Please select your home edition
Edition
Melges IC37 2019 Leaderboard

World Sailing's chance to move sailing forwards... will they take it?

by Mark Jardine 14 May 14:00 BST
A Laser and RS Aero battle it out at the GJW Direct Bloody Mary 2019 © Mark Jardine

A big decision is coming up this weekend for sailing. The decision makers are those right at the centre of the sport's governing body: World Sailing's Council. The question is, will they support their own appointed evaluators, or even vote on the decision at all?

World Sailing conducted the 2024 Olympic Men's and Women's One Person Dinghy Equipment trials in March and recently announced the RS Aero as the top scorer. The Evaluation Panel dedicated time and effort to the process, developing a scoring matrix against which the four designs were scored based on the evaluation criteria for the event. The RS Aero scored 80%, the Laser 69%, the Melges 14 54% and the D-Zero 52%.

This Sunday World Sailing's Council are set to vote on the choice. Will they go with the Evaluation Panel's recommendations? Will they even vote at all? Such as the processes and machinations within World Sailing, it's incredibly hard to predict either question, but my best guess for each one is 'no'.

Each class and discipline within sailing has its own support group and sailing is not alone in having lobby groups which put forward the case for their particular craft, be that through their MNA*, contacting Council members, writing PR for their class, setting up petitions on Change.org or getting famous sailors to write on Facebook usually a combination of all of the above.

The Laser or ILCA class has been in turmoil lately with the argument between LaserPerformance and the International Laser Class Association. Is this really a class in a fit state to continue to be regarded as the Olympic One Person Dinghy?

I sail a Laser down at my local club most weekends. I'm not sure I can call it a Laser, Weekender, ILCA or Kirby Torch as it's covered in clone parts; the boom is by TridentUK, the sail by Rooster, the rudder was made by John Claridge, the kicker by Allen Brothers and the ratchet block by Barton Marine. The hull was made in 1978 - I've found it was originally a fetching orange - and does me just fine for club racing, but the sport of sailing has moved on and modern, eye-catching, comfier boats such as the Aero are here and are just more fun to sail.

My old Frankenlaser does the job, but it is not comfortable to hike and the mainsheet wrapping on the transom during gybes still bugs me. I know I can get around this half of the time with technique, but it can still happen to the best sailors!

The companies involved in the Equipment Trials put huge amounts of time, effort and money into attending these events, as do World Sailing's Evaluation Panel. If, as has happened before, the Council ignore the recommendations and instead listen to the loudest voices on social media and their inbox, then World Sailing risks alienating the industry, disenfranchising its own volunteers and failing in its duty of care for the sport.

World Sailing's Council has an opportunity to move the sport of sailing forwards on the Olympic stage, or it can just bow to the pressure of intransigent groups. Let's see after the weekend how things have panned out. Maybe, just maybe, they could have faith in their Evaluation Panel and endorse their exhaustive scoring process.

* MNA Member National Authority

Related Articles

Do jump on board
Two weeks ago in All aboard the bandwagon! we looked at the new Offshore event for 2024 Two weeks ago in All aboard the bandwagon! we looked at the new Offshore event that will be part of the 2024 Paris (Marseilles) Olympics. Nick from Hobart was one who expressed his own opinion, and allows me to share his sentiments here. Posted on 15 Sep
Spectacular YJA MS Amlin Awards Gala Dinner
YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year 2019 announced The YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and the YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year Awards were presented during a Gala Dinner at the Grand Café Southampton on the 13th September, following on from Press Day at the Southampton International Boat Show. Posted on 14 Sep
Make 2019 count! Beach clean
Big or small, here's how to make it fun It might seem like an impossible task, but cleaning up our beaches is one way all sailors can all make a difference, and it can be fun too, as increasing numbers of our community are realising. Posted on 13 Sep
Soybean or Peanut Oil?
We had The Good Oil, More Good Oil, and then Smothered in Oil. We had The Good Oil, More Good Oil, and then Smothered in Oil. So when I got to speak with Phil Robertson from Team CHN in the SailGP, well one of those two oils seemed the only way to go. Posted on 8 Sep
YJA MS Amlin Awards shortlists chosen
For the YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year & YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year 2019 The YJA Committee met on Monday evening on the 45th floor of the Leadenhall building in London, hosted by MS Amlin Boat Insurance, to choose the shortlists for the YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and the YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year 2019. Posted on 3 Sep
All aboard the bandwagon!
If I had a mini maxi, I reckon that is exactly what I would have to call it If I had a mini maxi, I reckon that is exactly what I would have to call it. Just because you'd get a cast of thousands on board, and subsequently have a grand old time. Now if I had a supermaxi, I think its name would have to be Gravy Train... Posted on 1 Sep
And they're up!
Back in Where's Wally? we looked at the incredible new foiler, the SYRA18. Back in Where's Wally? we looked at the incredible new foiler, the SYRA18. Please go back and check that out if you cannot remember it. Since then, Nils Frei and Yves Detrey have had their prototype for the monohull that morphs into a cat out on the water Posted on 25 Aug
2019 King's Cup Regatta
By Royal Appointment - Dan Snow races Fast 40s The Royal Standard hung lazily from the flagpole above the Royal Yacht Squadron. Team Windsor were back in Cowes. On 8 August eight Fast 40 boats competed in the King's Cup Regatta. Posted on 13 Aug
We speak to Vaikobi founder Pat Langley
Maintain his cool while growing a global business We spoke to Pat Langley of Vaikobi, the performance clothing company which started off by designing and manufacturing kit for the ocean paddle sport market, more recently branching into sailing apparel. Posted on 13 Aug
Well I'll be…
You had to think the Laser was going to have more than an uphill battle to be in the 2024 Games When their infighting took hold, you had to think the Laser was going to have more than an uphill battle to be in the Paris 2024 Games. In what is clearly good news for Australia, the equipment is set to remain... Posted on 11 Aug