The feedback to ISAF on Paul Henderson's proposals on <B><A HREF="http://www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=2064">Olympic Equipment</A></b> published last week continues to flood into the ISAF Secretariat.
Last week, 14 March, Paul Henderson published his thoughts on the future Olympic Equipment.
Feedback has been tremendous, and we have already published much of the input received, see links from the bottom of this article, and there follows today's thoughts from around the world:
Matias Collins, Argentina
Dear Paul & all sailors
I'm glad a discussion like this starts.
I do agree with Giovanni Galeotti and Adam Barboza (see Olympic Equipment Feedback - Part 3 link at bottom of this article) & also think that we can make big changes without thinking carefully.
We all talk about equipments and events, thinking on the sailing classes we sailors are going to use; We have been talking about the sailors quantity limitation, number of medals(events); Difficulty to gain the ones; sailor's effort, losts, etc.
In my opinion the idea that equipment must be supplied by the IOC & ISAF it's nice but you lose a lot of improvement from the sailor on adjustments, etc. I do agree that materials and limitations must be effective.
I also think that the sport we see at the Olympic Games must be representative of the one that is being played around the world, must be fun, must be as cheap as possible, not for MNA's but for Sailors, only at the G7 countries the sailing budget at MNA's really help the sailors, in other countries we spend by our own, we lose work time travelling, etc.
Here we do have a semantic question - `why sailors from poor countries must spend their time travelling trough the eurolympic circuit?'
The real answer is not only because is the best to practice and develop the discipline, but because the good sailors never goes outside this circuit, this fault belong equal to ISAF and Class Associations & MNA's that belong to these countries they are stronger inside the ISAF and plan rankings based on money and sailing members quantity. Not fair comparing with poor countries, they do not think regionally or by country, they really are a block.
We drop the single class that represents the real sailing everyday. We took away the chance that people with the commonest weight could be able to compete in the best event ever, the Olympic Games.
We kill an event type that combined two events in one (one medal, same quantity of sailors, but much more difficult). We drop the single class where coordination, variety and sex coexists inside the same cockpit.
We drop the spinnaker also.
I do think it was a terrible mistake. Thinking on TV and public display, thinking on sailors like myself and their technical talent their physical training, thinking on the offshore races, etc. Thinking at [the ISAF] Event's Committee that they were unable to see it that changes must be done carefully and with time like we started to do with this forum.
From now to the future we need to review decisions like this, we need to implement difficulty not only on the agility and extreme sport but also on the intellectual side; we need more medals in combined events, without increasing sailor's numbers and equipment. We need not only a victory from technology and money, but a victory from individual and team.
So I propose the following:
- Last event on sailing at an Olympic Games. Team racing, using a keel boat, mixed crew, team working, spinnaker, three boats per country sailed with sailors at the individual events. At least one Women helming per team from double handed or single handed At least one women per boat also, and one single handed man crewing (something they don't know how to do it).
- A combined event with Match Race & Fleet Race, must be a better format than the last one in Sydney.
It must be sailed in a keelboat; the same used on 11th medal and should be open. A mixed crew could be required, these will not sail together on the 11th medal, spreading in the other boats.
- High performance multihull - TORNADO - this boat is an extreme boat and will be difficult always.
- Double handed men, centerboard, weight limits and/or adjustments.
- Double handed mixed (men and woman), centerboard, weight limits and/or adjustments.
- Double handed woman, centerboard, weight limits and/or adjustments.
- Single handed men, centerboard, and weight limits hull provided by organization.
- Single handed woman, centerboard, weight limits, hull provided by organization.
- Board men, FORMULA, equipment (board) provided by organization, multiple size sails.
- Board woman, FORMULA, equipment (board) provided by organization, multiple size sails.
- Equipment selected by organizers decided 4 (four years before the event), equipment supplied by organization
As you see without increasing the medal numbers, you made possible to increase fleets on centerboards and keelboat, you have a very difficult combined event, you increase woman participation, with one keelboat you decrease the cost on keelboat, adjusting ranking and circuits you made cheaper sailing to poorer countries, you keep the representative sailing at the Olympics, you had the chance to add new "flying things" with the first medal, you have a new and attractive to the media event as the team event, you made it possible to a sailor to reach two medals in one Olympic Game like in other disciplines.
You keep the variety inside a boat and the team work; you also have the spinnaker trimmed to attack and defend, to be fast and to play tricks against other competitors.
Also in my opinion centerboard multihull and keelboat equipment must be wide spread around the world before reach an Olympic status, and not spread around the world as a consequence to be a part on the games.
