ISAF Conference - 2016 Olympics : Hang your heads and weep!!!

The 49er, or Mens HP Skiff event will be ditched from the 2016 Olympics if the ISAF Exec Com has its way

The latest news out of the 2011 Mid-Year Meeting of the International Sailing Federation in St Petersburg, Russia is that the Executive Committee has met and decided not to support the recommendation of the Events Committee made yesterday.

The decision called for both Keelboat classes to be dropped, and instead for a second two handed dinghy event, for Men and Women, sailed in the 470 class, to be inserted into the ten event card for the 2016 Olympic Regatta in Rio de Janeiro.

Instead the Executive Committee, which consists of the top echelon of the ISAF - the President, Presidents of Honour, Vice Presidents and Treasurer has opted for a http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/M29112016OlympicSailingCompetitionEventsandEquipment-%5B10374%5D.pdf!Submission_29 lodged by Federación de Vela de Puerto Rico which favours the reinstatement of both the the Star and Womens Match Racing events at the expense of the two High Performance skiff Events for Men and Womens.

That would see the most telegenic of the current Olympic classes, the 49er dropped in favour of the century old Star keelboat.

49er - 2014 Aquece Rio
ISAF ©

The dropping of the HP Womens skiff is less of a surprise, as it is a new event, without a class, or a lot of following at present. Its slot would be swapped for the Elliott 6 Metre Womens Keelboat, a class chosen after an Evaluation Trial, but yet to see its first Olympics.

Two South American countries, a Star class stronghold, are represented on the Executive Committee, including Puerto Rico's Eric Tulla, one of the Vice Presidents. The Submission 29 is made by the Puerto Ricans. Another Star stronghold, USA, in the form of Dave Irish, is presented on the ten strong Executive Committee. A fourth member of the Executive Committee Tomasz Holc (POL) is a former World #1 ranked Star sailor.

Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello, 49er winners. - Semaine Olympique Francaise, Hyeres, April 2009

Submission 29 also supports the retention of the 470 class, a sentiment it seems endorsed by Alberto Predieri - a former 470 sailor and from 2005-2008 was President of the 470 World body, having previously served as its Secretary General.

Three of the ten-strong Executive Committee are non-voting - HM King Harald V of Norway, HM King Constantine and Treasurer David Kellett (AUS).

Today the Council will decide on voting procedures to be followed to select the Events for the 2016 Olympics, on the second and Final Day of the Mid Year meeting tomorrow.

20100814 onEdition 2010© Free for editorial use image, please credit: onEdition Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) in action in the Star class on day 6, the final day of racing at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta. 2010 sees the fifth edition of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, taking place from the 9th to the 14th August at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, the venue for the 2012 Olympics. This years Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta will see 975 competitors from 57 nations com

In other developments at the Council Meeting - the body made up of one delegate from each of the ISAF member countries - has not accepted one of the key recommendations of the Olympic Commission, that would have seen the cessation of World Championships for the Olympic Classes, with instead the ISAF World Cup Final being the effective World Championship for that class. (Classes would still have been permitted to run an informal world championship, as is done in the Finn class for the Finn Gold Cup. The point being that the worlds 'world championship' would be reserved for use in the context of the ISAF World Sailing Cup)

The move to consolidate around the World Cup was opposed in a joint submission by the Class Associations of the current Olympic classes, and the effect now is that the ISAF World Cup will continue to be a lower status event staged amongst existing regattas as at present.

So far few if any of the principal recommendations by the Olympic Committee seem to have been enacted.

We will continue to update further decisions from the Council and also the response to the suggestion that the 49er might lose its place, to ensure the Star stayed in . So far the news from he sailing community has not been positive.