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Italian team Claudia Rossi & Pietro D'Alì have been crowned winners of the 2021 Hempel Mixed Two Person Offshore World Championship after a hard-fought final leg to Venice.

When the final leg started at lunchtime on Friday, Rossi and D’Ali were slow out of the starting blocks of the 100-mile overnight race from Marina di Ravenna, but the Italian duo kicked their Figaro 3 keelboat, ITA1 Team ENIT, into gear and took the lead by the halfway stage.

The rising sun was struggling to break through the Venetian morning mist, but emerging from the gloom in the lead was ITA1 Team ENIT, crossing the line first and taking the championship title. Four minutes later Team ESP from Spain crossed in second place, followed by Team Belgium who took third place by just four seconds from winners of the previous leg, ITA2 Marina Militare.

As the boats arrived into the breathtaking military basin in the heart of Venice, the Arsenale di Venezia, there were few smiling faces. The final approach to Venice involved navigating around a myriad of restricted zones due to oil platforms and other sea furniture, and some teams brought protests against others to seek clarification on whether others had contravened the restrictions. There was not yet a clear winner.

After a few hours of intense but friendly deliberation with the international jury, several teams received penalty points for navigational errors. For Rossi and D’Ali the champagne remained on ice until protests had been concluded. Eventually, however, the Italians were able to pop the cork, a release of emotion as they were finally able to celebrate becoming the first ever World Champions of Mixed Two Person Offshore competition.

Rossi shared her feelings after hearing the result. "It's an amazing feeling, it’s like a dream that has come true. We fought until the end but then we had some protests to discuss, so it was not really easy. But now we can just feel good and have a party together because we did a great race and great teamwork together."

Aged 29, Rossi is exactly half the age of Pietro D’Ali, one of Italy’s most experienced and respected offshore competitors. D’Ali commented: "To come back to offshore racing in this event, after the Solitaire du Figaro and Transat racing, it’s a pleasure to be sailing again. I hope this format keeps going in the future. This is a perfect format for the Olympics."

Finishing runner-up was the other Italian team, ITA2 Marina Militare sailed by Giovanna Valsecchi & Andrea Pendibene. Two Italian teams winning on home waters doesn’t tell the story of how close this championship was between the 10 teams representing eight nations. Team Belgium (Sophia Faguet & Jonas Gerckens) ran the winners very close for overall victory but had to settle for third overall.

Coming in fourth place and punching above their lack of offshore experience was Team South Africa, crewed by Michaela Robinson (age 21) and Siyanda Vato (age 28). "We’ve spent 11 years racing against each other," said Vato, "but this was the first time we’ve raced together. We worked together really well as a team, we’ve achieved much more than we could have dreamed of, lots of positives!"

Two of Michaela’s siblings, Brennan and Catherine, flew out from the UK early in the morning to spring a family surprise on their younger sister before she flies back to South Africa. The same for Lennea Floser on Team Sweden, who was overjoyed to see a number of her family waiting on the dock in Venice to welcome her ashore. Her younger sister Josefin was bursting with pride for Lennea. "So amazing. I'm so proud of her. She's always accomplishing new goals, and she's always moving forward, never backward. It's very impressive what she has done."

In front of Italy’s secretary of state for defence, the prize-giving took place in the Arsenale di Venezia, the shining conclusion to a brand new world championship format.

The outcome of the 2021 Hempel Mixed Two Person Offshore World Championship will be decided at the finish line in Venice on Friday, 24 September.

The final 60-mile sprint from Marina di Ravenna to Venice is the culmination of 816 nautical miles of racing in Figaro 3 semi-foiling keelboats, with eight nations participating in the 10-boat fleet. Leg 3 will start this morning at 1000 (GMT+2).

The most consistent performers have been ITA1 Team ENIT (Claudia Rossi & Pietro D'Alì) who were fourth in Leg 1 and second in Leg 2. They hold the top of the leaderboard with Team Belgium (Sophia Faguet & Jonas Gerckens) their closest rivals in second overall. Winning Leg 2 has propelled ITA2 Marina Militare (Giovanna Valsecchi / Andrea Pendibene) up to third overall and with an outside shot at the title.

