Topic : Sponsorship

What are peoples views on individual boat sponsorship? 

Just wondering as I read a little on its debate at a committee meeting and thought it raised some interesting points of view.

I for one am un-decided on the matter, but can see the pros and cons.

Posted: 11/02/2005 16:54:58
By: Hugh Fletcher
If someone gave me sponsorship, then I'd agree with it, but whilst they haven't I think it shouldn't be allowed!

Posted: 11/02/2005 17:01:37
By: ?
My opinion is that "B&Q" is a stupid name for a yacht. Sponsorship by a dinghy sailmaker is the way to go though, if you are lucky...

Posted: 11/02/2005 17:20:34
By: Mags
All sponsorship has no place in Corinthian Yachting even perhaps especially sailmakers Ian Proctor spolied it for everyone in the Uk Lowell North for the rest. If you need to ask the price don't go yachting as Tom Sopwith put it so well. Or be content to stay down the back but don't get chippy about it.

Posted: 11/02/2005 17:37:41
By: If I were a rich man
the 12s ruined their class when they allowed advertising.

amazing that they recovered from going smooth skin in the 70s to think about it

and those god foresaken double floors.

go on and on ad nauseum.... Guys it is 2005! We don't have to sailing fishing boats. Even the Prince of Wales can marry a divorcee. Whatever next, individual sponsorship. NEVER!

Posted: 11/02/2005 18:48:32
By: it will be the end of the class
b&q is only half the story - it's called castorama on the other side!

Posted: 11/02/2005 22:24:56
By: john cunningham
Not sure I'd be too happy sailing around the world in a DIY yacht named B&Q.  Brings a rather frightening addition to the inference "you can do it if you B&Q it".  The french say it much better <>...

As for buying nice new Musto gear with that little orange logo on it - far from convinced about that. I'm sure the marketing managers know where they're going with it though - maybe the next series of commercials will have the brummy (I can insult them 'cos I am one) checkout girl wearing a Musto spray top instead of her pinny. Interesting.

Posted: 11/02/2005 23:18:37
By: They seek him here, they seek him there
Interesting that many of us have sailed in events that being sponsored require the competitors to race with stickers all over our boats. Most seem more than happy to do so, even more interesting is to note how long after the event these stickers remain in place. Badges of honour? Look where I've been! or Wot? 
Take a look around any dinghy park/marina and see how many boats have various freebie stickers on them fron clothing firms to that little red FD (musto/hydes) note the plug!
My thoughts are you should only display them if they make it worthwhile!!!!! but then I'm a mercenary!!

Posted: 12/02/2005 07:37:16
By: Barry Watkin
One further note Ellen had some difficulty mending her generator this wasn't just the conditions as much as the B&Q tools,............being french they only worked mornings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted: 12/02/2005 07:40:39
By: Barry Watkin
Make sure if collect a sponsorship fee that it covers your fourXXXX insurrance fee. 
Anyone want a bent & buckled LD Maxi?

Posted: 12/02/2005 10:47:34
By: Grant Warrington (not)
Ellen would not have been able to attempt her recent record breaker without sponsorship from B&Q. Surly any kind of sponsorship is good as long as it promotes sailing and helps people to sail in events what they could not otherwise afford.

Posted: 12/02/2005 19:18:33
By: Sponsorship is good ;-)
The benefits of Sponsorship: The ones on top get the best gear cheap which keeps them on top. This will deter people joining the class which is surely bad.

Posted: 12/02/2005 22:02:23
By: Against
Surly it encourages people to take up the sport because sailing is publicized by the sponsors. Even though Ellen sailed the B&Q yacht, the publicity of sailing from that will have encouraged many people to go sailing in both yachts and dinghies, increasing participation numbers.

Posted: 13/02/2005 09:57:01
By: Sponsorship is good ;-)
in response to Against, it is quite obvious that Ellen Mcarthur got sponsorship from Kingfisher group exactly because she was already at the top and was the best.  NOT

i think it is quite widely acknowledged, that she is not a particularly reknowned racer, but rather she has huge personal resilience and drive which together with 1st class appreciation of her sponsors needs allows her to attract sufficient cash to enable her to conduct her 'Challenges' with a level of professionalism which puts her on a totally different level to anyone else who has tried to do what she does. In this respect she is incredible.

