Tuesday, June 23, 2009

College Nationals on ESPNU

After all the negative talk here lately by us old geezers ranting on about young sailors and the supposed prevalence of cheating (even in the Optimist Green Fleet says BJ Porter!) and those damned Mommy Boats... it was a pleasure this evening to watch (thanks to the wonders of the DVR and my bloated cable subscription) the 2009 Gill College Nationals on the ESPNU channel.

I must admit I didn't have high hopes of the program when I started to watch it. I mean, I love small boat racing but watching it on TV? It would surely be excruciatingly boring, right? Not so...

Good breeze on San Francisco Bay with some nice surfing conditions downwind. Close races. On-board cameras. The ultimate winner not decided until the last set. Even Gary Jobson managed not to spoil it for me.

And what great kids. I have sailed against some of these skippers in Lasers (way behind them of course) and one or two of them have appeared on Proper Course before. The program has an interview with Paul Cayard where he admits that these superb young sailors would blow him away in short course dinghy racing.

So if you have access to ESPNU and you need something to remind you of all that is good about young people in our sport, try and catch the show. It will air again at the following times...

Wednesday, July 1 at 3:00am
Thursday, July 2 at 7:00pm
Friday, July 3 at 2:00pm
Friday, July 3 at 8:00pm
Thursday, July 9 at 7:00pm
Friday, July 10 at 3:00am
(all times eastern).


yarg said...

Another place to watch college sailing video is sailgroove.org. (some high school sailing too). It lacks the production values of ESPN but eliminates the overly packaged quality of Gary Jobson productions. It is mostly a couple of young guys with video cameras, but they seem to capture the feel of the events. At college nationals they also covered the women's (dramatic turnaround in the last two race set) and team racing, the best sport in the whole world. While Gary Jobson seems to be selling sailing to a non-sailing audience, Sailgroove is a sharing of enthusiasm for sailing with other enthusiasts.
Some of it is silliness - like the interviews with sailors. But at a college events there are more sailors on land at any given time than there are on the water. On land they are just kids who are excited about going to a national event, hanging out with their friends, talking sailing, fooling around, and doing some very high quality, competitive sailing. Sailing is part of the experience of the regatta, and the possibility of winning is only a part of the sailing. These are not people driven by a winning at all cost attitude. I don't think Jobson ever captures this part of it, and sailgroove does. The lack of slick ESPN videography is part of the authenticity of the production.
And one of the best parts of college nationals and I think most college sailing is no parents and no mommy boats.

Pat said...

Heck, some college sailors are lucky to have ANY boats and can't even dream of having coach or mommy boats.

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