Issue Two - April and May
2002 - A Year in Review
Welcome to the second in our five part review of the 2002 sailing year. Today we concentrate on April and May.
ISAF would like to point out that if certain events or significant achievements have been omitted, this is not intentional, but purely that it is impossible to mention everything that has taken place throughout the year.
A day of fun for some, but 1 April saw more serious issues being addressed, as the ISAF President highlighted the need to include more women in the top level administration of the sport.
This was certainly listened to, as 7 months later at the ISAF Council Meeting in November 2002, whilst there remains a significant dominance of males as appointed members, the majority of alternates at the meeting were women.
Following on from the tragic loss of Johannes Haeupul (AUT) at the Princess Sofia Trophy Regatta, Paul penned his thoughts on the various safety issues confronting the sport - which received a variety of feedback from around the world. However, as Paul said, "In sailing, tragedy means drowning and the resultant family agony to say nothing of the resultant enquiries and litigation. Hopefully
sailing will learn from these unfortunate happenings and at least endeavour to minimize where we can the inherent risks which occur when we go to sea in our boats."
Spring, (or Autumn depending on where you are in the World) started the steady build up of World Class events in the northern hemisphere, and a gradual slow down in the southern hemisphere following a manic start to the year, as well as the continued lashing the Volvo Ocean Race fleet were getting on their epic journey around the world.
The Olympic Classes were busy through April and May leading up to the next release of the Rankings on 30 April and it was back to the Northern Hemisphere for the Barcelona Olympic Sailing Week, Princess Sofia, Athens Eurolymp, Semaine Olympique Francasie and SPA to name but a few.
April dawned with yet another record broken, not a speed one this time, but volume. The annual Easter Optimist Regatta held at Riva del Garda (ITA) spectacularly managed to fit 640 Optimists (and sailors, and mums, and dads) into one event, thus breaking their previous record held since 1992 and amassing the most competitors in one regatta. Ever. Just think of the start lines?!
In the Volvo Ocean Race, the invincibility of Illbruck was tested once again when Assa Abloytook line honours in leg five from Rio to Miami. First across the line for the second time and taking advantage of a sail mishap on Illbruck, who ditched their light wind gennaker, they began to establish themselves as one of the race favourites. Meanwhile, SEB, involved in a fracas with Illbruck shortly after the start of leg five, were granted their fourth place finish after a serious damage protest against them was not upheld.
As part of the ISAF endeavour to provide standard documents for use by regatta organisers, ISAF published online the Standard Sailing Instructions guide which are available from www.sailing.org/rrs2001/
Meanwhile, over in Athens, the 2004 Olympics Organising Committee was relieved to receive support on their progress from the IOC Coordination Commission, who despite concerns on accommodation, transport and some venues, overall felt progress was according to plan. It was at a similar time that ATHOC launched their Olympic Mascots, brother and sister Phevos and Athena.
Anti-Doping continued to hit the headlines,as the IOC concluded an investigation into nutritional supplements, which concluded that of 634 samples tested, 94 (14.8%) contained substances (non listed on any label) that would have led to a positive doping test, including some of the building blocks of nandrolone.
As part of ISAF's preparation for the 2004 Olympic Regatta, a Race Management Seminar was held in Athens, attended by race officers from all over Greece with specific focus on additional requirements that apply to the Olympic Games. It was a great success, with follow-up seminars to be held in 2003.
A blustery Medemblik played host to the 1,200 competitors at 2002 SPA Regatta for all Olympic Classes. For the first time the racing could be followed live on massive TV screens on shore through the use of a tracking and tracing system and each evening the day's winners were pitted against each other in one-design dinghies for a prize of Euros 1,000.
The legendary Robert Scheidt (BRA) found yet again that he had a fight on his hands to take the title. Scheidt was put in his place by Paul Goodison (GBR) at Hyeres and it was another Brit, Ed Wright, snapping at his heels at SPA. Scheidt took the gold by just one point and in doing so climbed back onto the top of the pile to head the Laser Rankings on 30 May.
