ISAF Olympic Commision report - our thoughts

Carlo Borlenghi /
We focus on the competition, equipment and the world championship/Sailing World Cup/rankings confusion
Having pondered the ISAF Olympic Commission’s report we come away with several thoughts. One of our main concerns is that in complying with the IOC’s demands, there is a strong possibility of compromising the competitive aspect of the Olympic sailing. Sailing is a wind-driven sport and the reason why Olympic medals are decided in a series of races rather than one single race is that it allows the best sailor to be determined on average, ideally over a range of conditions, while also removing the ‘chance’ element (a criticism that four years ago was being levelled at the medal race). Olympic sailors will no doubt argue that dramatically altering the race format – shortening course, reducing the number of races, etc – will turn the racing into too much of a lottery. Is it worth sailors training full time for four to six years if the Olympics are to be decided like this? So great care must be taken here. With the choice equipment, the boats used in the Games, there is much more to it than merely what are nice boats or what has been used historically. The equipment is key to complying with the IOC’s criteria for how they rate sailing. Ignoring completely the heritage of the classes, the equipment demands are being pulled in two directions – one satisfying the IOC’s demands for ‘universality’, cheap kit that is readily available in any far-flung corner of the globe, the other to showcase what a cool, exciting, TV audience-gripping sport sailing can be. Meanwhile the sailors themselves want either for there to be no change (stick with what you know, the boat you have trained in for x many years) or for more exciting, contemporary (and typically more expensive) boats. Given the IOC’s demands then the best course of action would