The recent decision by ISAF to drop the Tornado from the 2012 Olympics has galvanised the multihull sailing world.
In Great Britain the Royal Yachting Association has led the charge to have the decision reconsidered by ISAF. In America the multihull members of US Sailing are actively working to change the decision. In Australia Phil Jones, the CEO of Yachting Australia has written to ISAF expressing his disappointment at the decision and is actively working with the recently formed Australian Multihull Council to have the decision reversed.
It has become clear that many ISAF delegates including those in Great Britain, America and New Zealand that voted on the basis of winning medals in other sailing classes now see the decision to eliminate the Tornado as short sighted.
'It was a decision that threatens the very future of sailing at all levels, elite to youth, and fly’s in the face of the IOC’s direction for sailing' says Darren Bundock, the World F18 and Tornado campion. Simon McKeon, Patron of the 2008 Australian Sailing Team, believes multihulls are a very strong and vibrant part of the sport; that Yachting has to present itself to the IOC as a sport with relatively wide appeal'.
The IOC itself must be puzzled by the ISAF decision. The multihull represents everything that the IOC asked the ISAF to include. It’s the high performance boat, spectacular to watch, its relatively inexpensive, it has global popularity allowing new nations to break into the Olympics, it has a strong youth appeal with strong development opportunities, it has a huge media appeal that has generated great media coverage. All of the things the IOC needs.
The Australian Multihull Council led by John Goldsmith, Rod Waterhouse and Darren Bundock are working with the Australian multihull community and our Pacific rim sailing nations and supporting the British and American sailors who likewise don’t understand the ISAF decision.
They, like most fair minded sailors who are concerned about the future of sailing believe that the decisions made by ISAF last month on the 2012 Olympic Events are not in the best interests of the sport of sailing throughout the world and should be reviewed. 'We believe the decision will prejudice the future of sailing as an Olympic sport, and restrict the development of sailing, especially with our youth who aspire to sailing at the highest level' says Rod Waterhouse.
The Australian Multihull Council implores all sailors including our Pacific neighbours to have regard to the interest of the sport of sailing throughout the world; to maximise the longevity of sailing and its ability to attract public funds and support; and to maximise the opportunity for the youth of our region and their prospects to compete at world and Olympic level.
'Only if we maximise the appeal of Olympic Events among young people, and in emerging sailing countries, will we grow our sport' says John Goldsmith a past Olympic measurer.
The inherent risk to sailing’s continuing presence at the Olympic Games beyond 2012 is of concern to every member of the sailing fraternity. This matter now needs to be seriously reconsidered by all ISAF members.
The Australian Multihull Council will be working with the Yachting Australia and multihull sailors around Australia and the South Pacific to increase the reach and appeal of the sport of sailing and to ensure its future as part of the Olympic Games.