Displaying items by tag: World Sailing
All eyes are on the Italian port of Genoa as it prepares to host the important Olympic classes qualifier at the World Cup of Sailing event next month while Italy goes into a period of lockdown over Coronavirus.
This is a problem for top-level competitors from 59 nations either trying to qualify for their national team (like Ireland) or to maintain their competitive edge before the 2020 Games.
As Afloat reported yesterday, the Italian Sailing Federation has suspended all events and competitions on a national basis until April 3rd, just a week before the 1,000-competitor Genoa World Cup event gets underway.
Other international sailing fixtures scheduled for Italy in April have already been scrubbed such as the J24 Europeans Championships.
Irish Sailing’s performance squad has cancelled its planned training base in the northern Italian city and switched to Mallorca in the Balearic Islands instead but even now that might not be enough to stem the virus threat.
"If cancelled, how will the remaining European places for Tokyo 2020 be decided?"
The scheduled Genoa regatta is the final European qualification opportunity for the men’s single-handed and skiff events ahead of Tokyo 2020 and Ireland is desperately seeking those final places in both classes.
The Asian Olympic qualifier has already been switched to Genoa due to Covid-19 concerns but with that potentially affected too the question on everyone's lips is: if cancelled, how will the remaining European places for Tokyo be decided?
And with the latest spread of the virus, it now looks like other early Summer Olympic sailing regattas will be affected too, the most affected being International championships leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the end of July.
These potentially include:
- 470 World Championships, Palma, Mallorca, 13 March
- Olympic Classes Princess Sofia Regatta, Palma, Mallorca, 27 March
- Olympic Classes Hempel World Cup Series, Genoa, Italy, 12 April
- America's Cup – ACWS Round 1, Cagliari, Italy, 18 April
- 470 European Championships, Hyeres, France, 5 May
- Finn Gold Cup, Palma, Mallorca, 8 May
- RS:X European Championship, Athens, Greece, 10 May
- Nacra 17, 49er, 49erFX European Championships, Malcesine, Italy, 11 May.
World Sailing says it is keeping the situation under constant review while a group of sailors have launched an online petition in the hopes of persuading World Sailing to cancel the upcoming World Cup Series event in Genoa.
The petition states: "It is irresponsible and possibly dangerous to host the Hempel Sailing World Cup in Genoa due to the risks of COVID-19. Having hundreds of sailors, coaches and staff from all over the world stay in Northern Italy and return to their home countries would undue global efforts to contain the virus. It is the responsibility of World Sailing to provide safe events for their competitors".
One of the Irish sailors seeking the last 49er berth is Ryan Seaton from Belfast. He told BBC NI news this week about travelling to Genoa: "The experts have been keeping us up-to-date and if they say it's safe to go we will trust their opinion. If they say it's a no-go they'll have to to look at an alternative location to get the qualifier in."
A group of sailors have launched an online petition in the hopes of persuading World Sailing to cancel the upcoming World Cup Series event in Genoa due to the risks of COVID-19, particularly in Northern Italy.
Calling themselves Sailors Against Coronavirus, the group — apparently based in Spain — argues that it is “irresponsible and possibly dangerous to host the Hempel Sailing World Cup in Genoa due to the risks of COVID-19”.
They add: “Having hundreds of sailors, coaches and staff from all over the world stay in Northern Italy and return to their home countries would undue global efforts to contain the virus.
“It is the responsibility of World Sailing to provide safe events for their competitors. Many sailing federations are required compete in Genoa to qualify for the Olympics, which forces them to decide between their safety and a chance to compete at the Olympic Games.
“World Sailing should make the responsible decision to cancel the event and chose a safer location for final Olympic qualifications.”
The Hempel Sailing World Cup Series event in Genoa is scheduled to start on Saturday 11 April and is the last chance for Irish sailors to claim a spot at Tokyo 2020.
