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Speculation Mounts Over IOC Decision on Mixed Two Handed Keelboat

15th April 2021
Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee who have moved up to 13th place in this week's 21-boat Sardinha Cup offshore race are one of three Irish mixed keelboat campaigns aiming for Paris 2024, a new Olympic class awaiting IOC approval in May
Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee who have moved up to 13th place in this week's 21-boat Sardinha Cup offshore race are one of three Irish mixed keelboat campaigns aiming for Paris 2024, a new Olympic class awaiting IOC approval in May Credit: Jean Baptiste/Sardinha Cup

Speculation is mounting that sailing's highly anticipated mixed offshore keelboat for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games may not be approved by the International Olympic Council (IOC) at its meeting next month.

When World Sailing received feedback from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the event programme for Paris, the IOC approved only nine of the ten events in December 2020.

The 2024 programme had incurred a significant overhaul to meet new requirements by the IOC, with the introduction of the new Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat Event expanding the sailing competition beyond dinghies and boards and beyond closed-course racing.

While this event has helped to increase interest in shorthanded sailing, the IOC wanted to further review the event in order to properly assess the key considerations around safety and security of the athletes, with a decision to be no later than May 31, 2021, as Afloat previously reported here

It's not the first time that the decision over the offshore keelboat has been questioned either. 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 back in December he questioned whether it is worth sustaining the connection of the offshore world with the World Sailing body. 

Campaigns (including three Irish parings and one currently racing off France) planning for 2024 are coming to terms with the fact Paris may now be a '50/50' chance?

The doubts come as the Finn class seeks to regain its Olympic place for 2024 through an innovative collaboration with a former women's Olympic class, the Europe dinghy.

It seems the fight for the tenth medal at Paris 2024 is well and truly underway.

Afloat.ie Team

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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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