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

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

  1. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    Nice post, Karl! :)
  2. petereng
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    petereng Senior Member

    In regard to recumbent bicycles & faired bicycles I think you need to look at the historical aspects of the design. They were banned a couple of hundred years ago as they were too fast. Up till that point all the developments of the bicycle had not been banned. The invention of the chain allowed safety bikes to thrash penny farthings but safetys were not banned. Ball bearings were invented and these allowed the bikes to go very fast and easy and these were not banned. Dunlop invented the pnematic tyre and these were not banned. High strength steel allowed lighter bikes etc etc. The bike lobby was so strong it even made the government introduce laws to clean up horse poop from the roads and get them bitumised. But then came the recumbents and these started winning races and they were banned. For 200 years of development there were no rules for a bicycle but then the ICU of the time decided to banned aerodynamic attachments and recumbents. If these had been allowed to develop then the recumbent would now be the conventional bicycle. The bitumised roads allowed the fragile cars of the time to do better and slowly replaced the bicycle as the most popular utilitary vehicle on the planet. The roads the bicyle lobby fought so hard to get now became the domian of the car and sadly the bicycle was pushed off them. Just like wing sails are banned by various rules in sailing its time may have come. We don't drive Model T fords anymore progress has to be allowed. If there were suitable bicycle ways and storage you would not need to put your antique diamond frame bike in your car to go somewhere like work. You'd jump into your electric assisted recumbent and commute. etc etc. Peter S
  3. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Peter, obviously to some extent this discussion is a sidetrack, but in another way it could be seen as a classic example that increasing speed does NOT necessarily equal progress. For the idea that "progress" = faster in the context of cycle use for commutes seems to go exactly AGAINST real-life experience. This could be a good analogy with sailing.

    Copenhagen, famous for being the city with the highest cycle use in the world (68% of citizens riding weekly, 1/3 of all trips being done on bike) is also famous for its chunky, cruddy, heavy SLOW cycles. Fast cycles are from all accounts a complete rarity. Just about every Aussie or US rider seems to comment that the Danes normally ride very slow bikes, but that enormous numbers of them do it.

    So to assume that getting people into a faster type of bike means getting more people commuting is completely against what seems to be happening. I can't find anything in the much-publicised "Copenhagenize"/slow cycling/commuter movement that says that faster = better. As the extremely popular CycleChic blog points out, in Copenhagen, "the (bicycle) style - timeless, practical upright bicycles - continues unabated as it has for 125 years". When lots of people ride, they normally do it on " 'Bedstemor cykler', or 'Grandma bikes', not on fast racers or 'bents.

    Here's a link to an account of the most popular bikes in the city where cycling is more popular than anywhere on earth - and they are all slow and old fashioned.

    "Progress" doesn't have to mean getting faster - it can mean becoming cheaper, more user friendly, more aimed at getting new people afloat. And none of those are necessarily assisted by the Olympics highlighting more extreme performance cycles, or boats. Cycling at the moment is in a fascinating stage, with lots of young women (and others) getting into the "cycle chic" movement, lots of middle aged men on roadies, lots of hipsters on fixies - a complete cultural movement that shows how much an activity can do to promote itself without worrying in the least about going faster.

    Similarly, almost all of the major increases in sailing's popularity seem to have occurred with craft that were slower than earlier craft, but more accessible. The post WW2 dinghy boom was sparked by boats like the GP14, Heron, Mirror, Ent, Snipe, Flying Scot and Vaurien - all slower than many earlier (but more expensive) craft, but vastly more popular. The growth in dinghy racing in the UK, for example, stopped in 1975, just when fast boats became more popular than ever before or since. You can plot it on a graph - the speed of boats had an INVERSE relationship to the growth in the sport.

    As you note, the UCI actually permitted many developments before and after they banned recumbents, so it is hard to find evidence that they are anti-progress. Maybe they just recognise that faster does not necessarily equal better in sports? Maybe we could say that if the world's #1 annual sporting event takes place on highly-restricted equipment, then high performance is not much of an answer to the question of how to progress sailing?

    It can't be as simple as saying that fast gear (wing sails to recumbents) is unpopular because of restrictive rules set by the "establishment", because enormously popular movements have grown out of disciplines that are also banned or at least certainly not encouraged by the UCI, ISAF and similar bodies. For example, downhill MTBing was not recognised by the ICU for years, but it still became popular. The Hobie movement in the USA was apparently well outside the yacht club movement, but it still became very popular. Windsurfing was largely outside the ISAF/club movement, but it became huge (and stayed that way until it moved to high performance gear).

    So, with respect, there seems to be very little evidence that being banned by an establishment body can actually stop an accessible "improvement" from becoming popular.

    PS - I rode my streamlined time trial bike with my #2 set of aero rims into work today, as I often do. I mention that as a demonstration that I love fast bikes, just as I love fast boats. But saying that faster is necessarily "progress" or will attract more users or more viewers is a very different matter, and with respect there is a lot of evidence to say that it's wrong.

