Major changes are in the wind to revolutionise one of the most spectacular sailing classes in the world as it campaigns to earn its place back in the Olympic arena. Moves are afoot to completely revamp the class, breaking the old mould and transforming it into a more accessible, more friendly, one-design class with appeal to the masses, media and a new fleet of Generation Next sailors.
The idea is to transform Tornado racing from an arms race back into a sailing race accessible to everyone and conducted on a level-playing field. To have the racing decided on the water, not by a development program or technological edges. To have a new generation of athletes racing high-octane craft into a new era.
In essence, the men and women of the International Tornado Association are responding to the winds of change constantly blowing through world sport, to update and freshen the look of the fastest boat at past Olympics, making it a more appealing and attractive prospect to a rising tide of new, young sailors looking for the ultimate thrill - and Olympic glory.
Ideas mooted to modernise a class, already renown for its thrills, spills and spectacular speed and working zealously to return to the Olympic program in 2012, include a shorter and sharper racing format, a one-design campaign equipment kit available at the touch of a computer key or by phone call, a reduction in campaign costs to help attract a new wave of talent from new areas of the globe _ making it the boat for one and all.
The simplicity of having a one-design craft built to last available quickly and easily allows for a more defined, direct and faster route to the Olympics for aspiring champions.
'We have listened to and taken aboard ideas circulating in the sailing world, from the boat park right up to ISAF, and we believe it's time for a change and that we can lead the way,' said International Tornado Association president Carolijn Brouwer, 1998 ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year and a multiple world champion and medallist in a range of classes, most recently the Tornado catamaran.
'We are looking at having a boat that can be supplied, that is one-design, has identical sails and is not subject to ever-changing advancement. In short, a multi-hull where we can contain the cost, making it more affordable to a wider audience and more accessible to a new breed of sailors.
'What we would like to see is a sailor in Botswana, which does indeed have a sailing club, able to compete with the exact same equipment as the world champion, the European champion, the Asian Pacific champion and the next Olympic champion.
'But, at the same time, build on the classes attractiveness to both male and female sailors while conquering new territories, encouraging youth development and keeping costs down.'
International Tornado Association vice-president Darren Bundock, a two-time Olympic medallist and six-time world Tornado champion, believes the boat is the most exciting and well-suited multi-hull for Olympic warfare.
'It's fast, media and spectator friendly, tests the skills of the best multi-hull sailors in the world and at the same time is durable and cost effective,' Mr Bundock said. 'Vote 1 Tornado.'
The International Tornado Association is hoping the 11th medal is retained at the 2012 London Olympics after it was initially dropped from the program.