Paris 2024: the World Sailing Committee recommends RS Aero
by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz May 19, 2019 04:33 UTC
May 19, 2019
RS Aero leading the Olympic equipment trials © RS Sailing
The World Sailing Equipment Committee has voted to recommend the RS Aero to the body’s board for confirmation at its meeting tomorrow (Sunday).
The RS Aero was supported by nine Committee members, only three of whom supported the Laser. The other two options, the D-Zero and Melges 15 did not receive any votes. Voting was the same for male and female equipment (class).
The Laser was an Olympic class first sailed at the 1996 Games and has 215,000 boats worldwide, with 50,000 active sailors and 14,000 international class association members. In response to a question from a committee member, it was reported that the RS Aero had 1850 boats worldwide at the time of evaluation trials in Valencia, Spain in mid-March 2019. The Laser sailed in 85 countries as part of the qualification process for the 2016 Olympic Regatta, and was the highest class in terms of universality. The Laser Radial was the second largest with 69 countries participating in the qualifying events for Rio 2016.
The RS Aero is priced by the review board as £6,041, with the Laser priced between £4,973 and £5,516. The Committee says that the RS Aero is suitable for a male weight range of 85-91 kg and a female weight range of 68-73 kg.
During the evaluation process, the International Laser Association decided to cancel the construction license of its largest manufacturer Laser Performance (LP) which built more than 70% of the annual production of lasers, because it claimed that LP had refused factory inspections by ILCA for an extended period. of time.
The judging committee recommended that the Laser and RS Aero be selected by the equipment committee rather than selecting just one boat in the judging trial.
The Equipment Committee’s recommendation will be forwarded to the Council of World Sailing for confirmation when it meets tomorrow, the last Sunday of the mid-year meeting.
Windsurfer test requested
In another recommendation, the Equipment Committee voted not to support the board’s recommendation to the board to retain the RS:X Windsurfer for the 2024 Olympics. After issuing a tender for the Windsurfer , the Board decided that the RS:X complied with the specification it had previously published, and bypassed the Equipment Expert Committee, making a recommendation directly to the Board.
The Equipment Committee’s position has long been that windsurfer equipment should go through a similar evaluation process as the laser/radial laser for the single-seater dinghy. The Equipment Committee voted, after lengthy discussion, “to reject the Board’s recommendation and recommend that the Board select new equipment and conduct sea trials against an updated set of criteria”.
It seems from the discussion that the equipment committee would like to see windfoilers tested against displacement windsurfers.
The vote was a resounding vote to reject with 0 votes for, 11 against and 2 abstentions.
More devil in detail for Mixed Two-Person Offshore
The Equipment Committee spent a considerable amount of time drafting a new Board of World Sailing Submission M01-19, which once again changed the selection process for the 2024 Olympics Mixed Two-Person Offshore Keelboat. .
“We have to approve that but it’s not perfect,” commented Stan Honey, who is also a member of the equipment committee. According to him, the current proposal was completely unworkable and the last amendment was an improvement in the sense that it could be amended further.
The change extended the date by which World Sailing had to publish the so-called ‘long list’ of boats that countries thought they could use if they wanted to enter the mixed two-person offshore keelboat. Instead of being released by December 2019, it will now be released by December 2020. The proposal to select actual provided equipment to be used at the 2024 Olympics still remains “no later than December 31, 2023” .
Flaws raised during the discussion included a preference for World Sailing to simply publish a list of criteria for the “long list” and then let sailors and member national authorities and regions sort out their preferred option.
It was pointed out that December 2023 was too late for the French manufacturer of the supplied equipment to actually produce the boats needed for the new and controversial Olympic event in 2024.
Another asked if the boat selected for 2024 would also be used for 2028. Another view was expressed that the intention of this event was not to center it around a boat, and that a new boat would be selected for 2028.
This then raised the question of whether sailors/MPs should be asked to buy a boat or two at €200,000 each to train in before the 2024 Olympics, knowing that this boat would only have a life for the 2024 Olympics, and that another boat would be used for 2028 – if the event remained at the Olympics.
In the ensuing discussion, three questions were aired:
1. Whether there should be a list of boats or the less prescriptive list of criteria required of boats.
2. The question of whether the concept of the class is the one that is selected has been around for a long time, like the other Olympic classes. Or, if a set of criteria is published around which the organizing body of an Olympic regatta would work with local builders to produce a boat.
3. If the event is to be highly technical where all technologies must be allowed, which is allowed in other large offshore events, and racing becomes an exercise in intense analysis, as well as sailing. Or, if the event is more about man versus nature and the use of technology is to be very restricted – “no data in, data out only”, referring to the acceptance that there would be on-board cameras and audio working 24/7.
The Committee recognized that there was little that could be done to control costs and that MPs were spending as much or as little as they wanted. All that could be done was to structure the class and event based on diminishing returns for higher levels of spending.
There were differing opinions on the types of autopilot allowed – one based on inertia technology; or one who would simply navigate a course by compass; or whether they should be banned all together and manual steering or a pinned bar allowed.
Same with engines, if there would be fossil fuel engines allowed, or if they would be electric only – and presumably charged by solar panels.
Since the fleet will be escorted and monitored by the French Navy, if life rafts should be carried.
The last two points touched on the sufficiency of offshore racing and also safety in a man overboard situation – as to whether the remaining crew member would be required to attempt to retrieve a crew that was overboard, or if an America’s Cup style chase boat would rush in and bring the crew member back to their boat and they would continue racing with a time penalty/suspension of the race.
Discussions will continue in a joint working group of the Equipment Committee and the Oceanic and Offshore Committee.