Tornado speed sailing
In their continued drive to innovate not only the former Olympic catamaran, but its race format too, so the International Tornado Association has announced that they are to introduce speedsailing events for the first time at Lindau and Travemunde in Germany this year during the German Tornado Grand Prix over 25-27 June on Lake Constance and the World Tornado Championship on the Bay of Luebeck over 24-28 July.
The new format will come with close action, engrossing battles, slick commentary, short races, legendary skippers and all starting on time.
"Sailing is a sport where traditionally you start a race and then disappear out of sight for hours at a time," said ITA President Roland Gaebler. "That's not the best way to spread the world about our sport.
"We felt there was a real need to change this. To move with the times. To introduce a fresh approach to sailing and to bring it back into the public eye by having all the racing within sight of the land, the racing explained by experts and the event contest by the best sailors in the class.
"We want to demystify sailing and we really feel this is a way of doing it."
The speedsailing events will use a round-robin and knock-out format. They will be contested by six boats with short-courses as close as possible to the shore for spectators and the media.
"We will also have numerous cameras onboard the Tornados and on shore to ensure the best images of the racing are obtained for television," Gaebler continues. "With the Champions Race Series we have already showed that sailing can be more exciting and media friendly than many believed possible and this series surely helped inspire the Olympic Medal Race which won the IOC Golden Rings Award for the best new Olympic TV coverage. This motivates us to continue to try and test new event formats in a bid to spread the word about our sport with the public and the sailing community."
All this, of course, is another step in the ITA's campaign to have the Tornado re-instated as the Olympic catamaran for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.