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Olympic classes support in the USA

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It is truly interesting to see how the support for Olympic sailing is debated in the sailing media and amongst the sailing community. Here in the USA, I feel there is a bit of a disconnect as the Olympic classes outside the laser are basically classes are not holding any significant  competitions outside the one World Cup event each year in Miami. Basically to sail an Olympic class you need to move to Europe to compete on an Olympic level. And this is true for almost every non European country such as Japan, New Zealand, and the other top countries outside of Europe. It is just the current situation we live in with the change in Olympic classes over the past 22 years. Back in the days of the Soling and Star we had active world level fleets in our country. And in the case of the Star the US fleet is still probably at a higher competitive level than many current Olympic classes are. Biggest loss was for the Olympics, not the Star.

If it were not for an incredible benefactor for our samall Olympic sailing community in Oyster Bay there would be very few 470’s, 49ers, 49FX, and Nacra’s available to any potential Olympic hopefuls to even give the Olympic  boats a try. And still it is not easy to step up to the challenge as very few of our sailors can step out of an FJ  doing a 15 minute  collegiate race and perform on an Olympic level in any Olympic class. As has been proven time and again as well as discussed here.

With the current Olympic classes there are basically no active fleets in the USA except the laser and  a few die hard Finn sailors that just love the boat, but they are mostly not future Olympiads. There are less than a handful of 470events, 49/FX events, Nacra, Windsurfer events in the US and they are not well attended with caliber of world level sailors unless it is in Miami as a trainer for the World Cup. Can anyone name the current 49er US national champion? Is there one? 

Over the past 18 years the USA has only been awarded 9 Olympic medals. 2000- 1G, 2-S, 1-B. 2004- 1-G, 1B. 2008- 1-G, 1-S. 2012- no medals. 2016- 1-B. It has been debated to great length the reasons for our lack of Olympic success in the last 18years, but basically there is no one competing in the Olympic classes at US events so why would we expect anything different in the results. 

So now as competitive sailors and our appointed MNA in the USA we want to be involved in the world wide Olympic class discussions when the huge number of great sailors we have here in the USA do not support Olympic competition by competing in those classes. Honestly I do not think the old boy network at US Sailing will get much of a voice at the table with World Sailing nor should they. Especially with the group we have leading our MNA. I would imagine the US has lost a bit of influence with such a weak performances on the Olympic level. Or so it seems from my perspective. And hopefully with their current opinions they will be left out of important discussions.

The biggest losers in this whole process world wide could be the youth sailors. A number of the current Olympic training boats have solid support internationally in the junior ranks. It will be interesting to see if hugely popular boats such as the International 420 can survive if the 470 is eliminated. I honestly think it will continue to be popular on the world level for a while do to the level of commitment by the international countries, but it will cause a potential misalignment with future Olympic classes.

Basically I feel the US sailing public has given up on the Olympic dream to some degree and has not followed Olympic sailing on the level I use to in previous years. Same way there is such a disconnect between the America’s Cup and most of the competitive sailors in the US now more than there ever has been. Even with the strong rise in professional sailing in the Grand Prix classes the pro sailors are no longer rubbing shoulders with the regional sailors they way we use to not so long ago. So that disconnect is widening right before our eyes as well.

no complaints on my end as I have had my time in the sun and starting to watch it set, but just interesting to see times change, and watching people still hanging onto old thought patterns. Seems like history on some levels may be repeating itself and I am feeling like a dinasour. Wonder what the Olympic aspirations for the next generation will be like! If they even exist at all.

 

 

 

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half of olympic sailing is fundraising, finding sponsors and paying to have your really expensive equipment shipped around the globe. It also seems like you have to be a standout at a young age to get on olympic track. maybe not, but that seems to be how most olympic sports are now.

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Is there a current US builder of any Olympic Class Sailboat??

i have been beating the same drum for many decades... once more won’t  hurt>>>

For  any racing the game played on any Sailboat to succeed as a North American racing class some entity must drive the sales of new toys and the organization of the racing game. 

The equipment must be available for purchase and the events must be  set up and publicized.

THERE IS NO THEY!!!!

If you want to see a sailing game played, you must irganize it. 

If you do not organize the game you would love me to see played, it will not happen. 

You can pay someone to do it.  

Maybe soneone will  perceive an opening to make money or become famous. Otherwise... it will not happen 

 

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I think one of the last North American builders of Olympic sailing equipment was Abbott in the Soling Class. I am sure if wrong someone will update this. I agree not having support of manufacturing is an issue.

It certainly is in the youth training Olympic classes. 29ers and I420 are now becoming available in certain areas, but they are certainly not accessible to average sailors as they all must be imported. Some national level sales groups like KO and Zim have gone a long way to make new and charter boats available, but that is not building the core of the classes very fast. Hence the 29er class just does not seem to be able to effectively sustain itself very well outside of very small pockets.

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Not much different in Australia.

Here we have an elete squad of maybe two crew per class (not boards or women's SH asik at present) who get funded by Aust Sailing with boats, transport, and enough money to live on,   plus a second group of a few more crews who get maybe transport and minor expenses, and who rely a lot on family and minor sponsors for sustinance. The first group include recent olympians who also have some good sponsors, and seem to live comfortably. You have to be well funded and dedicated to get selected for group 2 and then do well enough to go to group 1. Many aspirants drop out of the classes and some drop out of the sport.

