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RYA Launches Offshore Mixed Doubles Search to Represent GB at European & World Championships.

25th January 2021
Details of the European and World Championships have not yet been released due to the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. Details of the European and World Championships have not yet been released due to the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.

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.

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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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