Here we go again . . . World Sailing have played their Joker again.
Just as they did to get the ‘Mixed One Person Dinghy’ event switched to become the ‘Mixed Two-Person Offshore Keelboat’, the World Sailing (WS) Board has issued ‘An urgent submission from the Board’.
This submission, M01-19, to the World Sailing Mid-Year Meeting, 17 – 19 May in London is :
‘To propose a different procedure for the selection of the equipment for the Mixed Two Person Keelboat Offshore event’.
This now seems to be the standard procedure for the WS Board when faced with the blindingly obvious.
Just as with the ‘Mixed One Person Dinghy’ non-event it is only after it has been foisted on the members that the real-world situation is beginning to be seen.
The urgent submission by the WS Board gives as its main reason for this submission:
That the event should be aimed at testing the offshore sailing skills of athletes and should not allow an equipment ‘arms race’
When you have Olympic dinghy sailors shuttling up to three boats around the world, and constantly swapping sails and masts for three years in order qualify for Tokyo 2020, why did they think it was going to be any different in the Offshore Keelboat?
The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) organised British Sailing Team (budget £25,757,417 per cycle) has already announced that they are to join with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) to develop double-handed offshore sailing in the UK.
This will presumably allow their selected participents to take advantage of UK Sport funding as part of the British Sailing Team.
A major stumbling block for the Offshore Keelboat selection as it stands is that . . . Under current Regulation 23.1.3(e), the selection of equipment for the Mixed Two Person Keelboat Offshore event for the 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition must be made by 31 December 2019.
Realising that is totally un-realistic, the WS Board now proposes that the Equipment be chosen, ‘no later than 31 December 2023, Council shall select the Equipment for the Event from the list approved under Regulation 23.1.9(a).’
Thus moving selection of the first Olympic offshore keelboat to just six months before the Games.
The WS Board submission wants to establish a ‘Long List’ at the November 2019 Annual Conference to:
‘ensure that the most diverse number of MNAs and the largest possible group of sailors will be able to train and plan for the Olympic Games.’
‘The ‘long list’ of equipment will provide event organisers, MNAs and sailors with opportunities to train, compete at events and host Olympic Qualification Events in equipment that is readily available and affordable in their continent.’
And . . . ‘Equipment selected (from) for the Olympic Qualification Events and Olympic Games will be chosen from the ‘long list’.’
No mention is made of how this ‘long list’ will be compiled, although a lot of manufacturers will no doubt be getting in contact with WS to get ‘their choice’ on the list ASAP.
Also no information has been released, or is contained in this submission, as to just how anyone will qualify for this event at Paris 2024.
And just to add fuel to the fire, World Sailing recently announced the selection of the L30, a 30-foot one design keelboat, as the supplied equipment for their Offshore World Championship scheduled from 2020.
But no doubt all these loose ends will be solved by ‘An urgent submission from the Board’ as we get closer to the Games.