Except for masters laser sailing there is very little racing of Olympic classes in Australia. A few pooly attended regattas. Olympic selection is all based on performance in big overseas regattas, so sailing these boats in Australia becomes irrelevant.

Measured by medals the system works, and that earns government money for the system. So while the Olympic Sailing machine is well funded, the rest of the Sailing admin organisation, representing the vast majority of sailors is not well funded.  Consequently most Aust sailors are ambivolent about Olympic sailing, and the classes involved and in many cases about the Australian Sailing organisation which runs everything.

 

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Basically I feel the US sailing public has given up on the Olympic dream to some degree and has not followed Olympic sailing on the level I use to in previous years.

I wonder if this disconnect is a function of how isolated the Olympic sailors are from the rank and file sailors.  There are no signature events  where you could compete in your class and then rub shoulders or meet the Olympic sailors at the bar....  listen to  a 30 minute debrief of the racing on the course that day,  in short, you can't  find even a tiny thread of connection to members of the sailing teams.  The press releases from  US Sailing seem like virtual form letter reports and include a nice photo and two comments from a sailor.   Hardly the makings of a sports marketing and a pr campaign that allows you to build a connection to a sailor or a sailing team as a fan.  Bottom line, there is no sense of community or stake in the success or failure of an olympic sailor.

Consider, a hot shot junior sailor will only be known at their local club....many clubs might not even promote their own talent within the club...  So basically, they are unknown....   and then they go off to high school sailing where there is again no connection with the vast majority of competitive sailing in the region.... followed by a college career where they are even more distantly connected to the rank and file sailor.  In 2018,   I bet most of the club and serious amateur catamaran sailors could not come up with a name for any member of the US Sailing mixed multihull squad.  Hell, most of us have never seen a Nacra 17 much less a Nacra foiling 17 in person.   It seems that a huge advantage of keelboat Olympic classes was the demographics allowed for sailors with 20 year careers and thus 20 years of contacts on the docks to compete and so we had fan interest in those sailors.  Back in the day, even non star sailors got the sense of a community supporting those athletes.

So, where does a lack of community leaves us .... Well, you are supposed to root for sailors, that you don't know racing a class of boats that you have never seen but sort of looks like something you might have raced once upon a time that is branded with a national flag.   Your level of support is just a function of your national pride every 4 years for a period of two weeks.

I wonder if other countries have a different experience.   While Aus may have a similar system with respect to local fleets.  Bundy, Asby, Booth, Forbes, Waterhouse (jr and sr) all sailed in club fleets and seemed to have real connections to the rank and file.  (perhaps my glasses are rose colored)   I bet if you asked most US cat sailors about olympic athletes... ... the only names they come up with are Randy Smyth and Pete Melvin.... Lovell and Ogletree, dropped into Tornados post college,  while, Guliari dropped into n17s from moths and don't have much connection to the rest of the community then or now.

Any thoughts on the role that community plays in support/interest in Olympic sailing in the rest of the world?

 

 

 

 

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is the nacra sailed at club level at all? I know there is some club activity in the 49er in europe and canada (well, wherever pitchpole is based out of), and maybe some 470 in europe.... 

 

That said, i mostly but not completely agree with you. I went to college with or sailed against, and am friends with from that period of my life, several members or wannabee members of the olympic sailing team. I was either friends or acquaintances with the majority of the Rio team. That was fun to watch (And also a bit heartbreaking at times). But, i went to school and sail in the north east. The representation of sailboats sailed in the olympics at club level is nonexistent. The worst part is, i'm not even sure if a build it and they will come sort of attitude will work. Oak Cliff is a nice start, but if you started trying to organize races outside of their little enclave i think it would flop. Why would a Nacra or 49er sailor want to travel from California, or back to America from Europe, to race again the same few American boats they'll race against at the world cups anyway? Why not just skip the east coast and go right to Europe for the summers? 

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Take sailing out of the Olympics, period. That'll direct World Sailing's attention away from propping up a squad of celebrities to growing the sport and fixing the real problems at hand - access, work/family/sailing time balance, cost, complexity, and over-professionalization.

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I went to college with or sailed against, and am friends with from that period of my life, several members or wannabee members of the olympic sailing team. I was either friends or acquaintances with the majority of the Rio team. That was fun to watch (And also a bit heartbreaking at times). But, i went to school and sail in the north east.

Well that is my point...  You were part of that community... ie Northeast college sailing.   So... you were a fan of olympic sailing when some  members of the community stepped up to the next level and you don't sail any of these classes.

The problem is....  NOBODY ELSE seems to give a damn about the community of olympic sailors.  My point is that those sailors simply are not part of virtually any other larger mainstream sailing community.   critics blame US Sailing... but the problem is far more complex then management.

To your point about local fleets of olympic classes.....  I would characterize Oakcliff as a training center... not a club for rank and file dinghy sailors.  Once upon a time...Canada hosted an olympic classes event C.O.R.K in Kingston however August doesn't work in the international circuit.    There is no critical mass to make this event work.  I think Miami OCRs in January is the only  North/South America solution and it has been that way for 20 years or more.  Bottom line..  I don't think running olympic class events or growing the olympic class fleets is the solution to growing a community of fans interested in the sport.  I think we need some other solution that bootstraps community/fan interest.

