Did you watch video of the America's Cup World Series racing in June in Newport or the just completed series in San Francisco? You can catch the full races online thanks to YouTube streaming: a full replay of each day's event. In fact, the America's Cup channel now has 448 official videos, perhaps more than the most avid fan could watch. It seems surprising, however, how few views most of these videos are getting, at least in comparison to most other sports and all the home videos that so quickly go viral. Most of the full race video views are counted in the low thousands. The big hits are the dramatic capsize short clips (naturally!) that people likely send to friends or that are linked from online sailing magazines and blogs, like this popular one of the Oracle 45 catamaran pitchpoling - but even this has yet to reach 2 million views.
Meanwhile, I keep hearing from friends and other sailors that they're just not all that interested in these big catamaran sailing machines. Are they just traditionalists who like monohull sailboats, or is something else going on? Maybe the confusing series of 2011 and 2012 races of the 45-foot boats leading to the 2013 Cup races with the 72-footers? When the decision was made to switch to multihulls in 2009 and then to these two classes of catamarans for 2011 through 2013, the hope was to gather more enthusiasm by making the racing more exciting for spectators. (Of course, big money is always involved too, with sponsors and advertisers and media types invested one way or another.) But if the races can't gather much interest from most people who actually do sail (which means, mostly monohull sailors), what would it mean to become popular among nonsailors? In a YouTube world, has the fun of sailing been reduced to 30-second clips of capsizes (sort of like spectacular fiery accidents in auto racing)? Makes me wonder.
Photo: Ezra Shaw, Getty Images