I have recently received a copy of a rather concerning document about the state of the sport of sailing. The gemba ‘Product Positioning and Brand Strategy’ report amounts to a report card on the sport and if the highly qualified folks at gemba are to be believed, then sailing has been wagging school, not doing its homework, texting in class and smoking behind the toilet block. From the gASP (which stands for ‘gemba Active Sports Participation’- the odd use of capitals is theirs not mine) sailing ranks 37th out of the 45 sports ‘tracked’ in terms of ‘passion levels’. The study’s base for this was 5614 Australians who were asked to rate themselves as ‘Fanatics’, ‘Fans’ or ‘Not Interested’ in regards to the 45 sports listed. Whilst only 5% claimed to be fanatics of sailing, some 31% claimed to be fanatics of the best ranked ‘sport’ of walking. By ‘walking’ do they mean that bizarre spectacle that we only see once every 4 years at the Olympics where contestants must cover the 50 km course as fast as they can without running or catching a bus, and random officials leap on to the track and disqualify them for ‘lifting’? (whatever that means). Now we Aussies are all very apt at becoming ‘experts’ on marginal sports for two weeks each leap year. – I recall a particularly gripping handball game between Chinese Taipei and Namibia at the last Olympics – but are 31% really fanatics of the sport of walking? I think not. What they were referring to was the ‘activity’ of walking. Walking, for most people, is a way of being active or a method of transport but not really a sport. Are 31% percent of us really fanatical about it, or is it just something we need to do each day to get from the carpark to the office? ‘Dance’ out ranked sailing by a fair margin also.18% of all Aussies are fanatical about the ‘Sport of Dance’ supposedly.
Clearly everyone who likes going to night clubs or places were scantily clad young ladies swing around poles ticked this box. Perhaps they conducted this research in the Valley at 2.30 am? Like chess, dance is a sport you can do whilst drinking at the same time so it is bound to be popular. Both 10 pin bowling and bushwalking (17% each) outshone sailing as did the sport of ‘gym workouts’. Now I thought people who went to the gym fell in to one of 4 categories- those who like to keep fit, those training for a real sport, those that like stealing glances in the mirror at the hot ‘bods’ and those that like stealing glances in the mirror at themselves. But regardless of what they do at the gym it is not really a sport by itself is it.
The traditional sports of AFL, Cricket and Rugby League faired better with 25, 22 and 20% respectively of Australians being fanatical about them. But being fanatical with a TV remote control, a 6 pack of beer and a large, meat lover’s pizza is not really contributing to health of the nation is it! Tennis, motor sport (which is an oxymoron in my opinion) and fishing all have 19% of Australians in raptures and cycling has 15% of us wearing spandex and spending more on our ‘pushies’ than some small countries GDP.

The next section of the report tells us that the research shows that only 24% of the sailing fanatics actually participate in the sport! Clearly the other 76% get their fix by watching the hours of TV coverage that the sport gets each weekend.
Now I can help the folks at gemba out here by coming up with a title for the 76% of fanatics that don’t sail. They are called parents.

Lastly is the section of the report that deals with participation. According to the research, 2.6% of the population sail, compared to 9.1% who have a bash at table tennis and the 11.1% of those that like to belt a small white ball around golf courses.
Only 8.7% actually play cricket whilst 53.1% participate in walking, leaving a hell of a lot of people who must crawl to get around. Now the Australian Bureau of Statistics list the population of this vast brown land as of 830am on the 2nd of March 2012 at 22,849 375 people, meaning there are just under 600 000 of us that sail. And as the song says this land is ‘gert by sea’ and because of global warming getting ‘gerter’ each day, this is clearly not good enough! But we must bear in mind that this report is based on market research – the same method that also tells us most Australians would like Kevin Rudd to be Prime Minister.
And that can’t be right.
So according to this report card, walking gets an OP1 whilst sailing will have to stay in at lunchtime and repeat prep school next year.

So all you fanatics should get out there and grow our sport. And as you will see below, here at Southern Cross we have unlimited opportunities to get you out on the water.
That’s all for this week until next time, keep your phone off the hook!
Mike Job.

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