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Sailing Worlds: Top Womens 470 sailor leads upset over short series

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz 9 Aug 06:59 PDT 9 August 2018
470 Women attracted a 47 boat fleet at the Hempel Sailing World Championships 2018 at aarhus, Denmark. August 2018 © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

The majority of the crews competing in the Women's 470 event at the Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, have endorsed a letter complaining of only sailing a seven race fleet series while the men have sailed ten races.

The letter penned by current Olympic champion, Hannah Mills (GBR), and forwarded to Sail-World NZ by a team supporter, was sent after officials decided that the world championship for the Women's 470 would have just seven races plus a Medal race, while the Mens 470 would sail ten race series plus a Medal race.

Sail-World NZ is advised that on Tuesday afternoon after racing the PRO announced over the radio to the coaches that the women would be racing on Wednesday. But later in the evening the RC posted on the official notice board that the series had been deemed concluded, and there would be no further racing except for medal race.

Despite Wednesday being a scheduled reserve day, and holding fleet racing on Wednesday would not have affected the timing of the Medal race (scheduled for Thursday with a reserve day on Friday if needed).

Bottom line is that the Men's gold fleet got 10 fleet races. The Men's Silver fleet sailed nine races and the Women's fleet just seven races. All fleets were on the same course, so it would have been relatively easy to run the three fleets, or if it was not possible then the Women's fleet should have had priority over the Mens Silver fleet.

The issue with running a series that is three races short of the full series is that this event is the first Olympic Qualifier. The first eight countries in the Women's 470 in this regatta qualify for Tokyo 2020.

For the top crews, placings in the World Championship and Olympic Qualifier have a significant effect on both personal funding and also funding for the Olympic build-up if the sailors country runs off a state funded program. Those that are not on that system are usually given the Olympic place, if they win the country spot - and that certainty of being 2020 Olympic representative again has a big impact on their ability to raise personal backing and sponsorship.

Two crews from the Netherlands and Israel both lodged Redress claims with the International Jury, which would have been claiming that their finishing place in the series had been affected by the Race Committee decision not to use the available reserve day to complete as many of the remaining three races as possible. The Israelis withdrew their claim - possibly as they realised that if the series came to a premature end, then they were the eighth Olympic Qualifier (series leader Japan is automatically entitled to a place in all events as Host country). It is not known why the Dutch, who were just 2pts behind the Israelis withdrew their claim.

While both claims are posted on the online Noticeboard, they are devoid of detail.

The Medal races for the 470 Men and Women was scheduled to be sailed on Thursday afternoon.

The letter follows penned by Hannah Mills (GBR) who is lying third on points and is the second country to qualify for Tokyo2020:

The Women's 470 event has been unfairly discriminated against this week. This has been evident in both the racing schedule and in the priority given to completing our races. This discrimination was exacerbated once the Men's 470 event separated into Gold and Silver fleets.

We are surprised and disappointed that the Women are not sailing today. The Women have only completed seven of the scheduled ten races. Meanwhile, both the Men's Gold and Silver fleets are racing - when they have already completed more races than the Women.

I realise the Sailing Instructions require four Gold Fleet races to be completed (a separate discriminatory issue against the Women's fleet that we can address later), but if the intention was to use the reserve days for the Men to complete their schedule, then there should have been a much higher priority on completing the Women's races on the normal scheduled race days.

Other than on one day, the women were either the second start or the late start of the day. This is hugely disappointing and we feel completely let down by our sport and governing body.

I urge you to reconsider tomorrow's race schedule. The 470's Women's medal race should be moved to the second reserve day (10 August), while tomorrow should be used to complete a near full race schedule. This is the most fair outcome for everyone.

The Sailing Instructions allow for this proposed amendment to the schedule, at clause (16.5] which states: Races not sailed on the scheduled day may be sailed on the following day at the discretion of the race committee, including sailing an opening series race on the provisional medal race day.

We have all paid a lot of money to come here and race. It is an Olympic qualification event and it is the pinnacle regatta inside this quadrennial aside from the Olympics themselves. Equally, it is meant to be the highest profile and most professionally run regatta in that same period. To those ends, as a sport we are trying to achieve the maximum number of races in the schedule, rather than the minimum. We should also be striving to treat both the Men and Women equally and fairly.

We have all paid a lot of money to come here and race. It is an Olympic qualification event and it is the pinnacle regatta inside this quadrennial aside from the Olympics themselves. Equally, it is meant to be the highest profile and most professionally run regatta in that same period. To those ends, as a sport we are trying to achieve the maximum number of races in the schedule, rather than the minimum. We should also be striving to treat both the Men and Women equally and fairly.

This letter only represents the views of the boats that we managed to get in touch with since the decision was posted last night, and who agree with these views. Their names are annexed to the end of this letter. It includes a number of athletes, who objectively, it would actually suit to not sail any further races. This equates to 53 % of the fleet.

We look forward to your response.

Regards

Hannah Mills

Hannah Mills - GBR 1 Camille LeCointre - FRA 9 Jola Ogar - POL 11 Anastasiya Winkele - GER 95 Mafalda Pires De Lima - POR 14 Afrodite Ziegers - NED 11 Courtney Reynolds-Smith - NZL 75 Beste Kaynak91 - TUR 99 Amy Seabright - GBR 7 Jess Lavery GBR 838 Nikole Barnes - USA 1810 Lovisa Karlsson - SWE 34 Ann Christin Goliab - GER 24 Anna Markfort GER 26 Luise Wanser - GER 69 Theresa Loeffler - GER 50 Alisa Kirilyuk - RUS 97 Linda Fahrni - SUI 5 Fernanda Oliveira - BRA 177 Atlantic Brugman - USA 95 Nia Jerwood - AUS 1 Shelley White - AUS 7 Marina Lefort - FRA 7 Jennifer Poret - FRA 19 Sofia Toro - ESP 27

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