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2012 Olympic Classes
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George Morris

Nov 9, 2007, 1:28 PM

Post #1 of 7 (20732 views)
2012 Olympic Classes Log-In to Post/Reply

The Olympics are supposed to consist of sports which take place in a relatively large number of countries. In how many countries does women's match racing take place? (Probably as many as the ones in which three day eventing on horses takes place I guess). Seriously though, our sport takes a number of different forms and while we may admire match racing as an art form, it is not something many of us do. How about a four hour pursuit race in a boat of your choice instead - now that WOULD make good television!

As an aside, would it not be safe to refer to the MENS doublehanded dinghy as a 'two man' boat rather than the prissy 'two person' boat?


George Morris
(sails single person dinghies)

The Publisher

Nov 21, 2007, 12:52 PM

Post #2 of 7 (20622 views)
Re: [George Morris] 2012 Olympic Classes [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Dear Scuttlebutt

First of all I can have every sympathy with Mr Henderson’s view (in Scuttlebutt 2478) that it is ‘ridiculous to blame ISAF, which is only the structure wherein the votes are cast’ – ‘ISAF is only as good as the delegates nominated by their National Authorities.’

However, Mr Henderson also writes ‘that the process is now open and how each delegate voted is public’. This would perhaps not appear to be the case when analysing the vote of the Council to reject the recommendations of its Executive Committee, when an electronic vote was made and no record of how members voted appears to have been recorded. And no one from ISAF has explained this decision. Why bother having an Events Committee then?

If I am not mistaken, the IOC themselves offer pretty specific guidelines as to how choose Olympic events and this seems largely to have been ignored.

‘‘The following principles should be reflected in the general composition of the Olympic Programme” -

• “Similar events…..should be avoided” – Why then vote for two types of double-handed dinghies for both men and women rather than a single type of Multihull for either men or women?

• “Global public and media interest in a sport must be considered as key elements… for these are fundamental elements in the success of the Games” – Why then vote against Multihulls, which are certainly the fastest Event in the Sailing Regatta and in general opinion also the most exciting to watch?

• “Weight category events should not be allowed, except for the combat sports and for weightlifting” – Since sailing falls into neither of these exceptions, why vote for an Event, specifically described as 1 Person Dinghy (Heavy)?

Specific guidance for ISAF is given in paragraph 3.1.4,
“In comparison with other individual sports, the Commission noted the high quota and number of events in sailing, in comparison to the low broadcast and spectator appeal” – Why then vote against Multihulls, whose size and speed makes them especially attractive for the new technology of on-board cameras first tried out for Multihull and High Performance Events at the Sydney Games?

“It was noted that the Keelboat class are very expensive boats and demand costly infrastructure for Olympic competition, and for general practice and development in comparison to other classes. Therefore, if the Executive Board recommends the reduction in the number of athletes and events, the Commission believes these reductions could be made through the exclusion of keelboat sailing events” Why then specifically disobey an unambiguous guideline and vote to exclude Multihulls instead?

It has also been mentioned (rumoured?) that a number of representatives on Council voted against the recommendations of their own National Authorities. IF even ONE of these had changed the votes then the voting would have been tied; with two.....a clear cut decision in favour with the multihull would have followed.

My real beef is not with the keelboat class per se, even though that appears to be the second least popular class amongst delegates. It is that is seems totally unreasonable to have two, singlehander and two two man dinghies at the expense of the multihulls – and the fact that Ben Ainslie managed to jump from the Laser to the Finn and win Gold in both classes seems to be a very real argument against the necessity for such doubling up.

My real complaint has to be that somehow ISAF’s Council members on this occasion, whatever their good intentions, have not represented in any real way the views of their constituents, the sailing public. Perhaps if one good thing will come out of this whole sorry saga it will be a top to toe re-examination of just how Council members are selected and how more true democracy can find its way into top level decision making.

One last point; as of 2030 GMT Tuesday 20th November some 4250 signatures have added their names to the petition to the IOC requesting the re-instatement of the multihull class. While Mr Henderson says that ‘all hell breaks loose’ every time there is a change of class I severely doubt that decisions by previous Councils have in fact found so much public disagreement.

