Anyway, I'm much more the "MY CHEESE MOVED I'MMA PANIC" type of person. I dislike routine, but I dislike surprises even more. Once I get used to something, there had better be a really good reason for me to change my ways.
That being said, I always find it amusing when other people lose their minds at change. So often they're lost in the same kind of morass I get into when confronted with something unexpected, new, different or weird, but it's funnier when they're in it than when I'm in it. Why is that, I wonder? ;)
Case in point- yesterday, the Volvo Ocean Race moved the sail racing world's cheese by announcing that for the next two races, every team would use the same boat. Not the exact same craft, but all the boats would be built from the same model, no differentiation save paint scheme. In the past there have been parameters that the designers and builders worked with, coming up with similar, but not identical boats.
This setup worked, but it favored the syndicates with deeper pockets. More $ meant more research, design etc. The new setup levels that playing field.
Not surprisingly, some people are displeased with the change. A few of the comments I've seen:
- Perhaps the clue that the Volvo Ocean Race would introduce a one-design format for the next two races lay in the brand persona of the title sponsor itself. Volvo is not a racing brand at heart.
- Unfortunately, future legends regattas will not feature a diverse fleet of boats that show different approaches to the design problem of racing around the world, but instead will include boats that are indistinguishable except for their sponsor brand decals and livery. This is a huge price to pay for the survival of the race.
- Volvo way to cow down and kill a good race. So you only had 6 boats this race.... with the world in the state it is in that's huge. Yea Southern Ocean breakages, its the Southern Ocean it is meant to break boats. Cost what type of racing doesn't? Go back to an open design and stop trying to screw up a good thing!!!!!
- A sad day for our entire sport. Monopoly never leads to something good... This is the end of the Whitbread/Volvo as we knew it.
- love the new boat!!!! I think its the best thing they could have done for the race!
- How can you make something, so beautiful, even more sexy??? I love it!!!! Formula one car of sailboats.
- The argument about Farr vs JuanK is moot when it's a OD format. It's a format for the times we live in and puts the sailors front and centre. More teams racing, more sponsors involved, more live media off the boats - this is not OD in the Volvo forever - it's for the next two races... and with the economic climate the way it is we should be glad its going to exist at all!
Of course, I have my own thoughts. To those that complain that the one boat format limits the race, I ask is the race about the boats or about the people who sail them?
With a one design field, it will be the skill of the sailors (combined with some luck) that determines the outcome, rather than the boat. We can see from this race alone how the boat developments help or hinder a team- Team Sanya has outstanding sailors, but with an older boat, they just don't have a chance to keep up with the newer generation.
I think that this can only HELP the Volvo, as it will become a true sailors' race. They'll be competing against the sea and against each other, not against the other teams' designers and checkbooks.
I admit that this change does adversely effect the design houses, I'm guessing that the VOR was quite a budget booster for Juan K, Botin, and some others. But this change is only for two races, other houses will get a chance later. Maybe? I don't know.
But just as in my post "To Be A Great Commander" I talk about killing the Whitbread to save the Volvo, I'm all for this change. Let's move this cheese!
Cross your fingers that I get to see it all move in person!