Professional sports are very interesting. From the money and personalities of the stick and ball sports to the obscure professional bowlers and squash players, making a buck in sports can take a variety of forms. I'm a big fan of "in between" pro sports like yacht racing and cycling. I say "in between" because they're not quite mainstream (at least in the States) but not totally foreign to the average sports fan. Lets face it, pro athletes are entertainers and yacht racing has come a long way in that department.
The America's Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race are arguably the pinnacle of the pro sailing world. The two races contain no shortage of drama and excitement both on and off the water. Leg 1 of the VOR was quite dramatic and Legs 2 and 3 will be no less. The primary reason? Pirates!
With the race taking competitors up the East African coastline, Somali pirates are a real issue. I commend the race organizers for taking the race to new places and laughing in the face of danger. While I don't advocate sailing through dangerous waters without any planning, I do think its cool the race will go through those areas regardless.
Just today, VOR organizers announced a plan, that up till now was secret, to protect racers in the most dangerous parts of the Indian Ocean. http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/news/4311_Anti-piracy-plan-revealed.html
They will actually stop the fleet in a secret safe harbor, transport the boats on a heavily armed ship and restart the race in safe waters. I like it. This adds a whole new level of intrigue to the event as the boats will actually go silent to the public for a time.
So far, this event has had a bit of everything: blowout in-port races; broken masts; almost sinkings and Puma's week long stint on a remote island waiting to be rescued.
While football, basketball and baseball attract all the TV rights and millionaire athletes, I invite you to check out the unique human drama being played out on the remote oceans of the world. Anyone who loves sports, action and adventure will not be disappointed.