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5 minutes ago, jackolantern said:

Take sailing out of the Olympics, period. That'll direct World Sailing's attention away from propping up a squad of celebrities to growing the sport and fixing the real problems at hand - access, work/family/sailing time balance, cost, complexity, and over-professionalization.

Well that is a glib answer to a complex problem.      Take a shot...   what is your solution to Work/family Sailing time balance??? Now make the ideal case for World sailing to solve it.... How about a solution to private/public property on water access??    Pray tell... how do you reduce the complexity of a LASER?   Solve the cost problem in sailing and the world will want a piece of your money machine.

Over-professionalization... OK... this one I could see a World sailing or a MNA addressing....  and still.... I would suggest that you need a therapist to manage the impact a sailing professional has on your experience if you perceive this as a major issue to solve.

 

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olympic sailing seems to be in a downward spiral worlwide.

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I think a big part of the problem is the massive falloff of sailors when it comes to ages 16-25. From my experience, when people finish high school or college they simply stop sailing and going to yacht clubs altogether due to the cost and logistics of the sport. Only the top level of sailors from that group will move into the niche that is olympic class racing, the rest move on with their lives. If they still have a passion for sailing they might get into it later on in their life when they have more disposable income but by then they are completely disconnected with the current generation of Olympic class sailors and as tcat mentioned they have no idea who anyone representing their country is. 

 

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olympic sailing seems to be in a downward spiral worlwide.

Don't think so....   It seems that the gold cup events have the same number of sailors as always.....   The PROBLEM is Olympic sailings relationship to the rest of the sport and the appeal to non sailors for the bean counters running the Olympic movement who care about the latter element.

Its perverse that the petition demanding the keeping of the old classes (470s... lasers, fins) is countered by post after post about the irrelevance of Olympic sailing to the posters sense of the sport.  ...   seems like a problem to me.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Trovão said:

olympic sailing seems to be in a downward spiral worlwide.

1 hour ago, Tcatman said:

Don't think so....   It seems that the gold cup events have the same number of sailors as always.....  

I believe that participation figures for Olympic sailing are as good if not better than ever, although its hard to be sure because the top events are limited entry while world championships, which used to be limited entry, are now open (except for the WS one that happens once every 4 years).

1 hour ago, Tcatman said:

Its perverse that the petition demanding the keeping of the old classes (470s... lasers, fins) is countered by post after post about the irrelevance of Olympic sailing to the posters sense of the sport.  ...   seems like a problem to me.

The "old classes" are far closer to what everybody sails than the new classes that have either been brought in or which are being proposed. The simple fact is that when you look at what the majority sail, it is slow, heavy, easy to sail boats that are usually old in design. In the UK, small boat sailing is dominated by what most people would call "traditio

 

3 hours ago, Can2476 said:

I think a big part of the problem is the massive falloff of sailors when it comes to ages 16-25.

This is a massive problem for almost all sports and has become more and more of an issue as time goes on. Don't think it is unique to sailing. It is well recorded that there is a big drop off as kids focus on their final 2 years of school to make sure they get to college/university and then again, when they leave college/university and begin work.

 

8 hours ago, jackolantern said:

Take sailing out of the Olympics, period. That'll direct World Sailing's attention away from propping up a squad of celebrities to growing the sport and fixing the real problems at hand - access, work/family/sailing time balance, cost, complexity, and over-professionalization.

22 hours ago, Phil S said:

Measured by medals the system works, and that earns government money for the system. So while the Olympic Sailing machine is well funded, the rest of the Sailing admin organisation, representing the vast majority of sailors is not well funded.  Consequently most Aust sailors are ambivolent about Olympic sailing, and the classes involved and in many cases about the Australian Sailing organisation which runs everything.

People seem to think that if sailing was removed from the Olympics, there would be more money for MNA's and WS to spend on the rest of sailing and that they could and would address other issues. This is a long way from the truth. Most MNA's wouldn't get any of the money they currently receive for Olympic funding if sailing wasn't in the games, while  in many emerging nations, if sailing was dropped from the Olympics, the whole sport would die in that country because funding for non Olympic activities, such as youth development is only there because it is an Olympic sport. I know that it the UK, if  sailing wasn't in the Olympics, all that would mean is that those working for the RYA involved with the Olympic team would no longer have jobs but the rest of teh RYA would still have exactly the same funding as they do now. I believe that applies in Australia as well, although I am a bit out of date since my friend Phil Jones left YA.

As for WS, their activities outside of teh Olympics would be reduced if sailing was dropped, because the net financial benefit of being in the Olympics would be reduced. WS spends less on Olympic related activities than it receives from the IOC. 

Also consider what should be done by MNA's (national bodies) and what should be done by WS. Jackolantern's list of things to be tackled are mainly the responsibility of MNA's, not WS, because the problems present themselves differently in each country. Accessability is a very different problem in the USA to what it is in, say, Poland or Singapore or Indonesia or... you get the picture. You say there is an issue with over-professionalisation, but in many countries, they would argue that the lack of professional opportunities holds sailing back. 

The problems of the Olympics tend to be specific to each country and that can be seen in the huge contrast between , say, the UK and/or Australia with the USA. There is no global solution to the issue for the USA. It needs to be tackled with a USA specific solution, which has to come from within the USA, but that means US Ailing doing something to tackle the issues in the USA, which I believe are not Olympic issues but fundamental issues about how the sport works in the USA. Instead, they think that changing the classes and events is going to improve matters. Do they really think that short handed offshore racing is going to revive Olympic sailing in the USA? All it can do is make it more expensive and less accessible.

