Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Multihull momentum

The Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship is the absolute premier youth event… period. For the young sailor that is immensely gifted or a tremendous hard worker, merely qualifying for the event is an honor. It is clearly one of the most visible stepping stones toward Olympic level competition.

If ever there was a master plan in the sport of sailing, the type of boats used in the Youth Worlds would reflect those used in the Olympics. And nearly they do. A boys and girls division exists for the Laser Radial, the International 420, and the RS:X (with 8.5m2 sail & 60cm fin). These are all very close or identical to the current slate of Olympic sailing events. But then there is one oddity… the open division using the Hobie 16 with Spinnaker.

What in the world is a catamaran doing at the Youth Worlds? Didn’t the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) banish the multihull from the Olympic Games? Of course they did, so why in the world is ISAF permitting this odd craft in the Youth Worlds? Better yet, what in the world are all these highly prized youth sailors doing in this dead-end event?

But wait, what is this we are hearing from the International Hobie Class Association? They have just announced that the 2009 Youth Worlds in Brazil (July 9-18) has attracted the largest number of multihull entries than ever before. Is there a connection here - no Olympics means more interest in multihull sailing. Or could there be an epic disconnect, where the multihull discipline has lost its Olympic event right when youth interest was at an all-time high.

For those keeping score, the multihull event got eliminated when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) mandated that ISAF reduce the size of Olympic sailing from 11 to 10 events for the 2012 Olympics. However, there is a chance now that the IOC will allow the next Games to return to 11 events, but they won’t decide this until their June 15-16th meeting. As for what this 11th event might be, that will be on the “to do” list for the 2009 ISAF Mid-Year Meeting to take place in Warsaw, Poland on May 7-11, 2009.

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At 6:27 PM, Blogger Scuttleblog said...

I sure hope everyone gets the tone of this story. I am not a multihull hater... quite the contrary. Just making an observation.

At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should get a grip. Multihulls create excitement, that brings new sailors to the sport.

They also put on a better "show" for the media which also brings new sailors to the sport. The one thing we need is new sailors, so let's hope that the Muti's get another chance.

At 8:03 PM, Blogger Scuttleblog said...

Based on the Anonymous comment, I guess I was too subtle in making my point.

I am an advocate for the Olympics to represent the many disciplines of sailing, and that would include multihulls. I am also an advocate of the boats used in the Youth Worlds to represent the Olympic events.

So my point is that the situation right now seems to be screwed up. However, I guess that if the Olympics can't figure out how to include a multihull in the Games, at least the Youth Worlds is able to do it.

A side story is the immense support the Youth Worlds gets from Hobie, which supplies all the boats. When the multihull event grew beyond expectations, Hobie stepped in late to ship additional boats.

So there... some observations and some oppinion.

At 8:27 PM, Anonymous John Williams said...

The challenge is to both keep the member national authorities interested in sending a youth multihull team each year, and to stop flip-flopping between the Hobie 16 with a spinnaker and the SL16 as equipment. Both manufacturers have provided boat to the event, but it has been a little tough to explain to parents of talented young sailors why they need to buy two different boats year to year to qualify. I hope that ISAF can make things easier by removing the politics from the selection process and chosing a single boat that meets the need of developing multihull talent for the event's inevitable return to the Games.

John Williams - USA

At 4:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The constant changing of boats is making the choice of boat for both young cat sailors and parents an issue. There is not one SL16 in the UK and the Hobie 16 is a dated design, so UK sailors and parents have chosen the Spitfire as the multihull for youth cat sailors.

At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the point is that the SL is not used much and the UK doesn't have any sailing. There are none sailing in the US either. While the Spitfire maybe a great boat and be superb in the UK the rest of the world does not have them and they are expensive outside the UK. Hobie has at least a strong base in all countries around the world. And Hobie has bought in new countries into this Youth Worlds. Keep using the Hobie 16 to build up multihull sailing then see where you want to go.
The Laser is also a very dated design but nobody is talking about replacing them. Nor is the Optimist a modern design but it dam big class

At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually im sailing a SL 16 in texas and there are more SL sailors in the U.S. than just me and my crew. With all due respect to hobie i'll always take an SL or a nacra first because of the much higher performance. The SL is designed to carry a spinnaker and therefore does not pitch pole as easily downwind. You can much more easily recover from a near pitch pole because the SL does not have a flat piece on top of the bows to catch water. The Sl's Sail plan is much more modern so you can point much higher easier and still go extremely fast. Even if the Olympics does not bring multihulls back into the sailing venue i am still going to sail them because it is the fastest you can go in a fleet. I will later sail nacra F18's or F17's and will just go for the world championship if there is no olympics for multihulls.

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why have so many mono hull classes?

Put the multihulls back in and keep it strictly one design not the so called one design of the Tornado.


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