Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

Rio 2016- It's time to take action

by Rory Ramsden on 18 Oct 2012
Weymouth Olympics, July 29, 2012 Mens RS:X - Practice © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Conference is almost upon us so I thought I'd utilize this opportunity just to reiterate the principle reasons why MNAs and Council members should vote for windsurfing and in particular the RS:X Class. Here are five good reasons why you should vote to include windsurfing in the Olympic sailing programme for Rio 2016.

1. Windsurfing is a sport for all

More than 60 countries in six continents have RS:X Fleets. In fact 54 took part in the 2012 Olympic Sailing Qualifications Series making the men's and women's events the second most popular after Laser.

Countries like Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Guatemala, Iran, Jamaica, Oman, Peru and the Philippines now have windsurfing development programs. Windsurfing attracts emerging and small nations and was instrumental in drawing Asian sailing in to the Olympic Regatta in force after Lee Lai Shan [HKG] won her gold medal in 1996.

The RS:X is a tightly controlled one design which is the least costly of all sailing disciplines both in terms of initial purchase price and more importantly in terms of campaign costs. Small teams can carry their equipment as excess baggage on flights then load it on top of a hire car to reach the regatta venue… No Containers, No trailers and No complicated logistics.

Being a one-design class, MNAs know that everyone is racing on the exact same equipment. They can invest in windsurfing development programmes with confidence starting with the Bic Techno 293 is the chosen equipment for two events in the Youth Olympic Games and then move to the RS:X at Youth and Olympic level.

Talented athletes can win no matter where they come from. Finland does not have a long and illustrious history of Olympic windsurfing medals and yet one determined and well coached athlete, Tuuli Petaya, won silver in Weymouth just a few months ago

Windsurfing is true to Olympic ideals. It is the most athletic tactical sailing event in the Games which is also dynamic, colourful and exciting for spectators and media alike. The RS:X World Championship attracted more than 94,000 unique visitors to its 2012 World Championship website.

On the other hand... kitesurfing proposes a box rule for the Olympics, meaning more cost, more testing and more advantage to the rich nations. Equipment selection will determine competitiveness

The likely kitesurfing equipment setup will cost around double that of RS:X.

Small and emerging nations will be greatly disadvantaged, making the race for gold all about who has the most money to invest in equipment and not about the athlete as required by the ISAF Regulations.

Investment in testing and selecting equipment will be huge both in terms of time and money. [There are 19 kite brands] It may even be prohibitive for some.

2. Consistent Pathway with Youth Appeal

Windsurfing has a well-established and extremely well organised competition structure through the one-design RS:X and Techno 293 for juniors. Youth and junior competitors change equipment only once from starting to race on the Techno to competing in the Olympic fleet on the RS:X. Used equipment is still competitive encouraging new talent to start racing at national level and internationally at junior and youth level.

On the other hand... Kitesurfing has no established youth racing program for junior/youths and is not part of the MNA structure internationally. Only 14 Youth Boys and five Youth Girls took part in the 2012 Kite Course Racing World Championships

3. Women’s participation

The RS:X women’s fleet is strong with participants coming from five continents and 40 countries. 80 women took part in the 2012 RS:X World Championships and 102 U17 Girls raced in the 2012 Techno Worlds in Medemblik, Holland.


On the other hand.... only 43 women took part in the Open 2012 Kite Racing World Championship with only one coming from Asia, one from South America and none from Africa. There are no junior Kite racing competitions set up at the moment.

4. Performance over a wide wind range

Olympics are not always held in windy places, as witnessed in Qingdao, China. RS:X is proven to perform in three to over 30 knots using only one rig, one board and one fin. It is simple and cost effective.

On the other hand.... for the same wind range, a kitesurfer would need three kites, one board and at least one set of fins. Despite previous assurances kites are unable to race a tactical course in windspeeds below 7-8 knots average. The minimum wind speed for re-launching a kite unaided from the sea is 10knots.

5. Race Management

Windsurf racing can be held close to the shore with minimal infrastructure and can be launched from anywhere. Boards can leave confined spaces unaided. Marina's and crowded harbours do not present a problem. When other Olympic classes go out to race so does the RS:X fleet.

