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Posts Tagged ‘470’

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Fallout continues after World Sailing’s 2024 Olympic event selection shitshow the other day, which saw the members of the sport’s governing body ignoring the last few years of progress (and once again, its own Events Committee) on their way to choosing a 2024 Olympic Events slate that in most ways preserves the status quo and completely ignores the IOC’s mandates – despite claiming it follows them.

You can talk here about the Romanian submission which was eventually selected, but without understanding the politics behind these types of votes, you won’t really get it.

The most important thing to understand about the submission is that it is mostly an attempt to change the definition of ‘mixed’ in order to sneak extra events past the IOC and allow the Finn to stay in the Games.  It’s also got at least one monster error about women and body weight. Neither problem stopped Submission M22-18 from winning, so let’s take a look.

The way things are for Tokyo, Olympic Sailing has 10 events: 5 men’s events (Laser, 420, 49er, Finn, RS:X), 4 women’s events (Radial, 420, FX, RS:X) and 1 truly ‘mixed’ event (Nacra 17) where men and women compete together.

Under Submission M22, Olympic Sailing would still see 10 events, with men ((Laser, 49er, new Windsurfer), and women (Radial, FX, new Windsurf) each getting 3.  The mixed Nacra would still be a co-ed crew as would the new mixed 470 class, but what about those final two ‘mixed team’ events?

First is ‘mixed kiteboarding’, which is really just men and women’s separate kiteboarding with combined scores.  It’s not like running or swimming ‘team’ relay events we’re used to, where athletes already competing in other events race in these.  The new proposed classes are entirely new events with riders who won’t be competing otherwise, so while World Sailing and the IKA spent millions to ensure that kiting was fast-tracked to the Olympics under the World Sailing umbrella, it’s  only worthy of a single ‘team’ event.  Like the multihull, a second-class citizen.

Finally, let’s look at the ‘Mixed One-Person Dinghy’ event proposal, which goes through some tortured logic on its way to accomplishing the real goal for the entire submission: To keep the Finn in the Olympics.  There’s one reason the Star was so hard to kick out of the Olympics: Lots of the rich old yachties who run the sport sail them and love them.  And if you think lots of privileged old guys sail the Star, wait til you see how many sail the Finn!

Anyway, working with some well-known Euro rabble-rousers, the Romanians started with ‘keep the Finn’ and then backed their way through the rest of the slate to come up with the only gender-neutral solution for their orphan Heavyweight Dinghy: Ditch the 470 and come up with a women’s Finn that will combine points with the men, and call it a “Mixed Event”.  The Romanians even picked the ideal woman’s size for crew of the new dinghy to be “around 70kg” (155 lbs) or about the same size as many of the top Radial, Nacra, and FX crews and many of the boardsailors.

One problem: In many countries, the pool of woman of that size just ain’t big, and that leaves only two spots in all of Olympic Sailing for smaller women: Helm on a new mixed 470 team, or helm of a Nacra with a big male crew.

The excellent PR team behind the Finn Class rushed to correct the Romanian fuckup, writing this morning that the 70 KG number will be changed, and that the “Equipment Committee will define the criteria to decide the equipment in November 2018, with the intention to have a one-person women’s boat to suit a different physique.”  Translation: The Finn FX or whatever will be for little thangs: a lightweight boat for lightweight women.  Our guess is the ideal weight will be targeted at somewhere from 50-55 KG, square in the typical 470 skipper’s sweet spot.

If this is what really happens, we obviously don’t mind it.  Men get the Finn so that neanderthals still have some chance to get some metal, and the spinners get some hobbit-sized Finn cousin that swamps if you get aboard after eating a big sandwich.  Just think of the visuals, or look at this shot of an ideal Finn body and a gorgeous potential SlimFinn racer for a great example.

As for the overall proposal, we think it is a mistake to walk away from the ‘offshore’ event proposal, which, aside from kiteboarding aerials (if it ever happens and if it is even remotely related to sailing) is probably sailing’s only real chance to go mainstream at the Olympics and teach the world sailing in a way they can understand.

But at least all the 470 chicks will have somewhere to go play.  We will most certainly be watching.

Don’t understand the title? Science class for you.