Italy’s Marco Gradoni was crowned the 2019 male Rolex World Sailor of the Year on Tuesday 29 October in Bermuda, becoming the youngest ever recipient, at the World Sailing Awards. Anne-Marie Rindom of Denmark received the female accolade to follow in the footsteps of the all-time great sailors.
The awards were attended by a delegation from Irish Sailing.
Gradoni, at 15 years old, was crowned Rolex World Sailor of the Year for his success in the Optimist class, having won three consecutive World Championship titles, the first sailor to ever achieve this result.
Rindom has dominated the Laser Radial over the last 12 months and found rhythm that was unrivalled as she secured her second world title, which has highlighted her as a favourite for Tokyo 2020 gold.
The World Sailing Awards celebrate outstanding achievement and exceptional contributions to the sport of sailing. It is the social highlight of World Sailing’s Annual Conference and recognises success throughout the sport.
Alongside the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, the F50 used in SailGP received the Goslings Boat of the Year Award, while Wizard won the Hempel Team of the Year Award following their success in offshore racing.
For setting a benchmark in sustainability, the RYA / The Green Blue received the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award.
The Beppe Croce Trophy was awarded posthumously to Jeff Martin, who dedicated his life to sailing through his involvement in the Laser class, and the President’s Development Award went to Oman Sail, for growing the sport in their nation and region.
Gradoni becomes the youngest recipient of the Rolex World Sailor of the Year
Italy’s Marco Gradoni is the most accomplished sailor of his age group and from September 2018 he won every single Optimist event he participated in, securing 14 gold medals.
He won the 2017 and 2018 editions of the Optimist World Championship and made history in 2019, winning the largest Optimist World Championship in Antigua. Facing 250 sailors from 65 nations, he excelled and also spearheaded the Italian team to the Optimist Team Racing Championship title.
Speaking at the Awards ceremony he commented, “It’s a dream come true to be sat here in Bermuda with the best sailors of the world. It is something really amazing for me. The list of previous winners are the most famous people of sailing and to be with them is unbelievable but I know that I have to stay focused on my goals because this is important. I’m speechless because this is a dream come true. It is such an honour for me.
“Since 2017 I have worked a lot and tried to stay focused. Every day I thought about where I had to improve and study and do things at my best level and it worked. From 2017 I won a lot and in the last 12 months I have won everything. I’d like to thank my mum for supporting me.”
Rindom’s dominance recognised with Rolex World Sailor of the Year honour
The road to an Olympic Games has its ups and downs and regular success is often hard to come by. Denmark’s Anne-Marie Rindom has found form at the right time ahead of Tokyo 2020 and has been the leading Laser Radial sailor in 2019.
She secured her second world title in 2019 and that success has not been isolated; throughout 2019 she has secured gold medals at four high-profile events.
Before she headed to Japan for the 2019 World Championship, Rindom secured gold at the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia Regatta in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. She then topped the standings at her second consecutive event after she won in light and challenging wind conditions at the Hempel World Cup Series event in Genoa, Italy. Just weeks later she made it three in a row by securing the European Championship title in Porto, Portugal, moving to World #1 as a result.
On her achievements, Rindom commented, “To become Rolex World Sailor of the Year and joining a list of legends is truly amazing. I’m so delighted to be on that list and it’s a great honour for me. It meant a lot to be nominated and I was very happy and excited to just be here but to win it is amazing. I have got my sister here with me. She’s come all this way and we’re only here for 50 hours so tonight we will celebrate and fly home tomorrow morning.
“This year has been the best year of my career so far so I’m very pleased with how it’s going. We are training for next year, the Olympic year, so it’s going to be an important year.”
RYA / The Green Blue set benchmark to win the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award
Throughout 2018 and 2019, the RYA / The Green Blue, a joint environmental programme, upped their sustainability efforts and reached significant numbers of individual sailors. For this, they secured the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award.
The Green Blue’s main objective is to empower boaters to take action on sustainability through providing clear training and guidance on key issues. They provide extensive advice to the British boating community in print and online, train instructors and deliver workshops with clubs and centres throughout the year.
