2016 Olympics: Sailors of the World - Hang your heads and weep! (Sail-World)

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Doug Lord, May 6, 2011.

  1. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Man oh man: the 49er has tentatively been eliminated from the Olympics! Yet the antique(but nice) 470 is in, the antique(but nice)Finn is in, and the very antique (but nice) Star is in.
    And of course, the trully "Olympic" Moth(or a one design version) was not even in contention. And what about the catamaran??
    While I think all these boats are cool it has always been my opinion that the Olympics should use state of the art equipment with high performance and physically demanding boats the first priority. What gives??

    from Sail-World:

    The latest news out of the 2011 Mid-Year Meeting of the International Sailing Federation in St Petersburg, Russia is that the Executive Committee has met and decided not to support the recommendation of the Events Committee made yesterday.

    The decision called for both Keelboat classes to be dropped, and instead for a second two handed dinghy event, for Men and Women, sailed in the 470 class, to be inserted into the ten event card for the 2016 Olympic Regatta in Rio de Janeiro.

    Instead the Executive Committee, which consists of the top echelon of the ISAF - the President, Presidents of Honour, Vice Presidents and Treasurer has opted for a Submission 29 lodged by Federación de Vela de Puerto Rico which favours the reinstatement of both the the Star and Womens Match Racing events at the expense of the two High Performance skiff Events for Men and Womens.

    That would see the most telegenic of the current Olympic classes, the 49er dropped in favour of the century old Star keelboat.


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  2. CutOnce

    CutOnce Previous Member

    Hmmm ... I seem to remember


    I seem to remember giving the opinion the Olympics were a steaming crock of fecal matter as a sailing event, and someone else (?) chastising me for disrespecting the exalted institution. Face it, the politics and corruption of the Olympic Games is so bad it is not worth any respect.

    My disgust is aimed at the Games, not the participants - although many aging athletes have a disproportionate amount of clout steering their country's votes towards elderly boats that they are now sailing (Robert?). I'd rather see youth sailing challenging boats that require athletics, but no one asked my opinion.

  3. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    2016 Olympics

    All of us deserve better and hopefully, publicizing ridiculous things like this will bring it to a head in some fashion. Citizens of the world deserve an Olympics that athletes can aspire to participate in and that the rest of us can enjoy following.
    My all time sailing hero is Paul Elvstrom and his 4 medals and approach to racing have always inspired me. Kids of the future deserve to have such inspiration and if enough people work to straighten things out they will have.
  4. Gary Baigent
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    They might as well dump sailing altogether - which must be the intention; way last Century designs is not going to inspire youth.
    After the huge success of the coming Americas Cup in catamarans, which it will be, the next step is to create a completely new world champion series; in boats like those recommended by the Events Committee and the enlightened people here, ones that cater to basic and also high development designs; call it the Super Youth Worlds or some such invigorating name.
  5. wet feet
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    wet feet Senior Member

    Maybe it's a cynical opinion but if you take away the people seeking to build careers in sailing and coaching and the guys in blazers,trying to look important.Who really cares about sailing in the Olympics?
  6. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    1) Leadmine sailing is by far the most popular competitive discipline. Whatever theories people may have about what should attract sailors, the fact is that leadmine sailing attracts by far the highest percentage of sailors - and there has been a long-term swing towards leadmines.

    2) Last centuries designs obviously DO inspire youth, because that is what they choose to sail! For example, the newest of the "official" youth classes just had its Australian titles - it attracted a pitiful 5 entrants. A much slower product, similar in age, from the same manufacturer/promoter but with less official promotion attracted 72 entrants. The oldest (in design) of the official youth classes got 170 entrants despite the fact that it was fairly recently introduced.

    If old boats don't inspire kids, why did 855 sailors turn up to a recent Opti event?

    If we respect kids enough to accept that they are pretty good at working out what they want to sail, then we must accept that they don't show any preference towards really fast boats.

    3) The 49er has been in for three games and TV ratings remain low. The Tornado with kite has been in for two games and TV ratings remain low. The RSX board has been in for two games and ratings remain low.

    Therefore to assume that the low ratings have anything to do with the classes is a stretch. If the telegenic 49er was going to save sailing, why hasn't it done so over the last 10 years and three Olympiads?