Until you solve the problems of participation in non Olympic sailing and in particular, small boat sailing in the USA, there is little hope of getting enough quality sailors coming through to the Olympics. As with all sports, it is the strength of grass roots that determines the strength of the top level. 

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Excellent points all around... Noted...  that each country has unique issues and you can't conflate them

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Do they really think that short handed offshore racing is going to revive Olympic sailing in the USA? All it can do is make it more expensive and less accessible.

No,   I think it scratches the itch created by  the 40 to 70 year old benefactors.    more expensive!... that's a feature... not a bug!

I think the assumption that US Sailing thinks anything will revive Olympic sailing in the US like the days of old  is not accurate.  So, why not throw the old guys a bone.    Its just a form of virtue signaling..

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Until you solve the problems of participation in non Olympic sailing and in particular, small boat sailing in the USA, there is little hope of getting enough quality sailors coming through to the Olympics. As with all sports, it is the strength of grass roots that determines the strength of the top level. 

Makes lots of sense... but may not be actually true.    When you only need two teams to push each other in a discipline AND the competition is global....  maybe you scrape by with a lame pipeline..  

but I take your point.... a strong grass roots base is superior.  therefore, reasonable people might argue that you look for answers at the grass roots level... and not the MNA level.  

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Not just jobs but facilities, and a stream of newish 2nd hand boats (from chartering) would be lost.

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21 hours ago, jackolantern said:

Take sailing out of the Olympics, period. That'll direct World Sailing's attention away from propping up a squad of celebrities to growing the sport and fixing the real problems at hand - access, work/family/sailing time balance, cost, complexity, and over-professionalization.

I see. You do get that most of World Sailing's income comes from the IOC and other professional events and if that income went, they'd be doing not a lot of anything except publishing RRS every 4 years?

Meanwhile I'd be interested to hear how you think  a sport governing body is going to solve work/family/sailing time balance.

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9 hours ago, Tcatman said:

 therefore, reasonable people might argue that you look for answers at the grass roots level... and not the MNA level.  

As far as grass-roots participation is concerned, I am certain that is true.

As far as Olympic sailing goes, many seem to believe that Olympic success in a class is linked to domestic strength in the class. That's living a few decades in the past. With appropriate MNA support, talented sailors can medal in any class for which they have the right aptitude and body type, including classes that barely exist domestically. Sailors from AUS and GBR can get that MNA support, it seems sailors from the USA so far have not. 

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Olympic success in a class is linked to domestic strength in the class.

No... not really my point.  (or the other posters position)...  I believe a vibrant small boat racing culture is the key feature...Olympic class activity is important only for the obvious community building benefits.  The idea that in any given Olympic selection year... any one of a dozen teams could emerge from the national class and compete for a medal is and always was a fantasy.

My point addresses the essential role of a community... Not some allegiance to a particular platform that has sussed out a secret sauce for world dominance.

 A critical mass of activity gives you a good chance to suck in those with natural talent.  A large junior program without hooks to adult sailing at all levels wont sustain the sport or the subset of olympic athletes..   A community of competitors is there to support the olympic hopeful in the dark days and celebrate the victories.  If small boat racing is a diminishing portion of your adult competitive racing public........ none of the this will happen. 

Final point...  we may differ on the role of big money here...  I don't think the US competitors are as destitute as they once were...  8 years of better funding has not lead to results..  but... a traditional usa approach would be throw more money at it....  I am not convinced.  My read of the brit program is that it is the constant pressure to excel within the team that is the secret to success.  talent knocking on the door to get onto the squad is essential.   The juice is really the extreme competition that drives the process within that community.... the cash is used well.   Bottom line... you start with competition.... you manage it within strong communities and you fund it smartly.

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17 hours ago, Tcatman said:

Makes lots of sense... but may not be actually true.    When you only need two teams to push each other in a discipline AND the competition is global....  maybe you scrape by with a lame pipeline..  

2 teams to push each other is only any good if the 2 teams are world class. If you rely on only 2 teams, you need to be very lucky for them to both be world class. This is why you need a strong non Olympic scene. You need a pipeline of many sailors. Look at the UK. You have one of the major junior championships going on at the moment and there are 280 junior sailors competing across various classes. Surely you are going to get more than 2 who will go down the Olympic route. Top class sport is like a pyramid. The base is grass roots level and of course the pointed top is the Olympic medallists. Without the base, there is no top. It's a numbers game. In the USA they usually struggle to find enough top class sailors to fill the whole of the squad. In the UK, there are too many top class sailors and there are always sailors with great potential missing out on funding.

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On 5/4/2018 at 12:54 PM, Phil S said:

Not much different in Australia.

 

The US has very little cohesive infrastructure in place from the bottom to the top. AU & UK have it on paper. They have specific pathways and are supported on a state & national level.

There are various squads & teams at the junior & youth levels which receive world class coaching. All of that is at reduced or subsidized rates.  In the US it simply does not exist. We were paying $250 for a 2 day 420 clinic in 1990 in New England. 

Compare our Opti guys to the US guys. Its a massive disparity at all levels.

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16 hours ago, Tcatman said:

No... not really my point.  (or the other posters position)... 

