This is a great photo of a great race, spoiled by the vandalism of a short sighted web site. The 5 Oceans web site might not have had the budget of the Volvo, but it is failing on too many points to ignore.
1. Paying for content - this is a bad idea as previously blogged. All boats are funded by sponsorship, and for them the more hits the better. Driving the prime audience away just doesn't make any sense.
2. If you do sell content make sure it's good - for yes, I would stump up if it were worth it. But from what they demo it's a little more than sub YouTube postage stamp sized pixellated annoyance. Now that there is broadband everywhere we should get at least standard TV quality - maybe even HD.
3. Limited news content - there have only been a handful of stories of the web site despite the dramatic events of the last few days. Maybe there is more open to those prepared to pay £20 but guess I'm not going to find out.
4. Poor quality race viewer - god I loved the Volvo Virtual Spectator software. For comparison here is the start from last year where that fleet too hit huge seas and several boats retired. Ain't that beautiful!
In comparison the Velux 5 Oceans is unusable. With my browser (Firefox) it is an irritation of flashing blocks of colour, sluggish response and unintuitive controls. I've given up every time I've tried it. Last time it locked up Firefox so I had to kill it and re-launch the browser. And it has to be downloaded each time you look at the chart. It doesn't have to be all wizzy like the Volvo - look at the simple Mid Sea position plotter.
5. Crippled pictures - as you can see above with a huge (c) in the middle. Yes, you can register for downloads but the agreement does not cover blogging. It covers web sites of newspapers and magazines which publish in hard-copy - not pure web sites. Its also a pain if all you want is a desktop picture.
6. Too many adverts, crowding out content. The point of the web site should be to inform, not be a "profit center".
Conclusion: all this wouldn't matter if there was coverage of the 5 Oceans on TV, but in the UK we only get to hear about yachting when there are force 10 storms and a British competitor and some dramatic film clips.
The 5 Oceans Race, the sponsors, the back-up teams, and most important, the skippers out there at sea, deserve better.
Edited to expand point 4 and add point 6.
come to LILAC’s 80 birthday celebration this sunday!
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