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13 February 2003, 12:30 pm
Rule 42 Under Debate
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Theresa Whelan Chairman of the ISAF Women's Sailing Committee ©ISAF

Sailors' Forum

The ISAF Sailors' Forum, which provides an online forum for debate, is currently addressing pumping in windsurfing. Comments received include<I>"Overall anything that makes windsurfing and sailing more athletic is a good thing. "</I>
With the discussion thread generating a variety of input, we highlight a few comments. HAVE YOUR SAY and logon to ISAF Sailor - www.sailing.org/isafsailor

"The pumping rule, is a discussion which has been going on for a while now. For me it started when in windsurfing pumping was allowed. I don't like it. Windsurfing used to be a tactical sport. Since pumping has been allowed (I guess that was in 1989) it has become much more physical. This means that you can only participate on a high level if you work-out a lot in the gym. also this makes the difference between men and women bigger. Men usually have a greater physical strength than most women.

I decided to change to sailing. I like the fact that you have to make use of the wind to sail. If pumping is allowed, you make much more use of your physical strength. My idea is that it should not be allowed in sailing to prevent that also sailing becomes a physical sport instead of tactical."
comments Pauline Wilmink (NED)

Sue Crafer (GBR), member of the ISAF Medical Commission expresses; "What do other athletes/officials/coaches/parents think about pumping, fitness, Olympic Games and tactical advantages? In well developed and underdeveloped nations?

Has anyone any views on the statement that it is cheaper and easier to gain fitness compared to tactical knowledge and experience and even top grade equipment?"


Olympic Mistral Sailor in Sydney 2000 and current Formula sailor, Christine Johnston (GBR) comments; "I think that they should keep pumping in windsurfing, and keep restricted pumping in sailing (as it is now). The Olympics should have elite athletes competing for Olympic medals, and the fitness of windsurfers is comparable to that of track and field athletes, which I think is good for windsurfing.

Formula windsurfing does not have so much pumping, but it is still extremely physically demanding. Mainly because we use such large sails for a given wind strength. Lucy Horwood has been investigating the heart rates of Formula windsurf racers during races, and from what I have seen it is comparable to that of Mistral windsurfers. So you see that reducing pumping does not necessarily reduce the physical demands of the sport.

Also there can be physical problems from being static upon a windsurfer. I have heard that in the days of Lechner racing some racers had elbow problems precisely because they could not move in light winds, and the optimum rig position was found holding the rig with bent elbows. They had problems with inflammation and tendonitis in the elbows due to this.

Overall anything that makes windsurfing and sailing more athletic is a good thing. For the image of the sport, and to know that our windsurfing and sailing Olympics medal winners are ultimate athletes, as well as ultimate tacticians, technicians and sailors."


Greg Johns (AUS), member of the ISAF Windsufing Committee commented: "My thought is that pumping should not be allowed up wind so that:

1. Injuries are reduced as there is recovery time during a race from pumping movements.

2. Fitness levels required would be reduced as heart rates required upwind would be lowered significantly.

3. Tactical considerations upwind would regain it's importance.

Lightwind races would be shorter in distance for the same duration as distance travelled upwind would be significantly reduced, so downwind legs would be shorter and the time pumping further reduced.

Pumping cannot be judged downwind that is why 42 was thrown out for boards but they went too far as judging pumping upwind is easy on a sailboard.

Implementing this change would attract more competitors in my view.

I am not holding my breath for these changes, the existing sailors may not want them as they have done the work.

However I am thinking about the next generation's health and the quantity wanting to race."



The women members of ISAF Committees have taken on the mantle of moderating the Women in Sailing Forum for two week periods. From 10-23 February, the Chairman of the ISAF Women's Committee, Teresa Whelan (GBR), is in the hot seat.

Her thoughts on the pumping issue, "It is nice to see that the pumping issue is being taken up. I think the idea of downwind only pumping has merit - but is it workable?"

Your thoughts are welcome. The Sailors' Forum can be accessed via ISAF Sailor - www.sailing.org/isafsailor If you are already registered to ISAF Sailor then simply proceed to Sailors' Forum and have your say. If not registered the complete the straightforward registration to acquire your ISAF Sailor ID and password and then proceed to Sailors Forum.

Related Articles
Link to Article regarding Rule 42 and Other Infringements - 5 September 2002
Link to Article regarding Kinetics Free For All - 26 September 2002
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