May 15th, 2018 by admin

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Yachting’s dirty little secret is the nearly complete lily-whiteness of the competition in almost every venue, which is why we get stoked when we see stories like South Africa’s Abenathi Jim and Sibu Suzatu taking the first podium in major competition for an all-black South African 470 crew.   Jim took 20th in the Rio Olympics along with decidedly unblack crew Roger Hudson, and in his first big event with new crew Suzatu – the pre-Worlds in Greece – the duo took third spot in a tough 44-boat pre-worlds fleet.

Props to Hudson – now the team’s performance coach – and RSA’s RaceAhead Foundation for grinding it out in the long slog to diverse participation at the top of the game.  And props to the International 470 Class for finally joining the latter part of the 20th century with the introduction of carbon-fiber masts following the 2020 Tokyo Games.

After three days of Worlds, the RSA team is just outside the top ten, while top US team Stu McNay and Dave Hughes sit just outside the podium spots. Results here, and some great photo galleries of the teams are over here (reminding all of us just which fleet has the best looking women in sailing).

July 10th, 2017 by admin

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Christmas in Spain means big wind and waves, and Johnny McGovern clearly has the shutter skills to get some of the best foilless flying boat shots we’ve ever seen.  These 470 shots come from the Palamos Christmas Race.

Title because eighties.


December 24th, 2016 by admin

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screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-12-30-29-pmAs many US Sailing Team fans will already have noted, Managing Director Josh Adams has left for greener pastures, (though he is assisting with the transition to new leadership) while today,  two-time Aussie gold medal crew Malcolm Page was named new US Sailing Team Director.

A college dinghy and team racer who came to the team after years as a magazine publisher, Adams was charged with what may have been an impossible task for someone with his experience level; to bring the US Team back from its dismal, zero-medal performance in London and make a real impression in Rio.  Despite what seemed like a good plan for Brazil, the team’s 2016 performance was only tolerable in comparison to the 2012 debacle, and something had to change for the next quad.

Fortunately, US Sailing finally did what we’ve been begging them for a decade –  quit hiring your management consultant and magazine publishing pals from New England for this essential job, and find someone with a proven history of winning – even if you have to headhunt them from somewhere else.

Enter Mal Page, who aside from being the most decorated dinghy sailor in Aussie history, may be the only sailor to ever win a gold medal with two different skippers.  Page walks away from one of the toughest jobs in sailing – Marketing Director for ISAF – to take on another extremely tough job, but one he’s uniquely prepared for.  We say this not because Page has led a big team to success; we say it because he was part of one of the winningest Olympic sailing teams in modern history, and a very clever lad.

Perhaps more importantly, he comes from a decade worth of training under the world’s best olympic sailing coach – Victor “The Medal Maker” Kovalenko (pictured with Page, above).  While it’s too much to hope that Victor will defect to the USA as part of the deal (Kovalenko has famously turned down some huge international paydays to stick with his adopted homeland downunder), Page should have all the tools he needs to recreate the winning culture enjoyed by the US Sailing Team up until the past decade.

You guys always come up with the best questions, and I’ll be speaking to Mal tomorrow morning for this week’s SA Podcast.  What do you want to know about the 2016 performance, the plans for Tokyo 2020 and the team, about Malcolm in general, or whatever?

Post your questions here.

This post has been edited to reflect the fact that Josh Adams was not fired, but resigned instead.  We note, however, that numerous sources inside both the governing body and the team were extremely dissatisfied with the team’s performance and in our opinion, Adams was not long for the job.


November 28th, 2016 by admin

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Annie Haeger and Bri Provencha have been at or near the top of the 470 class for the past couple of years, but when it mattered most, their race and the final shot at the US team’s second medal fell to bits. Leading the medal race for the first two marks and looking like a lock for the silver (GBR’s Clark and Saskia-Mills clinched before the final race), the American duo got strung out on the right by eventual silver medalist New Zealand and then sailed a horrible final run, culminating with a foul on Japan and a 360 when they could least afford it, sailing the entire reach to the finish without their kite and catching a DFL for the race.