Furthermore, to put those numbers in perspective (even though I have said that I am not specifically against the keelboat class) those 4250 signatures gathered in 10 days compare with one half of all the Sail numbers issued to the Star class since 1911. Yes folks, the Star was designed nearly 100 years ago …..and we are dropping the multithull! There really can be no wonder why there has been and will continue to be such a furore until this issue is settled in a more sensible fashion.

With very best wishes

Simon Morgan

Former Hobie 16 National Champion and ISAF Worlds competitor, Founder
Wildwind Sailing Holidays, and co-incidentally son of Tony Morgan
Silver Medallist 1964 Tokyo Olympics.....two man Flying Dutchman

The Publisher

Jan 21, 2008, 6:24 AM

Post #3 of 7 (20371 views)
Re: [George Morris] 2012 Olympic Classes [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

* From Steve Brownsea: (regarding the selection of Olympic events) Who is right and who is wrong? There will always be that question, for example, do we continue with the current classes in the Olympics or change to a more modern class? Well it seems that people are so wrapped up in getting "their" class of boat in, that they lose focus on what is important….sailing itself! Instead of fighting to get one class in before the next, we should be working together to expand the dwindling Olympic sailing schedule. I understand that it takes support and we know that will only come from within our sailing community, so why are we not working together to find more funding so Classes can be added to the Olympic schedule not removed. Multihulls and monohuls should be working as one to build sailing as a whole not just for ones self interest, after all it dose not matter if the boat has one hull or three its still just Sailing. I read these emails every day and both sides say the same thing but just not together. We must remember that we are already the minority in sport so do not split the ranks by letting egos get in the way.
I know this is a statement and not an answer but lets start a discussion in this direction and see were it leads.

* From Ron Wall: (Regards the IOC nixing Multi-Hulls and the petition to rescind... Scuttlebutt 2475) During my brief 59 years, I have sailed on Prindle 16's & NACRA's in California, Mexico & Hawaii, crewed on the ill-fated KIELE V, 45' Catamaran, been Steersman aboard the 46' Hawaiian Sailing Canoe E'ALA, and still sail regularly on a couple of old Woody Brown Hawaiian Beach Cats. I've been fortunate to have the privilege to be aboard several experimental trimarans and some of the more recent "Super Cats." Additionally I've done numerous stints on RC, served as the occasional PRO and sailed/ raced on countless Mono hulls from 30' Olson's to some pretty nice 70' Sleds and was a USCG Licensed Captain (100 Ton Ocean) for 14 years.

And so what does that have to do with anything? Well, what I am not is an Olympic sailor, nor have I ever aspired to be one. What I am is an avid sailor and fan of the sport, and look forward to watching the competition of the world's best, in the oldest competitive sport venue in the world. To simply eliminate the Multi-Hull class is ludicrous. The whole nature of the Olympics is "better, faster, further." The very definition of Multi-hulls, right? FAST IS FUN. Even if in the extreme, they were going to limit the myriad of Olympic Sailing Classes to only two, it only makes sense that at least one of them would still be a Multi-hull.

The Publisher

Mar 9, 2008, 7:50 AM

Post #4 of 7 (20126 views)
Re: [The Publisher] 2012 Olympic Classes [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

This was sent to Scuttlebutt:

Thank you for signing the IOC petition asking that multihulls be included in the Sailing Regatta for the 2012 Olympics to be held in the UK. To date more than 5,700 petitioners including ISAF Sailors of the Year and Olympic medallists have signed what is probably the largest ever grass roots expression of concern at the management of our sport.

Goran Petersson, ISAF President,’s statement after that November decision was that the selection of Events demonstrated the modern nature and “the wide range and diversity of sailing”. Excluding a large part of the sport makes this patently untrue.

The multihull class was voted out at a meeting of the ISAF Council in November last year. As organisers of the petition, we have been waiting to see if its Executive Committee would respond by taking the initiative in reconsidering the selection of Olympic Events.

However, now that the minutes of ISAF’s February Executive Meeting have been published, not only does it appear that they have decided not to take the initiative, but it also seems that they may reject submissions to re-open the debate at the current mid year meeting, as not urgent, or at the annual meeting in November, since they see the matter as closed.

This is in spite of a right of appeal specifically and exclusively for this matter in Regulation 16.1.3 (a). The Executive received letters of concern about the selection of Events from several Member National Authorities, but decided these were not urgent, even before receiving formal submissions.

