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Everyone's got an opinion

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 22 Apr 2018 15:00 PDT
Youth Olympic Games © Alexandru Baranescu / KTA Media / IKA

Yep. Even on these here pages we have espoused a few too. More often than not they're about the Olympics, and the equipment and events that get used to determine the medals. In this, the year that will see changes to the roster moving forward after Tokyo, there is still a question over whether it will all be played out in the one hand, or split over two quadrennials.

We have gone over the relative merits of many things before, so here is not the time or place for more. Save for having a gander at the proposal from US Sailing, which ditches the Finn, both 470s and both RS:X events, for five in total. They opt for more mixed events to bring in more equality, and for more current, approachable and interesting craft. Right. So that will make it interesting, but many would question why they choose to keep the Laser and Radial, as well as single gender 49ers, yet have a mixed Nacra 17 (as per the prescribed doctrine and notwithstanding anti-trust issues). Perhaps it is some kau tau to powers higher than we know?

At any rate, US Sailing, with our own Malcolm Page at the helm of the team, seems to be well on board with the fabled 'offshore' event, going for a mixed two-handed crew racing for 48 hours. Not sure they thought this next one through, however – mixed teams racing non-spinnaker boats. Two letters for them. TV! Snoresville...

Then they propose a mixed team kite triathlon – winner there, even if the sailing part is only a portion of it! So why then gender specific for a windsurf triathlon??? I would like to think that smart heads will prevail inside World Sailing, so if you're reading, please scuttle two of these four immediately. Thank you on behalf of all yachties, of all ages, everywhere on the planet!

Some might say that indeed all of them are the ill-conceived progeny from half-arsed productions. Well certainly the newer themed events, anyway. Yet inside all of it are two critical elements. Overall, the events have to be more modern, more comprehensible to the average viewer, and exciting! No windward/leewards in displacement boats here.

Next, World Sailing must have a genuine global circuit for all competitors to gain experience and practice in. One design means it cannot be an arms race, but it can certainly be a chequebook driven exercise, and then equality, an Olympic cornerstone, goes out the door. In this way, audience and participation get a boost, too. Just realised I said chequebook, when I really should have written fully charged up debit card.

Moving on, Rio's Guanabara Bay was a mess, and many teams were so sick in practice events leading up to the 2016 Games. There were repeated calls for it all to be taken elsewhere, but alas it was run there anyway, despite two whole years of water pollution and horrific stories being run regularly.

Now it would seem that Enoshima Yacht Harbour is at least one year behind in preparations for the Games, which are now just two years away. There is a test event this September, yet the bigger issues like the local fishing fleet, security, and equipment, so we might need Bill Murray to come along right now, for there seems to be a whole lot of planning and commitment that has been lost in translation.

So if World Sailing need to balance the requirements for excitement, gender equality, visual appeal and accessibility, then the IOC may have to also look at all of these, with more than a Soupçon of credible economic impact, and more importantly impost, on countries fielding teams and holding events...

Love to close up with a positive, and so fresh on the back of the wonderfully underwhelming Comm Games, which takes nothing away from athletes' performances BTW, we have some good environmental news.

At CHOGM that just took place in London, the UK Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, hosted leaders from across the sports sector on board the HMS Belfast in London to drive forward innovation and agree actions to tackle the global scourge of plastic. On the chopping block are straws, single use bottles and balloons. Good one, and it shows that a Committee can do well. Keep it up!

The other good piece of news was that World Sailing's 2018 Youth World Championships in Texas will be used as a Sustainability Benchmark for all future World Sailing Championships. Here. Here. And bring it on!

Finally then, and before we close up, it is great to see so much material coming in from places, regattas and organisations like South Australia's Secondary Schools Championship, J/24s at Cronulla, and Largs Bay Sailing Club. You could go on about grass roots and all that, or just simply say that this kind of stuff is so fundamental to the whole participation game. QED. Well done, and may your efforts inspire all others to stand up and place their material on the site for all to see. Cheers to you!

Right oh - here today there are some gems for you to review. We have information from the Volvo Ocean Race, Airlie Beach Race Week, Transpac, Golden Globe, classics in Antigua, Bavaria, Congressional Cup, the Clipper RTW, tech and the AST, the AC, Osaka, Banque Populaire IX off Morocco, Kiteboarding, Largs Bay, crewing with help from MySail Team, changing of the guard at Abell Point Marina, and certainly there is much, much more.

Remember, if your class or association is generating material, make sure we help you spread your word, and you can do that by emailing us. Should you have been forwarded this email by a friend, and want to get your very own copy in your inbox moving forward, then simply follow the instructions on our newsletter page, where you can also register for different editions.

Finally, keep a weather eye on Sail-World. We are here to bring you the whole story from all over the world...

John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS

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