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

10:11 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

Student Yachting World Cup - After those days of sun and light air, the weather was upside-down with a cloudy sky threatening us of heavy shower at any time and a strong wind fluctuating from 15 knots to 25 knots! Two windward-leeward races took place today as the wind became far too heavy in the early afternoon. The 13th race began this morning: a second start occurred under black flag. ... [more]  

2014 Argo Group Gold Cup - Over the last few days there have been frantic phone calls between travel agents from competitors at the Argo Group Gold Cup, the sixth stage and the oldest event on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. Over Friday night and into Saturday the Category Three Hurricane Gonzalo passed directly over Bermuda pummelling it with 100+ knot winds. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Big gains for two boats in Doldrums *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
Two boats have made big gains in the Doldrums, with the western-most competitors apparently not stopping and sailing though the convergence zone between northern and southern hemispheres, without dropping below 8kts. Team Brunel and Abh Dhabi Ocean Racing have both made big gains on the rest of the fleet - and the two easternmost boats - Team Vestas Wind and Mapfre, in particular. ... [more]  

In spite of Hurricane Gonzalo's thrashing of the Onion Patch last week, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the people of Bermuda are ready to host the 2014 Argo Group Gold Cup, Stage 6 of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT). All 20 teams have arrived safely from their corners of the world and will practice for a day and race on Wednesday. ... [more]  

While the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup always offers opportunities for young people to have new experiences, coping with Hurricane Gonzalo offered the 14 competitors traveling from overseas to Bermuda a hurdle that strengthened their respect for this island nation. Many of the 14 competitors spent layover time in either hotels or airports and some are now guests in homes without electricity. ... [more]  

Dynamic Stability Systems welcomes last week’s decision by IMOCA to place no further restrictions on its class rule. This permits both the six new IMOCA 60s currently under construction, as well as the existing fleet, to be fitted with the lateral lifting foils which DSS has spent the last decade pioneering. ... [more]  

Groupe Beneteau today announced its sponsorship of the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider and ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami. Groupe Beneteau is the world's leading yacht builder, and will now become a significant presence in high-performance sailing with its support of both the US national sailing team and North America's premier Olympic and Paralympic classes regatta. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. It’s the place where the northern and southern winds meet, where a sailing race can be won or lost in an instant. And with its complex and confusing conditions, lack of breeze, and stifling heat – it’s also a place that most sailors can’t wait to see the back of. But there is one good thing about the Doldrums. ... [more]  

The Atlantic has proved to be a test for the VO65s in the Volvo Ocean Race and their teams as a battle of gybing down the west coast of Africa broke out, keeping all boats in a relatively tight-knit pack for much longer than expected. Having passed Morocco and the Canaries, we were drawn to the tricky-to-handle magnet of Cape Verde. ... [more]  

It’s the dawn of a complicated day in the Volvo Ocean Race. Let’s face it: we’re not having a very good time on Dongfeng. We lost distance last night, and our leading position. The day got dull afterwards. Sailing straight ahead, with the spinnaker up, in light winds. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Day 10 onboard Team SCA. Two days, eight hours, thirty-four minutes, and ten seconds, nine seconds, eight, seven, six, five… over the last few days the clock has gotten louder and louder as it counts down to October 23rd at noon—the time when we cross the equator and the time when myself and six other sailors join the rest of our crew in King Neptune’s court. ... [more]  

For Pablo Arrarte Elorza, the Volvo Ocean Race is a tough challenge. Not as far as physical effort is concerned because this likeable Spaniard is a very strong guy. For Pablo, the race is mostly a culinary war of attrition because the food that the team has bought with it on the race does little to please his gourmet palate. ... [more]  

The 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds kicked off on October 20th in Clearwater, USA, and it was hard work from the start: in 5-6 kt of breeze, offshore to start the day and side-on to close it, pumping was in order for the 54 boys and 28 girls gathered here for the 2014 RS:X Youth World Windsurfing Championships. ... [more]  

