sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : Gladwell's Line: For whom does the Olympic Bell toll? - Part 1

Gladwell's Line: For whom does the Olympic Bell toll? - Part 1

'Will the Mens keelboat event stay afloat for the 2016 Olympics?'    © Richard Gladwell    Click Here to view large photo

Co-incidental with the conduct of trials designed to give sailing’s most prestigious and oldest trophy, the America’s Cup, it’s most dramatic makeover in 160 years, the International Sailing Federation will this week meet to decide whether it too, has the courage to make fundamental changes to its pinnacle event, the Olympic Sailing Regatta and its lead-up events

The time for back room consultation, avoiding the hard decisions, kite flying and decision avoiding is over.

This week the world body of sailing will be put to the test to determine whether it has the fortitude to make the change that is both required and overdue.

Paul Henderson, the plumber from Toronto, used a combative style to push change through the ISAF -  ISAF ©  
After making some progress, including the formation and reporting of its Olympic Commission – set up on the realisation of some rather disturbing statistics arising from the 2008 Olympics and a trend fuelled over several Olympiads, the organisation now seems to have lost the plot.

The world body of sailing took a battering in November 2007, when its ruling body, the ISAF Council voted by a narrow majority to eliminate the Multihull as an Olympic Event for 2012.

Just over three years later, they will most likely about face and put the Multihull Event back into the 2016 Olympics.

Fixing mistakes is not something at which the ISAF is accomplished. Its modus operandi is more to make very slow deliberate moves, at a pace determined largely by dogma, sailing politics and reshuffling the same old deck of worn cards.

Its previous President, Paul Henderson (CAN), a plumber by trade, realised that the only way to drive the organisation at faster than glacial pace was to lead from the front . And, if that required a banging of heads, slaying of sacred cows and being generally controversial then so be it. That approach bought in new, simplified racing rules, a high performance skiff into the Olympics, stamped out a patch for the ISAF with the America’s Cup organisations – and in the eight years of Henderson's presidency the organisation made some real progress.

His successor Goran Petersson (SWE) style is more consensual – which unfortunately leaves the organisation to drive itself in a pace and direction with which it is comfortable. An astute corporate lawyer and sailing rules expert, Petersson has chaired both the Olympic and America's Cup Juries plus led the introduction of match racing umpiring.

ISAF President Göran Petersson takes a more consensus approach than his predessor -  ISAF ©  
Petersson has a back room, low-key approach, preferring to listen an sum-up, as opposed to his predecessor's more combative lead from the front debating style.

Nevertheless with his softly, softly style, Petersson and his Executive Committee almost caught the Olympic monkey when they initiated a major change process by the formation of an Olympic Commission under the tutelage of Brit turned Aussie Phil Jones, which produced the draft Olympic Commission report presented to the ISAF 12 months ago.

Petersson rather neatly got the backing of the powerful Executive Committee, the ISAF’s inner sanctum, in one question – by asking 'who did not support the findings of the Olympic Commission?'

There was no dissent, and by definition there was complete support.

The ISAF Council wasn't prepared to take him on either. Again, by definition there was complete support.

The reaction of the sailing world was also highly favourable and the scene seemed to be set for a sea change to take place in the Olympic Regatta.

Big changes effected by the America’s Cup - should impact on the Olympic sailing regatta options -  Gilles Martin-Raget-Oracle Racing.com ©?nid=83090   Click Here to view large photo


Key changes identified

Then came the ISAF Meeting in November 2010, when the push had to come beyond just a laying on of hands, and putting down some concrete change.

Those changes fell into several areas – all connected – but ran deep through the sport. They included:

- Removal of world championships for Olympic classes and putting the focus on the ISAF World Sailing Cup which would culminate in a Final each year.

- Staging of the ISAF World Cup in both reduced number of events and more geographically spread than the current situation where of seven World Cup events, all but two are held outside Europe – and the Australian opening regatta is poorly attended by European competitors, who won’t travel.

- Changing of the Olympic Qualification system to a basis on which half the Olympic places were allocated on a world ranking (ie places in a world qualifier) and the other half of the places would be done on a regional basis. Again the thrust of this proposal was to break the European domination which saw 70% of European countries represented at the 2008 Olympics and just 13% and 18% out of Africa and Oceania respectively. Or, in numerical terms 32 European nations were represented compared to just two each from Oceania and Africa. The imbalance was glaring and was noted by the International Olympic Committee.

