The great thing is that we are free to build any business we want. If the old school "offshore racing" is where the future lies then someone will build that business and make it work, right? If the new school "inshore" racing is where the future lies then someone will build that business and make that work too, right?
Oooops. People have tried both and neither have been a large scale commercial success.
As someone who has been involved in both styles of business, I can tell you that the current model will NEVER be a big commercial success. Keep putting lipstick on a pig and you will still have a pig. The old model will not work either, and frankly never really did, at least from the standpoint of a large scale profitable business.
Nevertheless, I still believe that a commercially viable and profitable business (meaning for more than a person or two) can be built from our sport.
Apples and Oranges.....racers who want to experience the challenge of Open Ocean Racing are a different breed.
Racers who want to experience high speed and crowded turns are racers too, just different.
No Unlimited guys hang around offshore boats and vice versa.
Each type of racing has it's pluses and minuses.......pick your type and do it...the crowds will come if that is what you are waiting for.
BENIHANA 1976, Pt Pleasant, NJ. Coast Guard estimates crowd at 400,000 plus. They will only issue the race permit for a race on a Wednesday, saying that a weekend race would be too much of a crowd to control.
The picture below will either excite you and challenge you or you will dismiss it as crazy......either way, it will tell you if you are cut out for this Open Ocean Racing or not.
If you remember back in the 76 Benihana GP or later GPs,, we race along the Beach and then had a offshore leg that went out 8 or so miles off the beach to point out in the ocean and then back along the beach. With the larger fleet turn out back then, there was almost always boats passing the beach area for the crowd to view.what would be the issue to combine both into todays racing.
In it's heyday, the most successful Indy Car series (CART) ran races on street courses, road courses, short ovals and superspeedways, all with the same basic cars. The series provided lots of variety and good close racing, with the added attraction that the balance of power would shift from one type of track to the next. Teams that ran well at superspeedways might struggle at street races, and vice-versa, but every team ran every race because the Championship was worth it. My point - there is no reason that a single, unified sanctioning body could not conduct a racing series that had it all, encompassing all types of races.
Of course, this entire concept comes crashing to the ground when greed steps in. Tony George's power grab with the ill-fated Indy Racing League destroyed the fan base (and therefore the sponsor/financing base) and did the sport immeasurable damage. It even cost TG and his family close to half a billion (with a "b") in lost revenues so far. Sound familiar?
My personal opinion is that the same thing has happened in boat racing, particularly since the demise of the LLC ten years ago. Back in those days, I actually went to boat races to witness them as an actual race. The model may have not been perfect, but it was as good as it's been in a long, long time. (MikeA - You know where to send the check. )
Retired! Boating full-time now.
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