A much more convincing performance was put in by Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell (GBR) whose explosion onto the Star scene in January 2002 was consolidated when they took the Gold with a 15 point margin over Italians Nicola Celon and Natucci Dodo in second.
The trials and tribulations of the giant, record breaking multihulls continued. The Maxi Catamaran formerly known as Club Med was relaunched as Maiden II in preparation for her (as yet unattempted) Jules Verne voyage, whilst Orange was busy cruising round the world on her attempt, at a steady speed of Mach 10, passing the halfway mark at Cape Leeuwin well within a projected record time.
Christian Rasmussen and Peter Oersted (DEN) won the ISAF Grade One Star European SpringChampionship in the star studded city of Cannes, whilst at the Hobie 16 Open Worlds in New Caledonia, Australians Gavin Colby and Simone Mattfield remained cool under pressure in the breezy conditions to take the title. In the crystal clear waters of Goa (IND), where numbers were unsurprisingly up from last year in the Enterprise Worlds , defending champions Richard Estaugh and Pete Rowley (GBR) took their second win from a host of top class veterans and newcomers alike.
America's Cup anticipation was mounting steadily with every word coming out of every syndicate hung upon for it's hidden meaning. Sail numbers released at the outset of each building program suggested that most syndicates had two boats, some had one boat and defenders Team New Zealand
had none, although they did have a little more time than anybody else. Rumours were also rife that some of the design data possessed by some syndicates may not have been entirely within the protocol, something which was to become the bane of the OneWorld campaign for months to come.
Despite a proliferation of Grade 1 and Grade 2 events contributing to the rankings, only three classes saw changes at the top. 45 sailors made their debut into the ISAF Rankings.
Maxim Oberemko (UKR) made his first and only appearance to date at the top of the Men's Mistral rankings when he took over from Nicholas Huguet (FRA) on 30 April. One month later it was however not to be, and Oberemko was knocked off his perch by Poland's PrzemekMiarczynski.
Jose Maria van der Ploeg and Diego Fructuoso (ESP) stole the top spot of the Star rankings from Mark Reynolds (USA) and managed to hold on again in the 30 May release. Lenka Smidova (CZE) did not have the same staying power and was evicted by the Finnish Europe queen, Sari Multala who reclaimed her number one position.
The double handed dinghy rankings remained dominated by Greeks with reigning women's 470 World and European champions, Sofia Bekatorou and Emilia Tsoulfa continuing to dominate the field, taking gold after gold after gold. Fellow Greeks Andreas Kosmatopoulos and Kostas Trigonis also held on to their top spot at both ranking releases but their lead continued to be steadily eaten away to only 117 points by the chasing pack.
On the agenda of the Sailing Committee meeting of 12-13 April 2002, were other issues affecting the Olympic Regatta, including those affecting the Yngling and Mistral, the Yngling Weight Limit Measurement Procedure and flags on sails.
Before leg six of the Volvo Ocean race had started, Team News Corp Co-Skipper and Round the World Veteran Ross Field had stepped down from the boat to concentrate on more of the shore based work, after suffering back and rib injuries during leg two, and stating that he'd had enough of "chewing painkillers." Chaos ensued at the start of leg six from Miami to Baltimore when six boats were judged OCS and had to return to restart. When the whole mess was sorted out and the fleet arrived in Baltimore, Jez Fanstone had taken over the reigns from Ross Field with style, winning the leg .
Walking on water is not something many earthly people can achieve, and neither is sailing Optimists on dry land. In April however, the International Ice Yacht Racing Association officially endorsed the "Ice Optimist", a hybrid land yacht using the traditional junior dinghy's rig, with a specialised ice sled, to allow junior access to this exhilarating winter sport.
