Stadium Sailing Comes to Detroit

The Premiere Sailing League debuted a new format of stadium sailing, showcasing near-shore racing and allowing fans to mix with the athletes off the water.

Premiere Sailing League
Sailing fans watch the Premiere Sailing League’s first demo event at Grosse Pointe Yacht Club Premiere Sailing League

Showcasing the stadium sailing concept that the Premiere Sailing League USA is working to bring to the U.S.A., the league held its first-ever event at Detroit’s Grosse Pointe Yacht Club (GPYC) on September 10 with ten teams of four sailors racing J/70s. In just over four hours the 10 boats rotated through the 18-race exhibition event: each team sailed a total of nine races and watched the action for a total of nine while mingling with spectators.

“This was a good first step in changing how we view sailing,” said Wally Cross, Sailing Director of GPYC. “The format is proof that you can watch our sport and make it entertaining. This was a test, and based on the success of this event we plan to have another major stadium sailing event next summer at GPYC for the Premiere Sailing League USA.”

Cross feels the format is a new direction in sailing – and entertainment. “This is new, fast paced and entertaining,” explained Cross. “In my opinion, our sport takes too much time to do and takes time away from family. With the Premiere Sailing League’s concept, you can sail from noon to 4:00, watch for a couple of hours and have your family come down to be a part of the action. The total time of the regatta is equal to one round of golf. Someone can come and watch the action and talk to the competitors while viewing the races.”


GPYC is the first of 24 planned venues with which Premiere Sailing League USA will partner to stage sailing in a stadium-style setting; each regatta will be held close to shore and will utilize the latest social media technologies to engage both live and virtual audiences.


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