Through industry events, club conferences and delivery through the RYA’s and British Marine’s training programmes, they continue to engage sailors within the nation.
Kate Fortnam, RYA Campaigns Manager at the RYA, received the Award from World Sailing Vice-President Jan Dawson and Jill Savery, Sustainability Director, 11th Hour Racing.
Savery commented, "Congratulations to the Royal Yachting Association / The Green Blue for rising to the top of a great pool of candidates for the 2019 World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award.
“I applaud their commitment to developing practical tools and resources to help the sailing community adopt sustainable solutions and operations. This work directly supports the World Sailing Agenda 2030 goals, and our mission at 11th Hour Racing to protect and restore the health of our ocean."
Wizard claim Hempel Team of the Year
David and Peter Askew’s team on Wizard received the Hempel Team of the Year Award after a highly successful 2019 where they dominated the offshore circuit.
Wizard took the Award ahead of Alinghi, the Australian SailGP Team and Wild Oats XI.
Skippered by Charlie Enright, the team featured offshore veterans such as Will Oxley, Richard Clarke and Mark Towill and won the 2019 RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy, the West to East Transat Race and the Rolex Fastnet Race in 2019.
Stan Honey, leading oceanic sailor, received the award from World Sailing Vice-President Yann Rocherieux on behalf of the Askew brothers.
Supercharged F50 secures Goslings Boat of the Year Award
For its cutting-edge technology that has been carefully developed over the past ten years, the F50 beat the Sunfast 3300 and Ichi Ban to the Goslings Boat of the Year Award.
Launched for SailGP, the fan-centric grand prix racing circuit, the F50 is a high-tech, one design class and is powered by a 24-metre wingsail and flies above the water on hydrofoils which has produced a 15% performance gain in comparison to its predecessor, the AC50.
SailGP features a fleet of six F50s, three of which are complete new builds. Compared to the AC50, they have been extensively modified with new foils and board cases, new rudders and elevators, new hydraulics and electronics, a new cockpit layout for five crew, a new steering system, and a new flight control system operated by a joystick.
Sir Russell Coutts, CEO of SailGP, attended to receive the Award from World Sailing Vice-President Torben Grael on behalf of the F50.
Jeff Martin posthumously awarded the Beppe Croce Trophy
Jeff Martin was posthumously awarded the Beppe Croce Trophy after he sadly passed away in January this year. Angie Martin, Jeff’s wife, received the trophy from World Sailing President Kim Andersen and Vice-President, Gary Jobson.
Martin dedicated his life to sailing and more specifically, the Laser class. His engagement with sailors and members worldwide undoubtedly enabled more countries to compete internationally. This subsequently enabled more nations to participate in the Olympic Games and established a legacy for these nations from elite sailing to the grassroots.
In 1981, Jeff became an International Judge and an International Race Officer and Measurer in November 1998. His involvement in World Sailing started in 1991 and he served as Vice Chairman of the Classes Committee from 1991 to 1994 and again from 1999 to 2000. In 2001 he became Chairman of the Classes Committee and a Council representative and held the post through to 2016.
His work worldwide through the Laser saw friendships form with sailors, race officials and global sports administrators. He has left a true legacy to sailing and to all those who were lucky enough to cross his path.
Oman Sail’s development recognised
The President’s Development Award is awarded to those who strive to develop and grow the sport on a national or international basis.
World Sailing President Kim Andersen handed the award to Oman Sail in 2019 with CEO, David Graham, receiving the accolade on behalf of the organisation.
Commenting at the ceremony on Oman Sail, Andersen expressed, “Over the last ten year’s Oman Sail has taken a huge step forward in growing the sport. They have grown from nothing to 200 people tirelessly working across multiple pillars of our sport including coaching, officiating, media, governance and event management.
“Their youth program has enabled youth sailors to move through the ranks and their sailors now have realistic goals of reaching Tokyo 2020. Furthermore, barriers to participation have been shattered and mixed sailing has become the norm in a previously passive nation.”
