Weight problem for the Yngling

Jo Grindley reports on the new Olympic women's keelboat's struggle to sort out a crew weight limit
Last November the Yngling was voted in by ISAF as the women's keelboat discipline for the 2004 Olympic Games. This coming weekend will see the first RYA Yngling training, (in Sonars, as there are no Yngling currently in the UK) laid on to search out potential crews and helms who may or may not have previously considered an Olympic campaign. The RYA reports that interest has been so great that extra weekends have been scheduled in. As gold medallists Mark Reynolds and Jesper Bank in the Star and Soling classes have shown, age is not a disadvantage in keelboat sailing. The RYA have had enquiries from potential Yngling crews aged 18 through to their late 30s. A quarter of those applying have just come out of the youth squad, half those who have already been competing on the women's match race circuit for the past four years, but also talented women sailors from non-Olympic or youth classes. There have also been a surprising number of calls from ex-pats currently living abroad also interested in giving the Yngling a go. Shirley Robertson told madforsailing that she may well look at another Olympic campaign in the Yngling this winter pending ISAF's decision on whether or not to introduce a weight limit. So we decided to look into what developments have been made in the Yngling class since last November's decision to make it Olympic. The Yngling is an established class with fleets mainly sailing in Denmark, USA and Australia. Class rules specify there is no crew weight limitation, the optimum all-up crew weight is said to be between 220-240 kilos giving an average crew weight of 73-80 kilos. In essence this would mean a lighter helm at maybe 70 kilos and two crew weighing 85 kilos each. This is maybe viable in North America