    And why focus on a single aspect of sailing's Olympic appeal and ignore the other equally important aspects referred to by the IOC Olympic Programme Committee?

    4) Equipment-intensive Olympic sports normally have very restrictive rules on equipment. The road bikes used in the Tour and the Olympics are very heavily restricted - they are as slow, compared to the fastest bicycles, as the Laser is compared to the foiling Moth. The track bikes are slower than the banned "superbikes" and are built to a heavy minimum weight. The bows used in archery and the weapons used in shooting are heavily restricted. The fencing is antiquated. The super-fast swimsuits that saw all but one or two world records broken a year or two have been banned. A swimmer using fins has about the same advantage over Phelps as a Moth sailor has over a Laser sailor, but fins are banned.

    Olympic sports normally heavily restrict speed and technology - FACT!

    5) In some ways, these sorts of argument may get down to the simple issue of respect. If you respect your fellow sailors, surely you respect that they are smart enough to choose the right craft - and those craft are overwhelmingly not fast and not new.

    If you believe that your fellow sailors are sailing the wrong types, then you must believe that you are superior to them because you feel that you are in a position to tell them that they have made the wrong choice - is it a big call, or is it just the posture of those who think themselves smugly superior to other sailors?
  7. Dean Smith

    Dean Smith Previous Member

    Maybe look at it another way
    I sailed from age 13, with some of the future stars of NZ sailing
    I was not very competitive because dad was not rich.
    If you stay with these older classes, then the up and coming may stay competitive
    If you get F1 and on and on, it will not make you a better sailer, you will either stay in or be forced out because of the sheer cost
    I was told and I know now at age over 60, that I was a very good dinghy sailer. Those lessons never forgotton in my offshore sailing
    Just my take on some of it:)
  8. CutOnce

    CutOnce Previous Member


    Great post and hard to argue with.

    But ....

    NASCAR is more popular in the United States than Formula One. And driving commuter cars is technically more popular than NASCAR. Does this mean that commuter cars are a better way to evaluate drivers than Formula One? Because of superior numbers and popularity?

    Sometimes you can't just go with the numbers, and you have to use a different frame of reference than popularity. Popularity is often managed and controlled - hence the Communist Party's "popularity" stranglehold on China. Choosing to be a party member in China is certainly the right path towards future success. Choosing to compete as a youth in an Opti is a similar good choice - there are no real alternative options towards advancing a sailing career as a youth. It's not that I don't like Optis - and my club's youth racing program is heavily skewed to Optis. It isn't kids who choose Optis, it is parents, coaches and clubs. Kids have no built in prejudices and preferences when they first arrive at the door.

    There is no superiority complex in play here - but there is a huge skill difference between someone sailing a skiff well and someone sailing a Star well. You could take average people from the skiff, and they would be comfortable and capable in the Star quickly. The same can not be said for a typical Star crew transplanted into a 49er. This is not an apples to apples comparison - and although the pure sailing skills are transferable, the athleticism and pure speed of the skiff sailors is vastly different. Our skiff fleet captain has crewed in the Sydney Hobart - but I can't see the average leadmine racer gybing a 49er from the trap in 20 knots.

    I tend to agree with Gary Baigent - the Olympics and sailing should just give up on one another. Sailing is never going to drive Olympic television revenues or be truly exciting to the masses - and the Olympics are not the best venue in which to evaluate sailing skills - you can not take a broad, varied sport like sailing and compress it down to 10 or so different hulls with gender-specific racing.

    I agree with your assessments about hull type popularity - but I don't see how it can fit within the modern Olympics - which are realistically a sports-themed television reality show loosely based on national pride and geopolitical chest thumping.

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  9. Dean Smith

    Dean Smith Previous Member

    yes Cut Once, nice post. WEll I did have to gybe a Cherub and we did have trapze:) and P,s and Sheerwater Cats the the A Cat
  10. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready


    The Olympics should represent the pinnacle of our sport in both performance and in the physical requirements to compete. Sailing and the Olympics are a mismatch when traditional ways of representing the sport are allowed to dominate an event that should represent the highest level of the sport both physically and technologically.
  11. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    I quite agree with your last two pars. Sailing could well be better off without the Games. Personally I'd be happy to see an Amateur Sailing Federation launched, with a specific emphasis on the accessible popular types. Such boats were the foundation of sailing as a popular sport, such types were the foundation of popular disciplines in the sport, and IMHO only they can lead the sport back to widespread growth.
  12. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    In what sport does the highest level of technology compete in the Games?

