Please select your home edition
Rooster GETSEASMART 728x90

World Sailing's efforts to ensure the sanctity of One Design racing

by David Schmidt 30 Jul 09:00 PDT July 30, 2019
2019 Laser Radial World Championships © Junichi Hirai / Bulkhead Magazine Japan

If you've ever raced in handicap fleets, you're likely well aware of the critical role that ratings can play, both in terms of the race's outcome and in terms of sailing's long-term retention rates. Because of the inherent difficulties in racing one thirty-something-footer against another forty-something-footer, many die-hard sailors seeking racecourse purity turn to One Design racing. After all, a given class of One Design boats are all identical, so any on-the-water differences must boil down to strategy, tactics, training and fitness, right?

In theory, this is correct, but what if the boats and equipment are not all the same or are somehow not class legal? Such has been the case in the Laser class for some time, and this sad reality is threatening the future of the world's most popular sailboat.

While this is an obvious worry on any level of One Design racing, the stakes increase exponentially when it comes to Olympic level sailing and the accompanying Olympic-sized levels of competition, commitment and stress.

As a result, World Sailing announced late last week that the organization is in the process of implementing a new quality control and quality assurance plan as part of their bigger-picture process of finalizing the equipment that will be used at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

"Based upon feedback from Sailors, Coaches and Member National Authorities (MNAs) it has become clear that one-design equipment is not always being delivered to an absolutely consistent standard, when one-design is meant to ensure that the equipment is identical," writes World Sailing in their official press release announcing the new QA/QC plan.

"Sailors are having to purchase and test multiple components to ensure that they are sailing what they believe to be the best performing boat," continues World Sailing. "This leads to increased Olympic campaign costs for Olympic Sailors. MNAs first raised this at the 2016 Annual Conference and at subsequent meetings, as a result World Sailing are committed to addressing this issue to reduce costs and to protect the integrity of the sport for all stakeholders."

To deal with the situation, World Sailing will start charging a new manufacturer's fee that will be used to fund an independent QA/QC process that will help ensure the purity of Olympic-level competition and One Design racing in Olympic-class boats. Additionally, World Sailing claims that the new process will also help further advance technological improvements within each class.

To fund the new QA/QC process, manufacturers will be charged a fee of up to 1% of the boat's retail price. Critically, each class will only fund their own testing. The actual costs of the new program will be transparently tallied after the first year and any remaining monies will be returned to the builders; future fees will also be recalculated, on a class-by-class basis, after the first year to ensure that the correct amount is being collected.

While this is new QA/QC program should help to further level what was already supposed to be a horizontal playing field, cost-conscious competitors are reminded that this new manufacturer's fee is entirely separate from the plaque fees (ballpark 0.2% of the boat's retail price) that World Sailing charges.

It will be interesting to see how these new fees impact global One Design sailing, both in terms of ensuring fair and high-quality racing, and in terms of racecourse participation. While no-one likes shouldering additional costs or watching the cost of racing increase, one could make the solid argument that it's far more expensive for the sport — as measured in participation numbers — if sailors lose faith in the sanctity of One Design racing.

Speaking of high-level One Design racing, the 2019 ILCA Laser Radial World Championships just concluded on the waters of Japan's Miho Bay. On the Men's side, Simon de Gendt (BEL) captured the top step of the awards podium, followed by Zac West (AUS) and Guilherme Perez (BRA), while Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) took home the top prize in the Women's side, followed by Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Alison Young (GBR).

While no Canadian- or U.S.-flagged male sailors were racing in the Laser Radial World Championships, Charlotte Rose (USA) finished in eighth place on the Women's side, followed by Paige Railey (USA) in 12th place, Erika Reineke (USA) in 21st place, Sarah Douglas (CAN) in 31st place, and Clara Gravely (CAN) in 56th place.