The top merlin guys wont spend more. what more could be spent? other people will get sponsorship, be it just suits of sails which they would otherwise not be able to afford or the money to run the car to get to the meetings.

get a life.

Posted: 13/02/2005 13:23:04
By: it will be the end of the class
So are you saying it wont be the end of the world? It might give those with less spare cash a chance to challenge the top guys, Lets face it sailing has always attracted sponsorship official or otherwise how many people do you know who charge their petrol, B&B, cordage! to trade expenses, Or indeed build boats,masts,sails etc so as such have subsidised boats. Without them the class really would stagnate, If you can why not it all in the name of enjoyment isn't it?

Posted: 13/02/2005 16:04:32
By: Barry Watkin
Individual Sponsorship? only those with access to generous bosses, or in positions of influence would benefit, and I suspect that they already have enough folding to pay for sailing, why divide the class even more, Now event sponsorhip with subsidised entry fees for all can only be a good thing.

Posted: 13/02/2005 17:45:12
By: Hugo First
The problems with sponsorship of individuals and indeed events are:
1. It lends itself to horrible sails like those on Ellen's boat, though the MR class already allows odd coloured sails because of the exotic materials so esthetics hardly come into it!
2. The "labels" that besmurch booms sails masts an hulls at some sponsored events are unsightly ans whilst they are an understandable requirement once again spoil the look!
3. Sponsorship of individuals inevitably means that those who are already winning and thus least need the help will get it.
4. "SCHOLARSHIPS" will go to the clasees that race internationally for Team GB. 420's Opppies 470's and so on up the food chain untill one gets to BIG BOATS such as Bear of Britain where the sums are massive.
5. so is it worth the cost?
6. I think not. Though
a. People will pass on to sponsored classes maybe to return.
b. One need to be carefull in the keelboat classes such as The Etchells and Dragon Paid crews are becoming a norm on the international circuit, and even going back to the late 50's one can think of MR crews who were certainly helped if nor paid indeed the odd helmsman ditto! So its not new!


Posted: 13/02/2005 19:59:58
By: Sponsor
I think your right in your comments sponsorship is renowned for being very unfair in just where it goes & who gets it I'm sure we have all seen some good sailors getting none whilst others showing off the excecess. Likewise getting into or on to funded schemes/teams is or can be a lottery if your not part of the 'squad' your face doesent fit. I also been part of teams/squads were some 'rip off' owners big time leaving others unpaid and in some instances having to move on to pay there own bills. It would be nice if everyone were able to gain funding to improve & enjoy there sport but I guess there will always be those who ruin it for the majority.   Sorry I'm rambling a bit, So still not sure if it's good or bad?   Barry.

Posted: 14/02/2005 07:48:47
By: Barry Watkin
Barry you are spot on!
We should always remember too that sponsors are not philanthropists! They will look at the peer group of the class which is very broad!From prosperous old farts to impoversished students.
It's easier in a class such as Farr 40's or Dragons where all the owners are by definition quite well off! The Etchells class has the same problem of being a broad church. The onky class that does not seem to have that problem is the Star, but that is such a special boat.
Unless it be a local firm who are just doing it for the hell of it. They won't change the world though, but do you want it changed?

Posted: 14/02/2005 11:12:52
By: Sponsor
Not all sponsors sponsor the best sailors, as a lot of sponsorship is from local companies who are supporting the local team. In some classes you will see sails with company logos on boats that are not competing at the top of the fleet. In return for the sponsorship many people have had their entry fees paid for and some new sails. That can’t be bad as it encourages sailors to compete in events. 

Many top sailors get offered very good sponsorship deals but some sailors (including the ones who are not at the top of the fleet) just ask local companies for sponsorship and get it.

Posted: 14/02/2005 13:43:31
By: Sponsorship is good person 2
But who for goodness sake would want to sail around with B & Q on the sails unless.......

Posted: 14/02/2005 13:44:52
By: Sponsor
That's Charity not sponsorship!

Posted: 14/02/2005 13:45:34
By: Sailor
Surely if it raises the quality of the sailing throughout the fleet and helps more people to compete in the merlin fleet it is a good thing. 

Would it really alienate certain elements of the fleet. Is the only argument against based on aesthetics??