Furthermore in those Minutes it appears that the Executive will nevertheless be asking Council to treat as urgent a matter of retrospectively extending the deadline for Equipment submissions in the Women’s Match Racing Event, even though Regulation 16.1.2 states that no submission for Equipment shall be made after 15th March.

It seems thus the decision-making process is being applied unequally to the disadvantage of one sizeable part of the sailing community, while exceptions are made in favour of another.

We have prepared a detailed Report on the subject to help people understand better how such a widely unpopular decision was made in the first place. ISAF was offered an opportunity to discuss it before publication, but declined. You can download this Report at

As the initiative has now passed from the Executive to Member National Authorities, and there are deadlines of March 13th for Events and March 15th for Equipment, our MNA, the Royal Yachting Association, has asked us to encourage supporters to lobby their own MNA urgently.

Please email the relevant people at your MNA and your ISAF Councillor with your views. There is a menu of sample submissions attached, so you can cut and paste whatever you find appropriate. (click here to see attachment)

This is how changes are made at ISAF and it is how effective lobbying by supporters of Women’s Match Racing persuaded a record 11 countries to make submissions in their favour, including many of them strong multihull countries and many smaller countries, who are not directly represented on Council. If they can do it, so should we because our research shows that multihulls represent between 10 and 30% of all racing sailboats, depending on what measure is used.

Before the November ISAF meeting the multihull community was unaware what was at stake or what to do to about it. Now that we know, we need to gather whatever submissions we can, however short the notice.

Please contact the people you know in your MNA to make the multihull case in general and ask them specifically to make submissions, especially given the constitutional issues involved. Australia, Denmark, France and the UK have already done so in the last few days.

Please do it urgently. Thank You!

Nick Dewhirst
United Kingdom Catamaran Racing Association

The Publisher

Nov 21, 2008, 3:03 PM

Post #5 of 7 (18480 views)
Re: [The Publisher] 2012 Olympic Classes [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

This was sent to Scuttlebutt:

November 19, 2008

Thank you to everyone who joined the petition to the IOC requesting an 11th Event for Multihulls. The IOC replied to us that the request should be made formally through ISAF and it has now done so – because of the very large numbers of people who care about our sailing discipline. You made that happen, so thank you again. Read on for details of the multihull matters discussed at ISAF’s Annual Conference in Madrid last week.

The multihull community reversed the political tide against our discipline and is now better represented in the ISAF committee structure. We achieved several small wins, kept hopes alive for continued participation at the pinnacle of our sport, but failed to persuade ISAF to adopt a strategic rather than political approach to the future selection of Olympic events, despite the noticeably large number of multihull representatives attending the Conference – many at personal expense.

- Inaugural ISAF Multihull Commission meeting attracts record multihull attendance and decides on One Design Tornado or Hobie Tiger if 11th Event awarded to multihulls

- IMC application for Affiliate membership turned down because ISAF now has its own Multihull Commission
- Goran Petersson confirms to Events Committee that “ISAF would do everything in its power to secure the 11th Medal”, new Olympic Commission proposed, 5:5 Submissions deferred

- Top-level multihull circuit under discussion, possibly alongside new ISAF World Cup, where possible. Sail Melbourne (December 16-21) is already planning to include F18. See

- Multihull sailors may have to wait months for an IOC decision on any 11th Event, because it is contingent on inter-linked issues with other existing or possibly even new sports.

- If 11th Event, there is no guarantee that it will be multihull. Council’s decision for Women’s 470 rather than 29er XX is tactically good news but fundamentally disappointing.

Friday 7th November - Multihull Commission (Open)

From John Williams, Chairman of US Multihull Council
“The Commission's first meeting went really well and there were about 25 people in the room….. The Multihull Commission is recommending that the 11th medal go to a Multihull Event, and that the equipment be decided upon notification. We heard from Hobie in support of the Tiger, Nacra in support of the Infusion, and from the ITA in support of the new one-design Tornado. The Commission is recommending that if ISAF wants the highest performance, the Tornado be used, and if they are seeking a boat with wider distribution, that the Tiger be used. It was pointed out to us that the Infusion is not an ISAF Recognized Class. While the Nacra F18 was, the Infusion, with a different designer, hasn't completed the process nor affixed plaques and paid per-boat licensing.

Other things that were under discussion; the Commission is recommending that the Executive not support the submission from Yachting Australia to drop the SL16 as an eligible boat for use in the ISAF Youth Worlds. We also got some reassurance that the multihull event will remain in the Youth Worlds for the forseeable future.