"It's great to see Charlotte so competitive among the world's best sailors," said US Sailing's Olympic Development Director, Leandro Spina, in an official press release. "Her success is a testament to the years of hard work she's put in that the Olympic Development Program has been pleased to support with coaching resources and opportunities to train alongside world-class athletes like Paige [Railey] and Erika [Reineke]."

Meanwhile, in offshore-sailing news, the awards have now all been determined and the prizes awarded at the 50th anniversary Transpac Race, which recently concluded racing on the waters off of O'ahu, and the 2019 edition of the world-famous Fastnet Race is set to unfurl on Saturday, August 3.

Sail-World wishes safe, fast, and fun passages to all Fastnet crews, and we have a candle lit that World Sailing's new manufacturer fee properly ensures decades of unquestionably level One Design racing for sailors of all One Design insignias.

May the four winds blow you safely home.

David Schmidt North American Editor

Related Articles

The one before the big one
KA-5, the 12 Metre known simply as, Australia At the end of the 70s the Bond camp was starting to show what attending the America's Cup for a decade could do from a design and team angle. The boat that really stepped them up a rung was KA-5, the 12 Metre known simply as, Australia. Posted on 13 Oct
One Design or Two?
David Henshall looks at control (and abuse) of hull shapes over the years Science fiction and the Terminator movies introduced us to the notion of shape shifting, but in the real life of the sailing dinghy world, how IS a shape defined? Posted on 9 Oct
Mini-Transat begins, Championship of Champions
Latest Sail-World USA newsletter from David Schmidt The 1,350 nautical mile Mini-Transat La Boulangère race departed the city of La Rochelle, France, on Saturday, October 5, following a considerable delay due to weather. Posted on 8 Oct
Duane Guidry on the 2019 Harvest Moon Regatta
An interview with Duane Guidry about the 2019 Harvest Moon Regatta I checked in with Duane Guidry, regatta chair of the 2019 Harvest Moon Regatta, via email, to learn more about this now-classic Southern Coast fall challenge. Posted on 8 Oct
Going really quickly in big boats
And then there were four - and they are pretty different too And then there were four. And they are pretty different too. They are a little like two pairs, if cards are your thing, but by the time the second hulls appear, you wonder Posted on 6 Oct
Mark Towill on The Ocean Race 2021/2022
An interview with Mark Towill about 11th Hour Racing's campaign for The Ocean Race 2021/2022 I checked in with Mark Towill, of 11th Hour Racing, via email, for his thoughts on the 2021/2022 edition of The Ocean Race. Posted on 2 Oct
AC-75s poised to rewrite America's Cup history
Latest Sail-World USA newsletter from David Schmidt If you're anything like me, you've now 'wisely invested' significant parcels of time (obsessively) watching videos of the brand-new AC-75 class yachts, which will be used to contest the 36th America's Cup (March 6-21, 2021), out flying above the water. Posted on 1 Oct
Revealing interview with Stick Daring 'Round UK'
Steve Cockerill talks to Neil Peters after his challenge in aid of Prostate Cancer UK I know Stick Daring (AKA Neil Peters) as a really good Laser sailor; we have raced against each other on the Laser Masters' circuit. Occasionally, Neil would mention his longing to sail around the UK. Posted on 30 Sep
Coconut Oil
All the oils (yes, if you're Australian you'll shave your head and dance) So coconut oil seemed entirely fitting for this final in our SailGP series, seeing as it has loads of good cholesterol, and now that the heat is off after the final has been run, it can return once more to a solid state. Posted on 29 Sep
Robert Dunkley on the 2019 Opti North Americans
An interview with Robert Dunkley about the 2019 Optimist North American Championship I checked in with Robert Dunkley, Director Bahamas National Sailing School, about the 2019 Optimist North American Championship, via email, to learn more about this exciting youth-level championship regatta. Posted on 25 Sep
Festival of Sails 2020 - FOOTERPandB 2019 Autumn Sale - FooterNaiad 660x82px_Tourist