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Sail-World.com : Double Olympic medalist steps along the path ahead of Kiteboarding
Double Olympic medalist steps along the path ahead of Kiteboarding

'Lacking spectacle??? Patrik Diethelm hammers into the mark - PWA Sotavento Fuerteventura World Cup 2012'    © John Carter / PWA

Double Olympic windsurfing medalist Bruce Kendall looks at the issues with adopting Kiteboarding as an Olympic sport, and reflects on the lessons learned and experiences after Windsurfing travelled the same path since its selection for the 1984 Olympics.

So far there have been four boards, the Windglider, Div II, Mistral and now RS:X.

Bruce Kendall, double Olympic medallist -     Click Here to view large photo
Windsurfing came in to much the same opening overtures as the Kiteboard, and has taken over 20 years to find its feet, including developing class progressions for junior and youth sailors. Windsurfing too, back in 1984 was largely a recreational sport, with spectacular wave jumping and freestyle disciplines and limited racing.

That too was a sport that serenaded the International Sailing Federation Council with the same media friendly lyrics back in the 80's. It has the highly developed and spectacular PWA Tour. Back in the 80's few if any of the windsurfing organisations worked out of sailing clubs, or were affiliated to their national organisations.

So is there a need for a radical change to reset the Olympic boardsailing event?

Bruce Kendall takes up the story, looking at the lessons from windsurfing since its adoption as an Olympic sport in the early 1980's.

It is interesting that the racing peaks of yachting - the Americas Cup World Series with the AC 45's and the next Volvo race, the biggest offshore multi hull class MOD70 along with all the Olympic classes have chosen the One Design concept as it is the most affordable, equal and fair type of racing to attract more entries.

Sylt Ready To Host Kiteboard Slalom World Championship -  © KWkomm. - Die Kommunikations-Manufaktur  
I am sure ISAF will push to make Kite Racing a one design by 2016 for the same reasons. If not, the global numbers will never grow as the developing nations will never keep up financially with the new designs.

For Kite racing in the Olympics advocates to say 'kite racing is not ready to be one design' is the same as saying 'Kite Racing is not ready to be Olympic.'

I am sure when Kite racing becomes One Design it will then face the same issues Olympic Class Windsurfing has faced since 1984.

The Olympic fleets will initially grow quickly.

This happened with Windsurfer Class, Windglider, Div11, Mistral and RSX.

Then the top sailors get so good the weekend warriors won't finish inside the time limit and choose to race some thing else easier and faster and then they and others out side the Olympic Class complain the Olympic gear is out of date and not reflecting the sport. They fail to realize it is either a lack of the right body shape, ability, commitment or finances to get them to the top.

When Olympic Kite racing becomes One design, it will likely also be seen by many kite surfers as 'out of date' and 'not reflecting the sport.'

I am sure many free style and surfing kite surfers already look at kite racing this way and possibly don't care if Kites are in the Olympics or not. They are happy doing their thing.

John Skye - PWA Tenerife World Cup 2012 -  © John Carter - PWA  
Pro Windsurfers are on open/production equipment - but they either have very rich parents or are sponsored all their expenses and equipment. Certainly people from developing nations never get to the top and the pro events remain limited to a small number of nations. Not good for the Olympics.

Due to the reliance on wind minimums event results are not a sure thing. This is why the pros cannot be sure of getting strong event sponsorship and large prize money as other sports do.

I am guessing that Kite Free style events will face similar issues with sponsorship due to wind minimums also.

Sponsors need an event that starts on time with a result regardless of the weather conditions. This is why so many stadiums now have covers. What the event looks like is almost secondary. As long as physical effort and emotions can be watched, with a clear commentary with graphics to show clearly what is happening and how the result is reached, spectators will watch.

Sailing events must be able to compete in next to zero to over 30 knots.

Close Racing Action at KTE Sylt - Kite Tour Europe - Sylt -  Kite Surf Tour Europe KTE  
Sitting in a still boat is less interesting to watch than a whole lot of boats flapping about - at least they start and finish inside the time limit. It is time Sailing looked outside the square to be media friendly and 'Be on time.'

Starting needs to be tidied up to make things clear. No official start when someone is over early. Very confusing to watch someone racing, that is not racing because they started early. No other sport allows it. Why should sailing?

The general public are more likely to know successful Olympic windsurfing names due to the general media, while the windsurfing public are more likely to follow the Pros due to the publicity they get from the industry.

The reality is Windsurfing and Kite surfing and yachting are fringe sports compared to the likes of tennis, soccer, golf etc and it will probably always be like this.

Kite Surfer - Roy Rodwald - Kieler Woche 2012 -  © segel-bilder.de / Christian Beeck   Click Here to view large photo

Kites over Schilksee - Landeshauptstadt Kiel/Thomas Eisenkrätzer - Kiel Week -  Thomas Eisenkrätzer   Click Here to view large photo



Volvo Ocean Race goes one design and media impact

Click here for the Figaro One Design


by Bruce Kendall

  

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9:40 PM Fri 20 Jul 2012GMT


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News - USA and the World

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]  

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]  

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]  

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]  

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 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]  

Tom Burton (AUS) retained World #1 in the Laser after a tremendous fight back at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao where he picked up bronze. The Australia had a tough opening day, finishing down the pack in both races but as the week progressed he worked his way up and sealed bronze on the final day to keep hold of World #1. ... [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 gallery of images from the Final Day - Day 4 ... [more]  

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   
Volvo Ocean Race - Alvimedica cautiously cruising down coast of Africa   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Brunel still within striking distance   


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