The Commission came out in favor of the various Five Discipline submissions, and is urging the Exec to make a decision sooner than later to allow the evaluation of a Women's platform. There is some indication that those submissions will be pushed off until 2011 since they all deal with the 2016 Games.”

Comment: ISAF wound up its Multihull Committee in 2004. The new Commission is chaired by Paul Pascoe (AUS), who is also the President of the International Multihull Council. While the previous Committee represented specific classes, the new members were chosen for their expertise and range of multihull interests. They include Carolijn Brouwer (ITA + BEL), Olivier Bouvyn* (F18 + FRA), David Brookes (Hobie + AUS), Santiago Lange* (ITA + ARG), Brian Phipps (Dart + UK) and Roka Sandor* (F18 + HUN). (* absent). The Minutes should be published before Christmas.

Saturday 8th November – Executive Meeting (Closed)

From Paul Pascoe, President of IMC, Chairman of ISAF Multihull Commission
The Executive considered the application from the International Multihull Council to become an Affiliate Member but decided not to pursue this because it had re-enfranchised our community by setting up the Commission, to handle those matters relevant to ISAF. See

Full Members of IMC are the international A Class, Formula 18, Dart 18, Hobie, Nacra and Tornado Associations together with the national multihull organisations of Australia, Netherlands, United States and United Kingdom.

Manufacturers who are Affiliated Members include Performance Catamarans (Nacra), Australian High Performance Catamarans (Capricorn), Hobie Cat Europe, Hobie Cat USA and Hobie Cat Australasia. Other Affiliated Members include Asociacion Deportiva de Catamaranes Espana, Hungarian Catamaran Association, Irish Multihull Association, Agrupación Argentina de Catamaranes F18 Argentina, AM2 Classe (Suisse), Australian Paper Tiger Association, Hurricane Class Association (UK), Formula 16 Association, L’ Association Francaise de Formule 18, New Zealand Paper Tiger Association, Shadow Class Association (UK) and Sprint 15 Association (UK).

Wednesday 12th November – Events Committee (Open)

From Rod Carr, CEO Royal Yachting Association
“Re the future for Cats and the 11th medal. The president addressed everyone. He said that he is working really hard to retain the number of events that sailing had in China [ie 11]. He said that the issue is that several other sports were also campaigning for extra events and that if Jacques Rogge of the IOC, just rolled over and gave sailing what we want, his political opponents would say that because he was a sailor, he is favouring our sport. He strongly advised the Events Committee not to discuss possible equipment for the 11th medal, and they agreed with Carolyn and Olivier withdrawing their submissions. Goran thought that the IOC might make a decision anytime between this December and next August! If there was a favourable decision over the winter he thought the executive should deal with it…and in any case the Council should formally sign off ISAF’s position at next year midyear meeting in May. The cat people here said they trusted his judgement on the matter and everyone agreed not to make life more difficult for Goran and Jacques by overt and noisy campaigning for an 11th slot.”….”I think we should be pragmatic and let them get on with it.”

From Lennie on
“So on the 11th medal, the following is how it works: 1) IOC Program Commission make recommendations on number of medals. There are planned deletions of medals for multiple sports, so it is not just an issue for sailing 2) IOC Executive Board meets on Dec 10-12 and everyone is hopeful that they will then make a decision, but it may not be made until a later meeting. 3) ISAF then have to decide what discipline to award the 11th medal - it is not automatically the multihull. This is where multihulls need to be careful and where the women's vote is relevant (see below)

4) ISAF then need to decide what class to choose.

The decisions on points 3) & 4) will not be made until the May meeting at the earliest. Given that this means that it will be only a bit over 3 years till the Olympics, it is unlikely that ISAF would risk a new boat, and the Tornado would be most likely to be selected.

The one area where it could come unstuck is awarding the discipline to the multihull. Whichever of the two Women's double handed boats lose the vote (any minute now), you could reasonably expect that if the 11th medal is back on the table, then they would try to get it allocated to their boat.”