The NBC feed caught Annie racked with sobs as she sailed through the line, but we hope she takes the lesson to heart and uses the adversity to power her improvement for the next time like all true champions.  We still think Annie is probably the most likely of all the US team to come back in Tokyo and win her class.  She’ll need to if the US Team is to prove their plan; the team’s better-than-the-London-debacle-but-still-weak performance can only be accepted if it is truly a stepping stone to the US team’s return to dominance in 2020, as we’ve been told by US Sailing Team staff, coaches, and athletes for the past couple of years.  If there’s one thing Tokyo guarantees, it’s fewer distractions for the sailors.

You can watch the full replay on NBC over here; just wind back the player to the beginning if it’s already on the Men’s 470 (which the US can’t medal in).  Screenshot from the world feed.


August 18th, 2016 by admin

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418753_157953491008723_1925993192_n 29 year-old Lucas Calabrese is perhaps the world’s best Optimist coach, but he’s also one of a handful of Argentinos to ever win an Olympic sailing medal.  He’s back at it in the 470 Class this August, and our old pal John Casey caught up with him in an entertaining chat about a whole pile of stuff; meeting the Argentine president and being a celebrity for 15 minutes, crime and disease and South American politics and the Olympics, and much, much more in the next episode of the JC Worldwide Podcast.  Catch up with all of JC’s work over here or subscribe on iTunes.


June 27th, 2016 by admin

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DSC_0008Haegar/Provencha and McNay/Hughes offer by far the US Sailing Team Sperry’s most solid medal hopes for Rio 2016, and with both duos performing exceedingly well over the past year, even gold is within reach this August.  But more than halfway through the Argentina Worlds (the first selection series for the American mens’ and womens’ 470 teams), neither team has quite found their form.  Stu and Dave lie just inside the medal race cutoff at 10, and Annie and Brie sit in 6th place, 3 back from the peaking past SCOTW Sydney Bolger with crew Carly Shevitz.  The big story is just how impossibly clogged the racing area is with massive, moving islands of vegetation pouring out the river mouth.  Supercoach Morgan Reeser reports (with thanks to Morgs for the shot of the Greek team soft aground):

Weeds continue to dominate the 470 Worlds.  In race 6 today, the 5th overall placed Greek team became mired in a maze of weed so thick on the first beat that they could not find a way out, so they retired from the race.  We had three races today, but were forced to move course areas for each race because of the weeds eventually took over the course area. Each course area move about a 3 mile change of venue.

I will never complain about a little bit of kelp again.


February 25th, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 7.11.29 PMWe may not have come down to Brazil specifically to investigate the water pollution problems, but the situation is inescapable, and yesterday’s discovery of an open sewage outfall less than 50 feet from the main Olympic Sailing Center launch ramp was, well, shocking.  Local authorities panicked and sent over an oil containment crew with a floating boom…but that ain’t oil, and the inside of the Olympic harbor is now half water, half poo.  It’s one thing for a huge 3rd world city to have sewage problems, and our final report from Brazil will get deep into a situation which is neither uncommon nor surprising in a Latin American metropolis, but the level of incompetence required to have thousands of gallons of untreated waste flowing in the one place that every sailor touches every day, and that every reporter sees every morning?  It simply defies belief.

And the hits keep on coming; a 5-man media team was held at gunpoint and robbed of cameras and phones while covering the cycing test event yesterday, the same day hundreds of thousands of protestors – including tens of thousands on Copacabana and Ipanema – blocked major roads across Brazil while calling for the impeachment or military ouster of recently elected president Dilma Roussef.  Think American politics are messy?  She’s got an 8% approval rating…

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 9.52.18 AMOn a much more positive note, the US Sailing Team Sperry seems to be continually improving, with a good start in the Laser and Radial, and a great start in the 470 (and a seemingly healthy team, barring a few bruises).  The US currently holds second place in three classes, in fleets that are largely the same as they’ll be next year.  Peaking early, or a sign of great things to come?  We’re on the ground to find the answer.  Listen to yesterday’s interview with 470 chicks Bri and Annie here, and watch these pages for more.  Test Event Results here.

Onne Van Der Wal photo of new dad Stu McNay and Dave Hughes.

August 17th, 2015 by admin