Many thanks on this opportunity to reach all other sailors that this year will be impossible to reach regarding our economical crisis in Argentina.
Jakob Nilsson, Sweden
I really think that ISAF needs to include matchracing in the Olympic program. When television coverage and spectators is becoming more and more important in order to promote sailing, some of the Olympic classes at least must make it more easy to understand and stay closer to the shores.
49:er is a step in the right direction with spectacular looks and speed, and with lots of "harbour racing" it gives the spectators a thrilling time while providing a challenging platform for the sailors involved.
Matchracing is easy to understand, normally far from dull and is usually held extremely close to the shore. It has been growing fast in recent years a lot I think owing to the fact of it being so "easy to sail" (you don't have to buy a boat, there is no boat to take with you when going out of town for racing etc.). It also includes all the skills of close to shore racing (tactics, strategy, teamwork, trimming and technique), though compared to "usual" fleet races it is sped up into 20 minutes of intense racing.
Using as ISAF did in Sydney the Soling as the matchracing equipment is not fair to the sport, what you need is a modern spinnaker carrying boat with a minimum 4 crew and a LOA of at least 8 meters. Meeting this criteria in my opinion ensures that you get the most out of matchracing both from a spectators and matchracers view.
The boats used at the different Olympics can vary since matchracers are already used to sailing many different types of boats.
All of the above agrees with Mr Henderson's vision of a cheaper more equal "box". Matchracing also makes intense and challenging sailing more accessible both to sailors
and spectators, giving the beautiful sport of sailing a push into the future.
Akis Tsarouchis, Greece
I couldn't agree more that there should be some
sailing events in the Olympics that are 'talent and
not technology' oriented. Nevertheless, sailing in the
Olympics should olso be a technical sport.
Accreditation has to be given also to the athletes spending more time searching for materials and finding faster sail designs etc. We have to understand that sailing IS an expensive sport, and by making cheaper boats Olympic classes, we do not promote the sport.
Imagine having the 'Zuma' or another 'beach oriented' boat in the Olympics. Effort has to be made from yachting federations around the globe to reduce the cost for the athlete -something which is not made in my country.
According to my opinion, the worst class selection is for this Olympiad 2000-2004. Taking the Soling out, which could be sailed by a wider range of body types, had a crew of 3 to reduce per head cost and was the only boat to be the `representation' of offshore racing and teamwork in the Olympics, ISAF has brought the sport in a situation where you either have to be huge to sail a Star -which can be proven a very expensive decision- or the Finn, or very thin for the 470, or an acrobat for the 49er or female if you want to work as a team!
For the future, consider a big boat like the Soling or the Beneteau 25. Consider 'out of the box' events and also consider boats that are one design, can be sailed
by a wider range of body types and athletes can use their brains about technical issues.
Also, find ways to make the sport more media oriented to find sponsors and funding. Don't do this by any means on cost of the true nature of the sport. Sailing IS technical. Also, technology does move on and this has to be reflected in the Olympics.
Carl Bohannon, United States
I agree that there should be a 2nd Catamaran in the Olympics. A mixed doubles beach cat would be an excellent choice for a 2nd catamaran. At a local level A significant percentage of the sailors are couples, it makes sense.
When the specific boat is chosen we must be very careful. The selection of the Tornado as the Olympic Catamaran, killed the other B-class catamarans and development in the class. Most people don't remember that there was once a 20 foot formula class. If you select a F18, 18HT or 16HP design there is a good chance that would kill the other boats in that formula.
You could select a formula but I think that would very quickly turn into an "arms" race with charges of favouritism.
You could select a 1 design but, I don't see any growing 1 designs that are suitable. The Hobie 16 is dying at a local level. I am sorry but I maintained records for 5 years for A US Fleet and that is becoming obvious. There are few new boats being sold to racers and as the supply of cheap used boats dries up, the fleet dies.
My suggestion for the 2nd Beach Cat is to handle it similar to the way the Alter Cup is handled. Rotate manufactures within a given class. For example, if F18 were selected, an F18 design would be selected 1 racing season before the Olympics. You could select the design based on a proposal from the manufactures or competition. For example the manufactures could register and the boat with the best mixed couples race record or the most popular would be selected. Be imaginative.
It is ironic, that I would propose something like a F18. I sail with a mixed crew and my boat of choice is a original rig Tornado. I looked very carefully last year and decided on a Tornado with an F18 being second choice. The working loads are lighter and with double traps it strongly favours light crew weight