The team at The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta are very happy to announce that entries are now open for the 2015 Regatta, taking place March 5 - 8. The team hopes to see lots of return entries as well as new ones this year, all coming to celebrate the event's 35th year. In order to celebrate this milestone year, there will be some new features this coming season. ... [more]  

After three complete days at sea only three boats competing in the 2014 Rolex Middle Sea Race have passed the northwest tip of Sicily, roughly the halfway point of the race. The prevailing wind remains weak, but is expected to strengthen this afternoon coinciding with the arrival of bulk of the fleet t the Egadi Islands. ... [more]  

Last week the Volvo Ocean Race was all about VMG downwind sailing, with Dongfeng being the star performer. After DFRT took the lead, they shortly lost it again 36 hours later after hitting something in the water and losing their rudder. Two hours later they were up and running again with the spare in. Impressive stuff. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Blogs from the Boats - Leg 1, Day 9 plus Videos *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.nz/com
Several of the On Board Reporters aboard, provide their unique views of Leg 1, Day 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race - in text, images and video. ... [more]  

Rolex Middle Sea Race 2014 - Fight to the finish by Media Royal Malta Yacht Club
Igor Simicic's maxi, Esimit Europa 2 is expected to finish the Rolex Middle Sea Race in the early hours of tomorrow morning. However the 100ft carbon fibre canting keel Maxi is under serious pressure to secure their fourth Line Honours victory in the race. ... [more]  

Italy won two races (windward-leeward race (ninth race) and coastal race (11th race), Switzerland won the second race of the day (10th race) and Ireland the last one (12th race). A lot of tactics was required to make best use of the little wind. The first race (windward-leeward race, 0,8nm) started at four knots. A second start under black flag happened. ... [more]  

PredictWind have made significant improvements to the swell forecasting models and added new locations. Integrating the new 50km global wind forecast with ocean current data has created the most advanced swell modelling available online. By combining PredictWind forecast data with ocean current data, the effect of the wind on swells can be accounted for ... [more]  

The battle continues for the lead in the Volvo Ocean Race, with the front running being taken up by different competitors on a regular basis. With the first boats about to enter the Doldrums, anything can happen - with the outcome being decided by navigational skill and experience, rather than being resolved on a computer. ... [more]  

The Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup, now in its 12th year, is known around the world as an international championship of junior champions. It runs parallel to the penultimate event on the World Match Racing Tour, the Argo Group Gold Cup. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Fleet charges the door of the Doldrums Casino *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
The Volvo Ocean Race has lifted intensity again on Day 9 with the fleet spread across 100nm of ocean and charging in a line for the turning point of Fernando de Noronha, 220nm off the Brazilian coast. ... [more]  

As expected the third day of the 2014 La Torche PWA Grand Slam proved to be a quiet affair with very light winds throughout the day. After a chilly and overcast start, the sun eventually broke through to produce another beautiful afternoon in La Torche. ... [more]  

The first eight days of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race have been filled with more excitement and tighter racing than anyone could have anticipated. Up until Saturday morning, Leg One has left the fleet with few tactical options and therefore has kept everyone tightly packed as one unit of seven boats. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. The sun’s out. It’s warm – not too hot, but warm enough for just a tee shirt. Ian Walker is stood at the helm of his Emirati boat, generous Atlantic trade winds whistling past his ears. 'We’re going straight through,' he claims, confidently. 'What Doldrums? - they’re going to say. Azzam isn’t even going to slow down.' ... [more]  

At 1700 CET in the Rolex Middle Sea Race, 113 yachts had rounded Stromboli, the active volcano that marks the most northerly point of the course. Race leader on the water, Esimit Europa 2, was less than 20 miles from Favignana and preparing to turn south with 289 miles to go and is expected to finish the race in the early hours of Wednesday 22 October, which would be well outside the course record ... [more]  

