With eleven events, nine Olympic Classes, almost 400 athletes and their corresponding truckloads of sails, spars, foils and ropework, the measurement of each boat is a huge undertaking and accurate and fair measurement keeps the passion of competition on the racecourse, without equipment issues being fought over in the boat park.
Once measurement is complete, every piece is officially stamped and from that moment forward, until the end of racing in a particular event, nothing is permitted to be taken from the boat park complex, and sailors are monitored to and from the sailing areas, so as to avoid any issues that may arise over equipment.
As part of the number of officials who are present to run every aspect of the Olympic Sailing Competition, there are nine Class Measurers appointed by ISAF to oversee each event and the equipment used by athletes. These nine are assisted by a team of National Class measurers, appointed by ATHOC and trained over the last two years by ISAF and ATHOC to a very high standard. This scheme is part of the legacy of the Olympic Games as following the Olympic Sailing Competition, each National Measurer will have the opportunity to train further to attain the level of International Measurer within their specialist class. The Olympic Measurement Committee who have the final say in interpreting class rules and measurement issues at the Olympic Games supports the whole team of measurers.
Olympic Measurement Committee (OMC)
Every class has its unique set of rules, including the Laser Class, which is supplied to athletes by ATHOC, and as a result every class of equipment is measured in a different way depending on its rules.
The Europe, Finn and Yngling classes have an almost unique aspect to their measurement procedure. In order to test the distribution of weight within the hull, each boat is tested for its radius of gyration or "swung". This is a requirement of the class rules in the case of the Europe and Finn. For the Yngling, a special provision has been placed into the Measurement Regulations.
As the Laser dinghies are supplied by the organisers, the amount of change to supplied kit is strictly limited by the Measurement Regulations and the Sailing Instructions. For example, in the Olympic Measurement Regulations for the Laser Class it states that. "Hull, sail, mast and boom, centerboard and rudder may be washed with soap and water only and wiped down manually. No wetting agent, polish, wax or dressing shall be applied. No reshaping or sanding of the centreboard, rudder or any portion of the hull shall be allowed."
An example of the Tornado Spinnakers, as used at the recent Volvo Champions Race © Event Media
The full Measurement Regulations and Measurement Schedule are available on the ISAF Athens 2004 Microsite via the link below.