Interesting moves happening in the Olympic world with the announcement of a Joint Submission from the International Finn and Europe Classes to World Sailing demanding that they be considered for the possibly delinquent medal being debated around the double-handed mixed keelboat offshore event. Dr Balazs Hajdu and Paul Depoorter, Presidents from the respective classes are proposing a joint team event mixing genders across the classes and they are bang on the money here.
Good on them. This is a great submission and deserves to be taken seriously. I do, however, feel sad for the double-handed keelboat event that is very much the zeitgeist of the times. The discipline is gaining in popularity, not just offshore but inshore too as witnessed by the JOG fleet on the Solent recently and in the States.
But if the Olympic Goons (how on earth does one get on these committees?) can’t quite make the leap of faith with fully supplied free equipment then what more can be done? The Finn and Europe classes mixing it up with a totally new gender-diverse team concept would be a brilliant, brilliant substitution and breathe a level of fascination and tension into sailing at the Paris Games that would be nail-biting. Bring it on.
The full submission to World Sailing is here:
The International Finn Association and the International Europe Class Union would like to make a joint submission for the tenth event at the 2024 Olympic Games, should the Mixed Offshore Keelboat be rejected.
The proposed format would consist of a combined team score across a series of races. Team sports are common across the Olympics, so this is something the IOC and spectators can easily identify with. Both the Finn and Europe classes are well-established international classes with an extensive series of regattas worldwide, and a competitive number of boatbuilders conforming to anti-monopoly regulations, providing lower costs for MNAs around the globe.
In addition, they represent a tradition of sailors of different physiques that have written legendary pages in our beloved sport, a legacy worth protecting and whose loss could never be replaced. Sailing is one of the few sports that can cater for Men and Women of different physiques. Conscious of that responsibility, World Sailing rules have always guaranteed Olympic options for these sailors to continue a tradition dating back to the early years of sailing.
That same reason led the Council in 2017 to pledge that sailors with different physiques would have an opportunity to compete at the 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition (Submission 70-17). The inclusion of our Classes in the Olympic programme is the only solution that would permit heavyweight men and medium lightweight women to be competitive and enjoy our sport, while maintaining absolute gender and event equality across all ten events.
The Mixed One Person event would continue the tradition of providing a technical challenge to sailors at the Olympics, while catering for different sailor physiques and facilitating improved investment in female sailors around the world.
More importantly perhaps it would also keep many top sailors in Olympic sport that otherwise would give up after Tokyo as there would be nothing left for them to sail. The Finn class has unique links to the America’s Cup and plays a key role in a long held pathway through the sport. The Europe class is a previous Olympic class with many of the same technical qualities as the Finn and is still flourishing worldwide. That legacy must be maintained.
We would like to reassure you of our best intentions to make this workable and a success, and we hope you will give this proposal serious consideration.
Let’s see where this one goes. World Sailing need to get on this as a matter of urgency and it will not be good enough if they come back to the sport having lost the offshore double-handed event with no replacement. The pressure is on. The sailing world is watching and it’s their authority at stake.
Fail here and World Sailing won’t be thanked. Offshore double-handed or Finns and Europes. Please don’t let us down.