It is with great pleasure that the Star Sailors League announces that two more top Brazilian sailors will be joining the fleet of 20 super-champions taking part in the Star Sailors League Finals 2014 being held for the second consecutive year at Nassau Yacht Club in the Bahamas between December 1st and 7th. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Day Nine onboard Team Alvimedica. It’s hard to explain the complexity of the weather in this part of the world. No computer model or forecaster can accurately predict the winds because the air here is dry and warm, 23c now, and the typical barometric pressure gradients that generate them become very weak. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Day Nine onboard Team SCA. We’re a boat on a mission: catch the fleet. And they’re getting closer by the mile. The first time I sailed past Cape Verde islands was in 2010 when I was helping deliver a catamaran from Gibraltar to Antigua, W.I. ... [more]  

Thailand bids for 2016 IODA ‘Optimist’ World Championships by Jordan Rumsby, Royal Varuna Yacht Club
Pattaya's Royal Varuna Yacht Club has submitted a bid to host the 2016 International Optimist Dinghy Association World Championships, offering the world's most talented junior sailing teams a chance to experience the steady wind, sunshine, smiles, great food, and family-friendly attractions of Thailand's top dinghy sailing destination ... [more]  

Photographer Ellen Hoke was on the water at the Farr 40 Worlds sailed from the St Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco, and provided this second gallery of images from the Final Day - Day 4 Prizegiving ... [more]  

Bill Green - builder and sailor passes on by Malcolm McKeag, Scuttlebutt Europe, Lymington, England:
Bill Green, San Francisco-born sailor, Navy jet jockey (not a lot of people know that); US Coastguard; shrimp-boat hand (not a lot of people know that either); One Ton Cup winner and most latterly proprietor of Green Marine slipped quietly away from this life ... [more]  

ISAF World Sailing Rankings – 20 October 2014
Farr 40 Worlds: Images from the Final day in San Francisco *Feature
Farr 40 Worlds: Images from Day 2 in San Francisco *Feature
Rolex Middle Sea Race 2014 - A hard day's night
34th Student Yachting World Cup 2014 - Second race day
Volvo Ocean Race: Dongfeng loses lead, anyone's race ahead of Doldrums *Feature
Flying Dreams 'An Ocean Story': The Movie
New super maxis gear up for Rolex Sydney Hobart
Volvo Ocean Race: Blogs from the Boats - Leg 1, Day 8 plus Videos *Feature
Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One Design Challenge - Youngerman wins
2014 Off Valparaíso Race - Santander team victorious
La Torche PWA Grand Slam - Waves continue to pound on day 2
Volvo Ocean Race: Dongfeng consolidates lead on Day 8 *Feature
RS:X Youth World Championships - All set for Clearwater action
Rolex Middle Sea Race 2014 - Slow road north
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 – Dongfeng Race Team - A risky call
Rolex Middle Sea Race 2014 - Escaping the shroud of Mount Etna
Farr 40 Worlds: Day 4 Image and Video gallery *Feature
Australian 18 Footers League’s Major A. Frizelle Trophy
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Leader gambles on Island windshadow
2014 Sailing World Cup Qingdao - Final day video highlights   
2014 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship - Plenty of time   
Coast Guard rescues two near Wachapreague   
2014 Off Valparaíso Race - Day 2   
La Torche PWA Grand Slam - Massive swell on day 1   
Volvo Ocean Race: Welcome to Al's Ocean Cafe   
Argo Group Gold Cup survives Hurricane Gonzalo   
Volvo Ocean Race: Dongfeng regains lead after incident packed Day 7 *Feature   
Volvo Ocean Race: Dramatic video of Dongfeng rudder replacement   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica bounces back   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA expecting the expected + Video   
Rolex Middle Sea Race - New record for Mediterranean classic   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao - Medallists decided across six fleets   
Volvo Ocean Race - Impressive turnaround for Dongfeng Race Team +Video   
Volvo Ocean Race: Race closer than leaderboard suggests - Leg 1, Day 6   
Volvo Ocean Race: Dongfeng Race Team break rudder after collision   
2014 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship - Famous breeze frustrates   
2014 Off Valparaíso Race - Day 1   
Sunfish World Championship - Victory for Argentina's Francisco Renna   
Volvo Ocean Race - Feeling the pressure six days in   


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