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Displaying items by tag: Mixed offshore keelboat

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has launched its search to find sailors to represent Great Britain at the 2021 Offshore Mixed Doubles European and World Championships.

Interest has been growing in mixed doublehanded offshore racing since 2019 when the discipline was put forward for inclusion at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Since then, the RYA has aimed to encourage participation in doublehanded keelboat racing and wishes to select and develop a mixed team with the potential to win international events.

Details of the European and World Championships have not yet been released due to the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the RYA wants to publish its intentions in order to help prospective teams plan their seasons ahead.

With the support of RORC, selection will be based on an extended version of the RORC Channel Race, scheduled to start from Cowes, Isle of Wight, on July 24, 2021.

The RYA’s selection committee will comprise of Ian Walker (RYA director of racing), Stacey Clark (World Sailing council member), a representative of the RYA’s Olympic steering group and a representative from RORC.

“This is a great opportunity for any mixed crews to come forward and show us they have what it takes to represent Britain,” says Walker.

“While we still don’t know where, when or even if these championships will go ahead and if offshore mixed doubles will be in the Olympics for Paris 2024, we know that a lot of teams are setting their sights on these events, so it is important that they know now how we will select teams when the events are hopefully announced.

“2020 was a difficult season for most sailors but we actually saw a growth in double-handed offshore racing as it is, by its very nature, more socially distanced. Many new partnerships have been formed and we hope to see more new pairs coming together in 2021, especially with the largest ever entry of boats in the Rolex Fastnet Race on the horizon.”

RORC racing is IRC rated and not one design, so in order to best reflect the criteria of the new Olympic equipment, the RYA selection for the Offshore World Championship will only be open to fixed keel monohulls within an endorsed IRC rating band between 0.990 and 1.055, aligned with the new UK Double Handed Offshore Series.

Crews wishing to express interest in selection for either the 2021 Offshore Mixed Doubles European or World Championships must do so by emailing full names of each sailor and details of the boat to [email protected] The cut-off is 1700 on June 30, 2021.

The much-publicised Mixed Two-Person Offshore Keelboat Event for Paris 2024 did not get the green light from the IOC this week and remains under review.

It’s understood that one of the key factors under consideration is cost, both of staging the event and of the figures involved in mounting a successful campaign for a coveted Olympic spot.

Estimates gathered by Afloat.ie show that the latter will not be cheap — with even the most tightly budgeted duo looking at more than €125,000 to have a shot at the 2024 Games.

But it’s looking more than likely that costs will be upwards of €200,000 for any serious mixed keelboat contenders.

In the absence of full details of the proposed Olympic mixed keelboat programme, Afloat.ie has based these estimates on the cost of running a Sunfast 3300 in a season of six to seven races around Europe and training in between, with a wage of €24,000 for both skippers.

A source close to Afloat.ie says savings of some €30,000 in vessel rental coats could be made by finding an owner willing to lend their boat — something that happens on a regular basis in offshore sailing.

“In return, I would let the owner keep the sails, the polars and Sailect files that we would make and they would get the boat back absolutely top spec, with the hull faired and new antifouling, and I would offer some coaching afterwards — so the budget could even be as low as €100,000,” our source added.

Another option for those with the available capital, or an investor willing to take a chance on Olympic success, is to buy a boat outright and sell it on after the competition — something else that’s regularly done in offshore racing circles.

Our source highlights that insurance for a two-handed keelboat is one area where things might work out cheaper than alternatives, as double-handed boats qualify as crewed — whereas single-handed insurance on a Figaro can be as much as €8,000 per annum.

See below for our full estimated breakdown of costs associated with a proposed mixed offshore keelboat Olympic campaign:

BoatHigh (€)Low (€)
Rental LOA 30,000 30,000
Insurance 8,000 2,000
Sails 40,000 20,000
Maintenance/Optimisation 12,000 8,000
Branding 5,000 0
SkipperHigh (€)Low (€)
Gross Salary 24,000 24,000
Shore Crew 14,000 N/A
Training & Weather 8,000 2,000
Co-Skipper 24,000 24,000
LogisticsHigh (€)Low (€)
Logistics 10,000 4,000
Vehicle LOA 4,000 N/A
Race Fees 6,000 6,000
OthersHigh (€)Low (€)
Communication 30,000 5,500
Accountancy 3,000 3,000
Total 218,000 128,500

A leading offshore sailor and former Admiral of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in London says because of the 'possible loss' of the new offshore keelboat at the Olympics he questions whether it is worth sustaining the connection of the offshore world with the World Sailing body.

There were shockwaves sent through fledgeling Mixed Offshore Keelboat campaigns working up to the Paris 2024 Olympic regatta this week with the news that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has deferred the decision on the new class until next May, giving a tight window of opportunity. 

Campaigns (including three Irish parings) planning for 2024 are coming to terms with the fact Paris may not now be '50/50' chance.

Andrew McIrvineOffshore sailor Andrew McIrvine

World Sailing has played down its own disappointment with the news handed to it from the IOC but a World Sailing insider told Afloat: "There are some old school WS dudes who are change-averse who may have put some influence in IOC but French enthusiasm will win the day".

Reaction from offshore quarters to the decision has been swift. Former RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine, a respected international offshore figure, took to social media to say World Sailing is "a whole distance from the sailors it should be supporting".

Andrew McIrvine Facebook commentAndrew McIrvine's Facebook comment on world Sailing

McIrvine appears to suggest that the IOC is being influenced by some people within World Sailing who are not pro keelboat. These parties, he says, were never keen on the inclusion of the mixed double-handed offshore and lost the day previously.

Now they appear to be pushing the issue through the IOC, who already have reduced the number of sailing participants recently from 350 to 330 for 2024.

In this scenario, what events will be reduced in numbers to facilitate this? Pro-dinghy people in World Sailing don’t want dinghy numbers reduced. Scrapping the offshore event allows the dinghy classes to retain their numbers with others such as McIrvine suggesting offshore sailing as a sport is not being well represented by WS.

The World Sailing Press statement on the matter this week said the IOC wanted to review 'safety and security' considerations of the new class for Paris 2024 but an IOC statement also issued this week says it wants to assess key considerations around cost, safety and security. Make of it what you will if there is any significance to the omission of the single word 'cost' by World Sailing.

"World Sailing Needs Doublehanded Sailing More than Double-Handed Sailing Needs World Sailing"

Meanwhile, former Olympic and VOR sailor Knut Frostad says World Sailing needs doublehanded sailing more than double-handed sailing needs World Sailing. Frostad tells SEILmagasinet's Mikkel Thommessen in the video below: 

The decision on the Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat Event for the Paris 2024 Olympics has been deferred until the end of May 2021 by the International Olympic Committee.

The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Board says it would like to further review the Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat Event in order to properly assess the key considerations around safety and security of the athletes.

The specific event proposal will be decided as soon as practicably possible but no later than 31 May 2021.

The lack of confirmation is a set back for the new keelboat class and also to sailors planning campaigns. 

In a statement, World Sailing says, “We’re looking forward to continuing our close collaboration with the IOC and the Paris 2024 Organising Committee to answer the important questions on the Mixed Offshore Event to ensure safety and security of the world’s best sailors.

“Offshore sailing is an exciting way of showcasing the sport and engaging fans worldwide with the thrill of adventure, eSport integration and sailors battling the elements. Marseille will be a perfect venue for the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition, and we’re excited to progress the development of our sport with the IOC and Paris 2024.

A World Sailing insider told Afloat, "There are some old school WS dudes who are change-averse who may have put some influence in IOC but French enthusiasm will win the day".

Sailor Numbers to Decrease for Paris Olympics 2024

Meanwhile, the IOC has confirmed the event programme and athlete quotas for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The other decisions announced today come following an IOC Programme Commission recommendation. They were as follows:

  • Mixed Kiteboarding (Formula Kite) and the Mixed Two Person Dinghy (470) will feature at the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition.
  • The athlete quota for sailing at Paris 2024 will be 330, which is a decrease of 20 from the 350 at Tokyo 2020.

The Mixed Kiteboarding competition will be one of the fastest events at the Olympic GamesThe Mixed Kiteboarding competition will be one of the fastest events at the Paris Olympic Games Photo: World Sailing

David Graham, World Sailing’s Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Today’s announcement by the IOC marks a positive step forward for showcasing the diversity and excitement of sailing at the Olympic Games. The list of Events, approved by World Sailing’s Member National Authorities, truly represents the international landscape of sailing with dinghies, keelboats, kiteboarding, skiffs and windsurfers all included in the ten Events. This change has been a complicated process to manage, and I take this opportunity to thank the 1000’s of hours of work done principally by our volunteer body.

“The Mixed Kiteboarding competition will be one of the fastest events at the Olympic Games, requiring speed, precision and teamwork in short form, close-knit races. In addition, the Mixed 470 will require close collaboration between male and female teammates to master the dinghy that has established so many well-known champion sailors.

“It is obviously disappointing to receive an athlete quota reduction, but this has impacted many sports, not just sailing. We appreciate the difficult decisions the IOC had to make in order to deliver the requirements set out in IOC Agenda 2020.”

The new Events have been included in World Sailing’s Events Strategy for the next quadrennial with sailors already training and preparing for Paris 2024. World Sailing’s Events Committee will now review the individual Event quotas to promote and grow universality and participation in all disciplines.

The safety and well-being of athletes in the Olympic Sailing Competition is a joint priority between the IOC, Paris 2024 and World Sailing. World Sailing will now work closely and quickly with the IOC and Paris 2024 to address the queries, in the hope to obtain final confirmation as soon as practicably possible.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee of Greystones Harbour have restated their goal to represent Ireland at Paris 2024 in the new Olympic Mixed Offshores Double Class

"We're absolutely focused and excited and working towards Paris 2024, but along the way we're absolutely enjoying the journey, we're really enjoying double-handed sailing anyway and this is just giving us a really nice focus goal to work towards," Lee has told World Sailing in an interview.

Their 'rough plan' next year is to keep competing in the Figaro 3 circuit in France, because they believe it's the toughest short-handed sailing arena in the world, and they say they'd also like to have a look at doing some double-handed IRC events.

After joining forces at the beginning of the year, the two skilled offshore sailors had their eyes on the 2020 Offshore World Championship, originally due to take place in Malta this October, and were working towards qualifying themselves to represent Ireland in the event.

But after the Worlds were cancelled, they reacted quickly to ensure they were able to continue training and improving their skills on the water, both with and without each other.

"We started training in the French Figaro 3 scene, as our first event to qualify and represent Ireland in Malta was supposed to be the Solo Concarneau, a double-handed offshore race out of Concarneau in France," explained Rumball.

Read more of the interview on the World Sailing website here which tells of Rumball's participation in the La Solitaire Du Figaro and Lee's World Speed Sailing record round Ireland set this October. 

At least two other Irish campaigns have also declared to contest the single berth for Paris in the new Olympic class. Read the latest updates here.

The new Offshore Doubles organisation that aims to represent the growing interests of two-handed offshore sailing, the newest Olympic sailing discipline for Paris 2024, has announced that at the end of its first month of operation has 1,600 members from 66 countries with all six continents well-represented.

In a recent update. the new group say the Olympic Event of Mixed Offshore Doubles is a pinnacle event of the sailing discipline and it was proposed and ratified as the Olympic slate by World Sailing at the Annual Conference in Sarasota in 2018 and sent to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2019.

As Afloat previously reported, over the next month, the IOC is expected to make their final decisions on the slates proposed by all sports.

Four Irish Mixed Keelboat Campaigns?

As far as Ireland is concerned, there is significant interest with currently up to three (or maybe four) possible contenders for the single berth including top solo offshore skipper Tom Dolan (pictured above) who, quite significantly, finished fifth overall at this year's La Solitaire du Figaro, Ireland's best-ever result. Dolan claimed in March that he intends to recruit a female co-skipper for an Olympic bid but there is so far no word from the Dolan camp of a sailing partner.

The Dun Laoghaire and Greystones partnership of Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee has also thrown their hat in the ring for Paris 2024 and last month Lee set a Round Ireland doubles speed record with Cat Hunt in the Figaro 3 boat. 

Kenny Rumball and Pamela LeeKenny Rumball and Pamela Lee

Howth's Conor Fogerty, a former Afloat Irish Sailor of the Year, has teamed up with Susan Glenny and this year the duo competed in the Eurosaf Mixed Keelboat European championships in Italy, a race that Fogerty described as challenging here

Susan Glenny and Conor FogertySusan Glenny and Conor Fogerty

The cost of staging the Olympic Event of Mixed Offshore Doubles 

There have been some reported questions about security and cost of the Paris 2024 Olympic event. The security question has been solved by the French Navy's assurance that they will provide security on the course. The operating costs of the event have been reviewed by the World Sailing and will be significantly lower than other sailing events because the Offshore Mixed Doubles Event is one race with a single start and finish. Other than the final short leg, all protests will be heard electronically using the 24/7 media and tracking during the event. Penalties will be assessed and taken before the last short leg to the finish and first boat across the finish line first wins.

