World sailing

World Sailing Board moves into 11th hour of Olympic events

World Sailing Board moves into 11th hour of Olympic events

by Richard Gladwell, October 28, 2018 11:18 UTC
October 29, 2018

The NZL crew (Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox) battle for the lead in the 470 at the 2012 Olympics © Richard Gladwell

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Ben Ainslie just after winning his fifth Olympic medal and his fourth gold medal at the 2012 Olympics © Richard Gladwell

Four consecutive gold medals Paul Elvstrom (DEN) © SW

In a desperate move on the eve of the World Sailing Annual Conference in Sarasota, USA, the Board of World Sailing has filed two late submissions that are expected to add more confusion to a class and Olympic event selection process. already loaded.

Five months after producing a controversial list of events for the 2024 Olympic sailing regatta, the board has decided that one of the events is unfeasible – an achievement that would come as no surprise to most in the sailing world. , leaving many wondering why it took so long for World Sailing’s governing body to follow suit.

The board has dusted off an old proposal to introduce a two-person keelboat class to replace the silly one-person mixed dinghy event.

The latter proposed that men and women race separately in two different solitaires and have their scores added together to determine the outcome of a “mixed one-person dinghy” event – ​​which is not raced elsewhere in the sport.

The latest proposal to add a 6-10 meter foilless keelboat event to be sailed with a mixed crew is long on optimism but lacking in reality to stage such an event.

Claiming substantial fan interest due to the popularity of the Vendée Globe and the Volvo Ocean Race, the board ignores the fact that both events are global events held in 60-65ft yachts that spend part substantial portion of the Southern Ocean race and other tough offshore stages with very compelling images and video.

Boats around the world are also capable of sustained speeds in excess of 20-25 knots and more, which is not possible in a 10 meter non-foil crewed boat for two people sailing with a spinnaker.

The document is silent on the practicalities of running the event to Olympic regatta standards, including preventing cheating during night races, preventing well-funded sailing programs from gaining access to Olympic boats or substitutes before the regatta, and whether stretching or shortening of the course will be used. to ensure daytime arrival.

The newspaper also talks about having the fleet sponsored (in a boat that has yet to be selected) and seems to ignore the fact that visible sponsorship outside of the International Olympic Committee’s own program is not permitted.

The board also appears to have overlooked a 20,000-signature petition collected in just over a week in April after a report was presented by World Sailing’s Events Committee. The petition called for a halt to the process of wholesale change to the current Olympic class and roster of events – largely because of its negative effect on the sport.

The Council of World Sailing rejected the Events Committee’s report, but instead accepted a submission that created a scenario in which seven of the 10 Olympic classes needed to be reviewed – either because they were caught in a antitrust review initiated separately by World Sailing’s Council and Board of Directors. The remaining classes were caught in the net created by Changing Events, which in another Board-approved policy required all new Olympic events to have equipment trials to select the class.

A second belated proposal from the Council proposes that the rate of change of classes and tests be slowed down.

Its only real change is to leave the RS:X as equipment for the men’s and women’s windsurfing event. In making this recommendation, the RS:X is still caught in the anti-trust net as the board that has been used four Olympics has been voted separately for consideration by the board.

The classic Olympic class, Finnish single-handed dinghy, which has been the boat of choice for many of the sport’s great sailors, is not mentioned on the board slate. They include sailing legends Paul Elvstrom and Ben Ainslie who won four Olympic gold medals, as well as five-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts who won gold in Finland at the Games 1984 Olympics at the age of 23.

The Finn is rejected for compliance with a discredited gender equity policy adopted by World Sailing which was above a standard acceptable to the International Olympic Committee for its Agenda 2020 requirements, which required that all sports, with few exceptions, have equal participation and events for both genders. . IOC Director of Sport Kit McConnell said in June 2017 that sailing was one of the sports in line with Agenda 2020. A separate Agenda2024 document claiming to be IOC policy does not exist.

Remains on the board’s new slate is the new mixed kitesurfing event which outlines various options for the format, but ignores the fact that female representation is very low, with only 11 women from nine countries taking part in the event. women’s in the world combined class 2017. Championships in Aarhus. This fleet was free entry, as was the men’s event which attracted 67 participants. Other classes such as the Finn which had restricted access attracted fleets of 90 competitors.

Curiously, the board opted to pull the Mixed One Person Dinghy event citing a lack of confidence in the viability of the format, but left the controversial Kiteboard event on its slate despite having a similar format to the event. aborted Mixed One Person Dinghy.

The board has attempted to reduce class turnover by setting the parameters for a two-person mixed dinghy which appears to be a close fit with the 470 – but even so, evaluation trials must take place, and both men and current women. The dinghy event using the 470 is popular in Asian and developing countries.

The new proposal still requires antitrust review or evaluation trials for seven of the current ten Olympic classes.

It needs a 75% vote in the Council to reopen the procedure for it to be adopted.

For the complete submission on the amended list of events Olympic Sailing Competition Olympic Events Equipment

For the full submission Olympic Sailing Competition Mixed Two Person Keelboat Offshore

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