Please select your home edition
Edition
SOUTHERN-SPARS-AGLAIA-SPARS_728X90

Olympics 2024: Italian President erupts over Mixed Offshore Keelboat

by Michele Tognozzi 9 Nov 2018 14:36 PST 10 November 2018
Two young Slovenian Finn sailors who at 17yrs and 22 yrs are part of a group of 40plus young sailors disappointed with World Sailing actions © Robert Deaves / Finn Class

Italian sailing website Farevela.net published an interview with the President of the Italian sailing federation Federazione Italiana Vela (FIV) soon after his return from last weekend's Annual Conference of World Sailing, where the decision was taken to effectively drop the Finn class from the 2024 Olympic sailing regatta in Marseille. The interview has been online for several days, but now an English text version of the interview is available.

Francesco Ettorre is furious, and also definitely perplexed, when he talked to Fare Vela after returning from the Annual Conference of World Sailing in Sarasota. The choice to introduce a mixed gender offshore keel boat instead of the Finn, and even more the ever more clear separation between World Sailing’s Board, of what used to be the world federation of sailing, and the real base of sailors are at the center of our conversation. Is the future of sailing at risk? Well, the president of the Italian Sailing Federation is worried…

“The 43/17 vote against the Finn and in favor of Offshore Keelboat Mixed”, emphasizes Ettorre, “is explained by the power of France, as Organizing Committee of Paris 2024, the change of the United States, with Gary Jobson engaged in a disproportionate endorsement in favor of the keelboat, the last announcement by Great Britain and many votes collected from small MNA.”

The FIV voted against the keelboat and for a transparent and strategic vision of the management of World Sailing. “The issue is not just Finn, yes, or Finn, no, but the current Board only pursues commercial objectives, and does not take into account the reality of the sport, the growth paths, the daily practice of the clubs,” says Ettorre.

To think badly is a sin but often you can guess… it is very likely that Mixed Offshore Keelboat is destined to become the most resounding own goal in the history of Olympic sailing. “We were baffled by the vagueness of the project”, Francesco Ettorre urges, “it has not been clarified which boat, how it will be selected, and by what means the Olympic campaign would be tackled. Jobson (one of WS’s vice-presidents, Ed.) has vaguely said that national fleets can be used on site … Well, anyone who knows about sailing will agree that in terms of management, scope, credibility and above all, accessibility for many countries, it appears absurd.”

So, will this be a medal for rich people only? “Let’s imagine a sixty-year-old wealthy, and not very fit, man, who takes an Olympic girl and puts her at the helm and “buys” the Olympic ticket, buying and tuning the keelboat. At a media level it would be disastrous for sailing. Totally different from the image given by the powerful athletes with sculpted muscles of the Finn. The Board of World Sailing wants to sell this as a renewal, when in reality it is an affront to the Olympic tradition, where talent, merit and commitment are the only way to get to the Olympics.”

“Mind you, we would not be opposed to a keelboat, but to vote for it, without knowing anything about the hull or the size, it seems like a senseless leap into the dark, made by those who do not take into account the reality of our sport but only follow commercial logic”: Ettorre is a river in flow and does not hesitate to list likely agreements already in progress with sponsors such as Volvo or others with shipyards to manage this event.

“Ng Ser Miang, IOC vice president and former ISAF executive, has been and is very critical of such choices. It is likely that, unless there is very strong pressure from Paris 2024, the keelboat can be blocked, especially for the issue of the accessibility of many countries and management costs, with boats that will cost about 90,000 euros. It is an event tailored for the French and within the reach of only a dozen countries, no more, which at IOC level will have some impact. Besides us, we know for sure that Spain, Turkey, Hungary, Slovenia, Germany and Russia voted against but, I repeat, many MNA votes were decisive, countries that were never before seen at the Meeting. It is surreal that countries that can never afford a keelboat have voted yes”. “There is no logic in what they are doing, except the commercial one”.

And finally: “We are impressed by the fact that in WS Governance there is a total absence of sporting design, and knowledge of the real sporting dynamics that regulate our sport, the awareness of the growth paths. It is only and solely business. Beyond the boats, this governance is the real problem.”

And now? The dangerous road taken by World Sailing can only be saved by the sailors themselves, but will they have the power to do it?

For the full interview by Farevela's Michele Tognozzi

Click here and then scroll down to see the full English translation

Related Articles

Hempel World Cup Series Genoa overall
Brazil snapped up two gold medals on the final day Brazil snapped up two gold medals on the final day of the Hempel World Cup Series event in Genoa, Italy with Hungarian, Danish and Kiwi sailors claiming the remaining gold medals. Posted on 21 Apr
Hempel World Cup Series Genoa day 6
First medals go to Australia, The Netherlands and Spain Odile van Aanholt and Marieke Jongens (NED) won the 49erFX Medal Race, moving up two places to win gold before Australian brothers David and Lachy Gilmour sealed the deal in the 49er. Posted on 20 Apr
Hempel World Cup Series Genoa day 5
Scene set for 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 Medal Races The fifth day of competition in Genoa saw a long awaited 6-9 knot steady western breeze arrive, ensuring that 41 of 42 races were completed. Posted on 19 Apr
Hempel World Cup Series Genoa day 4
Hat-trick puts Dutch 49erFX team in pole position Odile van Aanholt and Marieke Jongens (NED) snapped up a hat trick of race wins in the 49erFX to propel themselves into pole position at the Hempel World Cup Series event in Genoa, Italy. Posted on 18 Apr
Hempel World Cup Series Genoa day 3
The 67-boat fleet is split into blue and yellow for the qualification series Laser Radial racing commenced on the third day of competition at Hempel World Cup Series Genoa and Line Flem Høst (NOR) and Switzerland's Maud Jayet took the first race wins of the series to share an early lead. Posted on 17 Apr
Hempel World Cup Series Genoa day 2
Tomasgaard and Stipanovic took hard earned yellow and blue fleet victories The Italian city was hit with a light 5-6 knot wind on the second day of competition which meant that the split Laser fleet could only complete one race apiece. Posted on 16 Apr
Genoa gearing up for Hempel World Cup Series debut
Italian city of Genoa preparing to host over 700 sailors The Italian city of Genoa is preparing to host over 700 sailors between 15-21 April 2019 for the first ever Hempel World Cup Series regatta to be held in the country. Posted on 12 Apr
World Sailing's Sustainability Agenda 2030
World Sailing's Sustainability Agenda 2030 World Sailing President Kim Andersen joined organisers of the 50th anniversary edition of the Princesa Sofía Iberostar Trophy for the presentation of its sustainability program on 31 March. Posted on 6 Apr
Foiling Formula Kite added to Hempel Worlds Final
To be held in Marseille, France from 2-9 June 2019 Men's and Women's Foiling Formula Kiteboarding has been added to the Hempel World Cup Series Final which will be held in Marseille, France from 2-9 June 2019. Posted on 2 Apr
World Sailing Presidential Newsletter: March 2019
Kim Andersen's latest update I hope you are enjoying the Spring weather and getting the chance to get out on the water or enjoy watching some sailing as a spectator! It's a very busy time as we work on delivering the changes which will take our great sport forward. Posted on 30 Mar
RS Sailing BOTTOMZhik 2018 Hyeres 728x90 BOTTOMVaikobi 2019 - Footer 2