Posted: 14/02/2005 15:27:52
By: Hugh Fletcher
It's not given that it raises any quality. Have a look at this copy of an e-mail received by B&Q customer services:

> Dear Sir/Madam
> My congratulations to you on getting a yacht to leave the UK on 28th
> November 2004, sail 27,354 miles around the world and arrive back 72
> days
> later.
> Could you please let me know when the kitchen I ordered 96 days ago
> will be
> arriving from your warehouse 13 miles away?

Posted: 14/02/2005 15:51:42
By: Andy
Well if ugliness doesnb't worry you race a 49er!

Posted: 14/02/2005 16:14:15
By: Estete
I would not care if i had sails that have ugly logos on. Sailing is about the sailing not looking pretty and if having sails that are not aesthetically pleasing means that you can sail better then that is good.

Surly everyone wants the standard of the Merlin class to be the best that it can.

Looking pretty is for in the bar not on the water. Unfortunately for me I look ugly and I still don’t win any Merlin events.

Posted: 14/02/2005 19:40:16
By: Ugly
The Merlin Rocket class admirable as it is is too parochial to gain serious sponsorship, that is its charm.

Posted: 14/02/2005 20:57:03
By: Sail maker
In response to it will be the end of the class

Did I mention Ellen?

I think she is a fine ocean racer. I have not done a mini transat or a vendée globe or hold the record for single handed round the world therefore do not feel qualified to judge.

The french however think the world of her so do I. This sort of publicity is great and will attract people to sailing which is good.

I have seen sponsorship in other sports where the best get stuff cheap this can lead to a have and have not feeling and people do not bother to compete as those who have not feel they are not competitive because they have not (an excuse).

The final comment "get a life" is a pathetic insult; I have one. A great Job a fantastic French wife with three great childen two of which love sailing the third is too young. I have a fantastic boat a Merlin which I sail at a fantastic club, Bolton sailing club.

Don't want to fall out

Posted: 14/02/2005 22:14:32
By: Against
Somewhere in these arguments is a feeling that Sponsorship is for the few and the very few. Many clubs especially the Northern Ones Hollingworth and Bolton come to mind effectively sponsored their regattas in the early days by putting up us Southerners who made the trip North in members houses and one Commodore even paid for the Saturday Supper himself making it free! Between generosity of individuals and removing the need to make a profit from everything these clubs were truly excellent examples of Corinthian Sport. How many people who have their own small businesses manage to put at least part of the cost through the books? Or dare I say it Cash! I've even been offered car services, photographs etc in lue!It's very different if you are doing it from taxed income.

Posted: 15/02/2005 09:35:34
By: Sail maker
We had this debate in the 12 class a couple of years ago.  The points seemed to boil down to;

- Some people will get more money and be able to afford more kit. Well some people have got a lot of money and have all the kit already, there isn’t any more for them to have. Why not let others have the chance to have some as well? That actually opens the class up, it’s divided already.

-It will make the boats look ugly. Well some people don’t like the stickers on the sails but it doesn’t seem to have been the end of the world. I guess that’s a very personal one

-It would be better to sponsor the class. Well that would be nice but not as easily achievable, the committee already chase sponsorship relatively successfully. Why not charge sponsored boats a larger entry fee for the Champs, that would 'spread the wealth'(we never actually did this)?

I think that these points all apply to the Merlin class in a very similar way to the 12s. At the last AGM we had to review our position on sponsorship (because we said we would after 2 years). It was chosen not to change anything (apart from to remove some rather complicatedly worded restrictions from our rules).

I’d say go for it. Who knows a couple more people may be able to afford to play with the big boys. It’s not going to make the big boys any bigger.

Posted: 15/02/2005 11:25:31
By: Nat 12
Go for it but where's the sponsor?

Posted: 15/02/2005 11:59:14
By: Sail maker
National 12 person seems to sum up the debate admirably.
Simon raised this issue at the AGM at Looe - the committee was to look into it but I sense the majority are against.
Personaly I think that it would help some smart youngsters to afford the best equipment - perhaps that is what really worries some people!

Posted: 15/02/2005 12:35:06
By: Pat Blake
Many of you will know that in offshore sailing we for some years increased the entry fees on 'Sponsored' boats it did however become harder to find the dividing line where blatant advertising changed to esoteric. example how many people know FULL PELT is so named due to her owner having a fur/pelt business, B&Q is (hopefully) obvious.
All in all I'd prefer event sponsorship, keeping entry fees down allowing more to enter. Even if sails get plastered in adverts, you can peel them off afterwards easily enough or pose around if you want too! thats about it from me, cheers Barry.

