Readers argue some Volvo Ocean Race coverage has been rivetting, so reward performers accordingly


More from readers on the Volvo Ocean Race and the Whitbread, and this time plaudits not brickbats for those involved:

From Laurence Woodward: ‘I have to defend Ken Read, Bouwe Bekking, and Magnus Olsson, who all come over great on the telly.

‘OK I only see the programmes because a mate sends them to me. The real trouble with the Volvo is a slow web site and poor public access. But some of the footage has been incredible and those guys have earned their money.’

Euan Ross writes: ‘Maybe the Whitbread was indeed sold down the river; but we should recognise that all the critical lapses in judgment happened under the previous watch.

‘Knut Frostad seems to me to be exactly the right kind of guy with the necessary skills, knowledge and Southern Ocean experience required to get the event back on track (his predecessor of course lacked the most crucial of these crucial attributes).

‘I believe the race can go forward but this may require a management takeover and a whole new business model. It’s increasingly obvious that the event is no longer a “good fit” for Volvo in terms of effective resource utilisation, as well as marketing and image reasons.

‘As for professionalism in sailing, it’s clearly a sensitive issue. People pay to watch athletics and cycling, so it makes sense to have well-paid professional athletes in these disciplines.

If a sport is tremendously entertaining (like premier league football) it should rightly be professional, and highly paid to boot, if not (like Olympic sailing) there is no justification whatsoever for keeping invisible athletes on handouts solely in the interest of some sort of vaguely defined national chauvinism.

‘But I would argue that, unlike the round-the-cans lads – whom we can leave to polish their egos in isolation – the online exploits and personal stories of our big boat heroes are, like football and cycling, tremendously entertaining, whether they are racing VO70s or IMOCA sleds. This is a professional elite that can and should survive.

‘Who isn’t awed and entertained by Magnus Olsson, Jerry Kirby, Kenny Reid, Bouwe Bekking, Iker Martinez and the rest of these guys performing day and night before the world’s media.

‘And much as I deplore the life-threatening deficiencies in the management, design and engineering of these over-funded raceboats, the progress of both fleets round the planet this winter has been absolutely riveting – breakdowns and all.’

Thanks for these – more comments welcome.