Comment: Decisions about which sports take part in the Games are made by the full International Olympic Committee. This meets annually, next on 3/10/2009. Baseball, golf, karate, roller sports, rugby, softball and squash have applied for two possible slots, but this does not affect 2012 because it only applies to subsequent Games. Baseball and softball were voted off the 2012 programme three years ago, and the other five failed to gather enough support for inclusion. Decisions about Events for 2012 are delegated to the Executive Committee. That meets quarterly, next on 10-12th December, 22-27th March, 15-16th June and 13-14th August. The Executive may commission reports from the Olympic Programme Commission if it needs additional research. Supported with a report on racing sailboat statistics provided by UKCRA, ISAF has provided the Commission with the necessary information in time for the IOC Executive to discuss this issue in December. However an early decision is by no means assured because it may depend on inter-linked issues for other existing sports (e.g. similar requests from other sports, numbers of medals per sportsman), or conceivably even new sports (how many medals for the new sports, if any). There will be an IOC Press Release after the December meeting.

Note: Australia’s submission number 082-08 to set up a new Olympic Commission was approved so the all other submissions recommended by the Multihull Commission were deferred.

Thursday 13th November – World Cup Organisers Meeting (Closed)

From Will Howden, Tornado Representative on ISAF Athlete’s Commission
“The World Cup is a question on many mulithull sailors minds, I have put myself in a position as liaison for the athletes on the working party for the World Cup. In short I had a meeting with all of the events directors (Melbourne, Miami, Palma, Hyeres, Holland, Kiel, Weymouth) to talk through the possibility of the multihull taking part in these events. In short the World Cup is for Olympic Classes only, so there is no way we could be part of this, but that is not to say we can not have a stand alone event run in conjunction with the World Cup. There was agreement that the best class for this would be the F18 as we would be able to attract larger amounts of competitors. It is all very complicated but Melbourne, Kiel and Weymouth have verbally agreed that something could be done. Palma is unlikely due to the location and expense of getting there. Hyeres and Spa are stumbling blocks but ones that I am working on and Miami is going to come back to me.”

Friday 14th November – ISAF Council Meeting (Open)

From Andy Rice, Editor of
“For the second consecutive year ISAF Council has ignored the recommendations of its expert committees and sub-committees and opted - as it invariably does - for the status quo. I suppose any of us that wanted progress should be happy that the 29erXX even made it this far, and the 19:16 vote suggests it is only a matter of time before the women get their high performance doublehander. The trouble is that in the Olympic world, 'a matter of time' is measured out in batches of four years.

The earliest that women will now be able to compete for a medal in a modern high performance skiff is the 2016 Games, which would mean the women got their high performance boat 16 years after the men got theirs, the 49er having first appeared in Sydney 2000. It's a sad indictment of the inherent conservatism and lack of vision of ISAF's top table. Remember that ISAF Council can't even take credit for the 49er's inclusion. That was the then-President of ISAF, the maverick Paul Henderson, who railroaded the 49er past the selection process. Sometimes dictatorship gets better results than democracy.”

From Lennie on
“So the decision on which women's boat gets in is very important to multihulls as the multihull / Tornado will eventually end up going head to head with the loser of the current women's vote. So if the 29erXX loses, then the Tornado has a much better chance as the Council would be less likely to introduce a new boat 3 and a bit years from the Games (and especially a boat that isn't widely available yet). If the 470 is the loser, then this would be a much tougher fight as the 470 boats would all be in place around the world, and also the Class Association is well connected with ISAF.”

From Simon Morgan, Chairman Wildwind Holidays
“Reading about Council's decision to award the womens event to the 470 rather than the 29er after 3 separate committees voted in favour of the 29er I was truly saddenned to see commentary from the multihull lobby posted on suggesting that this was a positive step for the campaign to get the multihull reinstated should the 11th event be re-instated”

Comment: Any great tragedy starts out from the best of motives - in this case the creation of one design classes to make sailing a popular rather than exclusive sport. However half a century later this has created an entrenched network of vested interests in out-of-date equipment. Now we have seen 29er tread the same path as multihull, it is clear that the issue is not multihulls but ISAF. Sailing uses equipment designed 8 year ago, as well as 12, 34, 52 and 97 years ago, while other sports use state of the art equipment. This will clearly be an issue for the Olympic Commission, which also made it through Council, but what hope is there that a future Council will listen to a mere Commission, when it is not prepared to take the advice of three expert Committees – even after the most public controversy in its history?