Posted: 15/02/2005 12:44:36
By: Barry Watkin
From my experience in the Finn class, every four years it gets swamped by the professional sailors. This contributed little to the class, as they left as soon as the olympics selection was over. The normal club sailor was left feeling alienated from their class rather than improving the standards. How do you compete against someone who is paid to sail every day, with all the best kit/boats that money can buy. As soon as there pots of money/ethos to be gained, there will be people that will take advantage of the situation.

Posted: 15/02/2005 13:17:35
By: Graham
I was thinking more of the smaller business man who can lose items in his accounts, cycling garage owners come to mind. It is all very difficult fortunately the MR is not an International OLympic Class but a refuge for those of talent and there are lots of them who need it. MR might be better if it could reverse the carbon arms race but done is done.

Posted: 15/02/2005 14:17:38
By: Sail maker
Lest it be though that Sponsorship/Professionalism is a new idea for Merlins the Championship Records show otherwise!
Just Champioship Winners are:
Jack Holt, Builder Designer 3 wins
Beccher Moore Partner Jack Holt 1 Win
Ian Proctor Designer and masts 1 win
John Oakley Paid/Subsidised helm 3 wins
Bob Hoare Boat builder 1 win
Brian Southcott Subsidised helm 3 wins
David Potter Masts 2 wins
And that is just 14 out of the first 26 champs.
With Dick Batt, Jon Turner and Spud Rowsell excepted the numbers of pro's seem to be deleted in favour of the self employed/small business man who can expense the costs!
Nothing changes though I seem remember a stricter professional code then which was of course ignored!
I guess it will be ever thus.

Posted: 15/02/2005 17:20:56
By: Synacist, historian
I'm with Sail Maker here. These "pots of cash" are fictitious. I'm the current national champion of one of the biggest UK fleets, and I got no reply from the big hardware compamies when I approached them for a bit of help this year. Not even a few free bits and pieces! I'd have plastered my boat with stickers in exchange for a centre main jammer or £100, but they weren't interested.

Posted: 16/02/2005 00:07:16
By: super-surfer
Truth is sailing doesn't get very much coverage in the media (TV time, newspaper pages) compared to Football -> Motorsport. Take motorsport and then take the number of column inches each for gets in the Metro - F1 gets a page every 2 weeks, motor bikes get 1 column per 2 weeks, rallying gets 0.5 columns per 2 weeks, sponsorship follows that trend. Sailing gets one page per year (olympics win, Ellen record). Football gets 10 pages per day.

Work it out. Enjoy a low sponsored but fun sport, allowing sponsorship won't change the world, unless people start wanting to watch 15 hours of racing in Salcombe on TV and watching a sport that is very difficult to understand what is going on unless you are a competitor (and even then!)

Posted: 16/02/2005 07:32:34
By: Alan
This is an interesting topic though its noticeable (Things never change.) that none of the current nobs wish to get involved! Maybe they are all small business men who expense their sailing or have private deals? I heard the other day - last week - of a good sailor who in order to wean him over to their "brand" a sailmaker gave him some sails, he used them and then got the bill, he returned the sails (They were not that good!)but the matter got to court! Part of our trouble is that "the business morals of the Boat Trade at any level from a shackle through to Camper and Nicholsons are not those of the gentlemen tailors of Savill Row." Before you get angry that is a direct lift from a letter I got from the Late Graham-Donald in 1972, who's manners and morals in business were impecable, he was a Cloth Merchant and thus a small business man who I do not suppose expensed a drink in his life. He also did more for our sport than has ever been recognised and spoke more sense than a flotilla of others. Before we hear all sorts of protests I get regular requests to invoice things as Stationary etc, it was even suggested by a Merlin Owner that we should have a shell company with a new name to invoice from!
Even if we'd wanted to (Which we didn't.) the bank wouldn't do it!
We did however have an enquiry which we've answered from the Inland Revenue & NCIS about two individuals who bought things from us and how they settled their bills. We were reminded by both of them of our need to be certain of the source of cash we were taking. So be warned.
To return, the present system seems to grind along, a few back handers, a bursery or too the local brewery being pursuaded to spend the profits they might make in advance to sponsor or at least support a Championship or Regatta held in their bailywick. A few men with big pockets forgetting put in an expense claim and so on.
So I have banged on, got a few things off my chest abd maybe attempted to say, what will be will be, Flemings are not going to sponsor the MR Class theres no upside for them. But the local Brewery (Gales Ales this year?) might do the champs. Of course a further problem is that wheras in the old days Whitstable for instance sought only to cover costs and have some fun regattas now have "Health and Safety" "Risk Analysis" and "Acountants" to contend with expected to be safe rosk free and make a profit.
Graham Donald was a prophet in this too!