The final leg carries a scoring co-efficient of just 0.2 points, so it's a low-scoring leg that makes it harder for the leaders to be overtaken. The South African team (Michaela Robinson / Siyanda Vato) were ecstatic to have stolen third place from Belgium near the end of such a hard leg.

Tracking

Team ESP have taken an early lead in Leg 2 of the 2021 Hempel Mixed Two Person Offshore keelboat World Championship in Italy. The 10 boat fleet of Figaro 3 keelboats started out from Bari at 0800 hours this morning on a 300-mile leg through the Adriatic Sea towards the finish line at Marina di Ravenna.

There are ten teams from eight nations competing in this inaugural World Championship with teams representing Italy, Belgium, USA, South Africa, Great Britain, Spain, Sweden and Poland.

The event concludes at the end of Leg 3 in Venice on 24 September, when the first ever winners of the 2021 Mixed Two Person Offshore World Championship will stand on the podium in one of Italy’s most beautiful cities.

Team ESP’s Guillermo Altadill, sailing with Aina Bauzà, said he was relaxed about the start, predicting that the wind would shut down before coming in stronger in the afternoon. Being relaxed is one thing, being last off the line is another. The Spanish were extremely slow to accelerate away from the start in very soft breeze and found themselves playing catch-up while Italy’s Pietro D'Alì and Claudia Rossi on board Team ENIT found a personal gust to cruise away to an early advantage over the chasing pack.

However, Team ENIT had held the lead of Leg 1 for much of the way from Brindisi to Bari a few days earlier. Falling into a wind hole with the Belgians, the Italian crew could only look on as the Spanish ghosted past them in the middle of the night. Altadill and Bauzà had caught the best of a nocturnal land breeze to steal the lead and take the winner’s gun.

Bit by bit over the course of this afternoon, Team ESP have ground their way through the fleet on Leg 2, in points terms the most important of the three legs that constitute this inaugural World Championship. Bauzà and Altadill held to a more westerly route closer to the Italian coastline, again making the land their friend. If you look at a map of Italy and see the 'ankle spur’ that sticks out of the ‘boot of Italy’, that’s the small seaside town of Vieste. This is where the fleet were racing towards at 1600 hours on Monday afternoon, so close they might as well have stopped at one of the harbourside cafés to fuel up with a double espresso. At this point the Spanish held a two-mile lead over a tightly bunched pack that includes Belgium, Team USA Orcas and Team Sweden.

It’s may not be that surprising that Altadill holds the upper hand. With 10 circumnavigations of the globe including a number of Volvo Ocean Races and an estimated half a million miles under his sea boots, Altadill is the most experienced offshore racer in the fleet. For all that experience, however, he says this is the toughest thing he’s done. "This length of race means you cannot afford to sleep," he smiled. "Not very much anyway. It is very tiring, much harder than any round the world sailing I’ve ever done."

Part of the winning crew on board Groupama in the Volvo Ocean Race a decade ago, Martin Stromberg along with his co-skipper Lennea Floser ordered some early morning pizza to bring on board Team Sweden for the journey. Although the pizza will be cold by the time they’ve got around to opening the boxes, it’s this kind of culinary treat that keeps morale and motivation high through the harder moments of what’s expected to be a frustratingly slow leg. The breeze is expected to drop with the sun, so it could be a long night at sea.

Some teams are taking a very scientific approach to the racing, analysing the weather models closely. Others take the view that trying to make sense of weather patterns in the Adriatic Sea is a waste of time. "We haven’t sailed in the Adriatic before," said Andrea Pendibene, who with Giovanna Valsecchi is racing Marina Militare as part of Team Italy. "We take a technical approach to making the boat as fast as possible, but the wind we will take as it comes."

The American crews on the other hand have employed two of the best in the business as their coaches for this contest. The husband and wife team of Christina and Justin Wolfe have been working with fellow Seattle-sider Jonathan McKee, best known as an Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup veteran but also a canny offshore competitor. For Erica Lush and Laurent Givry, Volvo Ocean Race winner and one of France’s offshore greats, Sidney Gavignet, has been offering his words of wisdom - not only on what to watch with the weather but for the psychology of long distance racing.

