Response to World Sailing Petition re 2024 Olympics Equipment Selection
by Roy Dunster
Anyone has the right to start a petition. However, when it’s as misleading as the one about the equipment for the 2024 Sailing Olympic Games, it deserves a response. Some of the impressions that you might have from the petition motivation:
1. Our sport is under imminent threat!
2. The very future of our sport is at risk!
3. Accessible classes like the Laser Radial will be excluded from the Olympics!
4. Up to 8 of the 10 current Olympic classes will be dropped for Paris 2024!
5. The above will crush the dreams of countless aspirant Olympians!
6. The format under discussion sees the Finn, 470 Men and Women, Windsurfer Men and Women, Laser and Laser Radial all possibly dropped from the 2024 Olympics! (for the record, that = 7, not 8 classes…)
7. The range of sailor weights and body sizes will drop further!
That’s nice copywriting…
However, here’s the reality:
• Progress requires Change, and that is likely to be uncomfortable
• There are currently 5 Olympic events under review for 2024 – see this post on the World Sailing website http://www.sailing.org/news/86873.php#.WvITZIiFPIU
o Men’s Windsurfer (also subject to an anti-trust review)
o Women’s Windsurfer (also subject to an anti-trust review) o Men’s One-Person Dinghy Heavyweight (Finn)
o Men’s Two-Person Dinghy (470)
o Women’s Two-Person Dinghy (470)
• You’ll note that the Men’s and Women’s One-Person Dinghy events (currently the Laser and Laser Radial) are specifically not part of that list o However, based on World Sailing’s new anti-trust policy (adopted in November 2017), the Laser is going through a separate anti-trust review. The purpose is to ensure that sailors, MNAs Authorities and Olympic teams are receiving a high-quality product and service from the manufacturers at competitive market prices https://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2018/01/12/olympic-events-antitrust-review/
o This also strengthens World Sailing’s compliance with EU competition law o Under this review, it is technically possible that if the brand is found to be exploiting its market (and makes no attempt to rectify this), it could be excluded from the Olympics. There is nothing wrong with holding equipment suppliers to account
• You might also know that the sailboard class has changed frequently since boards were introduced at the 1984 Olympics https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sailboarding_at_the_Summer_Olympics o In other words, changing windsurfing equipment for the 2024 is not the same as deleting the discipline. Here’s the Report by the 2024 Events and Equipment Working Committee - http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/2024EventsEquipmentWPReport30.04.18FINALUp dated-.pdf
• One of the proposals mooted is for a small keelboat in a Mixed Offshore Distance Race o I haven’t seen any discussion about crew weight limits o Presumably, if this proposal is accepted, the range of sailor weights in 2024 could, in fact, increase.
Summarising the above, the authors have not bothered to ensure the accuracy of their information in the petition about the classes which could be affected by equipment selection for the 2024 Olympics, despite it being freely available on the Internet. However, I guess that they were well aware that what they did write would be more useful for gaining support for their petition… However, the problem is not just their inability to make accurate lists… Sailors / Clubs / Classes
The petition authors have made a nice, emotional appeal but it’s hard to understand how changing some classes at the Olympics will wipe out yacht clubs. Maybe it would make more sense to turn their attention to how best to use the Olympics to make non-sailors, especially young people, want to take up the sport (and increase yacht club membership in the process).
The Report by the 2024 Events and Equipment Working Committee shows just how ineffective the current disciplines are at achieving that.