Fair enough. There's another thread going on on SA where a link between domestic fleet strength and Olympic success has been asserted and I've heard the same argument several times before.

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The Olympics are just not interesting anymore in the US. It's not just sailing, but any sport or hobby. You have good local support in most sports and hobbies that fill the void. A runner can go to the Boston Marathon,  Triathletes can go to Hawaii for fame and glory. There are also many regional events that are far less expensive and are within easy driving distance. 

There are also more places for big sponsors to advertise, so they won't spend it all in one event. Even F1 car racing, who previously had unlimited funds, now has strict limits on money.

The other issue in the US is that culture has changed. Any overt sign of national pride, Southern pride or any other pride is instantly linked to racism, even if none is intended and the participants are varied. No corporation wants to take that chance. Nationalism and racism is the one thing you can't defend yourself against with facts. It's really a matter of public perception and accusations.

 So support your local regatta and forget about the Olympics. This won't be an issue for long anyways, as most millennials won't look up from their phones to watch the Olympics or any sport they don't compete in.

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I'm jumping in late here.....but why does anyone care?

 

The Olympics are just a pointless status symbol to show off which country has the most dedicated soccer moms.

 

In order for anyone to compete in any Olympic sport they and their family have to give up hope and effort into any likely meaningful future for their kids so they can pursue a pointless venture into the world's lowest paying professional sport.   Yes, professional.  Anything that consumes all of you and your families life for 4 .....most of the time more years is a profession.

Worldwide competition is not without merit...but as a hobbyist I don't feel compelled to support that level of insanity.  

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1 hour ago, jimmydyurko said:

into the world's lowest paying professional sport.   

Nonsense, sailors can do very nicely thank you. For instance there is someone called Coutts who doesn't seem short of a kiwi peso or two.

As for the lowest paying professional sport.....try paragliding and yes there are people sponsored to do that professionally. I'm sure there are some other candidates too in the poverty stakes.

Of course anyone seriously trying to medal is a professional in any Olympic discipline. It has been thus for decades, it is hardly a revelation.

 

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It's a numbers game. In the USA they usually struggle to find enough top class sailors to fill the whole of the squad. In the UK, there are too many top class sailors and there are always sailors with great potential missing out on funding.

Yup... that would be a lame!....  The US definition of pipeline is indeed a narrow pipe.... perhaps a straw is a better analogy.

Tons of pixels available on this fundamental issue, and the relationship to racing for the rank and file  and solving it would  be great.

The immediate issue is support for the idea of olympic sailing in the games right now.  Support from rank and file sailors is at best tepid in 2016 and diminishing over time.  At worst... a self aggrandizing product of soccer moms leading to  lousy professional careers (says jimmydyurko .  What do you do?.... Stay with the traditional fleets (sign the 470 petition)  or embrace big changes and what kind of changes.  My sense is that that you rebuild support by addressing community and competition.  The public is interested in sailing only to the degree of nationalism at play... so focus on racing sailors  and rebuild their interest in the pinnacle of small boat racing.

 

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At the end of the day I am on the fence with support for all the changes expected to Olympic sailing. From the start of this thread I have wondered why there is no true support to sailing the current Olympic class boats in the USA. Surely as strong as the 470 class  is world wide there should be a US class, but sadly there is no US 470 class and hence only one team in both the men’s and women’s top 20 rankings. But what about the other Olympic and development classes in the US. Because when you,talk about changing the Olympics it includes the pipeline aspect as well.

Currently there is a US Sailing pipeline that is suppose to identify youth sailors and help them down the Olympic path. There is the 29er  that just does not seem to get traction nationally outside of a few locations and  is suppose to feed competent skiff sailors into the 49er or FX. It would be interesting to see directly from this pipeline how many sailors have moved from the 29er to the 49er or FX. For a while it was hard to get boats, but now with reliable dealers in the US boats are available, but yet only limited regional events or growth in the class.  The US Youth Champs are desperate to fill the field with male and female  29er teams and will basically take most applicants if the kids are just making the effort to sail in the class. 

The i420 is a self serving old boys group run and controlled by the north east elitist at LISOT and while there has been some solid sailors who have tried to grow in this class, if you are not part of that group you will never go forward and will be pushed out of the class. Even US Sailing stays away from this group and focuses their other Olympic Development strategies and efforts with other classes such as the Laser, Nacra, and 29er until they are forced to deal with the i420 bunch each year at Youth Worlds. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the US i420 class after the Worlds in Newport. My guess is it will go back to the way it has been and decline back to a level only supported by LISOT. Which is just how they want it. Hopefully that class will be dropped from Youth Worlds and US Sailing will not be in a stranglehold by LISOT when new classes are announced.

Parially because of this issue in the i420 class there is no one coming through the pipeline to move into the 470 class. But I still blame the lack of an active 470 class in the US as why we only currently have one competitive 470 team in the US in either the men’s or women’s group.

the minute the 470 goes to a mixed crew virtually all the women 470 skippers will be elinmiated from being competitive and only the biggest and tallest female crews will be in the class. Basically the current male skippers will just swap out for a female crew that fits the body build. There will always be the exception with a stand out female skipper and male crew, but it will go the same way as the Nacra did.

In the other classes, the Laser is strong with a few solid players in the game that are working up the ranks. Both on the youth level and Olympic level. Probably because the class is actively sailed in the US. This is arguably one of the strongest and most competitive dinghy classes in the US. Just try it out some time during a frostbite race in Newport, RI.