"I don't think we could have done it without him," said Lush. "He's been phenomenal not just in coaching us with boat handling, but helping us to understand the weather patterns here in the Mediterranean. We haven't spent much time racing in this area. The sports psychology comes in a lot in doublehanded offshore racing and Sidney’s an expert on that. I'm really grateful to have had his input on this campaign."

Gavignet has also enjoyed the role of coach. "I didn’t get coaching when I was younger and I really see the value. It’s a much harder job than I thought but it’s been very interesting working with Erica and Laurent and helping them work through the challenges of this kind of offshore racing."

Offshore racing can always take you by surprise, and a rogue wave caught hold of Team GBR’s spinnaker stowed on the foredeck while the boat was crashing upwind in the stronger conditions of the afternoon. Maggie Adamson and Gavin Howe stopped the boat and went back to retrieve the soggy sailcloth but couldn’t get to it in time in their bid to save it from sinking beneath the waves. If there’s any downwind sailing involved in Leg 2, the lack of a spinnaker is likely to cost the team dearly.

Like Leg 1 from Brindisi to Bari before the weekend, this leg is most likely to be a test of patience and sniffing out the best of a thin breeze. Everyone agrees that the race to Ravenna is going to be a slow one, with the organisers planning for somewhere between 48 hours and 60 hours of sailing time.

The race continues up the Italian coast before taking them around a petroleum platform about 50 miles from Ravenna, and then back. If the breeze is unfavourable then the race committee can cancel this section and finish the boats sooner when they first reach the turning mark at Ravenna.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved Men's and Women's Kiteboarding (Formula Kite) for the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition, bringing the curtain down on the highly anticipated mixed offshore sailing event.

The Men's and Women's Kiteboarding Events will replace the Mixed Kiteboarding and Mixed Offshore Events that were democratically selected by World Sailing's members and remained World Sailing's first-choice events for Paris 2024.

In December 2020, the IOC advised World Sailing that a further review into the Mixed Offshore event would be undertaken to properly assess key considerations.

Further updates from the IOC in April 2021 specified that the proposal continued to be reviewed, consistent with the approach taken for other sports, and highlighted challenges for the Mixed Offshore Event existing in the areas of Field of Play security, scope and complexity, broadcast cost and complexity, and World Sailing not having the opportunity to deliver an Offshore World Championship.

Whilst the final IOC assessment of the Mixed Offshore Event continued, World Sailing was requested to put forward alternative event proposals for sailing's 10th medal at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

World Sailing's Council approved the Men's and Women's Kiteboarding (Formula Kite) and Men's and Women's Two Person Dinghy (470) as the first and second alternative event proposals following their meeting at the 2021 Mid-Year Meeting.

The decision was taken at the meeting of the IOC Executive Board today, Thursday 10 June 2021 in Lausanne, Switzerland following a recommendation from the IOC Programme Commission.

David Graham, Chief Executive Officer, commented, "The World Sailing community selected the Mixed Offshore Event and our slate of events gave a true representation of the depth and breadth of our sport.

"Throughout this process, the Mixed Offshore Event remained our first choice event, with the entire offshore community putting considerable time and effort into the discipline. Today's news will be upsetting for the thriving offshore community, but we will continue to ensure the growth and long-term sustainability of offshore sailing.

"The IOC provided us with clear guidance and their decision-making is consistent with other sports and events. The World Sailing community acted at pace to propose alternative events and we are delighted the IOC have followed our guidance and selected our first alternative proposal of Men's and Women's Kiteboarding.

"Men's and Women's Kiteboarding will bring huge opportunities in terms of universality, developing women's sailing and the media appeal of these exciting events. We now look forward to supporting our athletes on the journey to Paris 2024 and showcasing the sport on the beautiful Marseillaise waters in the south of France."