    Swimming? Nope. The super-suits and fins are banned, reducing speed by about 1/3.

    Cycling? Nope. The superbikes, recumbents, streamliners etc are banned, reducing speed by about 1/3.

    Archery? Only recurved bows are allowed.

    Fencing? Ever studied the restrictive rules in (for example) the foil?

    Javelin? Restricted in performance.

    Shooting? Try turning up for the gold medal with a laser-guided heavy machine gun and see whether they let you in..... much more effective than the permitted weapons, but totally banned from the Games.

    You wanna head for the hurdles with springs in your shoes? What do you think the marshals will say?

    Basically, it seems that almost all sports (perhaps all popular disciplines) ban the pinnacle of technology - that's the whole point. Usain Bolt's shoes are not the pinnacle of technology - if you want to do the fastest possible 100m from a standing start using all available technology you'd use a rocket, not a pair of Adidas. If Phelps wanted to use technology to do 400m in the pool he'd encase his body in a long carbon torpedo, not a pair of Speedos.

    And on what factual basis are you claiming that hiking a Laser or a Finn (a class that should be dumped IMHO) is less "athletic" than (say) trapping from a Tornado or sailing a board?? Have you tried all three, or any one? Personally I've found it easier physically to sail a Tornado (one of my very favourite boats) with kite in big breeze than to sail a Yngling (one of the few boats I definitely dislike,so I'm NOT biased to it).

    If there is any evidence that fast boats are more "athletic" it would be interesting to see it - it would probably just depend on a personal definition of "athletic".
  13. idkfa
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    idkfa Senior Member

    The moth, VX-40, 18skiffs etc. are high speed spills waiting to happen... spectator sports... one can never get so good that you don't need a bit of good luck while gybing, practise all you like, and still the best team is in the water and lost the gold. But wait, the other teams have not filled their quota of spills yet, so all hope is not lost...

    If there were car racing in the Olympics, what should they use? F1, NASCAR or a showroom Toyota Supra? What would the Developing Countries vote for?

    Most sports have professional leagues where the latest, most expensive tech gets to play, sailing is no different.
  14. CutOnce

    CutOnce Previous Member

    It seems we are two sides of the same coin - with me coming from the Northern perspective, and you the Southern. We've arrived at the same conclusion - from different paths.

    Much like many sandy parts of the world have thrown out their long standing dictators who have had declared "emergency conditions" for decades suppressing opposition, perhaps sailing needs to reject ISAF. Sailing governance isn't working for anyone (except the governors), and the sport is suffering. These same folks are ham-handedly force-fitting sailing into the Olympics - and damaging both institutions in the process.

    (Bit of an "ouch" on Villeneuve - I live about two hours from his home town and when possible I'm there at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve at the Canadian GP annually. But I can't disagree, although local fossil fueled religious dogma states he is a deity.)


  15. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready


    Removing the 49er, that has attracted more media than any other boat, is just nuts. Ignoring the MOST media exciting boat-the Moth is in a similar category.
    Hopefully, the new multihull will be a revolutionary new wing sail design-the AC 18 by Mike Drumond and Oracle Racing.
    The Olympics are not about what is popular-they are about what is hard, they are about the best in technology and people. Antique technology has no place in the Olympics particularly in sailing where the image of beer bellied competitors from some classes is still remembered by many.
    The Olympics and sailing are a match if the best we have to offer in performance and people is at the forefront.

    Possible Update: This says the 49er is still in- http://www.sailing.org/35891.php

    From this article- http://www.sail-world.com/Australia...early-meeting---a-Multihull-perspective/83259 :

    To my mind, the best line came from Phil Jones rebutting a previous speaker's comment that 'Sailing is a sport for life', in support of keelboats that allow older sailors to continue to sail in the Olympics. Phil's comment was 'Sailing is a sport for life, but the Olympics is not an event for life' which pretty much sums up the reason for dropping the keelboats. The Olympics is about youth and athleticism.

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