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Paul Henderson: All that is wrong with the Olympic Sailing Event
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The Publisher
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Aug 14, 2012, 1:01 PM

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ALL THAT IS WRONG WITH THE OLYMPIC SAILING EVENT
By Paul Henderson
There is nothing as useless as a Past ISAF President or IOC Member (retired) but here I go anyway. I have just returned after three weeks at the 2012 Olympics, living in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) hotel and making the trip to Weymouth to do my usual stroll through the boat park to take flak from the sailors. The discussions about ISAF and the changes in the Events were disconcerting to say the least.

Many IOC members cannot believe what has happened, and they are the ones who vote to keep Sailing as an Olympic event. The sailors in the events being eliminated (men's and women's windsurfing and men's keelboat) are livid. They are lashing out at other disciplines, promoting their bias which only does a disservice to sailing in total.

Saying the need for keelboat facilities escalates the cost is just not true as the cranes, boat park, etc are needed for the Paralympics. Properly designed Olympic marinas leave a great legacy as happened in Kingston, Barcelona and now Weymouth, which has given the UK a wonderful sailing venue. The cost of the equipment is also a poor argument, as it is only a small part of the cost of an Olympic campaign. The top racing bicycles, any horse, or racing eight are equally as expensive as any Sailing equipment.

London 2012 Sailing at Weymouth was spectacular with 15 different countries winning medals. Seventy nations qualified to compete, several small nations medaled - like Cyprus - and 4 out of the 5 continents were represented on the podium. All this begs the question: Why tamper with success? (I asked the same question about America's Cup after AC 32 in Valencia, but that is another subject.)

Never before in any Olympic Sport's history has its International Federation voted to change 40% of their Events in one Olympiad. These are very trying and uncertain economic times. Maybe the wealthy countries can move from one discipline to another, but the smaller countries who have invested in training youth, classes, coaches and all that entails cannot.

The decision to hold the 2016 Olympics in Rio is a very bold IOC move, going to a new continent with all the challenges facing Brazil (which just happens to be one of ISAFs most supportive MNAs). It should also be noted that ISAF only recommends to the IOC that changes be made to the Sailing events; the IOC has the final say.

The IOC endorsement has yet to be addressed at their headquarters in Lausanne, and will only be done after the ISAF Annual General Meeting in November with its dramatic change in leadership. IOC also has rules with regard to how developed a discipline is, especially with regard to World Championships, the number of nations represented, and the quality of the competition format.

During my ISAF Presidency on the floor of Council, a decision was made to have no drop races and all hell broke out and the sailors rebelled. ISAF quickly reversed that vote and we moved on admitting the mistake made. With all things considered, I believe ISAF should reverse its course too, and continue with the 2012 events for RIO2016, and do everything possible to get the 11th Medal back for a multihull event, the loss of which started Sailing down the slippery slope to the dilemma Olympic sailing now finds itself.




VTSAILOR
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Aug 14, 2012, 6:37 PM

Post #2 of 9 (14524 views)
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Re: [The Publisher] Paul Henderson: All that is wrong with the Olympic Sailing Event [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Well said Paul!


DavidVC
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Aug 15, 2012, 1:04 AM

Post #3 of 9 (14237 views)
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Re: [VTSAILOR] Paul Henderson: All that is wrong with the Olympic Sailing Event [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

I would hesitate to disagree with Paul Henderson his stewardsgip of the ISAF was a model of such things trying to achieve the possible with many differing opinions.

His comments on cost and heritage are well put and spot on.

However what disturbs me, and did all those who heard it, was an emphatic statement made at a Dinner at Hayling Island Sailing Club in the UK last winter when there was a talk on how the Olympics were to be run, the question"But the sailors are still the most important aren't they?" put by a very experienced international sailor the answer from the LOCOG representative for the sailing Rod Carr was a very emphatic "NO THEY ARE NOT" followed by the justification that media was king. This seemed to be the case at Weymouth certainly.