The windsurfer - do not even know what to say this, but who sails this class in the US. Either as a Development or at the Olympic level. Hard to fill the fleet when there is really limited windersurfer racing in the US. Who wants to go upwind and pump a sail all day unless you are French. Americans just want to reach around the bay and enjoy the fast ride. No ambition there from the dying windsurfer class of sailors in the US. No loss if this class gets dropped in my opinion.

the Nacra was pushed onto the scene with no classes developed in countries. Boats were limited at best or not available, then the dramatic push to foiling that again pushed both the Olympic class ahead of the slow growing national class organizations.  As it was stated earlier, most sailors in the US have yet to even see a  Nacra 15 or 17. It is just a foreign boat to most US cat sailors and not accessible to people who might even have an interest in the class. The ODP is trying to change this and getting some traction with the younger sailors by providing access to boats, but you need to be in areas where the boats are.

the Finn. One of the last grand boats of the Olympics. And likely the second most popular one design single handed boat in the world with a world level event coming up with current entries well in excess of 300 competitors. This boat has a decent following in the US with the adult crowd. Unfortunately this seems to have fallen out of favor with World Sailing because it does not appeal to females. Shame because it is one of the most incredible boat to sail and I only wish I had half the ability those guys have to sail those boats. Wish the class in the US was stronger.

So where to from here with the Olympic classes. Is there anything being sailed out there at a world level that might appeal to the US Sailor? Many would say Who Cares!

 

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This should have been US Sailing platform for the next Olympic :)

windsurfer - out

replaced with men’s and women’s Opti Sailing. We all know everyone loves seeing children in the Olympics. Especially the IOC. Just watch gymnastics. 

Leave the laser as is because at least there is a class actively sailing in the US. But make it a masters class. No one under 35 allowed.

470- out

replace with the mixed club 420. Obviously the 470 is way to difficult for the American sailors to handle so put in the dumbed down small, slower version and again most kids will sail. See how the Olympics(IOC) loves children and mixed gender sailing. This would also be a huge plus for the three last dinghy builders in the US as they could supply the boat to the world. Since all the boats are already made in Asia it is already a world wide distribution.

Fin - out

Replace with the J70 Corinthian only class. Got to make it fair and even for all over achievers in the US. But let the Italians bring whatever crews and boats they want. They will anyway. 

Let the 49er and FX stay. Americans will never really figure out high performance boats like this, but let them recruit aussies and New Zealanders at the same way they do for the AC competitions. US Sailing can just start shopping around for talent. Probably cheaper than trying to grow the talent in house. And they do not need to deal with the parents through the pipeline process. Which are basically miserable people who think there kids should already have a medal.

Nacra- See comments above. With the American way to just push money at things let’s go buy some medals. As we are the melting pot of the world let’s go get some real talent and win some medals. Since the southern border might have a fence soon, we can get them in through Canada!

 

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So .....   we now have three or 4  proposals on the table.

World sailing...   The FU proposal of dump the 470 and Finns...pissing off the oldest and strongest establishment in the world.

US Sailing...  basically get the lead out on the water again and play screw you in team racing.

The fiddler on the roof proposal that shouts Tradition ..... not the finn....   NEVER THE FINN vote for our petition

Bait's proposal best called an affirmative action program for US Sailors.

Tcat's proposal that says whatever... but try some touchy feely stuff to reconnect...  an entitled community  of elite racers with a surly and don't really give a damn of rank and file of sailors on all the non olympic dinghy and race boats out there.

OK..... mayday!

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Back in the Jurassic Period when I sailed in an Olympic Class, we thought it was cool to have a shot at all the top sailors.  Getting worked over by a Gold Medalist was kind of an honor, and I will remember spitting Valentyn Mankin out the back to the end of my days.  I repeat my favorite story about sailing out to the start of the '72 Tempest trials. I was the youngest competitor crewing for my father, who was the oldest. I said' "We aren't going to win this, are we?"  He said, "No, but they have to beat us."  I think we ended up 7th, lead one race until the last beat, and were generally in the mix. It was a great experience for a 19 year old who actually prepared the boat and made it as fast as it was.

I thought about doing other Olympic campaigns, but was never sufficiently interested in any of the classes.  I wanted to sail boats that were harder to sail and which I thought were more fun, so I became distracted by International Canoes, and everything else was like kissing a sister.

I believe in one of Pierre de Cubertin's Olympic ideals, that international sportsmanship is a good and healthy thing, that creating international relationships adds depth and breadth to your understanding of the world. So I have sailed in classes where there are World Championships and have made it a point to attend them regularly.  It helps that the IC only has a World Championships every 3 years.  

But the Olympic classes have suffered from the " If I can't win I won't bother" syndrome.  Not enough people see the honor of being the JV that pushes the Varsity hard enough to win championships. Or maybe they just don't enjoy sailing enough to lose the race and still have a great day.

SHC

At Vanguard we built 470s, Finns, Europe Dinghies, 49ers and Lasers.  Of those classes, the only one that was a success was the Finn. The Lasers were also probably better than average.  Our 470s were mostly crap because we didn't cheat. The Europes were stiffer than  all the other boats in the class, but got the reputation of being unsalable down wind in over 12 even though we took the hull shape directly off a Winner Europe.  There was also a shape change that we couldn't afford to follow.  The 49ers were a disaster start to finish that we never should have been involved with. 