Graham thanked His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said for creating the vision for Oman Sail and enabling citizens to make a greater contribution as well as the staff delivering the programme of work.
Velista71 receives 2019 eSailing World Championship Trophy
Having won the eSailing World Championship Final earlier on in the day, Italy’s Velista71 received the 2019 eSailing World Championship Trophy from World Sailing President Kim Andersen.
Irish Sailing delegates travel this weekend to World Sailing's annual pow-wow which is being held this year in Bermuda from 26 October to 3 November.
The conference hosts 418 delegates from 68 nations. Irish Committee members at World Sailing are: Con Murphy, Cathy MacAleavy, Marcus Spillane, Bill O’Hara, Michael O’Connor and Paddy Boyd.
Major talking points at the 2019 Annual Conference include a proposal to reform the governance of World Sailing, the selection of the Paris 2024 Windsurfer Equipment, the release of a new Para World Sailing strategy, the 2021 – 2028 Events Strategy and numerous forums and events.
The Conference is the annual meeting point for the world governing body of the sport where delegates review and discuss World Sailing’s strategy. Key decisions that influence the future of the sport and impact professional and recreational sailors will be made throughout the week.
Delegates attending the 2019 Annual Conference include sailors with experience in multiple disciplines of the sport, event organisers, Member National Authorities (MNAs), Class Associations, boat manufacturers and committee members.
The decisions made impact the very top of the sport all the way down to the grassroots and four Commissions, ten Sub-Committees and ten Committees will discuss numerous topics throughout the week.
In advance of the Conference, World Sailing received 189 submissions that propose change to World Sailing's regulations, policies and rules. Committees, MNAs, Class Associations and the Board of Directors were all eligible to propose the submissions in advance.
The expert Committees will discuss the submissions and put forward their recommendations and opinions to World Sailing's Council - the main decision-making body of World Sailing.
Submissions, agendas, supporting papers and further information on the conference is available here - https://www.sailing.org/meetings/2019-conference.php.
From 1-2 November, World Sailing’s Council will meet to either approve, reject or defer the recommendations and proposals from the Committees and these will be ratified at the Annual General Meeting on 3 November.
This past summer the one-person dinghy class — which at least year’s conference was removed from the Paris 2024 Games onwards in favour of a mixed two-person keelboat event — suggested a number of ways in which sailing’s world governing body could close the gaps of opportunity for men over 85kg and lightweight women.
These include cutting the number of board events from three (which it says “is not representative of sailing as a sport globally”) to two, or replacing the mixed kite with the Finn. The class does not propose any conflict with the newly introduced mixed keelboat.
The proposals form the basis of the Finn class’ eight submissions, which are available on the World Sailing website and will be reviewed and discussed at the conference which begins this Saturday 26 October.
The mixed one-person dinghy class, which late last year was removed from the Games from 2024 onwards in favour of a two-person keelboat, says the decision now leaves men over 85kg with no chance of sailing at the Olympics.
But it also identified a gap for lightweight women whose opportunities have also been limited, it says.
The International Finn Association now says it is “working on a series of submissions for November to rebalance the Olympic events, providing options for both heavyweight men and lightweight women”.
It is being suggested that kiteboarding becomes a men’s event match by a windsurfing event for women, while the mixed two-person dinghy becomes a women’s event alongside a reintroduced one-person dinghy for heavyweight men.
“It will be a balanced slate that allows for the widest possible spread of participation across genders, weights and nations within the constraints laid down by the IOC,” the class says.
These proposals will form the substance of its submissions to World Sailing for the governing body’s November conference in Bermuda.
And the class is appealing for responses from interested parties to get involved at [email protected] “to help us build a better balanced and more representative slate of Olympic events for 2024”.
RS Sailing says it respects the World Sailing council vote to retain the Laser as the Men’s and Women’s One Person Dinghy event for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris — while also hailing the RS Aero’s superior evaluation.
As reported yesterday on Afloat.ie, sailing’s world governing body voted in a secret ballot on the last day of its Mid-Year Meeting on Sunday 19 May to retain the Laser and Laser Radial.