Sailing has I submit a stronger hand than it thinks and the threat to take our ball away would I think win (Jaques Rogge is after an Olympic Yachtsman.) and we could get the classes we want, and of course bring back The Star!


gpoole
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Aug 15, 2012, 5:37 AM

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Re: [The Publisher] Paul Henderson: All that is wrong with the Olympic Sailing Event [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Pardon my ignorance, but is there still an opportunity for a reversal of all the changes regarding classes for Rio?

This may be Star scuttlebutt, but is it possible that Brazil could still request an additional medal be introduced for 2016, particularly for the Star class?

Cheers


EasyWind
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Aug 15, 2012, 7:15 AM

Post #5 of 9 (13920 views)
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Re: [The Publisher] Paul Henderson: All that is wrong with the Olympic Sailing Event [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Why not make team racing an event? Telling your non- sailing friends... "Look 3 boats vs. 3 boats, saila copurse and get as many of your teams boats to the finish by screwing up the other team (within the rules of course).
Anyone could understand the "object of the game", even Joe Six-pack. With 8-10 min action packed races it would be great to watch because there would be no commercials, Joe and the boys could bet wagers amongst themselves. If the ISAF, IOC and the networks worry about bring siling to the masses, this could be the way to go. Let's face it, sailing is boring to watch if you don't sail...


DavidVC
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Aug 15, 2012, 7:57 AM

Post #6 of 9 (13891 views)
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Re: [EasyWind] Paul Henderson: All that is wrong with the Olympic Sailing Event [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Team racing was I think looked at by the IYRU sometime in the 1960's it was ditched because the only suitable boat at the time was the Firefly, it's still probably the best but not the only option.
Two boat team racing is even more fun to watch the team with the last boat loses!


Nosediver
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Aug 16, 2012, 1:13 PM

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Re: [DavidVC] Paul Henderson: All that is wrong with the Olympic Sailing Event [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

No, must be four boat with the team with the first place loosing when the result is 18/18. And the boats should be laser radials. They are very well suited and we would see some truly amzing boat handling when the sailors had to tack and jibe with significantly more speed than in fleet races.


The Publisher
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Aug 19, 2012, 3:41 PM

Post #8 of 9 (13470 views)
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In Reply To
I would hesitate to disagree with Paul Henderson his stewardsgip of the ISAF was a model of such things trying to achieve the possible with many differing opinions.

His comments on cost and heritage are well put and spot on.

However what disturbs me, and did all those who heard it, was an emphatic statement made at a Dinner at Hayling Island Sailing Club in the UK last winter when there was a talk on how the Olympics were to be run, the question"But the sailors are still the most important aren't they?" put by a very experienced international sailor the answer from the LOCOG representative for the sailing Rod Carr was a very emphatic "NO THEY ARE NOT" followed by the justification that media was king. This seemed to be the case at Weymouth certainly.

Sailing has I submit a stronger hand than it thinks and the threat to take our ball away would I think win (Jaques Rogge is after an Olympic Yachtsman.) and we could get the classes we want, and of course bring back The Star!


The comment attributed to Rod Carr of LOCOG is the most disturbing thing I have read for a long time. If that is what the Olympic tradition and spirit have become, I (and I am sure many other sailors) want no part of it. In ISAF and US Sailing race management training we are taught that the primary consideration is to rin fair competition FOR THE SAILORS. We are there to serve them. How did ISAF let that get away?

Ted Beier


DavidVC
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Aug 21, 2012, 11:09 PM

Post #9 of 9 (13312 views)
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Re: [The Publisher] Paul Henderson: All that is wrong with the Olympic Sailing Event [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

The problem is that it is allegedly out of ISAF's control or maybe they lack the backbone to stand up to the IOC? By being an Olympic Sport you cede control to the IOC for the events and the razamataz around them they want total control. They near ruined Athletics sprinting a while back by removing the one false start allowance just to suit the media schedules, luckily this year no one false started.


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