- Making the sport more universal – 20% and 22% of the ISAF member countries in Africa and Oceania participated in Olympic qualification for 2008 compared to 78.5% for Europe. (Percentages calculated by taking the average of male and female participation percentages). Clearly not only were many countries not competitive in some regions but they had given up even bothering to compete at world championship level.

In summary, the over-riding issue through the whole debate remains whether Europe recognises there is a world outside their continent and whether they are prepared to share their ample bag of marbles with the developing sailing regions of Asia, Africa, Oceania and to a lesser extent the America's.

Then there were the issues which have been around for many years about whether the Olympic classes represented the proper face of the sport, and whether the class progressions they generated were enticing young sailors into the sport, and retaining them through to Olympic competition.

Many commentators believed this was not the case, and that the current Olympic classes owed their place more to the lobbying power of their respective class associations, and ability to play the political game within the ISAF, rather than on their merits.

The Multihull Mistake

That view was reinforced by the dumping of the Multihull in November 2007, after some neat political footwork 12 months ahead of the normal decision time for the Olympic classes, when the ISAF voted on Events for 2012 and then said that it would decide the classes in the normal time, 12 months later following the 2008 Olympics.

By ditching Multihull Event, when the poorly organised and politically naive Tornado class was caught napping in November 2007, the ISAF reinforced its stereotyped thinking to its sailing constituency.

Fast forward three years to November 2010, the ISAF had the chance to make the hard change required to put a new face on the Olympic sport, but elected to put off the hard decision for another six months, until this week, May 2011.

Will the Facebook Generation continue to pursue the Olympic dream - or go the professional sailing route? -  Gilles Martin-Raget-Oracle Racing.com ©?nid=83090   Click Here to view large photo

In November 2010 the organisation had to fit potentially 14 events into a 10 event Olympic schedule.

In doing so they also tried to make some numbers work in a politically correct way to achieve a greater degree of male and female balance, and consequently queered their pitch yet again.

One of the mantras that had been put about the ISAF since the November 2007 debacle was for the five disciplines of sailing to be represented – windsurfer, singlehander, doublehander, multihull and keelboat. That got twisted by some to mean that there also had to be an equal card for men and women. That did not reflect the gender split in the sport – at which 605 male and 40% female would have been generous to the female side of the sport.

Politics over Pragamatism

One of the work arounds put forward by the ISAF Events Committee and confirmed by the ISAF Council last November was to introduce Mixed Events in the case of the Mixed Doublehander which became the lot of the 470 class, and also the Mixed Multihull – in a class to be determined, by Evaluation Trial.

That left the decision to be made on whether to have Kiteboards or Windsurfing – and the solution was to bracket those in one event each for Men and Women. Quite how that would work was never explained.

Lost in the mix was the Mens Keelboat – largely because ISAF Event and Council members could not separate their thinking from pairing an Event to a Class.

In the case of the Mens Keelboat the ISAF representatives literally were Star-struck in the belief that if they voted for the Mens Keelboat then they were in effect voting for the century old Star keelboat.

The fact that there were other keelboat options, beyond the Star did not permeate the ISAF thinking.

Neither did the Council go down the path that if they worked through the Events one at a time – there were other options on each level – which may have been an existing class (where Evaluation trials had been held in the last 15 years), or Evaluation Trials could be staged. Instead the Council voted for a complete Events slate only.

Probably the only given was the ubiquitous Laser class – which deserved its place as a universal Mens and Womens single hander - able to be sailed by sailors from any country.

In touting the Mixed classes, the ISAF got a very lukewarm reaction from its proletariat.

Most realised that there were no classes running an ISAF recognised World Championship for a Mixed crew. That being so – why did there suddenly need to be two Olympic Events for this new dynamic?

Secondly you didn’t have to be too bright to work out that in the performance order of life, that a Mixed class would inevitably be helmed by a woman with a male crew.

That being so, and if you totaled up the Events card passed provisionally by the ISAF Council then to field a full sailing team, a country would need 16 sailors – nine female and six males. That is well out of whack with the gender balance of the sport – and would create a new set of issues in the sport, on top of those identified by the Olympic Commission.

The complete Events slate that was developed by the ISAF’s Events Committee was put to the Council and passed by a narrow two vote margin. The logic being that the Council accepted while that the Events slate had flaws, however it would rather see the reaction from member countries before final sign-off. More consensus.