Posted: 16/02/2005 09:29:29
By: Sail Maker
Actualy we are trying to sponsor the 60th Championship as we recognise that Merlin-Rocket sailors are the the profile of people we wish to sell our investment products to.
Unfortunately it seems another company has also recognised this and beaten us to it.

Posted: 16/02/2005 11:22:06
By: Flemings
Sponsorship, as seen by the various responses, is a tricky subject.

I have kicked around the yachting industry for many years and have seen various effects of sponsorship, from the high flying Ellen, to the admirals cup emerging through various guises over 30 years, to dinghy sponsorship.

Where the Merlins are now is similar to where Admirals cup was some 30 years ago with a mixure of boats from vintage to the latest high tech.

The owners seem to also follow a similar trend with some well heeled enough to be able to buy pretty much anything, but still with a majority that love the boats, the company, and the class feeling of comradeship.

So what will sponsorship bring, not much in my opinion, you will get few major players interested in sponsoring an individual who is sailing a National, not International class. Unless he is a marine supplier to the class, what else does he have to gain, then he would probably sponsor one of his own hotshot employees. So I dont think there will be a huge rush of money into individual boats as why would anybody want to sponsor anything that can't win and there can only be at most a few winners.

So where can the Merlin class benifit from sponsorship - I suspect the best option is as a class and to develop the various types of racing. As I understand it there are three classes of Merlin 0-10 yrs old 10-20 abd over 20yrs old, ooops plus the vintage fleet. How about trying to get individual class sponsorship for what we have, and go for better prizes, and give prizes further down the fleet to try and encourage more people to sail with us.

Just a thought

Posted: 16/02/2005 11:34:11
By: lymo
I don't think so!

Posted: 16/02/2005 12:03:53
By: Former Flemings Director
If a youngster. or any sailor for that matter is recognised by someone to have the potential to be quite talented should we stifle this simply because not everyone can have it?

If Joe Bloggs owns a company which manufactures boat trailers, but also happens to race a merlin is it that bad that he might seek a little extra coverage by logoing up his mainsail?

I'm not convinced that if allowed it would have that much of an effect on the class in the future. Appart from possibly help people, bolster numbers at open meetings, increase development.. oh yeah and make the sails look ugly!

Posted: 16/02/2005 12:21:53
By: Hugh Fletcher
Its just not amatuer, corinthian or yes, pretty.
"I f I can't sail a pretty boat I'l sail an ugly one and look at everybody elses pretty boats!" Jack Holt circa 1959!

Posted: 16/02/2005 15:10:06
By: Former Flemings Director
If you want all these things go sail an INT 14 on RS or MRX they'll be glad to see you and the MR Class can stay amateur and pretty.

Posted: 16/02/2005 15:12:01
By: Commited Merlin Rocket admirer
some of you are having a laugh.

amateurs can be sponsored. professionals in an game where everyone else is amateur do not need sponsorship.

no, no your right.


the sad thing is too many kids have already worked that one out. oh well.

Posted: 16/02/2005 22:35:38
By: irony or reality?
Sadly reality

Posted: 16/02/2005 23:45:00
By: Commited Merlin Rocket admirer
Coingratulations are due to William Warren, Jilly Blake in acquiring three sponsors for the MR Championships, Dick Batt & Gales Ales speak for themselves, Berkeley Homes is a real catch, Tony Pidgley their founder and boss is a remarkabable man very self made, charming and very succesful. Tough too. A word to the wise though he has very high standards of everything he does, ask his staff, ask his customers see the wonderful development on the South Bank of the Thames at the Hammersmith end of Ranelagh's stretch of water! It may have been the end of eveinings trout fishinmg on the reservoirs but it is now a quiet vilage with a world recognised conservation site. What's this got to do with Haying Island? Well lads and lasses best behaviour no fire extinguishers etc eh! Have fun but don't upset what could be an ongoing thing. Give em value for money, if your going to buy a new home check out Berkeley Homes and make sure they know why your doing it. To quote the late Beecher Moore, "Look after your prize pig!"

