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Which windsurfer to use for 2012 Olympics?
Team McLube


The Publisher

Sep 17, 2008, 1:46 PM

Post #1 of 4 (8289 views)
Which windsurfer to use for 2012 Olympics? Log-In to Post/Reply

Choosing Equipment That Sailors Prefer To Race On
by Svein Rasmussen, President, Starboard

I participated in LA 1984, the first Olympic games of windsurfing. My sailing then extended 10 years on the PWA tour, competing on race boards, slalom boards and in the wave discipline as well. I later started Starboard, which has been the windsurfing board market leader for 6 years in a row.

The reason for my letter is that I would like to share the following with you:

When the Formula windsurfing class asked us to work with them on a Formula One design concept for the Olympics, I had to think about it long and hard as I was believing that we needed a light wind alternative, a set of equipment that could also work in 2Ė 5 knots, thus energize all the light wind areas in the world. Then my mind turned to the International Mistral Class Organization (IMCO) class.

This class had equipment that worked great in light winds. The IMCO class was very much marketed and heavily supported by the national federations for 12 years, yet the day it no longer had a Olympic medal, it was proved that the class was "artificial", as no one continued to participate in it. That proved to me that at this stage in time, the majority of windsurfers that wish to compete on an Olympic style course, are mainly interested in competing in planing conditions. I like to compete in light winds as well, but I am in a small minority today and must accept that.

The RSX was "artificially" born, the equipment style selected was never raced in large fleets, medals were made available, the national support was made available and a limited amount of sailors will participate until the class will be taken off the Olympic program and then most likely disappear just like IMCO did.

This "artificial" participation is what we want to avoid, to stop the decline of participation in Olympic windsurfing classes. We want to propose racing on a style of equipment that has drawn more competitors than RSX or IMCO over the last 8 years, and still does.

The FW class has more international competitors despite the fact that it has no Olympic medal and no national association support, thus it has become popular because the kit is what most racers would like to compete on today. Further, I would have liked to see a class where different manufacturers could have equipment available, but frozen for 4 years at the time.

We however understood that this is still to early for ISAF to accept, so we happily gave our support to the FOD program, and our goal is very simply:

Create an Olympic class that draws participants not only because itís Olympic, but because itís a class sailed on equipment that sailors actually prefer to race on.

Thanks for your support.

Svein Rasmussen

For more information on
The Formula One Design click here

The Publisher

Sep 17, 2008, 1:47 PM

Post #2 of 4 (8281 views)
Re: [The Publisher] Which windsurfer to use for 2012 Olympics? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

From Rory Ramsden, COO, International RS:X Class Association:

Whilst I admire Svein's zeal for promoting Olympic windsurfing, I have 16 years of experience in managing both the International Mistral Class Organization (IMCO) and now the RS:X classes. This has lead me to the following conclusions

a) IMCO was selected for the Olympics in 1992 so when we staged the 1993 IMCO Europeans there were more than 250 entries made up of a mixture of the best recreational sailors already in the pre-existing large class and the Olympic athletes transferring from the Lechner class. The recreational sailors pretty soon found out that they were neither fit enough or with enough spare time off work to compete against the ex-Lechner Olympic class athletes. They quit to race something else where they could have fun with their circle of friends. Numbers have remained stable ever since.

b) To be an Olympian requires a very special dedication. To get onto and stay on the Olympic pathway requires an equal amount of determination. Only very few possess such drive and focus.

c) Windsurfing is a global sport. Windsurfing in the Olympics is supported by ISAF national authorities in every continent. Many do not have the beautiful sea breezes that every windsurfer likes to enjoy. The ISAF had a six knot minimum windspeed at the recent Olympic Regatta in Quingdao, China. Everyone believed that it was going to be a light wind event. In fact it turned out to be the windiest Olympic Regatta since Seoul 1988. Weymouth 2012 is predicted to be 'windy' but history tells us that there is no guarantee that it will be.

d) The FWOD bid is based on the premise that fair and equitable racing is possible in 6 knots of wind. They say it is. There is absolutely no independent evidence which supports this. In fact the MNAs who have done national trials to find out, have discovered that the reverse is the case. Getting 60 boards off a start line is struggle. The VMG of an FW board in these conditions is poor. Naturally there will be areas of the course with much lighter winds than 6 knots. Those who find themselves in these no wind zones will effectively be 'parked'.

