Rio 2016 equipment - our view

Photo: Franco Pace
Keelboats out - mixed multihull and women's skiff in
The ISAF Mid-Year Meeting held at the end of last week in St Petersburg, saw an acceptable if not necessarily logical decision made on the events for the Olympic Games in Rio 2016. However the meeting did nothing to allay the widely-held view that ISAF, and in particular the four yearly decision over the sailing equipment for the Olympics, remains a political quagmire. Incredibly, following the recommendations by the ISAF Events Committee to dispense with the men’s keelboat and women’s match racing in favour of a mixed catamaran and a women’s skiff, so the Executive Committee – that is the top echelon within ISAF - attempted to stage an 11th hour coup at the end of last week by recommending keelboats at the expense of...get this... the skiffs. No one saw that coming. It seemed as if all the hard work and subsequent recommendations made by Phil Jones and his team at the now disbanded ISAF Olympic Commission had never happened. Our esteemed colleague Andy Rice reports that the sailing world was just one vote away from the skiffs getting flicked from Rio 2016. If ever there was a good reason for the voting infrastructure within ISAF to be raised to the ground... As to the ultimate outcome, it is not ground breaking but equally not a complete disaster. The loss of the men’s keelboat will detract from Olympic sailing – particularly given that Brazil, the host nation for 2016, is so strong in this class with, for example, two Olympic legends, Torben Grael and Robert Scheidt, gunning for the spot for London 2012. The Star does succeed in attracting some of the ‘big names’ from our sport, however as an Olympic discipline it is too expensive. Of course it could have been replaced by a cheaper more contemporary strict one design