, a team of celebrities are trying to sail once around the UK in seven days in aid of Sport Relief, and it looks like a great adventure!

Given that we’re surrounded by glorious sea, you would’ve thought that practically everyone would be a sailor, but it seems to be a widely held lament that the number of sailors is not growing (if not gradually reducing as the old sea dogs retire).

One of the key problems is that as people only ever see sailing in the mainstream media during the Olympics (when they never race yachts, so they never see how much fun there is to be had from living and sleeping on a yacht), or during the Americas Cup (when the commentary no doubt raves about how expensive the multi billion pound racers cost to build) they assume that it is the realm of the super-rich. 

Indeed, the only times that a yacht makes it to the press seems to be when the super-rich are playing host to some fancy schmancy launch party, or ball, or other, or when it’s multi-millionaire premier league footballers on their summer holidays.  Neither of which are particularly useful for getting ordinary people to recognise that sailing is accessible, and that it doesn’t have to be expensive.

It’s a bit like if, every time they talked about cars, they only ever showed Formula 1.

To increase sailor numbers, what we need is more press coverage of ordinary sailing life: maybe a soap opera set at a marina showing ordinary folk and the daily dramas of life on a yacht, or Rick Stein should do a cookery show in one, or they could have a talk show about what’s better out of a monohull and a Cat? 

There’s nothing not to love about sailing, so it’s just about connecting to the man on the street and helping them to see that it isn’t necessarily an elite sport, but something for everyone.