offshore circus


offshore circus

C-Class legend and endless tinkerer Steve Clark weighs in with his thoughts on bringing an offshore event to the Olympics.

I have proposed this before, because I hate the way ISAF is screwing up the sport to make it more televisable, and thereby keep it in the Olympics.

The multiple fleet sprint races are pretty meaningless, and the medal race is total bullshit. Add in throw outs and the Irish Guy has it about right, it’s confusing and boring at the same time. AND even the people who race don’t give a shit.

I think Olympic sailing should be a singlehanded 24 hour race in small boats. Say 100 miles long in Finns. There are reasons for each aspect of this:

Consider that the goal of an Olympic sport is not just to determine the best athlete, but to determine the best athlete in an event that can be delivered as 15 minutes of compelling television. Moreover 15 minutes of compelling television with acceptable production costs.

The only attraction sailing has to the general public is the old "Man Against The Sea" theme. So you need to have sailors out at sea getting clobbered by big waves. We are in luck because digital video has made it possible to pipe broadcast-worthy video from small remote cameras. GPS and the excellent work of Stan Honey will make it so that every boat will be tracked and the race can followed in real time and then edited down to the suitable 15 minutes with Bob Costas voiceover drivel.

Finns dinghies are beasts, but they are traditional Olympic sailboats, they can be suitably configured to be appropriate for this mission, and are large and heavy enough to lug the video gear without becoming ether unsafe or complete slugs. They are also wet, and so lots of wave in face ops. Finns can be raced by women, and have been. They don’t compete on equal terms with men, but it’s been done and once again, there is enough freedom in the class rules to develops sails and masts for individual athletes.

100 miles seems long, but isn’t different than the miles we sailed in "the old days" of 7 ten mile races if you add in sailing to and from a "fair" race course. As a final kicker, I would eliminate all bans on kinetics, up to and including paddles ( which Finns are required to have anyway.) If you can pump and rock for 100 miles, good for you, you deserve a medal.