President Quanhai Li said, "The World Sailing community had limited time to decide on the alternative event for the IOC's consideration. I would like to thank our Council, Member National Authorities, my Board of Directors and management for their big efforts to ensure we had a democratically decided alternative event within a short time frame. I also thank the IOC for their support within the process."

World Sailing’s Council has approved the Men’s and Women’s Kiteboarding (Formula Kite) and Men’s and Women’s Two Person Dinghy (470) as the first and second alternative event proposals to Mixed Offshore at Paris 2024 following their meeting at the 2021 Mid-Year Meeting.

Held yesterday [Friday 14 May] from 0900 - 1500 UTC, the meeting of World Sailing’s Council concluded the Mid-Year Meeting, which also saw the Constitution Committee, Equipment Committee and Events Committee meet earlier on in the week.

The Mid-Year Meeting was dominated by alternative event proposals for the Mixed Offshore Event at Paris.

In April, the IOC informed World Sailing that they were continuing their assessment of the Mixed Offshore Event to address challenges raised, but formally requested that World Sailing propose alternative events.

World Sailing received 23 submissions, consolidated into 15, and throughout the week the Committees discussed and voted on the options.

The outcome of the process would be a Council-made decision of two alternative event proposals, ranked in order of preference, ahead of the 26 May 2021 IOC deadline.

World Sailing’s Council received the Events Committee recommendation to select the Men’s and Women’s 470 as first alternative and Men’s and Women’s Kiteboarding as the second alternative. After a lengthy debate, Council voted against the recommendation with 23 against, 15 supporting and 3 abstentions.

They moved into the Equipment Committee recommendation to select Men’s and Women’s Kiteboarding as the first alternative and Men’s and Women’s 470 as the second alternative.

Men’s and Women’s Kiteboarding was approved as the first alternative with 33 votes in favour, 2 against and 6 abstentions. Men’s and Women’s 470 was approved immediately after as the second alternative with 37 votes in favour, 1 against and 2 abstentions.

World Sailing will now propose to the IOC that should the Mixed Offshore Event not be approved by the IOC Executive Board, they should consider Men’s and Women’s Kiteboarding as the first alternative event and thereafter Men’s and Women’s 470.

Throughout the session, Council members spoke positively about the Mixed Offshore Event, noting that it remains the preferred and first option but acknowledged the request set out by the IOC.

World Sailing President Quanhai Li commented, “The process to select alternative events for Paris 2024 has not been easy. We have all had to act at pace within a very small window. It has been heart-warming to see the World Sailing community come together and make some very important decisions for the common good of our sport.

“Decisions have been made and now is the time for the entire sailing community to show unity and solidarity. We remain committed to showcasing the Mixed Offshore Event at Paris 2024 but we will now report back to the IOC with our first and second alternative events.”

David Graham, Chief Executive Officer commented, “The Mixed Offshore Event was democratically selected by our members and remains our first-choice event for Paris 2024. It was evident throughout the Council session that our members remain committed to this event. We have made this clear to the IOC and will continue to do so.

“That said, the IOC requested we make alternative event proposals and the entire World Sailing community has acted with speed and with precision to make this very important decision for our sport. I want to thank the Committee members and Council members, all of whom are volunteers, for their hours of unrelenting support and work on this process. We are grateful to have this experience and expertise within our community.”

Markus Schwendtner of the International Kiteboarding Association said, “The IKA is respectful of the decision made by Council members to select the Mixed Offshore event for Paris 2024 and are delighted that Mixed Kiteboarding has been approved by the IOC.

“Today’s vote by Council to propose Men’s and Women’s Kiteboarding as the first alternative events shows the trust they have in kiteboarding. We await the next steps from World Sailing and the IOC and, if called upon, will act immediately to inform our community and continue the growth and development of the discipline.”

Published in World Sailing

The Ultimate Boat Company is racing ahead with its revolutionary sustainable material, DANU, as the composite material of choice for its mixed double-handed offshore keelboat aimed at Paris 2024 Olympics.