Nick Dewhirst
Chairman, United Kingdom Catamaran Racing Association

The Publisher

Jan 8, 2009, 11:59 AM

Post #6 of 7 (18035 views)
Re: [The Publisher] 2012 Olympic Classes [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

This was sent to Scuttlebutt:

Following the meeting of its Executive Board on 10-12th December, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) released a number of press statements on various subjects but none on the issue of allocating Events. Our contact with the IOC Press Office also confirmed that no statement was made at the press conference and that unless any special action is taken, there will be no comment on any negotiations with any of the various sports. Unlike ISAF, the IOC agendas are not public documents, so it is not possible even to confirm if our petition was discussed.

However IOC has confirmed that the final announcement of Events for all sports in the 2012 Games will be made at its 15-16th June meeting. As the ISAF Mid-Year meeting takes place in May without knowing the outcome, this means that Council will have to make contingency plans. As Petersson said "In case of a subsequent positive decision by the IOC, we may have to make a decision on both an 11th event and class in the Mid-Year Meetings in May next year in order to be able to give our sailors as much time as possible to prepare – the Annual Conference in November, in my opinion, will be too late. What are the chances for an 11th medal? It is very difficult to judge but I would say we have given it our best."

Fortunately he will have another chance to promote our cause at the IOC Executive Board's 22nd-27th March meeting, because that is when ISAF is due for its regular IOC review. When he does, he will have valuable new ammunition because sailing has gone up in estimation within the IOC. It was recently awarded "best TV coverage of the Games" which is amazing. And it was number 3 watched sport in the UK. The spectacular Tornado medal race will undoubtedly have contributed to that. So all this gives sailing some more weight at the negotiation table to retain the 11th medal.

The rumours are encouraging, but they are of course just rumours, so we will have to continue to be patient and wish Goran Peterrson good luck in arguing our case next year. Meanwhile we now have the independent International Multihull Council and a Multihull Commission at ISAF to lobby at the May meeting for the contingency plan to be a multihull Event and for some form of international racing circuit to represent the pinnacle of our sport - irrespective of the 11th Medal decision.

On other matters, it was too short notice to include a multihull event in Melbourne, but discussions are continuing about World Cup regattas elsewhere, and the International Dart Association has asked for a correction to our last email, namely that Brian Phipps (GBR) also represents youth development, rather than Darts, on the Multihull Commission.

Best wishes for successful sailing in 2009 and thank you again for your support. We will keep you informed.

Nick Dewhirst
United Kingdon Catamaran Racing Association

The Publisher

Jul 9, 2009, 11:15 AM

Post #7 of 7 (17018 views)
Re: [The Publisher] 2012 Olympic Classes [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

This was sent to Scuttlebutt:

July 8, 2009


The ISAF Conference in May brought our campaign closer to its objective of securing appropriate representation for multihulls at the highest level of sport. It now seems highly likely that, if IOC grants sailing an 11th medal, it will be for an Open Multihull Event, raced in Tornados, as in China, and that the chances of a favourable IOC decision are good, but that may not be known till October.

That progress is thanks to the support of you, 4000+ multihull sailors and 2000 others who signed our e-petition. This has been invaluable in demonstrating the widespread global support for our sailing discipline. For details on that and related developments, please read on….

Multihull Commission

It was not necessary for the new Commission, chaired by Paul Pascoe (Also President of the International Multihull Council,, to meet as it had already delivered its recommendation to the Executive in an unprecedented open and well-attended meeting at the previous November Conference. That provided the first opportunity for inter-class discussion since ISAF had disbanded its previous Multihull Committee several years earlier. It recommended that in principle the multihull discipline ought to be in the Olympics and in practice that there were two well-suited multihull classes, namely Tornado and Hobie Tiger (F18).

Olympic Commission

This new Commission met for the first time. Proposed by Phil Jones of Yachting Australia in probably the most exhaustive submission ever made to ISAF, its purpose is to establish a long-term Olympic strategy for sailing. It too is an indirect result of our campaign, in that it exposed the inner workings of ISAF to public scrutiny, revealing that the existing selection of Events was driven not on any objective basis but by the haphazard interaction of national self-interest within ISAF’s governing body, the Council.

The good news is that if multihulls lost out in a political battle, the multihull cause should be much better represented in a strategic appraisal, especially as that Commission is chaired by the official spokesman of a keen multihull sailing country, namely Phil Jones – and one whose Olympic Committee has reportedly even made its own direct submission to IOC.