    PPS re the Model T Ford; isn't that a perfect analogy for the "faster does not equal more popular" way of thinking? The Model T was 1/3 the speed of the fastest car of its day, but it was cheap, adaptable and accessible, and it caused a revolution that faster and more expensive cars could not.
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  4. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    Very interesting and very true.

    A couple of points, though.

    1.) The recumbent bicycle to the standard 'safety bike is like the cross bow to the long bow. I have seen very few recumbents. The ones I have seen are longer, more complicated, almost certainly heavier, and certainly more expensive. The cross bow could shoot a properly tipped arrow through body armor of its day, but it was expensive and cumbersome. It took longer to load than a long bow. The recumbent bicycle is heavier, harder to store, and cost more than a standard bike. I think the time for the recumbent bicycles has not yet come.

    Now days, I ride my bicycle when ever I can, as I always have. I always had to watch out for cars. But now I have to watch out for other bicycles! And they're not mounted by kids. The neighborhood I live in is blue collar/lower middle class. The price of gasoline is digging deep into our pockets. Plus jobs don't pay as well as they used to. I know more and more people who don't have a car. Twenty years ago, that would have been unthinkable (I live in the Detroit area). Not only that, but new car sales don't seemed to be like they used to. All this is putting pressure on the automobile. I can see a time coming when cars will be force to show difference to bicycles. Then, the most comfortable and the fastest will rule. The recumbent will have its day, but it still won't replace the standard for reasons already brought up on this thread.

    2.) The wing sail is banned for good reason. Because they cannot be furled, they are impractical for anything but racing. And racing only on days with ideal weather. To prove otherwise, someone has to do something extraordinary with one. Like sail across an major ocean, or even sail around the world. Until then they are just one more item on the long list of go fast equipment that has either been rejected out of hand, or incorporated into the sailing scene, making the boats less and less useful for any purpose other than racing. Boom vangs and, to a lesser extent, airfoil sectioned fin keels are good exceptions to this rule. High aspect ratio rigs are nice going up wind, but have you ever tried to set one up on your trailerable sloop, alone, with a good sailing wind blowing?

    I may live long enough to see the return of the practical sailboat. Because the wind is fickle, it's going to need at least one other form of propulsion and is going to have to be designed to work well with that as well.

    Instead of having new classes that simply go faster in ideal conditions (wind speed 10 to 20 kts), perhaps the competition needs to be adjusted so more than one form of propulsion will be used at a time.
  5. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Olympic High Performance Sailing

    From The Daily Sail: http://www.thedailysail.com/dinghy/11/59712/0/eurosaf-high-performance-grand-prix-preview


    Grand gathering of the 'interesting boats'

    A-Cats to join the 29erXXs, D-Ones, F18s, kiteboards and Moth at EUROSAF's innovative event in Murcia next month

    Thursday September 8th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: Spain

    An innovative new event for some of dinghy sailing’s most ground breaking classes is to take place next month in Mar Menor, in the Murcia region of Spain, at the EUROSAF High Performance Grand Prix.

    Organised by the European Sailing Federation and sponsored by the Region de Murcia and taking place over 12-16 October, the event is aimed at non-Olympic classes, but ones which some time in the future may feature in the Olympic Games. The most imminent of these is the
    selection of the Women’s Skiff for Rio 2016 and among the line-up of classes taking part at the EUROSAF High Performance Grand Prix is one of the candidates under review - the 29erXX.

    Since the event was announced in March this year, the original invitees 29erXX, D-One, Formula 18 catamaran, kiteboards and International Moth classes are to be joined by the A-Class. These single-handed catamarans represent one of the most popular development classes in
    sailing, with 100 boats competing at their recent World Championship in Aarhus, Denmark.

    For EUROSAF Vice-President Rafa González and organiser of the event, the EUROSAF High Performance Grand Prix for the Region of Murcia Trophy has been a long time in gestation: “Finally after many years of trying to develop something interesting for the Region of Murcia, we have found the key. In order not to disturb the Olympic classes calendar, we thought it would be a good step to hold an event representing the future of sailing featuring the high performance classes, held under the EUROSAF umbrella.”

    One of the key features of the event, to be held out of the High Performance Sailing Centre Infanta Cristina in Los Alcázares, Murcia, will be the inclusion of kiteboards among the sailing boats. Kiteboarding is another discipline that is under consideration for inclusion in the Olympic
  6. Tim Judge
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    Tim Judge Tim J

    While I have no problem with moths..except when they hit the windshield...and multi-hulls in general, sailing is not just speed and brawn. Sailing is also a thinking sport, knowing how to read the wind, current and competitors. The Olympics are not just about youth and athleticism, but also about skill and experience. There is room for all this in sailing and other sports.
  7. Hussong

    Hussong Previous Member

    Tim, your great comments make me think of Dara Torres.

    From her site: http://daratorres.com/index.php

    "At the Beijing Games in 2008 (at the age of 41) Dara became the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympics. When she took three silver medals including the infamous heartbreaking 50-meter freestyle race where she missed the Gold by 1/100th of a second. America loved her all the more for her astonishing achievement and her good-natured acceptance of the results."

    Attached Files:

  8. Blue Leader
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    Blue Leader Junior Member

    Doug just gave the nod to kitesurfers........and I agree;)
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