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csabi

Higher, Faster, Stronger? Not any more, try Younger, thinner and smaller instead.

A sport’s governing body is supposed to represent and be representative of the participants of that sport are they not? The new list of classes for the 2024 Olympics has just been announced and it reads like a Ray Bradbury novel.

In Fahrenheit 451 books are banned and with World Sailing’s new class list for the Olympics bigger, heavier sailors appear to suffer the same fate.

Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser   Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial     Women’s Skiff – 49er FX      Men’s Skiff – 49er      Mixed 2 person Multiull – Nacra 17

No problems so far but then…..

Men’s Windsurfer   Women’s Windsurfer    New Event – Mixed One Person Dinghy    New Event – Mixed Two Person Dinghy     New Event – Mixed Kite

No obvious class for the sailors over 85kg so a message to all those heavier sailors with Olympic aspirations, choose a different sport or forget the Olympics altogether OR go on a crash diet although I suppose though that it does let the lighter Asian nations in more.

A big surprise for me is the absence of the Finn, a heavyweight boat which needs a strong, powerful, technical sailor to excel in – sorry guys no Olympics for you after Tokyo.

Also a surprise, no – more than a surprise a huge disappointment – is the keelboat ‘marathon equivalent’ idea has been scrapped.

Not only does this mean ALL Olympic sailing events are the maritime equivalent of no more than a few laps of an athletics track but one of the largest – if not THE largest group of sailors globally is still not represented at the Olympics, the bigger boat sailors.

And kitesurfing? I am so old fashioned that I am still not 100% behind Air Rowing being in the ISAF (told you I was old fashioned) remit. They even need a special appendix to be able to use the Racing Rules of Sailing but at least they float. I always thought sailing was done in or on boats, boats float, boards NO NOT!

And while we are at it, what is this about World Sailing getting into the on-line game business.  e-Sailing Championships? Don’t they think their time might be better spent looking at arresting the decline in sailing participation in the developed sailing world?

Currently it has the appearance of a corporation crawling to it’s one major client (IOC) while exploring and attempting to take over and monopolise fringe and minority markets (kitesurfing and sailing related on line gaming) while paying little attention to the mass market that is their true power base (sailors like us). I know it is not a perfect example but anyone remember seeing new Hummers on the street?

I am sure the average sailor would not mind paying a little extra (and it would only need to be a little extra because there are a lot of us) to compete in regattas at, say, beyond club level if that levy was fed through our MNA to fund World Sailing. Of course that would mean the developed sailing nations with more sailors would pay more but they do already (significantly more) in any case.

Is it any wonder that many sailors feel disenfranchised? And not just the lowly club sailor either as evidenced by the open letter and recent on line petition started by a significant and knowledgeable group of concerned Olympians.

Will they listen? On past evidence probably not but we live in hope.

 

csabi

May 14th, 2018

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