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Steve,

awesome resonse. I sailed back in a time when there was a decent competition in the US in some Olympic classes. It was awesome to be at events with that caliber of sailors. Then have a beer with them after racing and enjoy the opportunity to get to know some incredible sailors. It opened a lot of doors for me!

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Ha... testimony to the value of community in supporting olympic sailing.  The benefits are bidirectional and profound.  

The problem is the game intensified and the EU became the center for elite competition.   I can't see how you reverse this reality.  You can't sustain these classes with one regatta in North and South America that has caps on entry.  

So....  what now?

 

 

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Who cares? 

Seriously. 

Who cares?

Make a list of who cares. You can add in those you think Should care but you have to defend your assertion. 

So what? 

What does it matter to anybody else than those who care?

Then:

1. explain how the business called “The Olympics” has ANY reason to include sailing? 

2., Explain why  we who sail should wish to put our money in the hands of the Olympic business or their advertisers?

3. Why should we give our money to those seeking to “win a medal@ from the Olympics company? 

 

 

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On 5/4/2018 at 2:11 PM, Tcatman said:

Well that is a glib answer to a complex problem.      Take a shot...   what is your solution to Work/family Sailing time balance??? Now make the ideal case for World sailing to solve it.... How about a solution to private/public property on water access??    Pray tell... how do you reduce the complexity of a LASER?   Solve the cost problem in sailing and the world will want a piece of your money machine.

Over-professionalization... OK... this one I could see a World sailing or a MNA addressing....  and still.... I would suggest that you need a therapist to manage the impact a sailing professional has on your experience if you perceive this as a major issue to solve.

 

the person you're responding to has never made an earnest attempt to sail dinghies (and they'd be a decent at it if they lose several....dozen... pounds of weight - given their height) so their opinion on the matter is a bit null. only real sailors sail with lead and can do peels.... (well, actually one real sailors can sail dinghies and do peels, at night, in the snow, barefoot). 

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On 5/4/2018 at 1:58 PM, Tcatman said:

Well that is my point...  You were part of that community... ie Northeast college sailing.   So... you were a fan of olympic sailing when some  members of the community stepped up to the next level and you don't sail any of these classes.

The problem is....  NOBODY ELSE seems to give a damn about the community of olympic sailors.  My point is that those sailors simply are not part of virtually any other larger mainstream sailing community.   critics blame US Sailing... but the problem is far more complex then management.

To your point about local fleets of olympic classes.....  I would characterize Oakcliff as a training center... not a club for rank and file dinghy sailors.  Once upon a time...Canada hosted an olympic classes event C.O.R.K in Kingston however August doesn't work in the international circuit.    There is no critical mass to make this event work.  I think Miami OCRs in January is the only  North/South America solution and it has been that way for 20 years or more.  Bottom line..  I don't think running olympic class events or growing the olympic class fleets is the solution to growing a community of fans interested in the sport.  I think we need some other solution that bootstraps community/fan interest.

i hear ya. But, i don't want to see/watch/hear about "community" sailing in the olympics any more than i want to watch my geriatric neighbor's softball team. I want to see the best - i can and do watch "normal" people sailing every weekend. Could the classes that we sail in the real world be better represented at the olympics? sure... but the F18 doesn't seem to want to be a part of that circus, the 505 definitely doesn't, and if we're going to talk about american boats i don't think the J70 or whatever fits either. Plus they;d be boring as shit to watch unless conditions were exciting enough to make 470's exciting to watch (and i do love 470;s, honestly). Not sure about the rest of the world although i can infer from this website there is a lot more dinghy activity out there

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On 5/6/2018 at 2:31 PM, dogwatch said:

Nonsense, sailors can do very nicely thank you. For instance there is someone called Coutts who doesn't seem short of a kiwi peso or two.

As for the lowest paying professional sport.....try paragliding and yes there are people sponsored to do that professionally. I'm sure there are some other candidates too in the poverty stakes.

Of course anyone seriously trying to medal is a professional in any Olympic discipline. It has been thus for decades, it is hardly a revelation.

 

Wasn't referring to sailing specifically...meant any Olympic campaign...work hard...live broke.   Great dream for a young kid...but kind of silly in the big picture of things. Yes, this is no revelation. 

 

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On 5/6/2018 at 6:16 PM, bait said:

Leave the laser as is because at least there is a class actively sailing in the US. But make it a masters class. No one under 35 allowed.

explain pls

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The Olympic platform suggested was suppose to be a little bit of entertainment to lighten the place up a bit. But since you asked some of the best and most enthusiastic lasers sailors in the US are involved in the masters class. The class gets solid turn out for the master events. So for entertainment I said why not make that the parameters. I really hope you were not reading to much into it!

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8 hours ago, Gouvernail said:

Who cares? 

Seriously. 

Who cares?

Make a list of who cares. You can add in those you think Should care but you have to defend your assertion. 

So what? 

What does it matter to anybody else than those who care?

Then:

1. explain how the business called “The Olympics” has ANY reason to include sailing? 

2., Explain why  we who sail should wish to put our money in the hands of the Olympic business or their advertisers?

3. Why should we give our money to those seeking to “win a medal@ from the Olympics company? 

I have to surmise that you would apply the same logic to any sport.

