May 1, 2012, 11:31 AM
Post #1 of 13
DRAMA IN DECISION LAND
2016 Olympics: Skiffs, Multihulls, and Boards
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What will the ten sailing events for the 2016 Olympic Games look like? While the event types have been confirmed, the equipment to be used in three of the events - Women’s Skiff event, the Mixed Multihull event, and the Board event - has not yet been decided.
To review the options, ISAF hosted an evaluation event March 17-25 in Santander, Spain. It was there that six skiff entries, seven multihull entries, and elite kiteboard sailors were on hand to impress the review panel.
ISAF has since released the Evaluation Panel Reports and Recommendations, which will be used to provide guidance for the ISAF Council to make the equipment decisions at the ISAF Mid-Year Meeting in Stresa, Italy on May 3-6.
The process has not gone smoothly, at least not for the skiff and multihull. There have been questions concerning the methods used to evaluate the equipment, and the bias held by committee members. One variable, cost of equipment, is not included in the reports.
Women's Skiff and Mixed Multihull: http://www.sailing.org/news/38219.php
Meeting details: http://www.sailing.org/2012-Mid-Year-Meetings.php
With the meeting to begin this week, here are recent comments that question the process:
Kristen Lane (USA), 29erXX class
As a skiff sailor, I would like to ask ISAF to:
Be realistic about the optimal racing weight for the FX and RS.
Be precise about what the ideal team weight is that you are aiming for.
Understand that any discussion of a weight limit is proof of a heavier ideal racing weight and will exclude normal sized women’s teams.
Be accurate about what skills the selected skiff will reward: Finesse? Strength & Weight?
Acknowledge that an equipment cost of $30,000 will have a chilling effect on the entry of sailors from emerging nations.
Realize that FX used-boat prices will reflect team’s interest in newer hulls with “new style” wings, which are lighter and stiffer.
Respect women skiff sailors by selecting a boat that has a finished design. We don’t want to sail a boat that does not "work", or that we will have to continue to buy new parts for as problems are fixed. Not only is this expensive, it will contribute to the failure of the women's skiff event.
Here’s my opinion: Whatever boat ISAF picks will be exciting to sail and race on the international circuit. I have a XX so I know that until I take ownership of whatever skiff ISAF selects, I will practice in a boat which requires refined skiff sailing skills and crew work synchronization in the stronger winds and chop. I love sailing skiffs and enjoy challenging myself with good competition, so no matter what boat is selected, I will continue. Thanks for your effort towards women's skiff sailing.
Darren Bundock (AUS), Viper class
I understand from a number of people you have your minds made up about the Nacra 17 and I can respect that, but I cannot accept incorrect comments in the report. I hope you have not been sold just on a flash paint job and curved boards.
1. Curved boards cater for a wider crew weight range? Can you explain how this works? I have run this by a number of designers in Oracle Racing and they are a bit bewildered by this comment as the righting moment, sail plan (power) of the boat is not changed by the curved boards. In fact the comment was if anything it will reduce the weight range as the wetted surface area of the boat downwind will be reduced and removing the advantage for lighter teams downwind. So it will be an advantage to be heavier upwind for increased righting moment with no penalty downwind. As you wrote it in the report, can you please provide me with a clarification?
2. The curved boards seem to be hype within ISAF. In the AC, curved boards have already been and gone. The advantage of C boards is in classes that are restricted by a width rule such as A-Class. A-Class also is limited to C boards as they have a rule that the board must be removable through the deck and a restriction on distance between the foil tips. C boards are not efficient, one of the major breakdowns with C boards is the high and low pressure areas, as the boards are not segregated, his results in a pressure diffusion along the length of a curved board and decrease the efficiency of the board. Hence The Nacra was not outstanding in the evaluation races and why you do not see curved boards in the AC45. Plus you will not see any in the AC72s. Except if any of the low budget teams buy the shared design offered as this has it. You will see ?L? boards or extreme tight ?J? boards (basically L boards). In the Viper presentation we showed L boards that had been tested for the future which are easily fitted in straight 'standard' cases, this was not mentioned in your report. If you pick a boat with straight boards, you still have the option to go in different directions with the evolution of your equipment.
3. In your report you state 'Innovative new NACRA 17'. What is innovative about this boat? Curved boards? 12 years ago in the trimarans curved boards were innovative, today they are out dated. 4. In the evaluation report there is no mention of damage or broken equipment. I believe the Nacra 17 had one capsize and resulted in one broken mast. Why is this not mentioned? I know on facebook that Nacra tried to cover this by saying it capsized on a sand bank and broke the mast but after speaking to the sailors involved this weekend we all know this was not the case. It should be have been highlighted that the Nacra 17 is not proven equipment and no one knows what we are getting. Will the sailors be expected to replace the mast after every capsize?
5. Why was the Viper carbon mast option not mentioned in the Sailor feedback table when it was clearly stated in the Viper proposal and we had two boats in Santander, one with an alloy mast and one with a carbon mast? Actually the Viper was the only boat that was labeled 1 and 2 on the bows. 1 was Alloy and 2 was carbon. This was not the case for either of the Nacras. In the case of the Nacra 16 it had two boats in Santander, both with an aluminum sections, but in the report it has both carbon and alloy options. How is this possible? It was not present at the trials, but it is an option. If the above is possible the solid wing sail that was presented should also have been an option for the Viper as it was in our presentation.
6. Has anyone checked the information provided by the manufactures? I read that CMI have produced 500 Nacras of different types in the past 2 years after speaking with John Higham from CMI they have produced 500 multihulls which also include 120 Vipers and other classes. Nacra sailing schools? Where do we find these? I believe we presented the Viper strike, youth pathways and training schemes in our presentation but these fail to get a mention in the Evaluation report.
6. I notice the Viper is always listed as the Viper F16. The Viper is not a Formula 16. It is a one design class. It is true the Viper fits into the F16 rules and therefore it can compete at their regattas but the class has chosen not to be involved as a development class, hence why the class applied to be a ISAF One Design class. I feel your following statement is aimed at the Viper ?the Nacra 17 is therefore not subject to development pressures to remain competitive within a box rule.? What pressures does the Viper have if it's a one design class?
7. Can you please justify why the Viper got the statement? Platform not as stiff as some other boats tested? And other boats such as the Nacra failed to get this. The Viper is known to be extremely stiff compared to the Nacra F18, Nacra F16 which use the same beams as the Nacra 17.
8. In the report about the Viper there was the statement "The MNA sailor feedback was that some felt that they were at the upper limit of the competitive combined crew weight." This would be expected as many of the MNA sailors were out of the desired weight range but this was not mentioned in the report. Also in the report there is a statement some teams "felt that the optimal crew weights will drop as more teams get familiar with the boat." The Viper has had proven results over the past 2 years with extremely well trained teams and sailors with Olympic backgrounds and world standard and the results are undisputed that Viper fits the desired weight range.
9. Finally, the report highlighted that the Viper would be better off with a telescopic tiller. This is purely a personal preference and is totally irrelevant information. Actually I would be extremely surprised if a sailor of Olympic calibre will use a adjustable tiller at the Olympic games. In the Tornado class we all changed to fixed tillers or used the Marstom adjustable tiller as it was light but the adjustable parts were epoxied together. A telescopic tiller is mostly sold to the less experienced sailors. Top experienced multihull sailors mainly use non adjustable tillers. Adjustable tillers are fragile and dangerous when ducking another boat and the adjuster is not locked correctly.