Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for June 22, 2012
Windsurfing and the Olympics dominate this newsletter edition of Sail-World.com.
First up we have an investigative commentary on the voting at the ISAF Mid-Year Meeting in Stresa, Italy where the discipline of Kiteboarding was promoted to the 2016 Olympics ahead of the existing event Winsurfing which had been in the Olympic sailing Regatta since 1984, and as a Mens and Womens event since 1992.
Since the announcement in May by the ISAF, the sailing world has generally been shocked by the unexpected promotion of Kiteboarding, the impact on Windsurfing, and the destruction of very significant investment in both equipment and development programs by effectively a single vote.
More perturbing was the fact that the ISAF Council chose to over-ride a recommendation from its expert Events Committee that had a very clear 17-2 vote in favour of a more gradual introduction process.
Since the Mid-Year meeting a number of parties have outed various Council members, saying the Councillors were voting against some very specific advice. Quite why that happened has yet to be explained. It should be noted that New Zealand's Ralph Roberts, one of two Councillors for Area L, both spoke and voted, in favour of retention of Windsurfing, and turned the thinking of some delegates who were set to vote in 29erXX over the 49er FX, when the debate started within the Council on the selection of the Womens Olympic skiff. The other Area L delegate, from Australia, voted for the 49er FX and Kiteboarding.
Barbara Kendall sailing in the Medal Race in Qingdao - her fifth Olympics Richard Gladwell
Since May, the the focus has shifted off the intermediate issue, and more onto the way the ISAF Council operates. They appear to be a group that is increasing remote from the sport they are charged with administering, and with elections looming for President, Vice President and Committees the timing is fortuitous for the sport. Councillors are appointed by the regions they represent, and clearly some will be doing some serious thinking about their representation, and whether they can afford the luxury of the detached free-thinking of some of the incumbents.
At this stage, the outcome of the Kiteboard/Windsurfer issue is unknown, however the level of unrest amongst the Windsurfers has not diminished.
Kiteboarding has nevertheless made its debut at Kieler Woch, Germany and we have a report and some photos from that event.
We also feature an open letter from an exasperated parent of a British board sailor, describing the impact of the ISAF Council decisions. Many around the world will be equally affected, and in times of world recession it is not a trifling matter to find that an Olympic pathway in which you have invested time and money, as an individual or an organisation, is suddenly tossed aside, and the advice of expert committees is ignored.
While it is easy to tell people to harden up, or just change, it is not that easy in the current financial times, which cannot easily withstand radical course changes.
Where to now for Noelle Finch after the ISAF's decision to drop the Windsurfer? Paul Wyeth / RYA
Finally, in New Zealand we mark the end of an era for Windsurfing, with the unannounced decision of Yachting New Zealand to reject the qualification place for the 2012 Olympic Regatta for the Womens Windsurfer event (RS:X). The decision was found by a perusal of 2012 Olympic entry lists. Five other spots were relinquished by countries - most of whom had qualified in the 2011 Qualification Round.
We outline the some of the background behind the last four years of Womens Windsurfing, and have comment from triple Olympic Medallist, Barbara Kendall on what is effectively the close of a five Olympiad era, in which she won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for New Zealand.
l'Hydroptere will make a world speed sailing record attempt from Los Angeles Francis Demange
We also feature a report and some stunning images from the French foiler l'Hyroptere, which is en route to Los Angeles ahead of an attempt to set a new trans-Pacific speed record. This is new territory for the French foiler, which has set speed record but over much shorter courses.
There's also a brief report and images on the fire yesterday in San Francisco on Pier 27-29, the construction site for facilities for the 34th America's Cup. The incident is not expected to affect America's Cup preparations.
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