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Ben Ainslie’s Thought on Olympic Classes

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Chew my RS View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Chew my RS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Ben Ainslie’s Thought on Olympic Classes
    Posted: 08 Aug 08 at 2:47pm

From the interview on the Y&Y homepage:

 “I don’t think people are actually looking at the requirements of the sailors. You need a boat for people over 90 kg to sail. Yes, you have the Star but to sail that you have to be either personally wealthy or very good at finding sponsorship. There are a number of classes for sailors between 60 – 80 kg. I don’t see the reason for having two men’s double handed boats and I think the 470 women should be replaced by the 29er. High performance boats like the Moth and Tornado are fantastic to watch go in a straight line but they do not offer the same physical or tactical challenges of other boats. I guess it depends if we are chasing classes which look good or which offer the sailors a better challenge. For me, the Finn is a great boat. It is a real mix of physical, tactical and technical challenges.”

Interesting and forthright view from someone who's opinion really does matter.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 08 at 3:13pm
Well if I was the best Finn sailor in the world I'd want it retained as an Olympic class too ... but to be fair to Ben I think he'd be the best at any class he chose to sail.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Chew my RS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 08 at 3:20pm

Sounds to me like he thinks the mens and womens 470 should be dropped.

Another thing, whilst you may well have to be wealthy to sail a Star, I've heard a Finn mast costs around £4,000 and I suspect that pales into insignificance compared to the overall campaign costs, so not sure how valid that argument is.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil eltringham Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 08 at 4:42pm
the 470 should be a compulsary mixed class, ie one man and one woman in each boat, (does not matter who does what) but that way there is room for a girls asymmetric and there is still a symmetric presence in the games
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Post Options Post Options   Quote giraffe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 08 at 6:19pm
i think £4k is way off the mark for a Finn mast.  Maybe euro 3000
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jamie600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 08 at 6:37pm

 

A Star mast is even more high-tech than a Finn mast, plus the sails which I believe have a fairly short competitive life. The main difference between a Finn campaign and a Star campaign is the logistics costs, a Finn can be transported relatively easily or you could even do what the Laser and 49er sailors do and have a boat on each continent but imagine how much it costs to ship a Star halfway round the world

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Post Options Post Options   Quote k_kirk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Aug 08 at 11:48am
Originally posted by Chew my RS

Interesting and forthright view from someone who's opinion really does matter.


I like Ben so please don't take this the wrong way. I really want him on the podium with another gold. But... Why do you think his opinion really matter so much and do you really think he is objective?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote DiscoBall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Aug 08 at 10:35pm
Right on the money k_kirk. 

If I wanted advice on how to make a boat go fast I can think of no better person than Ben (other than maybe a certain R. Coutts....), however if I wanted an objective assessment of olympic class selections....

Robert Deaves' interviews with the Finn class experts are always insightful but the class propaganda piece on the end always grates - no other olympic class does this.

"High performance boats like the Moth and Tornado are fantastic to watch go in a straight line but they do not offer the same physical or tactical challenges"

maybe the tactical side may be true of the tornado which takes a big hit to its vmg for any turn and so needs to drag race the corners.  But a foiler loses very little vmg (I'd guess...) through a gybe so its tactical options are probably a lot more interesting than Finns (trundling downwind at hull speed line astern...) in 8kts.

The real opinions that matter are those of the viewing public (and to a lesser extent the viewing sailors).  If they don't watch then sailing will get eliminated from the games medal by medal.  Accessiblity, Weight ranges etc are small fry alongside TV appeal.  Classes at both ends of the spectrum (i.e. Tornado - fast, Finn - tactical) have had decades to draw the audiences but they don't, which just proves that TV appeal is a complex b*gger

On the physicality, yes the finn is a damn tough boat for the biggest and strongest of guys but I bet to the layman it just looks like some bloke sitting around.  Show a moth video to a non-sailor and the response is very different (usually - 'that's impossible!' ).  They can immediately appreciate the physical ability/fitness required.

Guess it's all irrelevant anyway - even if ISAF got together a decent range of classes (that subjective little beast...) and could really put on a great show for the sport they'd probably squander it by painting all the boats white, filming them from miles away and letting the olympic regatta be held somewhere with a distinct absence of wind..

That said...GO Ben, GO Team GBR!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote k_kirk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 08 at 4:22am
"High performance boats like the Moth and Tornado are fantastic to watch go in a straight line but they do not offer the same physical or tactical challenges"

Come to think of it, that race 1 final downwind will make his ears go red each time he is reminded of that comment I guess. All he had to do was to go in a straight line to the finish after all but I suppose he got trapped in a tactical challenge as it were... So even the best of the best and possibly all time best can get to eat humble pie occasionally. And erm, the moth does not offer physical challenges??? Right!!!.

Wishing all the best to Ben and Team GBR. Today the 9'ers are on so lets hope for some decent breeze for the aesthetics.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote allanorton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 08 at 8:05am

I agree with Ben, I think there are more skills needed to be able to catch waves and sail low on the runs, and then to be able to sail fast on the reaches, than there is to just sail for vmg on every down wind leg.

49er crews would be a lot bigger if they had to sail a couple of reaches & a run rather than two runs, I think that the skill/effort of being able to hold a kite to a wing mark or decide to drop, is lost in the 49er, I would like to see them do a triangle, it may add an aspect excitement when the winds up!

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