ISAF Mid-Year Meetings: Decisions made in Events Committee

The FX by Mackay Boats was a clear winner in the ISAF Events Committee
Sail-World's sources report that a couple of key decision have been made at the International Sailing Federation's Events Committee Meeting in Stresa, Italy.

Lake Maggiore in the Gulf of Borromeo, Italy, venue for the ISAF Mid Year Meeting
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The Events Committee met to consider, amongst other business, which of the classes should go forward as a recommendation to the ISAF Council for the two new Olympic Events, the Mixed Multihull and the Womens Skiff. Both would come into the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

In the Womens Skiff decision the Committee, believed to be by a clear majority, recommended the FX by Mackay Boats. The FX uses a 49er hull with a rig designed especially for Women sailors in the weight band specified by the ISAF. Key factors in the discussion were the commonality of the hull with the Mens skiff, the sailor's preference and the well engineered rig. The vote in the Committee is understood to have been very clear cut in favour of the FX which received 14 votes to 2 for the RS900, and it is difficult to see this decision being overturned in Council.

In the Mixed Multihull decision, the Committee by virtue of the Chairman's casting vote recommended the Nacra 17.

Nacra 17 is a new design that was preferred by the majority of the sailors at the recent ISAF Evaluation Trials. It is yet to go into production and was the most expensive option.

Darren Bundock & Celine van Dooren - Viper action
The second runner is the Viper, a smaller catamaran, but already sailing and in production. The vote was split 8-8 with the Chairman Chris Atkins (GBR) exercising his casting vote in favour of the Nacra 17, which was the preference of the ISAF Evaluation Committee who conducted trials for both Events.

The Events Committee decision in respect of the Mixed Multihull is likely to come under strong challenge at the ISAF Council Meeting, and in terms of picking the outcome the result should be seen as a tie. The key points in the decision would seem to be the fact that the Viper is already an established International class, in production and with a stockpile of 50 boats available, and significantly cheaper. It was the second preference of the Evaluation Sailors. The Viper was felt by some to be at the top end of the crew weight range, but then others felt it would favour lighter crews after a settling in period.

The Nacra 17 is a new class, yet to go into production, is longer, beamier, slightly heavier, with more sail area than the Viper (so would be expected to be faster). The Nacra 17 is also more expensive by E3000 (without discounts) than the Viper, and is over the legal road trailer width in some countries, including the European standard. (The Nacra17 beam is 2.59m compared to the 2.5m beam for the Viper - maximum trailer width in UK and Europe is 2.55mtrs). The benefits of the 'C' shaped foils, used in the Nacra17 are questioned by many multihull sailors and designers, which seemed to be a central point for some of the conclusions drawn by Evaluation Team.

For the Sailor Evaluation Response Data from the Mixed Multihull Test http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/MultihullEvaluationAppendix2SailorBoatFeedbackDataV21-%5B12459%5D.pdf!click_here

The question of Kiteboarding being put into the Olympic calendar was apparently discussed but no vote taken initially. The Events Committee recommended to the ISAF Council that they seek two new Events in the Olympic Sailing calendar for Mens and Womens Kiteboarding.

The Nacra17 at the ISAF Evaluation Trials in Santander.
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In terms of overall Olympic Regatta numbers (currently set at 380 sailors), it should be possible to juggle the sailor numbers between the events, without requiring any increase or disadvantaging any particular group. There may be some reduction in terms of so-called developing countries competing at the Olympics, however the planned move to regional qualification would actually give these countries more options to qualify than at present. The IOC are likely to be very intolerant of any request for an increase in sailor numbers to accommodate the new Events.

In late March the ISAF, the world governing body for sailing, conducted a series of trials to narrow the choice for the classes to be sailed at the two new Olympic Events. The trials conducted at Santander, Spain resulted in two preferred options being put forward to the Events Committee in each category.

For the Youth Olympics the Events Committee recommended the Techno 293 as the Board and Byte C2 as the sailboat. Again the recommendation is to be accepted by the ISAF Council

A statement is expected to be released by the ISAF in due course