Tornado excluded from Rio 2016 equipment trials

German Tornado ace has a rant about the proposed spec for the mixed Olympic catamaran

Friday September 23rd 2011, Author: Roland Gaebler, Location: none selected

Roland Gaebler writes: 

The original Tornado with Mixed Teams will not be allowed to sail at the ISAF evaluation trails: We are shocked. We cannot believe it. The way ISAF presented the rules for the Mixed-Multihull evaluation trails, the Tornado Class cannot compete.

The Tornado class is the forerunner in Mixed Multihull Sailing and has a great Olympic History. But ISAF's technical committees do not respect this. The Tornado like it is has no chance to reach the starting line of the evaluation event in spring 2012.

We criticise following points:

20-Foot Container

They restricted the length of the new multihull to be maximum 5,898m (the inner length of an 20ft container). But no one in sailing travel swith a 20ft container - it's too small and not eco-friendly and sometimes more expensive than a 40ft container. If you want travel in an eco-friendly way with multihulls (10 Tornados in one Container) and RIBs (coachboats), the sailing world has used 40ft containers for decades. So why restriction to the length to what will fit in a 20ft container?

2-piece mast

Such a mast is heavier. It’s more complicated to make it watertight. After a while the joint/conjunction becomes loose and the mast changes its bending characteristics. This has nothing to do with strict one design. You can change mast bending a lot by playing with the conjunction. Also there is a risk of it breaking and leaking in a simple capsize.

120-140kg crew weights

Another class aside from the 470, windsurfers and 49ers for light weight teams. An average man of 80kgs or more has no chance any more. The Finn Class is the clear winner of all. Every person above 80kgs must sail a Finn. The Star is out, the match race women too. Women and men with an average or higher weight have no chance to sail a mixed multihull. Many mixed multihull teams weight above 140kgs, yet the new average weight of a mixed team should be 130kgs? This actual disqualifies 50% of all mixed sailing teams.

What weight statistics have ISAF used? If you watch real Olympic Athletes and normal average weight statistics, we end up above 140kgs. Read more here

The 120-140kg team weights with an average of 130kg forces bulimia for Olympic Athletes. Check this out.

National Sailing Federations - MNAs

They lost the Star. They lost the Elliots. Now they have lost the Tornados, which are ready to sail on all continents. Let’s ask the MNAs what they think about this. Every four years the MNAs have to buy new Olympic sailing equipment? Who will finance this?


ISAF want to have a small boat. The media will have less interest in this. Sailors will get fewer sponsors. This means: Downsize Olympic Multihull Sailing and the media will show no interest any more.

ISAF Committees

If you look carefully inside the technical committees of the ISAF, you see sailors with great commercial interest who create the rules the way it fits perfectly to their boats/products they sell. The Tornado Class is a real non-profit organisation. Now commercial interest of some sailors makes the rules and has kicked the Tornado out before it can reach the starting line of ISAF trials. What do you call this?

ISAF must act now!

There is only one way to come out of this dilemma. Chance the rules and allow the original Tornado to compete in the ISAF evaluation trials!


Latest Comments

  • SimonNelson 26/09/2011 - 12:15

    While I have the greatest respect for the fact that Roland has saied the T with a mixed crew, I find it hard to support the idea that the T is at all suited to being a compulsory mixed class. In addition, Roland needs to understand that his view is tainted by a standard Anglo-Saxon view of size and gives no consideration to others such as those from Asian. Finally, he suggests some might be acting in their own commercial self interests which, knowing the people involved is pretty offensive. If he botheres to check the weight range for the womens skiff and then compared it with, say, the 49er, you would come out with the proposed weight range they have. Sour grapes, bad research and insulting well meaninged people is one of the things that led to the T being thrown out in the first place. While the majority of the cat world learnt from that, it seems that Roland must be a hangover from the bad old days.

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