Like a lot of legacy organisations World Sailing treated early Internet as a novel communication tool with a limited, nerdy audience. Not any more.
That all changed as booming social media applications moved the emphasis from commercial selling to personal interaction, then printed news media and now broadcasting.
Suddenly the seemingly untouchable broadcast/television monopolies were facing a raft of amateur internet bloggers and video producers that ignored the establishment protocols.
While organisations that lacked the internet and social media skills to promote their events to this off-grid audience found themselves side-lined.
The speed of the change was further accelerated by the move from desk bound PC's to laptops, pads and then the all-conquering game-changer . . . the smartphone.
Entrepreneurs were quick to roll out applications to take advantage of the slowness of the monoliths, who cried foul, as their business model disappeared and they struggled to survive.
Pop music, Taxis, Hotels, legal advice, medical and health diagnostics, broadcasters and print media . . . all felt the pinch.
Why should that worry the sport of sailing?
Messing about in boats is still just that, but for the organisers of the Sport, from local Sailing Clubs to the Olympic Games, the reporting and promotional scene has changed . . . for ever.
What could previously only be achieved at great expense and expertise, only justified at high profile, sponsored events, is now becoming the norm with the broad availability of on-line tools and apps.
Live video, tracking and instant results are the new standard at more and more events, and expected by sponsors and sailing enthusiasts.
While this can obscure the basics of the sport, it does provide opportunities. No-where is this better reflected than in the various long distance races.
Every new version of the Volvo Round the World Race sets the bar higher with its embracing of internet media via the Onboard Reporters (OBR), and in the next edition the individual crewmen on fully wired and connected boats.
Each Onboard Reporter will have additional access to night vision and action cameras, while drone and 360-degree cameras will also be in regular use across the fleet. “As soon as it’s sent, you’ll see it."
World Sailing is also sensing this shift and by recruiting a new generation of Internet/social media savvy staff intends to make sure that their very raison d'être is not swept away by a free app!
Vacancies at World Sailing
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Gerald New - Sailweb
20 February 2017 10:12 GMT