Evening briefing, SAIL 2011 Flotilla in BVIs

It is pretty hard to make a five year plan as a journalist. Sure there are the goals of writing for different mainstream publications, adapting/advancing pure journalistic approaches in new media platforms and even making new business alliances. But one thing I have always been suprised by is the diversity in stories and new angles on seemingly straightforward ideas.

SAIL Magazine BVI Flotilla 2011

Here’s an example. This fall I was invited by Sail magazine to be a guest expert on an adventure flotilla through the BVIs with Sunsail. In addition to assisting the other eight boats with their navigation, sail trim and generally enabling them to find their own cruising cadence and confidence, I realized that the flotilla concept was a very new thing to Americans. Though there were some foreigners on the trip, the itinerary was looser than the European model which has a more ducks-in-a-row approach.

There is a lot to be learned from bareboat chartering in groups and some online articles, videos and print features will be helpful to the vast majority of sailors who would like to be more adventurous in their sailing but need a slight safety net and even a nudge to get going.

I began reporting on non-racing yachting events with my coverage of the 2011 World ARC, a fantastic around the world cruise-in-company if you will. I was with the group in Grenada and wrote about it for Sail. Then I covered the more entry level offshore event associated with the World ARC which is the Caribbean 1500, bringing sailors from Hampton Virginia this fall to either the Bahamas or the Virgin Islands. What a fascinating angle to our sport. These rallies are growing in numbers each year and there is a lot of inspiration to be found for sailors and non-sailors.

PUMA recovering mast in first leg of 2011 Volvo Ocean Race

On the racing front, I have been challenged to be covering the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race again, both I have written about in the New York Times in 2011. The new format of the AC has put a sginificant amount of emphasis on the “show” being a main component of competition. The new challenge is to educate readers on the exciting nature of the game while drawing them in through the people. A feat yet to be done, in my estimation, by any media yet. The same holds true with the Volvo. Though most coverage in the mainstream comes from breakdowns and disaster, it is time to use new media to our benefit to show the mainstream audiences all the pieces of what is inherently a very compelling event.

There has to be a way to give mainstream and even sailing-saavy audiences a taste for the robust and far-reaching connections both ends of the sport have in common: a thirst for adventure in a very pure sense, one found in very few experiences.