DANU is the patented and recyclable composite material developed by The Ultimate Boat Company (UBC). Together, with a world-renowned team of naval architects, sailing world champions and elite offshore race winners they have developed the ‘Olympic 32’ sailing yacht for the inaugural double-handed offshore keelboat event. They remain optimistic that it will feature in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) wants sustainability to be a critical aspect of the Paris 2024 Olympics. The Paris 2024 Olympics will be the first-ever carbon neutral games. World Sailing, the governing body of sailing sport worldwide, has led the way with its own Sustainability Agenda which will require 90% of the weight of an Olympic boat needs to be recyclable by 2028. If selected, UBC’s ‘Olympic 32’ sailing yacht will be the first composite racing yacht to achieve this stipulation – and it will do it in time for 2024.

UBC has partnered with the internationally renowned French design house, Finot-Conq Architectes, and with world-renowned offshore yachtsman, Mike Golding OBE on this exciting project. UBC, the UK start-up, has invested heavily in the development of its DANU composite material over the last few years to ensure that it can be incorporated into the yacht’s design and engineering ahead of its showcase on the world’s stage of Olympic Sailing.

The concept completely reimagines the standards for double-handed offshore yacht racing and superior performance ​through innovative design, naval architecture and UBC’s innovative DANU composite material, reinforcing its position as the ultimate low impact and circular boat manufacturer.​

This keelboat will feature a scow bow, and David de Prémorel from Finot-Conq said, “This racing yacht has been specifically designed for the inaugural mixed double-handed offshore keelboat event at the Olympics. It has been developed to be super-fast upwind and downwind. Which will make this event as engaging and exciting for spectators to watch as it will be for the competitors to sail.”

As World Sailing looks for alternatives for its Mixed Offshore Keelboat for Paris 2024, fledgeling mixed Irish pairing Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee, who are campaigning in France this season, are taking the disappointment in their stride. The Dun Laoghaire and Greystones pairing believe Irish sailors have a lot more to look forward to in the international offshore sailing discipline other than the Olympics.

Here, in a statement for Afloat, 'RL Sailing', give their reaction and set out campaign plans beyond Paris 2024.

RL Sailing Continue with Offshore Sailing Plans

RL Sailing's reaction to the current uncertainty of the mixed double-handed class for Paris 2024 is to continue with overarching offshore sailing goals.

RL Sailing, the double-handed offshore sailing partnership of Dun Laoghaire's Kenneth Rumball and Greystones' Pamela Lee are the only team that have in 2021 been actively training and campaigning towards qualification to represent Ireland in the mixed double-handed keelboat class at the Paris 2024 Olympic Championships.

RL Sailing from Ireland competing in the 2021 Sarndinha CupRL Sailing from Ireland competing in the 2021 Sardinha Cup

Kenneth Rumball and Pamela Lee of RL Sailing have been competing and training in France in the Figaro 3 circuit. RL Sailing chose to compete and train in France as the standard and professionalism of shorthanded sailing especially in the Figaro class is unmatched anywhere in the world. This had been done at great personal and professional expense of the sailors and also their sponsors. Their campaign to date has been manifested through the hard work and dedication of the sailors, despite the obvious difficulties of the last year. Although Olympic qualification was the initial motivation that formed the team, their overarching sailing goals have always been to learn, to improve, to compete at the highest level of offshore sailing and to represent Ireland in doing so. The team's participation in the French offshore sailing circuit has already contributed to all of these goals and will continue doing so as they go on to complete their 2021 doublehanded season with the 'Tour De Bretagne De Voile' and 'The Rolex Fastnet.'

That said, RL Sailing's project aims were never solely focused on competing and representing Ireland for the Paris 2024 Olympics. The team's goals are far broader, and they will continue to work towards achieving them through their ongoing campaign.

These include:

  • To be the catalyst for increased female participation within Irish Offshore Racing.
  • To create opportunities for aspiring offshore sailors and to increase public engagement within Ireland.
  • To capitalize on Offshore sailing's unique potential to attract a greater public audience due to the human, adventure and 24-hour live streaming elements.
  • To grow Ireland's participation, support and engagement with Offshore Sailing.
  • To create pathways, inspiration and opportunities for aspiring female & male sailors in Ireland.
  • To mandate change for gender equality and greater inclusion within sport and leadership in Ireland.
  • To compete at the top level of international ocean racing.

