February 6, 2023

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How we got here >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

Longtime Canadian mentor Mark Lammens will take us down memory lane on how the Olympic Sailing Program has advanced:


When I was 1st attracted to Olympic sailing, all the boats have been created for massive men. The leading sailors were bigger than everyday living. They gained big silver Globe Championship trophies and Olympic medals. Some wrote great textbooks and other individuals manufactured quick sails and constructed quickly boats.

Some prime sailors were secretive and mysterious symbolizing nations driving the iron curtain this sort of as DDR/East Germany and SR/Soviet Union. They had been not normally at key events and they hardly ever traveled away from Europe, but when they sailed at the Olympics they ended up almost always in the medals.

This team included 3-time gold and 1-time silver medalist Jochen Schumann, (born in East Berlin) and 3-time gold and 1-time silver medalist Valintin Mankin (born in the Ukraine). Also Andrey Balashov and Viktor Potapov.

When the Soviet Union dissolved prior to the 1992 Olympics, nations around the world like Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Belarus ended up included to the collaborating sailing nations around the world. Ukraine, Estonia and Lithuania have gone on to get sailing medals.

At the very same time East Germany rejoined West Germany making qualification pretty difficult. Two of Schumann’s medals have been attained when he was sailing for united Germany.

In 1972, the Olympic boats ended up a displacement dinghy, the Finn, and keelboats (Dragon, Star, Tempest, Soling) and the higher general performance Flying Dutchman. The Olympics introduced the distinctive cultures, nations, ideologies, and languages collectively every 4 yrs to share sport.

Even so, the boats made use of in sailing did not endorse inclusiveness they had been way too large for scaled-down gentlemen and gals. Olympic sailing classes claimed to be “open” but definitely they were not. The women’s marathon was added to the Olympic party checklist just before there was a women’s sailing occasion.

In 1988, women’s sailing was lastly included to the Olympic athletics list with the 470. In 1992, two supplemental women’s situations have been included – Europe and Windsurfer. In 2004, the keelboat Yngling course was involved for females. In 2016, the 49erFX changed the women’s keelboat.

Now, Olympic Keelboats have been dropped from the routine to lessen expense and highlight athleticism. Class specific conditioning for each and every boat is with pumping, climbing, and trapezing abilities to hold dinghies upright and rapid. Expenditures for opportunity hosts are minimized by not requiring cranes and docks at sailing venues, and athletes can sail considerably less costly boats.

Sailing was thriving with participation at the Paralympics. Sailors with disabilities raced in 1996 when Sailing was a demonstration activity at the Paralympic Games. From 2000 to 2016, Sailing was additional to the Paralympic sport record, but dropped standing thanks to small international participation. Participation figures have improved but reinstatement of the activity has not been profitable to day. The expense of keelboats, cranes, and docks may also be contributing variables.

A blended boat (1 male, 1 female) was included to the program in 2016 with the Nacra 17. The combined 470 and the new Kite course for men and women of all ages will be additional in 2024. This usually means women will have the exact opportunity as men to excel at the highest amount at the Paris, 2024 Olympics.

Racing formats and rules evolved above time. Now, there are 11 or 16 shorter races, less difficult race scoring, and option ‘on the water’ penalties.

The singlehanded Finn class has been in 18 Olympics starting off in 1952 but was dropped after Tokyo 2020. Paul Elvstrom and Ben Ainslie equally gained three Olympic Gold medals in the Finn and Gilles Scott won two. It is the boat previous Global Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge sailed.

The first Finns ended up wood, with wooden masts and cotton sails. There were no guidelines on how much fat sailors could put on when the wind was solid. Today, the boat has a decreased excess weight, carbon wing masts and plastic sails. The Finn has measurement principles with minimal weights and parameters that enable for slight variants and prospects to change efficiency variables. In other words and phrases, there could be marginally unique boats, masts and sails.

The Laser is the first ‘One Design’ singlehanded dinghy. It has the largest worldwide agent fleet with substantial quality and depth that are unable to be dismissed. The Laser has been seriously motivated by the Finn.

The Laser’s just one structure produced offered simplicity concept was what Paul Elvstrom promoted in his books. The Laser was created by Bruce Kirby, who raced Finn and concluded 8th at the Olympics. The 1st molds and boats were built by Ian Bruce who also sailed Finn and completed 7th at the Olympics. The mast, sail and rig developer was Hans Fogh, who finished 2nd at the Finn Gold Cup.

Unfortunately for the Finn, there was not a women’s ‘equivalent’. The Laser/ILCA 7 for adult men and Radial/ILCA 6 for women of all ages fulfills the Olympic gender harmony requirement which led to the devices no longer possessing an occasion to fill.

Sailing System for the Paris 2024 Olympics:
Men’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 7
Women’s A single Individual Dinghy – ILCA 6
Blended Two Human being Dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFX
Men’s Kiteboard – Method Kite Class
Women’s Kiteboard – Method Kite Class
Men’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Women’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Blended Multihull – Nacra 17