Catamarans in Rio

Tornado class Chairman and World Champion brings us up to speed with a possible new design...
When it comes to catamaran enthusiasts, few are more passionate than Sydney Tornado bronze medallist, German Roland Gaebler. He is Chairman of the International Tornado Class Association and current World Champion, a title he won last year sailing with wife Nahid. So he is understandably pleased at the moment: firstly with the prospect of a catamaran returning to the Olympic Games in 2016 and secondly that the present proposal has it as a mixed class. Currently all the Olympic classes are hanging on for the ISAF Mid-Year Meeting, due to take place in St Petersburg, Russia over 4-8 May. At this meeting it is believed the ‘events’ for the 2016 Olympics will be finalised, but in some cases not the equipment which will subsequently be subject to evaluation trials [read our interview with Carolyn Brouwer about this here]. One event where the equipment is likely to be up for evaluation is the catamaran. “At the moment we are the only [catamaran] class that wants to go back to the Olympics,” states Gaebler. “The F18 class has said it is not good for them, but if we go to an evaluation event maybe some other boats will come.” Gaebler is obviously keen for the Tornado to be chosen and the class has already taken steps to try and ensure that the 44 year old Rodney March design is reinstated, by in particular making the boat even more one-design and reducing costs – the case for the Tornado can be read here. In particular the sails are now one design and a full set lasting the year can be purchased for 3,500 Euros. While parts of the Tornado may be getting long in the tooth, the class has not been afraid to upgrade it. Prior to Athens a spinnaker and extra trapeze were added and