This was despite the upstart RS Aero outscoring the incumbent — which faces a name change amid a dispute between the class association and its former leading manufacturer — by more than 10% in a detailed evaluation and sea trials conducted this past March.
Reflecting on the decision taken in London on Sunday, RS Sailing said it “would like to sincerely thank World Sailing for giving the RS Aero the opportunity to be part of the 2024 Equipment Selection for the Men’s and Women’s One Person Dinghy.
“We were impressed throughout the whole process by the Evaluation Team, World Sailing staff and the Equipment Committee who did a very professional and impressive job. We were extremely confident in the depth and thoroughness of the Evaluation Panel to conduct a fair and complete evaluation process.
“RS Sailing also sends a heartfelt thank you to all our followers and sailors, old and new, and have been completely overwhelmed by the global support for the RS Aero and RS Sailing. You’ve all genuinely been on this journey with us and it feels like we’ve made a whole load of new friends in the process.”
The UK company said it was “undeniable that the RS Aero has been proven superior in almost every aspect” and cited comments from Dina Kowalyshyn, chair of the World Sailing Equipment Committee, who noted the boat’s light hull and size (which “make it attractive and suitable for the youth pathway”), its “modern materials and modern production methods”, and the fact that it is “mass production ready”.
“We couldn’t be prouder of the RS Aero,” RS Sailing added. “We have known for a long time that it was an awesome boat to sail but it’s now proved itself irrefutably to the world that it is.”
The company said it understands there are issues beyond determining what is the best performing equipment when it comes to the selection process.
“When the world is so heavily invested in legacy equipment it’s hard to move on from it,” it said, adding that it will continue to encourage World Sailing council members and member associations “who are eager for change from heavier, 50-year-old design equipment”.
RS Sailing continued: “We still believe that these decisions are not just about the Olympians; this universal sector drives the youth pathways and the opportunity to build women’s participation as well.
“The sport is currently in decline in many regions and we all share the primary responsibility to reverse that trend by proactively working with sailors and MNAs using the most modern equipment to present sailing to the widest possible audience in a collaborative and sustainable way.”
World Sailing’s Council made key decisions on the Equipment to be used at the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition on Sunday 19 May as the Mid-Year Meeting concluded in London, Great Britain.
The Laser was selected as the Men’s and Women’s One Person Dinghy, the IKA Formula Kite as the Mixed Kiteboard and the 470 as the Mixed Two Person Dinghy.
A Board of Directors recommendation to select the RS:X as the Men’s and Women’s Windsurf Equipment was rejected meaning a new proposal will be required and the process on selecting the Equipment for the Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat was also confirmed.
Paris 2024 Equipment
Before Council made its decisions on the Paris 2024 Equipment, the Board of Directors updated Council on its current plans for the Olympic Classes Contract. This included the position on implementing World Sailing’s Olympic Equipment Strategy (FRAND) agreed by Council in November 2018. In order to provide certainty for MNAs, sailors and teams, the Board will engage in contractual discussions only until 1 August 2019. If by that time no agreement is reached, the Board will report to Council that no agreement has been concluded and Council will then have to select new Equipment for the relevant Event.
Ahead of the debate, 21 Council members voted in favour of all votes on the Olympic Equipment being held in secret with 20 against. As a result, every vote cast was secret.
Men’s and Women’s One Person Dinghy
The Laser was selected as the Paris 2024 Men’s and Women’s One Person Dinghy Equipment, subject to agreement of the Olympic Classes Contract for 2024, following a ballot vote.
Under Regulation 21.1.3 (e), the decision on selecting the Equipment has to be made before 31 December 2019. Council members voted on deferring the selection of the Equipment to the 2019 Annual Conference but this was rejected meaning a decision had to be made in London.
The next step was to vote on the Equipment Committee recommendation to select the RS Aero. Their recommendation was rejected.
The process moved to a ballot and Council members were able to vote on the four boats that were part of the process – the D-Zero, Laser, Melges 14 and RS Aero.