While it met in camera, it is clear that key items for its consideration must include
1. How to change from a system of defining Events around established classes to representing distinct sailing disciplines.

2. Why should Multihulls be the only discipline to have a single Open Event, when all others have separate Men and/or Women Events

3. Should the class used in an Event be the most elite representative (with the least political support) or the most popular (with the most political support).

4. What should be the proportions of Events that maximise nation participation and spectator appeal

The bad news is that Commissions are the least powerful entities within ISAF, reporting directly and secretly to the Executive and summoned only when it needs their input. Nevertheless this is another improvement.

Events Committee

In his closing statement at the previous Conference, Goran Petersson had said that ISAF would need to make a contingent decision on what to do if IOC granted sailing an 11th medal, because of the shortage of time for athletes to prepare for the Olympic Regatta at Weymouth in 2012.

This committee therefore decided that submissions for multihulls from the ITA, Hobie Tiger classes as well as several countries were urgent and so qualified for debate now. The Committee voted contingently to recommend that the event be multihull and that the class be the Tornado, as raced in China, on the basis that it was too late in the Olympic cycle to experiment this time round.


Opening discussion about the 11th medal, Goran Petersson revealed that 15 sports had asked IOC for 32 medals, requiring 8% more athletes, but added that sailing had a good chance because, unlike many, it was only asking for replacement of something lost, rather than additional new medals, and that, as he had just been given a key position in organising venues for all sports at future Games, he was now well placed to network within the IOC structure.

Given that IOC had not yet officially discussed this issue, Council noted the similar recommendations of Events and Equipment Committees in favour of the Tornado and voted to delegate authority to the Executive, as soon an edict emerges from the IOC.


The entire multihull fiasco arose in the first place because of an IOC edict limiting the total number of competitors and medals per sport due to the escalating cost of the Games, which reached a new record in China. IOC is now experiencing the backlash as its entire membership feels the consequences of capacity constraints for the first time in its history. This has generated widespread unhappiness that individual athletes in some sports should be able to win as many eight medals, when some entire sports are limited to so few in total.

Rather than an unseemly political battle between national interests, as at ISAF, it seems that IOC prefers to operate by establishing strategic principles, which it does by its Olympic Programme Commission making reports to the Executive, much like ISAF’s new Olympic Commission.

As the 15 sports asking for additional medals represent more than half the 26 sports comprising the Summer Games, it will be very difficult for the IOC to dismiss the entire issue, so it will probably have to refine its cost-control edict.

That could mean the re-instatement of all cancelled medals, but retention of the limit on total numbers of athletes for each sport, on the basis that it is the latter that mainly drives up costs per sport. That would be good for multihull sailing.

If the refined criteria were to be more specific, the IOC might also look favourably on adding events that a) have been in the Games before b) represent a sector of the sport not currently in the programme c) require no new facilities d) request no increase in the number of competitors e) have widespread global participation.

That is the good news, or rather speculation. The bad news is that we will have to be patient. This issue is on the IOC agenda, but the new Youth Olympics have delayed the Executive’s to-do list, so it was not discussed at its March meeting, will not be discussed in June, may be politically inconvenient at its August AGM and so might only be decided at the October meeting of the new Executive, when Jacques Rogge may have been re-elected as its President.

Non-Olympic Events

Outside the Olympic arena, the Tornado class is suffering from the lack of official sponsorship but elsewhere our branch of the sport remains strong. The Asian Championships and Asian Games have now agreed that the multihull they use will be the Hobie 16 in China, 2010. The Asian Games is the second largest sports event in the world after the Olympic Games, comprising half the world's population. In July the Hobie 16 will be used in the ISAF Youth Worlds in Brazil. The imminent F18 Worlds has attracted a record entry of 180 teams from 15 countries making it among the largest ever dinghy events – almost all at their own expense. (See

Forthcoming Developments

At this stage there is nothing for us to do, other than wish Goran Petersson good luck with his networking activities, and be patient. If you have constructive ideas on what ISAF ought to do, should he succeed, the Athletes Commission has invited us to air them on their new forum,, moderated by Laura Baldwin.

Thank you again for your support. We will keep you informed. Our recently updated UKCRA website, now contains an extensive archive on this and other subjects, including our report, Racing Sailboat Statistics, which analyses how important our branch of the sport is.

Nick Dewhirst
United Kingdom Catamaran Racing Association

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