Major changes are in the wind to revolutionise the Tornado multihull, with moves afoot to completely revamp the class, transforming it into a more accessible, one-design class with appeal to the masses, media and a new fleet of Generation Next sailors.
(BEL), President of the International Tornado Association and the 1998 ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year, explains the new direction of the class: "The idea is to transform Tornado racing from an equipment arms race back into a sailing race accessible to everyone and conducted on a level-playing field. To have the racing decided on the water, not by a development programme or technological edges. To have a new generation of athletes racing high-octane craft into a new era."
Amongst the ideas proposed by the class are:
- a shorter and sharper racing format
- a one-design campaign equipment kit available at the touch of a computer key or by phone call
- a reduction in campaign costs to help attract a new wave of talent from new areas of the globe
''We have listened to and taken aboard ideas circulating in the sailing world, from the boat park right up to ISAF, and we believe it's time for a change and that we can lead the way,"
said BROUWER. "We are looking at having a boat that can be supplied, that is one-design, has identical sails and is not subject to ever-changing advancement. In short, a multihull where we can contain the cost, making it more affordable to a wider audience and more accessible to a new breed of sailors.
"What we would like to see is a sailor in Botswana, which does indeed have a sailing club, able to compete with the exact same equipment as the world champion, the European champion, the Asian Pacific champion and the next Olympic champion.
"But, at the same time, build on the classes attractiveness to both male and female sailors while conquering new territories, encouraging youth development and keeping costs down."
International Tornado Association vice-president Darren BUNDOCK
(AUS), a two-time Olympic medallist and six-time world Tornado champion, believes the boat is the most exciting and well-suited multihull for Olympic warfare.
"It's fast, media and spectator friendly, tests the skills of the best multi-hull sailors in the world and at the same time is durable and cost effective,"
BUNDOCK said. "Vote 1 Tornado."
The Tornado class was the equipment used for the multihull event at every Olympic Games from 1976-2008. The multihull event has been removed from the list of Olympic events for 2012, following a requirement from the International Olympic Committee to reduce the number of sailing events from 11 to ten.