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27 August 2002, 09:52 am
Excellent is the Conclusion on the 2002 Olympic Test Event
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The President Speaks

The first Athens 2004 Test Event was a great success. The sailors were very pleasantly surprised with regard to all aspects and are encouraged about the Olympic Games Sailing event.
The ISAF President, Paul Henderson, who was in Athens at the 2002 Test Event gives his observations on all aspects. The Conclusion - extremely positive.

"Overview - This was the first trial in any sport for the ATHOC Organising Committee so Sailing was the complete focus. It was a great plus for the Greeks as it finally meant the competition part of their Olympic organisation had started.

The total installations and access to the sea are more comparable to
Barcelona than any other of the last Games.

Marina - It was already finished to the level that it was able to be used for the Test Event. The ramps and shore facilities only require small adjustments for the Games. In fact all sailors believe that they could hold the Games now if they needed to.

Race Course - It is as close as possible from the marina to all courses. All courses worked well in the open sea.

Weather - It is tradition that the weather at the Olympic Games is directly opposite to what happens at the Test Events therefore disregard what happened this year as any indicator.

The temperature was quite acceptable and not as hot as predicted.
The architects have left the grassy areas and trees adjacent to the boat park where all athletes lolled about waiting for the wind to settle in.

Wind - There were thunderstorms in the late afternoon during the first days which the Greeks say are unusual. When the thunderstorms occur the result is to eliminate the breeze.

The last few days were said to be normal. The thermal built starting about 1200 hours, filling in around 1400 hours and reaching about 12-14kts by 1600 hours. The winds stayed reasonable to at least 1800 hours.

The overview appears to be that the winds will be light to medium. The boards will most likely need to be raced from 1600-1800 hours.

Scheduling - The TV producers were also observing and in discussion with them they would like to see the races held between 1500-1800 as there are no other sports competitions at this time.

ISAF should consider this, as this is the time when the winds have settled in and are the strongest.

They also want each event to conclude racing on different days and award the medals immediately so they can highlight the winners.

ISAF are scheduling this to happen as much as possible, but ensuring it fits into what is best for good racing.

Volunteers - The Test Event exposed the volunteers to the excitement and mystique of the Games.

Many qualified sailors came forward and are enthusiastic to help as they do not want to miss what will be a unique experience.

Airport - I am writing this from the new Athens Airport which is equal to any in the world. It is very easy to access and to get through. No problems here. It took thirty minutes to get from the Agios Kosmas Marina to the airport.

Olympic Village - Although I did not travel the route I am told that the travel time is between 30 and 45 minutes from the village to the marina.

Since the hotel situation is acute those teams who will stay in the Village will not have an unreasonable length of time to get to the Sailing Venue.

Traffic - The stories of Athens traffic are well known.
Fortunately Sailing is on the sea and will not be overly exposed to this problem.

Food - I must comment on this as the sailors constantly stopped me and said that the food at Test Event was the best and cheapest they had ever had. They were buying their dinners there and taking
it back to where they were living since it was so good. The independent
caterer was so proud he was everywhere talking to the sailors.

2003 Test Event - This will be held at exactly the same time next year. However, unlike the 2002 Test Event, the entries will be limited to one athlete per event per country to meet the limit of 400 set by the IOC which will be applicable for the 2004 Olympic Games.

Conclusion - Although much is still to be done and ISAF will have to face several challenges along with ATHOC over the next two years, the Athens 2004 Olympic Sailing Regatta has got off to a fine start."

Your feedback on this article is invited. Email

Paul Henderson/ISAF Secretariat
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