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Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat Decision for Paris 2024 Deferred Until May 2021 by IOC

7th December 2020
The Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat Event is under further review by the IOC The Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat Event is under further review by the IOC Credit: World Sailing

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.

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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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