"The Olympics provided a clear pathway to work towards achieving our goals, something that is not always the case in competitive ocean racing. It also provided great potential to open the sport up to the broader public and engage with a wider audience internationally. However, our sport is very diverse, and there are many more avenues, opportunities and races to pursue, and the growth of the double-handed offshore circuit internationally is very exciting." – says the team.

Pamela Lee - "I didn't start Ocean racing because I wanted to go to the Olympics - I do it because I love it!Pamela Lee - "I didn't start Ocean racing because I wanted to go to the Olympics - I do it because I love it!"

"I didn't start Ocean racing because I wanted to go to the Olympics - I do it because I love it! The Olympics was an awesome goal to work towards and a great opportunity to open our sport up to broader participation and great equality, but I have plenty of other big ocean racing goals to shoot for, and everything we've done as RL Sailing so far has contributed to that," says Pamela Lee

Kenny Rumball - "my shorthanded offshore sailing experience in France has completely broadened my horizons"Kenny Rumball - "my shorthanded offshore sailing experience in France has completely broadened my horizons"

"Although I've done a considerable amount of Offshore racing abroad, our shorthanded offshore sailing experience in France with a view to the Olympics had completely broadened my horizons on more challenging and demanding offshore sailing. I would like to continue challenging myself in this way and also to help more young Irish sailors to do the same, says Skipper Kenneth Rumball.

RL Sailing has many projects and campaign goals that they hope to launch and capitalise on in the very near future. The team are keen to hear from persons or parties that would endeavour to work with them to obtain the goals of their project.

Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee

World Sailing's Council has unanimously approved a regulatory amendment to enable alternative event(s) to the Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat, for sailing's 10th medal at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games to be proposed.

As Afloat reported previously, following a request from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for such proposals, World Sailing's Board published a Submission to temporarily amend the World Sailing Regulations on 17 April 2021 and called a Council meeting for today [23 April 2021] to consider the Submission.

World Sailing's Council unanimously approved the submission during a video conference which will allow decisions to be made at the 2021 Mid-Year Meeting.

World Sailing's process commenced on 16 April 2021 after the IOC informed World Sailing that the Mixed Offshore Event proposal has continued to be reviewed, consistent with the approach taken for other sports, but challenges existed in the areas of:

Field of Play security, scope and complexity, broadcast cost and complexity and World Sailing not having the opportunity to deliver an Offshore World Championship

The IOC are continuing their assessment of the Mixed Offshore Event to address these points, however formally requested that World Sailing propose alternative event(s).

MNAs, Class Associations, Committee Chairs and the Board were invited to propose alternatives in the form of late submissions for the Mid-Year Meeting on 17 April 2021. This will conclude at midday on 26 April 2021.

Late Submissions will be published on the World Sailing website on 30 April 2021.

At the 2021 Mid-Year Meeting, the Constitution, Events and Equipment Committees will meet on 10-11 May 2021. They will consider the late submissions on alternative event(s) and make their respective recommendations to Council.

World Sailing's Council will meet on 14 May 2021. They will discuss and vote on all submissions. The outcome of the process will be two alternative events, ranked in order of preference, ahead of the IOC deadline, which is 26 May 2021.

Published in World Sailing

With World Sailing having apparently lost the proposed mixed offshore keelboat discipline for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, one of three of the declared Irish skippers has spoken of his 'disappointment' over the last-minute change of direction.

As Afloat reported previously, speculation is mounting that sailing's highly anticipated mixed offshore keelboat may not be approved by the International Olympic Council (IOC) at its meeting in May and the world body has now been asked to supply alternative plans for its tenth medal, leading many to conclude the keelboat plans for Paris are effectively scrapped.

"Disappointed" might be one word', Howth Yacht Club's Conor Fogerty told Afloat. "I know sailing is meant to be an all-inclusive sport, but to be pushing it [the mixed offshore keelboat class] out till 2028 or further is getting beyond my physical capabilities age-wise".

Fogerty is part of one of three budding campaigns from Ireland.

The former Irish Sailor of the Year is scheduled to sail with Susan Glenny in a campaign for Paris. The pair competed in the first-ever European Mixed Keelboat championships last September.

Despite the hiatus, Fogerty says, "I will still work with, and develop female offshore sailors in Ireland, and hopefully, compete within a mixed keel class where possible".

This season has already seen other Irish campaigns back on the water.

The Dun Laoghaire-Greystones partnership of Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee competed in last week's Sardinha Cup and County Meath's Tom Dolan has also been back on the water and is now preparing for a Transatlantic Race in May.

As Afloat reported earlier, World Sailing has received an update from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the proposed Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat Event at the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition.

In December 2020, World Sailing were informed by the IOC that a further review into the Mixed Offshore event would be undertaken to properly assess key considerations. World Sailing, the IOC and Paris 2024 Organising Committee have worked in close collaboration to ensure all queries were answered in detail.

World Sailing has now been informed by the IOC that the proposal has continued to be reviewed, consistent with the approach taken for other sports, and challenges for the Mixed Offshore Event exist in the areas of: Field of Play security, scope and complexity, broadcast cost and complexity and World Sailing not having the opportunity to deliver an Offshore World Championship.

The IOC will continue their assessment of the Mixed Offshore Event to address these points, however, they have requested that World Sailing propose alternative event(s) for sailing’s 10th medal at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

World Sailing CEO, David Graham commented, “This is not an official decision from the IOC, but rather a direction of travel and assistance to help World Sailing secure our 10th medal at Paris 2024, should the Offshore event not be endorsed by the IOC Executive Board in early June.

Disappointing

“This is very disappointing news and we are aware this upset will be widespread across our community if the decision doesn’t go our way. The Mixed Offshore Event was democratically selected by our members and remains our first-choice event for Paris 2024; we have made this clear to the IOC and will continue to do so. However, the contents of the letter from the IOC are consistent with decisions they have made in other sports.

“Now is the time for the World Sailing community to unite and work collaboratively. World Sailing is in an unprecedented position. We have clear guidelines from the IOC, and a hard deadline, within which we must agree upon proposed alternatives.”

World Sailing Processes

In accordance with Article 55 of the World Sailing Constitution, a Council meeting will be called for 23 April 2021 to review a Board Submission to temporarily amend the World Sailing regulations to permit the decision regarding alternatives to be made. The Board Submission outlines the process for proposing an alternative Event to the IOC and will allow decisions to be made at the 2021 Mid-Year Meeting, if approved by Council members.

World Sailing’s Mid-Year Meeting will be held virtually from 10 – 14 May 2021. The normal Submissions process has concluded but a late submission process for proposing alternative events will begin on 17 April 2021 and conclude on 23 April 2021.

MNAs, Class Associations, Committee Chairs and the Board are invited to put forward submissions

Any late submission must be in the respect of the replacement event only (and not any associated Regulatory changes) and the alternative event proposal must adhere to criteria framework provided by the IOC which is outlined below:

  • Align with Olympic Agenda 2020+5, including relevance to the youth, innovation, universality and participation of the best athletes
  • Keep full gender equality on both number of events and athlete quotas (e.g. alternative mixed-gender events or split of currently approved mixed events into men’s and women’s events)
  • Prioritise universality and maximise the accessibility of the sport
  • Should have been previously tested at the respective World Championships organised by World Sailing
  • Should not cause an increase of the overall cost and complexity for the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, National Olympic Committees and/or National
  • Federations, specifically in the direct comparison with the sailing programme, as a whole, in Tokyo 2020
  • Use of existing venues/Fields of Play

Late Submissions will be published on the World Sailing website on 30 April 2021.

At the 2021 Mid-Year Meeting, the Constitution, Events and Equipment Committee will meet on 10-11 May 2021. They will discuss the submissions ahead of making their recommendations to Council.

World Sailing’s Council will meet on 14 May 2021 across two sessions and will discuss and vote on the submissions. This will ensure the process concludes ahead of the IOC deadline for new proposals, which is 26 May 2021.

Published in World Sailing
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