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Irish 'Disappointment' Over Olympic Mixed Keelboat News for Paris 2024

19th April 2021
Susan Glenny and Conor Fogerty raced at the Eurosaf Mixed Offshore event in Italy in 2020
Susan Glenny and Conor Fogerty raced at the Eurosaf Mixed Offshore event in Italy in 2020

With World Sailing having apparently lost the proposed mixed offshore keelboat discipline for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, one of three of the declared Irish skippers has spoken of his 'disappointment' over the last-minute change of direction.

As Afloat reported previously, speculation is mounting that sailing's highly anticipated mixed offshore keelboat may not be approved by the International Olympic Council (IOC) at its meeting in May and the world body has now been asked to supply alternative plans for its tenth medal, leading many to conclude the keelboat plans for Paris are effectively scrapped.

"Disappointed" might be one word', Howth Yacht Club's Conor Fogerty told Afloat. "I know sailing is meant to be an all-inclusive sport, but to be pushing it [the mixed offshore keelboat class] out till 2028 or further is getting beyond my physical capabilities age-wise".

Fogerty is part of one of three budding campaigns from Ireland.

The former Irish Sailor of the Year is scheduled to sail with Susan Glenny in a campaign for Paris. The pair competed in the first-ever European Mixed Keelboat championships last September.

Despite the hiatus, Fogerty says, "I will still work with, and develop female offshore sailors in Ireland, and hopefully, compete within a mixed keel class where possible".

This season has already seen other Irish campaigns back on the water.

The Dun Laoghaire-Greystones partnership of Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee competed in last week's Sardinha Cup and County Meath's Tom Dolan has also been back on the water and is now preparing for a Transatlantic Race in May.

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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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