The ISAF’s dropping of the multihull for the 2012 Olympics, was not well recieved, and looks set to be righted in 2016 -  Giordana Pipornetti   Click Here to view large photo

After an initial deafening silence the lunatics moved to take over the asylum, and the reaction was a massive 65 submissions from classes and National Authorities to the Mid-Year Meeting which gets underway on 4 May in St Petersburg, Russia.

Most of those submissions are geared to the vexed issue of Olympic Events, and in not leading the decision process in the way they did leading up to November 2010, the ISAF Executive and Council have laid themselves open to the old games of politics and self-preservation that have so beleaguered the sport.

Only one of those submissions, for instance creates a way for the spectacular and attention grabbing foiling Moth to be selected as an Olympic Class – in a new Mens High Performance Singlehander event.

Most would reverse the ISAF up the path of choosing new Event names, but locking in many existing classes – and then orientating Events around those classes.

The nonsense of bracketing Windsurfing with Kiteboarding remains to be resolved.

What to do?

We’ll cover that in Part 2 - click here to read




by Richard Gladwell

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=83090

11:11 PM Mon 2 May 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on


Related News Stories:

03 Nov 2013  Lijia Xu ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2012 - THAT Speech
20 Aug 2013  Mat Belcher – 17 in a row - 'The harder I work, the luckier I get'
22 Jul 2013  2012 Olympic Games - Stevie Morrison one year on
22 Jul 2013  2012 Olympic Games - Lucy Macgregor one year on
03 Jun 2013  Ainslie: Close to quitting sailing after Andrew 'Bart' Simpson's death
31 May 2013  A Tribute to Bart
29 Dec 2012  Ainslie knighted in New Year Honours, five others recognised
28 Nov 2012  2012 Paralympic Games a winner in global TV ratings
21 Nov 2012  London Paralympic Games debrief to start in Rio
02 Nov 2012  2012 Olympics: The Medalists thoughts on Kites and Windsurfers
MORE STORIES ...

News - USA and the World

Audi Melges 20 North American Championship - Tortoises, and the hare by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association
Racking up wins across North America including the U.S. Nationals, Canadian National Championship and most recently the Pacific Coast Championship, Gomes Neto has remained unfazed and is heading into their biggest challenge yet with a stacked fleet this coming weekend on San Francisco Bay. ... [more]  

2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami - On-line entry will open on November 10, 2014 mocr.ussailing.org/!here!new. The deadline for priority entries with regards to quotas is December 5, 2014. Entries must be received no later than January 5, 2015 to qualify for early entry. ... [more]  

Having won the first race of the 2014 Melges Worlds in Lake Garda and finishing in high in the overall standings, Liam, with team Wildman, Stephanie Roble on strategy, Erik Shampain on trim, Steve Hunt on main and tactics, turns his focus to the 2014 Melges 20 North Americans running this week on San Francisco Bay and the 2015 Audi Melges 20 Worlds coming to SF Bay next year. ... [more]  

For the first time, the Volvo Ocean Race is to be contested in a strict, one-design class. The emphasis is shifted from who has the best boat to suit the conditions to who has the best men - or women - onboard. ... [more]  

It’s back to work for Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, at the Extreme Sailing Series, Nice. After taking a week off after their win at the 49er world championships in Spain and now they’re at Nice, France, for another hectic few days at the Extreme Sailing Series. ... [more]  

With light winds continuing to dominate on day six of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam, the decision was made to begin the Reno SUP Challenge during the afternoon, which saw twelve teams battling it out in heats of two for a place in tomorrow’s final, to keep the crowds entertained. ... [more]  

Three America's Cup sailors have been named in the top 20 sports earners, in a list published in the New Zealand Herald this week. Topping the list is Sir Russell Coutts with a claimed earnings of $13million. He is just a $1million ahead of an English Premier League player, Winston Reid, and motor racing ace, Scott Dixon. All Black captain, Ritchie McCaw is ranked #5. ... [more]  

Photographer Carlo Borlenghi was on deck for day three of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez to capture these stunning images of the action. ... [more]  

