I’ve always thought that Sports Car racing was a great comparison to sailing. It has great tradition, great brands, pro-drivers mixed in with ‘gentlemen’ drivers and doesn’t worry too much about whether it appeals to a semi-mythical youth, extreme sports audience.
And as yacht racing events go, the RC 44 Championship is pretty close to sports car racing (except for the one-design bit). So if you are the kind of superyacht company that builds 37 meter yachts with pale blue and orange ‘Gulf’ livery, then why not sponsor an RC44 Team?
The Synergy RC44 team has announced that Heesen Yachts will become their main sponsor for the championship in 2012.
Fabio Ermetto, Sales and Marketing Director at Heesen Yachts says about the sponsorship deal:
“Speed is part of the Heesen DNA and the RC44 is most likely one of the fastest racing yachts on the water. On behalf of all of us at Heesen Yachts I would like to wish buon vento to the Synergy team and I hope to be able to celebrate with them some great victories in this exciting 2012 circuit!”.
Synergy were perhaps expected to mount an America’s Cup campaign. The Team owned by Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedevhas competed in TP52 and Louis Vuitton Trophy campaigns as well as the RC44. This year, the team will be joined by American sailor Ed Baird.
Superyachts and Sailing Sponsorship
You might think there would be more overlap between Superyachts and sailing. At the very top end of the sport, many yacht racing team owners have superyachts as well as racing yachts. ORACLE Racing Boss, Larry Ellison is famous for his n0n-sail powered ships and rival Ernesto Bertarelli also recently launched a new superyacht – Vava II.
Perhaps it is because there is an element of the sailing community that is determined to try and popularise the sport by stripping it of glamour and luxury in the belief that appealing to one of the fastest growing, recession-proof markets is a bad idea because it somehow alienates common folk who might want to try the sport.
Of course there are events like the ‘Superyacht Cup’ which will come to Cowes in 2012, but that is a different breed of superyacht owner.
Luckily, the America’s Cup, which has always been the domain of billionaires, and continues to be positioned at a price-point only viable for the most liquid of backers, is embracing the superyacht industry. The cup has announced a Superyacht program, and recently announced a new partner to look after the types of folk who will move their yachts from sunny climes like the Mediterrainian and the Caribbean to sunny San Francisco in 2013.
BWA Yachting will be an Operational Partner of the America’s Cup Superyacht Program. The company will partner with the America’s Cup to promote and sell bespoke packages to the superyacht community allowing superyacht owners, guests and charterers to be an integral part of the America’s Cup, with unprecedented access to the races and special tailored events.
Stefano Tositti, C.E.O. – BWA Yachting said:
“We are thrilled to be able to announce this partnership with the America’s Cup. …we look forward to providing our superyacht clients with the opportunity to have an up close and personal experience at the America’s Cup events over the next two years.”
The rest of the statement is obviously written by ACEA, because it talks about how the new cup will be great for TV audiences and the public – which is not something that your average VIP superyacht guest might care less about.
Iain Murray, C.E.O. of America’s Cup Race Management has a more enlightened view:
Our aim is to unite the pinnacle of competitive sailing with the height of yachting luxury, and provide owners and charterers with an unprecedented America’s Cup participant experience. Our specialist superyacht division is dedicated to making the America’s Cup an easy and memorable experience for superyacht owners, guests, captains and charterers.”