The Laser won in the first round of votes.
For the Men’s One Person Dinghy, 36 voted for the Laser and five voted for the RS Aero. The D-Zero and Melges 14 received zero votes and there was one abstention.
For the Women’s One Person Dinghy, 37 voted for the Laser and four voted for the RS Aero. The D-Zero and Melges 14 received zero votes and there was one abstention.
Men’s and Women’s Windsurfer
As the Men’s and Women’s Windsurfer Equipment is under a re-evaluation procedure, World Sailing’s Board of Directors have authority on making recommendations to World Sailing’s Council.
The Board of Directors recommendation was to select the RS:X as the Equipment. 19 Council members voted to accept the recommendation, 23 voted to reject and there were zero abstentions.
As a result, the recommendation was rejected.
The Board of Directors will now have to propose a new recommendation to the Council.
The Equipment Committee recommended to Council that they should approve the IKA Formula Kite Class as the Equipment for the Mixed Kiteboard Event. Forty Council members voted to approve the recommendation subject to agreement of the Olympic Classes Contract for 2024. One member rejected and one abstained.
Mixed Two Person Dinghy
World Sailing’s Council approved the 470, subject to agreement of the Olympic Classes Contract for 2024, as the Equipment for the Mixed Two Person Dinghy following the recommendation from the Equipment Committee. 41 members voted in favour of the 470. One member was against the 470 and there were zero abstentions.
Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat
Submission M01-19, which proposed a way forward with the procedure for selecting the Equipment, was put forward by the Board of Directors in advance of the Mid-Year Meeting and was approved by Council. 39 members were in favour with two rejecting and zero abstentions.
The Submission proposed that World Sailing's Council shall select a list of different Equipment which it considers to meet the key criteria of the event by 31 December 2019 and then make a decision on the Equipment, selecting from the list no later than 31 December 2023.
The Board agreed to amend the date to meet the key criteria of the event from 31 December 2019 to 31 December 2020 which Council approved.
MNAs, Classes and Manufacturers will now be invited to propose Equipment for the list. A Working Party with members from the Equipment Committee, Offshore Committee and Events Committee will evaluate the Equipment against the key criteria and present the recommended list for Council approval in November 2020.
The list will provide event organisers, MNAs and sailors with diverse opportunities to train and compete in Equipment that is tested, readily available and affordable in their continent. Postponing the decision of the Equipment that will be supplied at the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition will also promote fair opportunities for all MNAs.
Any changes to the Regulations that Council makes must also be ratified by our Annual General Meeting in November.
Governance Reform Presentation
The Independent Chair of the Governance Commission, Maria Clarke, a sports lawyer and sports governance expert, presented the Board of Directors Proposal for wholesale governance reform of World Sailing.
The Proposal was prepared by World Sailing's Governance Commission after more than a year of consultation, feedback and research with Member National Authorities (MNAs), Class Associations, Council, committee and commission members and the wider sailing community.
Click here for the Proposal - http://www.sailing.org/news/88596.php#.XOF9BaZ7m_W.
Clarke took Council delegates through the proposed reforms and highlighted the need for Council members and World Sailing’s stakeholders to provide further feedback as part of the consultation process.
Following a review of that feedback, the Commission will adjust the Proposal as necessary and make its final recommendations to the World Sailing Board, which, if approved, will then prepare and finalise a whole new Constitution for voting on. This is expected to occur at the Annual General Meeting in November 2019.
Alastair Fox, Director of Events, and Sarah Kenny, Chair of the Events Committee, presented an Events Strategy Working Party report on World Sailing's opportunity to develop a new strategy for 2021 - 2028.
The strategy focused on the requirements for sailors and that it must add value for all of World Sailing's stakeholders with the Olympic Games at its heart.
Three key goals were established to promote sailors progression with a clear regatta structure, ensure a stable regatta calendar with a credible ranking system and to see that Olympic level sailing is promoted to a greater audience to drive participation.