Melges 32 World Championship - Prepare for off-the-charts action by International Melges 32 Class Association
Entering its sixth World Championship season, the International Melges 32 Class Association has raced at arguably every world-class venue on the globe, has seen the most respected pro and amateur sailors on its courses and most importantly, learned valuable lessons of what owners and sailors want so that the Melges 32 continues to be strongest one design grand prix sportboat on the planet. ... [more]  

The IFDS Rankings for Paralympic Classes have been released. It's a British 1-2 at the top of the 2.4mR Rankings with Megan Pascoe at world number one and Helena Lucas at world number two. 2014 World Champion Heiko Kroger (GER) sits at world number seven but counts less regattas than those above him. ... [more]  

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and Rolex are happy to reveal the Nominees for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2014. ISAF received nominations for the 2014 Awards from across the world for sailors representing all aspects of the sport. ... [more]  

Like the name implies, the goal of the boater-funded BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is to educate boaters about safe and clean boating. The Foundation is looking to fund Grassroots Grant projects that utilize new, innovative approaches that encourage safe and clean boating among the boating public. ... [more]  

The 35th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is fast approaching and appears likely to rewrite the record books. Entries are shortly due to close and the Royal Malta Yacht Club is already bracing itself for the biggest fleet to grace its island home since the Great Siege of 1565. The Ottoman Armada of 450 years ago was recorded to be 193 in strength. ... [more]  

The Notice of Race for ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, scheduled for 25-31 January 2015, has been released. On-line entry will open on 10 November 2014. The deadline for priority entries with regards to quotas is 5 December 2014. Entries must be received no later than 5 January 2015 to qualify for early entry. ... [more]  

A stellar list of just under 100 broadcasters has been lined up to showcase the world’s toughest ocean challenge, the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, to a new global audience of fans. The 12th edition has offered channels a line-up of a new 39-part weekly half-hour show plus special short bespoke features. ... [more]  

Photographer Eugenia Bakunova of leading Russian website www.mainsail.ru was on the water at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez on the French Riveria , and provided this gallery of images of the classics and other yachts racing on Day 2 ... [more]  

New Ragamuffin 100 emerges from the hull build in Nowra *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
Ragamuffin 100, which started out as a modified Elliott design, Maximus, is another supermaxi undergoing a major rebuild or retrofit. Across the Tasman, the new Ragamuffin 100 will be virtually a new boat with a a new hull design by Andy Dovell / Syd Fischer / David Witt. The hull mould and shell was built by Innovation Composites at the Nowra facility. ... [more]  

Southern Spars ships the world's tallest masts by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
Leading world sparmaker, Southern Spars, has shipped two spars for a new 85 metre ketch. The superyacht will carry two 93metre masts which will be the world’s tallest rigs on one gigantic yacht. ... [more]  

Professional sailing photographers from all over the world are invited to join the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image award 2014. Started in 2009, the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image is the world’s premier photography competition dedicated to the sport of sailing. The prestigious trophy will be awarded during the World Yacht Racing Forum in Barcelona, on December 11, 2014. ... [more]  

David Kellett (AUS) is to be awarded the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy which honours an individual for their outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing. The ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy, first presented in 1988 in memory of Beppe Croce, the ISAF President from 1969 to 1986, will be presented to Kellett at the 2014 ISAF Annual Conference in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. ... [more]  

After being graced with plenty of late summer sunshine during the opening days of the event, more autumnal weather moved in on the fifth day of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam with grey skies and infrequent showers. Unfortunately though the light winds continued as the sailors endured another lay day. ... [more]  

In a move that is expected to benefit recreational boaters, on Oct. 22 the US Coast Guard will drop the current life jacket type code scheme -- Type I, II, III, IV and V -- that has been used for years to label and differentiate the types of life jackets and their specific use. ... [more]  

Kate Nota and her team onboard the J/111 Odyssey won the Ripple Effect Short Video Contest, which was part of the Ida Lewis Distance Race this summer (August 15). ... [more]  

The largest Laser World Championship in history will be taking place on the south coast of France when 515 sailors, representing 36 different countries, begin racing on October 5 to open the 2014 Audi Laser Masters’ World Championships. The Laser remains one of the best and most popular boats worldwide in which to enjoy the sport of sailing. ... [more]  

Carlo Borlenghi was back on the water for day two at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez to capture these images. ... [more]  