In discussion with many of the teams, even from many smaller countries, the cost of the boat is not the big issue some claim. The boats in the event will be supplied without additional cost to competitors and the boats used for training can be any boat of appropriate size and configuration.

More on this from the offshore doubles organisation here.

Just when proponents of Offshore Mixed Doubles sailing should be celebrating new Olympic status, the champagne is on ice this week as World Sailing debates a submission that it should not proceed with changes it agreed last year due to the fact that COVID-19 has turned the world upside down.

A submission at World Sailing's virtual annual conference from the Hungarian Sailing Federation, Korean Sailing Federation, Serbian Sailing Association and the International RS:X Class Association is asking to retain the 2020 Olympic Events and Equipment for the 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition, a decision that if taken would not include the new keelboat choice.

It has led the offshore doubles association to ask sailors to join up to the newly formed association to demonstrate support for the event so it can continue to be on the slate for Paris 2024. "We need to show the Olympic committee that Doubles has broad global support," a doubles spokesman said.

If the new class can successfully overcome this submission, then, as regular Afloat readers will know, the final hurdle would appear to be a meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) itself that sits in December to have the final say on Offshore Mixed Doubles for Paris 2024.

Confirmation that the mixed double-handed Olympic keelboat will be on the slate for Paris 2024 will be decided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Executive Board (EB) when it sits to confirm the event programme and athlete quotas in December. 

There is Irish interest in the mixed offshore keelboat class nominated by World Sailing for Paris. Three teams have declared an Interest with Ireland competing in the EUROSAF Mixed Offshore keelboat European Championships.

A confident World Sailing insider told Afloat the hope is that the debut keelboat class will be granted an 18-boat fleet, aided by the fact that the 2024 Olympics is in France, where the sport of sailing is a big draw.

Of course, it will be a busy agenda for December's meeting with the new Olympic sailing class just one item on an agenda that sees decisions made on requests from 20 of the 27 Olympic International Federations for changes to the Paris 2024 event programme.

Four additional sports are also proposed by the Organising Committee.

The IOC says decisions will be based on the recommendation of the Olympic Programme Commission (OPC) after receiving feedback from the athletes, International Sports Federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and Paris 2024.

 The IOC EB underlined that the decisions should be based on the following previously established key principles:

  • Reducing the overall athlete quota (including for all new sports) to 10,500;
  • Achieving gender-equal participation across the Olympic Games at the event and discipline level where possible;
  • Prioritising new events that accommodate athletes within the sport’s existing quota allocation; and
  • New events only if there are existing venues.

“The exceptional situation caused by COVID-19 requires exceptional measures. Therefore, any decision concerning the event programme for Paris 2024 should reflect the Olympic Agenda 2020, including a new phase of the ‘New Norm’. The IOC EB has reiterated the vital importance of reducing the cost and complexity of hosting the Olympic Games, particularly concerning venue requirements,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “For the event programme, we have maintained the December 2020 deadline, even though new sports can now not be tested on the Olympic stage, but we need to give certainty to the concerned athletes, their NOCs and Federations and the Organising Committee.

France has claimed the inaugural European Mixed Offshore Title in Italy in which Ireland's Conor Fogerty and Susan Glenny made their debut in the L30 keelboat but unfortunately did not finish the one race event. 

Fogerty says he is still 'licking his wounds' after the top-level event, claiming that 'only three hours sail time on the boat before the main event wasn't ideal'.

"We had issues onboard which augmented under pressure. I would have at least expected a fifth or sixth, but we were set on finding big holes in a light breeze", the Howth sailor related to Afloat.

Conor Fogerty and Susan Glenny - Conor Fogerty and Susan Glenny - the Irish pair say it was an amazing learning experience in a brand new boat and on a colourful race track that presented all of the favourite wind shut downs, complex currents and Mediterranean thermal affects