Posted: 17/02/2005 09:48:25
By: Old man of the sea
Old man of the sea,

You couldn't have put it better.

Posted: 17/02/2005 12:15:18
By: Magazine Editor
Any chance of Vintage wing getting the National Trust to chip in?

Posted: 17/02/2005 14:29:49
By: Vintage/classic owner
Come come now. English Heritage my dear fellow!

Posted: 17/02/2005 14:44:07
By: Magazine Editor
Or the BBC Antiques Boatshow?  

Seriously, if we are going to go down that route, then we need to understand why a sponsor might support vintage sailing. High profile? I think not. High tech R&D and innovation? Nope. Sales? Very limited. Altruism? Possibly, but the hardest to find or to keep.

Best chance is probably to piggy-back onto any support for the 'elite' fleet and seek sponsorship for vintage/classic participation in open events.

Posted: 17/02/2005 15:03:17
By: Bill
An interesting point to consider would be what anyone ever got out of it.  I’m personally not aware of anyone in the 12s getting more than the cash for a set of sails or a few blocks and cleats.  Then the flippin’ stickers cost more than a jib...

Posted: 17/02/2005 15:04:17
By: 12
Maybe one of these stickers might be just the job for holding my old jib together for next season!

Posted: 17/02/2005 15:11:38
By: Vintage/classic owner
You could try the Big Issue!

Posted: 17/02/2005 15:13:45
By: Old man of the sea
So we get a big sponsor for the nationals and the first thing we are told is to change normal regatta behaviour. Hmmm interesting not in agreement with bad behaviour, but find it har to have to think about not upsetting a sponsor when on holiday.  However if we have a good one then I guess we should respect them.  Have been at so many regattas where yotties have just talked through sponsors speeches.  They only want their 5 minute plug for all the dosh they hand out.  

Best I ever saw was chief exec of Group 4 who started his speech by telling assembled crowd what he thought of them for talking through the previous sponsors speech. It went very quiet.

Posted: 22/02/2005 11:26:15
By: interested
No one told you anything but an experienced sponsor and sponsee did suggest how you might like to behave - decently - to keep them on an ongoing basis. That is NOT all they want they wish to improve their image and if for instance a large part of your (Sponsor) business is selling £1 million pound houses + - then yahoos not wearing ties and behaving badly might go down like a lead balloon.

Posted: 22/02/2005 11:37:02
By: Oldman od the sea
Agreed, but unfortunatly there is always an element that will be buck the system.  As for ties they are best for tieing the sails up. One can be smart without them

Posted: 22/02/2005 11:42:45
By: interested
Not in my book! 
Ties are a sign of complying with a standard of dress. Indeed respect for your host.In any event ties are not the point, deference and respect to the man who's paying is. If you don't want to behave don't ask for sponsorship or go to MacDonalds for sponsorship, but if you've got Rolls Royce standard sponsors then behave. It's not clever to embarrass anyone you know.

Posted: 22/02/2005 11:47:39
By: Oldman of the sea
I think we can all agree that respect and making sponsors feel welcome etc (which would include polite behaviour, not talking in speaches etc) is entirely reasonable. I dont think this has to run to wearing ties and showing deference?  sponsorship is not (necessarily) altruism it should be a two way street.

Posted: 22/02/2005 13:19:02
By: Old man
you could always tie your tie onto your bicycle pedal! please let us know the results

Posted: 22/02/2005 13:50:13
By: cross-threaded
I'd doubt it would make a difference but the old man would know!

Posted: 22/02/2005 14:48:44
By: Pennefather
I somehoiw doubt Tony Pidgeley has much to learn from us. However we could have much to learn from this very fine man.

Posted: 22/02/2005 14:50:00
By: Old man of the sea.
Pidgely for President!!

Posted: 22/02/2005 15:03:00
By: Berkeley Home Fan


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