It has been an interesting journey so far for the Chinese team in the Volvo Ocean Race, Dongfeng Race Team. Approximately 10 months ago this team set out on a mission to select and train Chinese recruits in the hope that they would be ‘race ready’ for the start of leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race fans can now carry the world’s toughest ocean race in their pocket, thanks to the launch of a new official mobile app. Developed for both iOS and Android systems, the app is available for download from the App Store and Google Play now – and boasts a host of exciting features which will allow users to be closer to the on-water adventure than ever before. ... [more]  

Race teams planning next season’s calendar could do worse than sign up for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series 2015 which runs from 16-24 January. This event, which kick starts the Caribbean race season, was re-launched in 2014 with a new race format and plenty of record-breaking opportunities. It proved such a success that an even bigger entry is expected in 2015. ... [more]  

Photographer Eugenia Bakunova of leading Russian website www.mainsail.ru was on the water at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez on the French Riveria , and provided this gallery of images of the classics and other yachts racing ... [more]  

Sunset+Vine|APP, the Oxford-based unit of the multi-award winning UK independent TV sports production and media company Sunset+Vine, has helped ISAF smash all previous broadcaster records for the recent Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships. ... [more]  

2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup - Melbourne - Don’t forget to enter the ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne. There are only two days left to take advantage of the discounted entry price offer. ... [more]  

2014 12 Metre North American Championships - Two days of a northerly (first strong, then light) and one day of a building southwesterly put six 12 Metre yachts to the test at their North American Championships, which were held off Newport, R.I. over September 26-28. Gunther Buerman’s (Newport, R.I.) KZ-3 and Dennis Williams’ (Hobe Sound, Fla.) Victory ’83 defended their titles ... [more]  

The waiting game continued on day four of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam as the light winds continued. Over the course of the day a few sailors took the opportunity to make the most of the small waves on offer, either surfing or SUPping. After spending the day on hold the sailors were released at 4:30pm. ... [more]  

Platu 25 World Championship - Euz II Monella Vagabonda wins again
Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez - Day 1 images by Carlo Borlenghi
Les Voiles de Saint Tropez - Day 1 action shots by Ingrid Abery
U.S. Team Racing Championship - Ladies and Gentlemen victorious +Video
National Sailing Hall of Fame inducts eight
2016 ISAF Youth Match Racing Worlds - Bid guidelines now published
Volvo Ocean Race: Last medical training for the onboard sailors +Video
2014 Melges 20 Pacific Coast Championship - Images by Erik Simonson
J/105 North American Champs- Rod Wilmer and Terry McLaughlin succeeds
Extreme Sailing Series: Burling and Tuke back on board for Nice Act
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen wins US event
America's Cup: Oracle Team USA's AC72 takes to the streets
Alpari World Match Racing Tour - Canfield wins first Dutch Match Cup
Pantaenius and Camper & Nicholsons Marinas become strategic partners
Kite Foil Gold Cup Australia 2014 – Day two video
Bart's Bash: Update and Video - Information overload!
2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship - Day 2
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - USA leads Denmark in Sheboygan final
2014 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship - Benz Faget wins third mallory
J/105 North American Champ - Wilmer/McLaughlin team maintain advantage
Images from Cannes: Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai   
Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai: Cannes at its best   
Dutch Match Cup - Gilmour keeps clean sheet in Lelystad   
Dutch Match Cup - GAC Pindar through to fifth consecutive semi-final   
Hobie 16 Open North Americans and 2015 Pan Am Games qualifier overall   
Volvo Ocean Race - Frostad on Boat Design and final changes (Part II) *Feature   
Volvo Ocean Race 10 days to go – Frostad on cultural change (Part I) *Feature   
2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race on NBC Sports Network in the U.S.   
2014 J/24 World Championship - Will Welles’ Cougar clinches   
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Meldgaard and Le Berre ready for semis   
2014 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship - Day 3   
2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship - Day 1 + Video   
America's Cup: Then and now - Coutts on why Oracle won, and the Venue   
Byte CII World Sailing Championship comes to Royal Varuna, Thailand   
Dutch Match Cup: Canfield wins Qualifying, six set for Quarters battle   
12 Metre North Americans - A blast from the America’s Cup past   
2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup qualification system published   
Volvo Ocean Race: Mapfre named as Spanish team sponsor + Video   
Extreme Sailing Series returns to Nice for the penultimate Act of 2014   
ISAF invites bids for 2016 Women's Match Racing World Championship   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT