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Does sailing sexually discriminate at top level?

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Category: Dinghy classes
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Printed Date: 16 May 22 at 8:16am
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Topic: Does sailing sexually discriminate at top level?
Posted By: Do Different
Subject: Does sailing sexually discriminate at top level?
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 8:03am
If not, then why are we running trials for a new ladies Olympic skiff?

At Club and National level both sexes race on equal terms in the same boats. At my old club we were led very competently by a young lady commodore and my present club one of our top helms is a lady in a big two person trapeze boat.

The size and strength differences are not that great with modern diets. Why not let ladies who are big / good enough sail a 49er  and smaller men sail a McKay FX.

Before I took up dinghy racing I used to compete in equestrian events so am well used to going head to head with very fired up ladies! At Olympic level there is no discrimination and in professional racing both flat and over jumps ladies now have equal status.



Replies:
Posted By: winging it
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 8:16am
oh god, can I even be bothered.....

women are constucted differently to men, with narrower shoulders and broader hips, They typically do not grow as tall, and have different muscle composition.

Look at athletics - women do not run as fast, jump as high, throw as far as men, simply because they are built differently.

Allowing woment to sail less physically demanding craft than men is therefore a necessary and welcome discrimination.


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the same, but different...



Posted By: alstorer
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 8:38am
Until 1988, all the olympic yachting was "open", but with very few female competitors in any class. Even at the 2008 beijing games, three out of the eleven events were officially open- the Finn, 49er and Tornado. A single female ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carolijn_Brouwer_%28sailor%29 - Carolijn Brouwer ) competed in the Tornado- she came 12th.
 At the 2016 games, the cat will be enforced-mixed.
So what we see is that the "segregation" happened naturally anyway, but that in its modern form (with defined segregated events) you actually women in sailing at the Olympics.
 
As wingining it says, physiology is quite different between men and woman, even of the same stature. As all the olympic classes have become more atheltically demanding at the top level, these differences are emphasised- whereas at lower level/less athletic classes these fundamental differences are less important.


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Al


Posted By: Medway Maniac
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 9:46am
I'm normally in the absolute merit camp on positive discrimination - if a job needs doing, it needs doing best.  But in sailing there is no imperative 'need' , and fact is sailing clubs are much more pleasant places and more likely to thrive if we have both sexes well represented.  Currently there is a shortfall of women; anything which increases women's interest in sailing is therefore positive.

That said, I'm not sure the majority of women would find single-sex racing as socially attractive as mixed racing, so I'm all for making the 470, say, a mixed fleet - must have one woman and one man on board.  Remember Cathy Foster and Pete Newlands? They went pretty well.  I, at any rate, find sailing a mixed boat more enjoyable - less pressure somehow, as most of the women I know aren't so frantically competitive as the men.


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Posted By: rogue
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 10:15am
Originally posted by Medway Maniac

That said, I'm not sure the majority of women would find single-sex racing as socially attractive as mixed racing

I dunno, at the club I sailed at as a kid a lot of the mums decided to get together in Toppers and start some Thursday Night sailing for women only- it was a mix of cruising and racing, all very lighthearted and about encouragement rather than all out competition.  The numbers swelled year on year, it added another social night on the week calendar (blokes and kids were allowed in the bar afterwards)

It became a real success that then boosted the number welly-wearers on Sundays for yacht crews- one thing's for sure, having a mixed crew on a racing yacht is a much more fun way to trash some estuary cans than just blokes treating it like the the Sydney-Hobart and taking it all wheeeey too seriously for sunday racing. 

 


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Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 11:49am
Does sailing sexually discriminate at the top level?
 
I would say yes and for various reasons.
 
If the discrimination is for genuine differences, fair enough.
If the discrimination is based on pre-judged assumtions (prejudice masquerading as discrimination for genuine differences) then it's not OK.
 
I have never in my life come a cross an organisation that didn't display prejudice of one kind or another and the recipient quite often colludes in order to fit in (confluence). The only possible way of avoiding sexual (or any other) discrimination is to have equal numbers with equal influence making decisions.....since this is probably impossible in organisations and certainly isn't anywhere near the case in sailing (or anywhere else come to that), then yes there is discrimination.
 
Judging from what I've seen at various clubs prejudice on this issue does seem more prevalent in sailing than in many other institutions. There are worse sports probably, but that doesn't justify, particularly because olympic sailing has a female category.
 
Example at lower level FWIW:
Our club has a Ladies Championship. The trophy is named the "Dolly Bowl". My wife in past years has been more than capable of winning it but she's not interested...."I'm not a fecking Dolly" is how she sums it up.
 
Not an easy problem to solve, being aware of it does help. Pointing it out generally goes down like a turd in a punch bowl though.


Posted By: Contender443
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 12:21pm
I think the Toppers are now offering prizes to 1st 2nd 3rd male and also to 1st 2nd 3rd female. SO equal billing to each sex within a fleet. They recognise in racing and training that each sex has different needs.
It is still believed that single sex classes in schools makes good sense.
 
As far as equestrian events go is it not the horse that is doing all the physical work and it does not the rider that matters.


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Bonnie Lass Contender 1764


Posted By: alstorer
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 12:59pm
The rider needs to have a fair degree of fitness (and be pretty light)

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-_
Al


Posted By: bert
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 1:38pm
Originally posted by winging it

oh god, can I even be bothered.....

women are constucted differently to men, with narrower shoulders and broader hips, They typically do not grow as tall, and have different muscle composition.

Look at athletics - women do not run as fast, jump as high, throw as far as men, simply because they are built differently.

Allowing woment to sail less physically demanding craft than men is therefore a necessary and welcome discrimination.
 
+1
 
 


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Posted By: Medway Maniac
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 1:43pm
Originally posted by GK.LaserII


Our club has a Ladies Championship. The trophy is named the "Dolly Bowl". My wife in past years has been more than capable of winning it but she's not interested...."I'm not a fecking Dolly" is how she sums it up.

 
We used to boycott the Ladies Race at my old club - all the arguments in favour of it pointed to having a crews' race instead.  

But I recall the comments afterwards like "I see Geoff won the Ladies Race again", which did at least acknowledge/promote the idea that the crew's input was important!


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Posted By: a_dowley
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 2:05pm
This mixed idea is great because it does allow both sexes to compete.

But how does it work in nations which have different religious views? I am no religion expert but I am guessing that some religions won't allow you to go sailing for 200 days a year with someone who is not your partner/wife/husband.

This has always been a concern for me, are we going to lose those nations in sailing at the highest level?


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Posted By: Medway Maniac
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 2:25pm
It'll just provide more pressure on them to enter the 19th, if not 20th or 21st centuries.

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Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 2:38pm
Originally posted by Medway Maniac

Originally posted by GK.LaserII


Our club has a Ladies Championship. The trophy is named the "Dolly Bowl". My wife in past years has been more than capable of winning it but she's not interested...."I'm not a fecking Dolly" is how she sums it up.

 
We used to boycott the Ladies Race at my old club - all the arguments in favour of it pointed to having a crews' race instead.  

But I recall the comments afterwards like "I see Geoff won the Ladies Race again", which did at least acknowledge/promote the idea that the crew's input was important!
 
 
LOLThat sounds familiar
 
I did suggest we rename the "Dolly Bowl" to something more appropriate...Some bright spark suggested the "Crumpet Cup"......even my wife laughed.


Posted By: Do Different
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 7:49pm
Mmmmmm. Very interesting. 

If Winging It with her background of experience and exploits doesn't think it's a question and would not favour a free for all. 
It looks as if at top level having equal nerve, skill and determination would not be enough to cancel out the physical differences and go head to head.


Posted By: winging it
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 8:26pm
unfortunately, when you're sailing at the highest level little things matter most, and almost every competitor will have the same amount of nerve, skill and determination, otherwise they wouldn't make it that far, but the men will almost always be stronger than the women, so it would not be a level playing field.  Women can compete equally with men at club level because the differences in skill between top and bottom are greater, as are the margins of error.

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the same, but different...



Posted By: laser4000
Date Posted: 05 Apr 12 at 11:49pm
In skiffs there is a difference likewise clearly Finns. Less clear in something like a laser radial

totally equal in something like team racing - for example the current BUSA 1st team title holders include a female helm, Claire Lasko who is also the reigning ladies national team champion and more than capable of handing it out to the lads..




Posted By: ham4sand
Date Posted: 06 Apr 12 at 1:10am
in the same vein, does sprinting discriminate between sexes, surely women should be able to run against usain... they would do fantastically ;) 

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Posted By: alstorer
Date Posted: 06 Apr 12 at 1:35am
Originally posted by a_dowley

This mixed idea is great because it does allow both sexes to compete.

But how does it work in nations which have different religious views? I am no religion expert but I am guessing that some religions won't allow you to go sailing for 200 days a year with someone who is not your partner/wife/husband.

This has always been a concern for me, are we going to lose those nations in sailing at the highest level?

f*** em. There's already a campaign (which I support) to ban Saudi Arabia from London 2012 unless they bring women. Given they basically ban women from doing sport within their own country, this is unlikely- but then the IOC and our government are too spineless to ban them



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Al


Posted By: mongrel
Date Posted: 06 Apr 12 at 8:59am
Originally posted by alstorer

Originally posted by a_dowley

This mixed idea is great because it does allow both sexes to compete.

But how does it work in nations which have different religious views? I am no religion expert but I am guessing that some religions won't allow you to go sailing for 200 days a year with someone who is not your partner/wife/husband.

This has always been a concern for me, are we going to lose those nations in sailing at the highest level?

f*** em. There's already a campaign (which I support) to ban Saudi Arabia from London 2012 unless they bring women. Given they basically ban women from doing sport within their own country, this is unlikely- but then the IOC and our government are too spineless to ban them

+1


Posted By: ex laser
Date Posted: 06 Apr 12 at 1:10pm
Originally posted by mongrel

Originally posted by alstorer

Originally posted by a_dowley

This mixed idea is great because it does allow both sexes to compete.

But how does it work in nations which have different religious views? I am no religion expert but I am guessing that some religions won't allow you to go sailing for 200 days a year with someone who is not your partner/wife/husband.

This has always been a concern for me, are we going to lose those nations in sailing at the highest level?

f*** em. There's already a campaign (which I support) to ban Saudi Arabia from London 2012 unless they bring women. Given they basically ban women from doing sport within their own country, this is unlikely- but then the IOC and our government are too spineless to ban them

+1

+2 blaime the i.o.c


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Posted By: Menace
Date Posted: 06 Apr 12 at 5:13pm
Originally posted by Do Different

If not, then why are we running trials for a new ladies Olympic skiff?

At Club and National level both sexes race on equal terms in the same boats. At my old club we were led very competently by a young lady commodore and my present club one of our top helms is a lady in a big two person trapeze boat.

The size and strength differences are not that great with modern diets. Why not let ladies who are big / good enough sail a 49er  and smaller men sail a McKay FX.

Before I took up dinghy racing I used to compete in equestrian events so am well used to going head to head with very fired up ladies! At Olympic level there is no discrimination and in professional racing both flat and over jumps ladies now have equal status.
 
I actually think it's a bl00dy good idea. I say this because as I've said before I sail as a mixed team in skiffs. We've done 14s and 49ers and my better half is the best crew I've ever had. She's agile, quick and has more balls than the blokes I used to sail with. This is not just my opinion as we have a few mixed teams local to us sailing 49ers and FWIW, seem to be as good as, if not better than the local Olympic wannabes. We sail the boat because we like it, but it would have been nice to have the same options as others in the class, actually, we are discriminated against.
 
The talk of "girls aren't physical enough for skiffs" is rubbish. Good skiff sailors are athletic and agile, not rugby players. My crew couldn't sail a Phantom competitively due to the weight aspect, but skiffs are different. I've lost count of the ammount of times we've caught funny looks as the two big blokes sailing the boats can't do it properly but we can. A lot is based on a wrong perception. Julian Bethwaite designed the 49er to be sailed at a top level, indiscriminant of sex. I think he got it right, just too many people associate a challenging boat with a guys boat.
 
The problem lies in the fact that more men sail than women, so the odds are more in favour of more males being competitive at a higher level. If you had open in all classes, it would be male dominated in my opinion, so segregating the classes may be a necesary evil. The easiest way to get round it is Male, Female and mixed in all disciplines. Mixed skiff would be 49er with open rig selection like the 18s, you make the choice of the FX or big rig.


Posted By: Contender443
Date Posted: 07 Apr 12 at 9:25am

I think they should be kept separate. Yes one or two few women could do perhaps do well in mixed fleets but you can bet it will be dominated by men.

So the only way to go is to keep the men and women apart with equal numbers competing. There are very few sports where men and women compete equally and in the same competition. And there is a good reason for this.
 
As far as banning Saudi what a stupid idea. That is a very strong cultural belief that banning them will do absolutly nothing to change. We should not try to change it and we should respect it. Yes it may be wrong in our eyes but in their culture it is the norm. 


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Posted By: Medway Maniac
Date Posted: 07 Apr 12 at 10:23am
Originally posted by Contender443

I think they should be kept separate. 


What about one of each sex in each boat?  Guarantees equal participation and probably enhances integration c.f. separate fleets.


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Posted By: winging it
Date Posted: 07 Apr 12 at 12:27pm
Mark, a cultural norm should only be respected if it is accepted and agreed upon by the entire population of that country.  In Saudi Arabia not only are women prevented from competing in sport, they are not even allowed to drive, despite much movement from the people of the country to change the legislation.  Unfortunately a male dominated legislature maintains the status quo.  Is that really to be respected and left alone?

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the same, but different...



Posted By: Medway Maniac
Date Posted: 07 Apr 12 at 12:52pm
But banning...

I think it's likely more persuasive to say, "this is the way we're do things, you can join in if you play to our rules" 
rather than saying, "you can't come, we don't like the way you do things at home (we know best after all)".  The latter would tend to harden attitudes, I'd have thought.

On the other hand, we absolutely shouldn't change our rules to accommodate them, as someone suggested above.


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Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 07 Apr 12 at 1:12pm
Banning would isolate those cultures, this in turn ends any dialogue and influence, they would stop listening......Better to invite them along and continue bending their ear politely but firmly.
 
It's the theory of persistent influence, it only works if there is friendly(ish) and honest communication.


Posted By: kurio99
Date Posted: 07 Apr 12 at 1:40pm
Sailing is probably one of the few sports where you can tailor the apparatus to the group's physical norm.  Look at high jump which favours those with tall genes.  Or horse racing which favours those with small genes.  Put the women in the 49ers and you could be giving the advantage to those few that are exceptionally large boned.  With the new skiff, we can target the main body of women for their athleticism rather than their genetics.


Posted By: alstorer
Date Posted: 07 Apr 12 at 7:22pm
it is worth reiterating that the cat event in rio (assuming ISAF don't do something dumb, again) is to be enforced mixed crew.

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Al



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