On the other hand.... kitesurfing requires plenty of open space away from natural obstacles that could pose a danger to the participants. Spectators and the media have to be kept well back to avoid the inherent dangers involved in having a large object moving at speed towards the ground.

Leaving the shore in offshore winds is problematic without support boats to ferry participants out to the area of steady breeze.

This then means that kite requires additional infrastructure and logistics at ISAF Sailing World Cup events and the Olympic regatta which may prove expensive. Races cannot safely be held close to the shore making it difficult to make them attractive to live and TV audiences.

SO - It's time to take action. It's time to contact your national sailing authority and their delegates to the ISAF Conference and impress upon them the need to vote to re-open the discussion on the windsurfing /kiteboarding issue so that the full facts can be laid upon the table and an open debate on the merits of both disciplines can take RSX Class website

North Technology - Southern SparsZhik Dinghy 660x82Wildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

A Q&A with US Sailing’s Malcolm Page about the Sailing World Cup Miami
I spoke with Malcolm Page, US Sailing’s Olympic chief, about the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami I talked with Malcolm Page (AUS), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the Men’s 470 class and the chief of Olympic sailing at US Sailing, to get his pulse on the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami and discuss some recent coaching changes within the Olympic-sailing program.
Posted on 20 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb
America's Cup - Kiwis sign Olympic Cyclist for the Tour de Bermuda
Ttop cyclist Simon van Velthooven, a 2012 Olympic Bronze cycling medallist had been signed by the America's Cup team Emirates Team New Zealand put in a second foiling display on Auckland's Waitemata harbour ahead of the official launching of their AC50 tomorrow. With brighter skies the cycling team took their places on the pedalstals and used leg power to provide the hydraulic pressure necessary to run the AC50's control systems for the foils and wingsail.
Posted on 15 Feb
A Q&A with Shawn Macking about the StPYC’s Sailing Center and OD fleet
I talked with Shawn Macking, the StPYC’s waterfront director, to learn how the club is getting more people out sailing. I caught up with Shawn Macking, waterfront director of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, via email to learn more about the club’s Sailing Center, its hefty investment in a new fleet of ten J/70s, and how the StPYC is using this infrastructure to expose more people to the sport we all love.
Posted on 13 Feb
A Q&A with Karen Angle about the 2017 Conch Republic Cup race to Cuba
I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event. If you’re like me and have arrived at saturation with winter’s cold rain and snow, imagine racing to Cuba as part of a 13-day cross-cultural event that’s designed to lower barriers of entry at a time when some Americans see a need for taller walls. I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event and the adventures it affords.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Anna Tunnicliffe about her return to competitive sailing
I talked with Anna Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing. Anna Tunnicliffe won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the Laser Radial before shifting her sights to the Women’s Match Racing event for the London 2012 Olympics. Here, she came up shy of expectation and left sailing for the CrossFit Games, but now she is returning to her roots. I talked with Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Dick Neville, Quantum Key West Race Week’s RC chairman
I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for the Quantum Key West Race Week, to learn more about the event. For the past 30 years, international sailors have gathered in Key West, Florida, each January for Key West Race Week, a regatta that has achieved legendary status due to its calendar dates, its location, and the impressive level of competition and racecourse management that this storied event offers. I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for this year’s Quantum KWRW, to learn more.
Posted on 16 Jan
A Q&A with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Race’s new deputy race director
I talked with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Round The World Race’s new deputy race director, to learn more about his role. I was fortunate to sail with Daniel Smith [36, SCO], skipper of “Derry~Londonderry~Doire” for the 2015/2016 edition of the Clipper Round The World Race, when the fleet reached Seattle last spring. Now, Smith has been hired as the event’s deputy race director-a job that will test many of the skills that he polished as a skipper. I caught up with Smith via email to learn more about his new job.
Posted on 9 Jan
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - More merriment on the airwaves
Here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and Hobart Race Control So on December 29, 2016, after the River Derwent had let just three boats home (Perpetual Loyal, Giacomo and Scallywag, all inside the old race record, she went to sleep for a lot of the day. This made it frustrating for the sailors, some of whom saw the lighter side. So after seeing some of those in Dark & Stormy, here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and HRC
Posted on 29 Dec 2016