Monday, May 05, 2008

Women's Olympic match racing

When it comes to debating the Olympic events for the 2012 Games, the multihulls have taken the spotlight. However, lying in the shadows is the Women’s slate, and in particular, the one vote difference between Keelboat match racing and the Two person dinghy high performance. Only four events could be selected, and these two events finished fourth and fifth in the voting. Now with the ISAF Mid-Year meeting putting the event list for both the men and women under review, it appears that the women’s keelboat contingent is not taking any chances.

The Yngling class, currently used as the equipment for the women’s keelboat event at the 2008 Olympics, would like to be considered for the 2012 games. They have compiled a report that discusses the boat’s favorable boat handling aspects for match racing, the class’s ability to help ISAF supply the boats (a condition of the event), how worldwide availability is guaranteed by six Yngling builders around the world, and how the most recent World Championship attracted sailors from all six continents. They noted what changes could be made to the boat to improve it for match racing, such as replacing hobbles and harnesses with normal hiking straps, and limiting the rig trimming possibilities, and how these changes could make the boat even more affordable for the Olympics. -- Click here for complete report

The Women’s International Match Racing Association is also very keen in solidifying the Olympic status of the keelboat match racing event, and has distributed a paper by the ISAF Match Racing Committee of their preliminary recommendations for the event. Some items of interest include how there is a charitable foundation under the direction of Mr. Terry Kohler that is prepared to cover the cost of designing and building the boats to be used, in conjunction with contributions of equipment (spars, poles, booms, hardware, etc. from Harken and Southern Spars and sails by North Sails). They are considering a 12-team event and a four person boat, which is the crew size used on the women’s match racing circuit, and that the boat be 6.5-7.5 meters in length. -- Click here for complete report

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At 12:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The WIMRA suggests designing and building a new class for the Olympics. This gives the opportunity to make whatever they want as one is not restricted by existing classes.
Two remarks I want to make having seen their idea's so far.
The current format of 4 person teams is the result of using existing classes and does not demonstrate better teamwork, athleticism and skills of the teams than double or triple handed sailing teams. It does however restrict the number of participating nations to the games. A double or triple handed boat can also be smaller and fit more easily in commercial containers.
Second boats that plane and surf easily downwind are very attractive for the sailors but leave a wider gap downwind therefore for non sailing television spectators less interesting. Snooker and darts are media sports not for the fact that the balls or arrows go fast but for the tactics and tension of these games. In formula 1 racing tracks with long stretches are less attractive than circuits with lots of curves. I therefore would recommend a boat that does not plane that easily or the WIMRA should go to really overpowered boats that are difficult to handle and crash very easily lets say a 3-4 persons 18-20foot skiff....


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