Peter Holmberg (ISV) and Marie Bjorling (SWE) retained their respective number one slots in the Open Match Race Rankings and Women's Match Race Rankings at both releases.
Bjorling remained 2665 points ahead of Lotte Meldegaared Pedersen (DEN) in who hung to her
second place for the fifth consecutive release but by only 95 points. Liz Baylis (USA) became the 2002 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion in Calpe, Spain after defeating a top class field in the Round Robin and beating Marie Bjorling (SWE) in the finals 2-1. The event was sailed in J22s in shifty conditions in the Bay of Calpe with the notable absence of three times world champion Dorte O Jensen.
Jesper Radich (DEN) climbed one place up the rankings to number 3 after taking the European Match Racing Championship title, beating Francois Brenac (FRA) 3 - 0 in the final.
On 19 April, the Portuguese Sailing Federation was celebrating its 75th Anniversary, the Royal Yachting Association announced Neilson Holidays first Gold Sponsor of the new RYA Windsurfing initiative Team 15 and US Sailing welcomed AmericaOne and Gill North America as sponsors supporting their Olympic Team.
Over the long weekend of 30 April - 5 May, the ISAF Mid-Year meetings for the Executive Committee, Council and Events Committee took place, at which amongst other issues, there was considerable debate on the Yngling Class - from the building specification, to Olympic qualification system to weight limit measurement procedure and the introduction of Coach Regulations for the 2002 Test Event.
Long serving Council and Committee Member, Hans-Joachim Fritze (GER) was honoured with the presentation of an ISAF Gold Medal, in recognition of his significant contribution to the development of the Federation and the sport of sailing. 'Hajo' was the first Chairman of the ISAF Boardsailing Committee.
Sir Peter Blake (NZL), legendary yachtsman, and environmental envoy, who was tragically murdered at the mouth of the Amazon whilst on an expedition last December was honoured in a ceremony in Monaco by the Laureus Sports Academy of which he was a co-founder. He was presented posthumously with the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Laureus Sport for Good Award.
Maiden II, after abandoning their attempt on the Discovery RouteRecord, succeeded in breaking their first record as a team by smashing the Newport to Antigua record. Meanwhile, in monohull records and in the Volvo Ocean Race, Illbruck won leg seven into La Rochelle, reaffirming herself as race favourites, and at the same time smashing the 24 hour monohull distance record.
Taking the Presidential headlines was the issue of Rule 42 - Kinetics, with Paul stating "ISAF must separate the adherence to rules which occur in most of Sailing where "Fair Play" is the normal way of sailing, from the Olympic Classes where money now governs. ISAF must engage a Team of Rule Enforcers who appear at all major Olympic Class events ensuring that the rules are adhered to and the sailors know exactly what will be allowed and what will not. They must go on the water in small inflatables with Yellow Cards and Red Cards for repeat offenders."
Feedback on this issue ranged from extreme to more controlled, but was consistent in the opinion that something needed to be done.
Continuing its programme of information accessibility, ISAF published online the complete historical Olympic Results - allowing users to search for medallists by specific class, or choose to view all medallists from 1900 to 2000 - detailing Olympic venue, event, class and medallists - of search for medallists by country, or check out the overall medal tally - which is led by the USA.
For those at a more elementary stage, the Royal Yachting Association, published `Start Sailing - A Beginner's Guide'
Great Britain was also moving ahead for disabled sailing, hitting the lottery jackpot when
RYA Sailability received a considerable financial contribution to their project to provide accommodation for disabled sailors at Lowton Sailing Club.
US Sailing launched SailRater, an online sailboat performance analysis tool to help answer questions on a boat's performance for different configurations. SailRater calculates changes in predicted speed due to course changes, wind changes, or alterations to a boat's configuration.
The next issues of "2002 - A Year In Review" will be published as follows:
Issue 3 - Published 26 December - News from June, July
Issue 4 - Published 28 December - News from August, September
Issue 5 - Published 31 December - News from October, November, December
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