In the end, the race was a close and long duel between French team Benjamin Schwartz and Marie Riou against Íker Martínez & Natalia Via-Dufresne (ESP) with the French finally on top. "It was a hard and complicated race where we made some risky choices that turned out to be some bad ones and some good ones", so the first feedback of Benjamin Schwartz. The French took the lead from the Spanish team during the last night with a risky decision to sail away from the leading boat and the rest of the fleet. "In the morning we found ourselves at the top of the fleet from where we controlled the race for the last few miles back to Genoa“, explained Marie Riou.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t the Spanish team to cross the finishing line on second place after leading for many many hours. It was up to the Belgians Jonas Gerckens and Sophie Faguet to claim silver around 80 minutes after the French gold medalists. Third and with a slight bitter taste in their mouths, the Spanish Martínez/Via-Dufresne cut the line at 10:52 a.m., returning from a remarkable performance as they maintained the lead of the race until just a few hours before the finish and dictated the pace to the entire fleet for almost the entire course of the race. Just a few minutes after the Iberian crew, the national team Claudia Rossi and Matteo Mason finished a long race in pursuit of the first three. They tried and never gave up by sailing an excellent race, especially since they were making their debut on the L30.

L30 Mixed Offshore European Entry ListL30 Mixed Offshore European Entry List

What's the L30 like offshore?

Fogerty says from his brief experience the L30 is an 'interesting concept, twin wheels, lifting rudders and keel, not to mention a possible configuration of Gennaker, J1, J3 and main all flying at the same time......'

Conor Fogerty & I have expressed our hope to represent Ireland in the new mixed offshore keel boat class that will have its inaugural year as an Olympic class at the Paris 2024 Olympics. Fogerty & Glenny have expressed a hope to represent Ireland in the new mixed offshore keelboat class that will have its inaugural year as an Olympic class at the Paris 2024 Olympics

The former Ostar winner says he has some misgivings with the L30 as an offshore boat, "Any one design is going to be fun, and the L30 ticks that box, but Offshore? Shorthanded? It's too busy for a 30-ft and not set up for shorthanded racing, the twin wheel configuration cuts you off from the tools to trim your sails, even the autopilot is 10ft away on the coach roof. I also wouldn't be happy in a big breeze, due all those retractable underwater foils"

The L30 - a fun boatThe L30 - a fun boat

He adds "It's a fun boat, lots of sail, but needs a crew and I think they should stay coastal and leave Offshore to tried and tested methods of offshore boats".

Just how strong the teams were at the event is shown by the fact that even the seventh team crossed the finish line within four hours of the winners; only one team didn’t finish.

  1. Team FRA 65h 46min 37sec
  2. Team BEL +1h 19min 19sec
  3. Team ESP +1h 31min 39sec
  4. Team ITA +1h 41min 47sec
  5. Team GER +2h 28min 31sec
  6. Team NED +2h 39min 36sec
  7. Team GBR +4h 09min 49sec
  8. Team IRL DNF
  9. Team MON DNS
Published in Howth YC

For Ireland's Conor Fogerty and Susan Glenny, this month's EUROSAF Mixed Offshore European Championship in Italy is an opportunity to get racing following the cancellation of the Round Ireland Race and to evaluate their programme at an early stage.

The introduction of offshore sailing into the 2024 Olympic Games is attracting some "old dogs" to Olympic competition. Two-time gold medallist Shirley Robertson (GBR) is pondering a campaign with Henry Bomby, who with Hannah Diamond was first in the mixed double-handed class in the 2019 Fastnet.

Ken Read (USA), nine times a world champion in one-designs and a two-time Volvo Ocean race skipper, has been campaigning a Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 in the two-handed mixed event in the US. The entry list for the upcoming EUROSAF Mixed Offshore European Championship contains quite a few Olympic veterans.

 2020 EUROSAF Mixed Offshore European Championship Entry ListEUROSAF Mixed Offshore European Championship Entry List

Marie Riou (FRA) 2012 Olympics in the Elliott 6m, Natalia via Dufresne (ESP) is a two-time silver medallist (1992 Europe, 2004 470), Iker Martinez (ESP) has a gold from Athens and a silver from Beijing in the 49er, Annamieke Bes (NED) won silver in the Yngling in Beijing.

The EUROSAF event, the second of its type, is missing defending champions Austria, but last year's runners up - 2 - Sophie Faguet and Jonas Gerckens (BEL) are in the field.

Once again, racing will take place in supplied L30 one-designs and there is one race in the final series (depending on numbers there may be an 8-10 hour coastal race qualifier). The plan is for a two-night race of about 45 hours duration.

The event is clearly aimed at emulating the Olympic format and may provide some early indicators fo form for 2024.

Note: Watch the performance of Sunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl in the Fastnet 450 this weekend - this boat is one of the favourites to be selected as the 2024 Olympic Offshore class.

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