On Thursday 17 May, the Events Committee endorsed the principles of the paper providing similar levels of World Sailing support were provided to class events, that a definition of, and how to become, a top-ranked regatta is established and how to make the events sustainable and cost efficient.
World Sailing’s Council approved the Strategy and work will now commence to implement.
The next meeting of World Sailing will be the 2019 Annual Conference. Bermuda will play host to delegates from 26 October to 3 November 2019.
The dinghy classes are not the only subjects of open letters to World Sailing chiefs as they meet in London this weekend, with Dutch windsurfer Dorian van Rijsselberghe issuing his own missive criticising the retention of the RS:X class without holding sea trials.
Sail World reports on the letter from the current world and Olympic champion in the class, who argues that World Sailing has on its hands “a great opportunity to re-invigorate the sport of sailing and windsurfing and to inspire the next generation” were it to trial alternative classes such as windfoils alongside the RS:X, which itself replaced the Mistral in Beijing 2008.
“Despite the dominant position [my country the Netherlands holds] in the RS:X, I believe it is our duty not only to foster talent and bring it to the top – but in fact that the overriding duty is to act in the best interests of the sport and to ensure its future, prosperity and continued success,” he writes.
Van Rijsselberghe also hit out at the perceived monopoly in manufacturing for the class and is effect on costs for windsurfers, while also highlighting the dearth of youth competitors in the Netherland and New Zealand, historically among the biggest windsurfing nations.
Sail World has much more on the story HERE.
Fionn Lyden and Oisin McClelland — who are currently competing at the Finn Europeans in Athens — are among dozens of concerned Finn sailors who have put their names to an open letter to sailing chiefs over the removal of their class from the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
The letter’s release coincides with the start of World Sailing’s Mid-Year Meeting in London today (Friday 17 May), and follows a similar appeal by the International Finn Association ahead of the AGM for sailing’s world governing body last November.
That was prompted by an 11th-hour move by World Sailing decision makers to replace the Mixed One Person Dinghy event (in which men sail the Finn class) with a two-person keelboat class to be determined, overturning a previous decision in May 2018.
In its statement at the time, the Finn class body said the decision “is further driving our sport into expensive elitist Olympic events which will result in the decrease of universality and participation in Olympic sailing”.
The latest letter, from a group providing the email address [email protected], is attached below, and the text can be read here:
To whom it may concern,
We are writing to express our deep concern regarding the removal of the Finn class from the 2024 Olympic Games by World Sailing and to request the reinstatement of a class suited to male athletes over 85 kilograms.
While we understand that the main reason behind this decision was to give preference to mixed event categories, removing the Finn class eliminates a massive Olympic sailing group which includes every single male athlete over 85 kilograms. Historically, athletes of this category have significantly contributed to the sport and this category’s popularity continues today. At the recent Aarhus Sailing World Championships in Denmark, 42 nations gathered and participated with athletes in the Finn class, making the Finn the third largest class at the competition.
Not only is the Finn class’s popularity undeniable and the removal of this class a detriment to the Olympic Games, but it also discriminates against many sailors. Despite the initial working party and the World Sailing Events Committee Chairman’s expressed respect for World Sailing’s Regulation 23 and the ‘all physique’s’ policy 70/17, the category of men over 85 kilograms has been discriminated against and effectively barred from competition due to the equipment specifications. For further evidence of this detrimental phenomenon, please see page 17 of the attached document, which illustrates that all male sailors fall into the 70-85 kilogram bracket.
The removal of the Finn class from the Olympic Games breaches World Sailing rules and policies and disregards the principles of the Olympic Charter with respect to non-discrimination of physiques, and limits access to many sailors. Therefore, we urge you to reinstate a class, like the Finn, suited to male athletes over 85 kilograms in order to guarantee the fair access to all sailors and in order to avoid the implementation of discriminatory decision from World Sailing.
In the hope that a correction will be provided without the need for further action, we remain at your disposal for a constructive dialogue on this matter at the address shown in the header of this letter.