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New Hurdle for Offshore Mixed Doubles Olympic Status at World Sailing Conference

27th October 2020
Ireland's Tom Dolan is one of a number of Irish sailors with Olympic ambitions in the new mixed keelboat class Ireland's Tom Dolan is one of a number of Irish sailors with Olympic ambitions in the new mixed keelboat class Photo: Figaro class

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.

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Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat

For the first time in sailing's Olympic history, a Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat event will be on the slate at the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition.

The Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat will join kiteboarding, windsurfing, multihulls, singlehanded and doublehanded dinghies and skiffs, promoting the diversity of the sport. This, in turn, will support World Sailing's desire to promote and grow universality in all disciplines and increase female participation with gender-equal medals and athletes.

Offshore sailing is the ultimate test of endurance, skill, discipline, navigation and critical decision making.

Embracing a major part of sailing in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will enable new stars of the sport to come to the forefront.

Qualification

Offshore sailing is a universal discipline that every World Sailing Member National Authority (MNA) can participate in.

Up to 20 nations will be on the start line at Paris 2024 and sailors from every continent will be represented. To qualify for the Olympic Games, continental qualification events will be held and competition for a spot will be hotly contested.

Equipment

For qualification events, World Sailing will approve a list of one-design boats that are already regionally available and can be accessed as a charter boat. Boats will be equalised to ensure fair competition.

For Paris 2024, World Sailing's Council will select a list of different Equipment it considers to meet the key criteria by 31 December 2020 and then make a decision on the Equipment, selecting from the list, no later than 31 December 2023.

MNAs, Class Associations and Manufacturers have all been invited to propose Equipment for the list and a World Sailing Working Party will evaluate each proposal. A recommended list will be presented to Council for approval in November 2020.

This recommended Equipment list will ensure that event organisers, MNAs and the sailors have opportunities to train and compete in Equipment that is readily available and affordable within their continent and country. It will also ensure each MNA has a fair opportunity to prepare for qualification events and eventually, Paris 2024.

Format

Starting and finishing in Marseille, the Mixed Offshore event is expected to last for either three days and two nights or four days and three nights off the French coastline and whoever crosses the finish line first will be declared Olympic champion.

The race course and length will be announced in the lead up to the start so the competition can take advantage of the latest weather forecast. Current options proposed include long and short courses heading towards the West and East of France.

Safety and Security

The French Navy and Mediterranean forces have extensive experience of supporting major oceanic sailing races. They will provide safety and security at Paris 2024.

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