e) Looking at the entry list for the current FW World Championship in Portugal, one sees a mere handful of FWOD entries and only 15 women. There is therefore no evidence that the FW racers are voting with their feet in support of the FWOD concept. Neither is there any evidence that women windsurfers are supporting the FWOD concept in great numbers.

f) On a technicality, ISAF requires a piece of Olympic equipment to be managed by an international class by the time of the Olympic Regatta for which it is selected. The Mistral One Design was in fact a one design 'Raceboard'. It was a distinct international class separate from the International Raceboard class. The FW class is an international class. If one day the FWOD manage to convince ISAF that their bid is a good one then it too will be an international class distinct from the IFWC.

g) The ISAF ran trials in 2003/2004 to select equipment for the 2008 Olympic Regatta. The International RS:X Class association has clearly demonstrated that is worthy of this selection. The supplied equipment at the recent Olympic Regatta was thought to be excellent by those taking part. Neil Pryde has done a magnificent job of getting to grips with the demands of the sailors racing RS:X. They are to be congratulated.

h) To call the IMCO and the RS:X artificial classes as Svein does is to denigrate all those who are or have been involved in them. It also demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of the Olympic process.

The Publisher

Sep 19, 2008, 7:43 AM

Post #3 of 4 (8165 views)
Re: [The Publisher] Which windsurfer to use for 2012 Olympics? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Allison Shreeve at the Formula Windsurfing Worlds ...

In beautiful Portimao, Portugal the Formula Windsurfing World Championships have concluded after the closely contested seven day event. .

"Racing in conditions ranging from 7 to 28 knots of very gusty and shifty winds on most days, with 1 to 2 metre swells, made for challenging racing." .

Allisonís time at this yearís World Championships was also devoted to promoting the new Formula Windsurfing One Design (FOD) Class which will hopefully be selected in November 2008 by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) as the windsurfing equipment to be used at the London 2012 Olympics. As the Athleteís Representative selected on the steering committee, Allison spent most of her time promoting, reporting, racing and helping ten Starboard sponsored sailors to set up and test the FOD equipment during the event. The equipment is a proven perfect One Design class for the Olympics being competitive in the open Formula fleets in six events held this year including the World Championships where racing was held in all conditions ranging from 6 to 30+ knots. While up against rivals with the most advanced Formula racing equipment, Allison was able to show that Formula One Design can be competitive in the open professional Formula fleet, so in that regard ďmy mission here has been a success and the Formula One Design has proven itís worth for consideration as the best and most exciting racing equipment for the London 2012 Olympics.Ē

Allison Shreeve -AUS911

The Publisher

Oct 14, 2008, 12:50 PM

Post #4 of 4 (7980 views)
Re: [The Publisher] Which windsurfer to use for 2012 Olympics? [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

We are very pleased to provide you with a copy of a presentation supporting the selection of the Neil Pryde RS:X Board & Rig as the Windsurfing Equipment to be used in the 2012 Olympic Games.

We have tried to make this presentation as comprehensive, accurate and as informative as possible and we believe that we have covered all of the important issues to be considered in the selection of the Olympic Windsurfing Equipment.

We understand that the ISAF is being asked to choose between two different sets of equipment: the RS:X and the Formula One Design. The RS:X is the only equipment that is independently proven to offer fair and equitable racing in light winds.

The RS:X Class is fully established internationally (The FWOD is not an ISAF class) with proven experience in the management and organization of continental and Youth Championships as well as World championships leading up to the Olympic Regatta.

The RS:X Class has a pro-active and on going media project to enable spectators to follow racing LIVE on the internet, on shore and on the water. (40,000 unique visitors to the 2008 European Championship Micro-site)

Re-selecting the RS:X will provide the stability to enable Olympic windsurfing to develop into new countries over the next four years.

The supplied RS:X equipment at the recent Olympic Regatta worked faultlessly and was much appreciated by the sailors.

Now is the time to build on that success and all the hard work of the last four years by re-selecting the RS:X for Weymouth 2012. A proven performer, a proven class management and a proven media success!

We welcome any questions you may have and thank you for your consideration.

Best regards,

Yours sincerely,

Rory Ramsden
The International RS:X Class Association Ltd.

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