But to answer your questions

1. They want to see popular participation sports represented at the games

2. Who has asked you to put any of your money in the hands of the Olympics

3. Who has asked you to give your money to those trying to go to the olympics.

In short, there is nothing compelling you or anybody else to get involved with the olympics. However, I am surprised that you, somebody who wants to see our sport grow, doesn't realise the harm that not being an olympic sport would do. I cannot specifically speak to what would happen in the USA, but in many countries, particularly what are called the emerging countries, it would effectively kill off sailing as a sport. I guess that small boat sailing cannot go any more downhill in the USA, so you don't care.

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I don't think the Olympics needs sailboat racing and sailboat racing doesn't need the Olympics. I believe the Finn would manage just fine without the Olympics and they have a tremendous masters scene. Same with the Laser. If the only reason a given class is popular is because it is in the Olympics, there is an inherent problem with that class. If they removed sailing from the Olympics, how many sailors would we lose? And how much critical advertising dollar would the IOC lose?  I don't recall seeing a lot of Harken or Zhik ads watching on TV... And it ain't exactly the men's final in the 100 meters in terms of excitement. So no significant value to either side - reality is probably both lose financially. 

But I do respect tradition, and sailboat racing has been part of the Olympics since 1908. So, what the hell, being an Olympic sport is kinda cool. 

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24 minutes ago, bill4 said:

If they removed sailing from the Olympics, how many sailors would we lose?

1000's, but probably none in the USA. Most emerging nations only get the much needed government money for all their programs because sailing is an Olympic sport. Remove it from the olympics and the sport will either fold or significantly shrink in a significant number of countries. WS will lose a huge chunk of their revenue, which places at risk all the non olympic international regattas they are responsible for, which is mainly at youth level. 

Then there is the issue of how attractive the sport is without the olympics. Research shows that in the current climate of competitiveness between sports, having a clearly defined pathway through the sport is essential. The pathways need to show the top level of the sport and it is expected that would be either professional participation or olympic participation. Most parents are smart enough to realise that little Jimmy or Jemima is probably not going to make it to the top of their chosen sport, but just in case they do, there is an expectation that there is an ultimate goal and the olympics is seen as an ultimate goal. It has been shown that sports that lose their olympic status find it harder to grow the sport.

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55 minutes ago, bill4 said:

. So no significant value to either side

Maybe true in Canada, I  wouldn't know. Absolutely wrong in many countries, where government and quasi-government money flows into the sport because and only because it is an Olympic sport. There are, for example, two major sailing facilities I am aware of in the UK that were built wholly or in part with money that was available because sailing is an Olympic sports. Most keen British sailors will use those facilities at some point.

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1 hour ago, dogwatch said:

Most keen British sailors will use those facilities at some point.

Most might be a bit of a stretch. Certainly the vast majority *of those who do major events* like nationals, regional championships and the like, but IME that's only a small percentage of active dinghy sailors. Certainly at clubs I'm a member of I see only a small minority who get regularly pack the boat up, put it on a trailer and travel.

The big difference, I suppose, is the quality of facilities. The venues like Weymouth, Pwhelli, Hayling et al provide space and comfort on a scale unknown before the big grants and sponsorship came along. Is the snowflake generation prepared to rough it with minimal facilities in the way we did?

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I said "keen" rather than "active"."Keen" will travel.

As for quality of facilities, I can tell you, with some feeling,  that some people attending those facilities regard themselves as "customers" rather than "guests at another club", with all that implies as to their behaviour and expectations. And those acting that way aren't necessarily millennials, they are more likely to be grumpy old men.

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I'm not sure that a class which is good for grass-roots sailing is necessarily a good class for Olympic competition.  An Olympic class needs to be more complex and require more skill (both sailing and athletic) than a weekend off-the-beach boat.  Obviously the Laser is an exception to this, but is a compromise to expand participation in at least a couple of events to more nations.  And I know full well from the back of the fleet that it requires both sailing and athletic prowess to win at Laser sailing.

I think the real issue is the decline in recreational sailing overall.  People who excel at the amateur level will naturally be drawn to an Olympic campaign and those classes.  The problem is the pool has just gotten too small.

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just a point to consider.... We are talking about the pool of sailors aged 15 to 30.  Those are the numbers over time that have declined in the USA...   Now college sailing probably increased over the last 20 years... so... you have lots of sailors getting to 22.. but I would agree... fewer young adults are sailing competitively at any level...  This is your pool is too small argument.

Unfortunately.... 22  is almost too late to make a run at elite world status...  So... the declining pool size may be overstated when it comes to elite olympic sailing participants....   when it comes to SUPPORT of olympic sailing...   well that is entirely different..  I highlight the community and lack there of...      The idea is to find whats missing... and hopefully that addresses the knock on effects.   I think declining pool size is one of those knock on effects...  What are the core problems... that lead to declining participation that we can address.

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16 hours ago, Team_GBR said:

1000's, but probably none in the USA. Most emerging nations only get the much needed government money for all their programs because sailing is an Olympic sport. Remove it from the olympics and the sport will either fold or significantly shrink in a significant number of countries. WS will lose a huge chunk of their revenue, which places at risk all the non olympic international regattas they are responsible for, which is mainly at youth level. 

1000's? Interesting. That number surprises me.  Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand  are referred in Investopedia as "emerging nations". So sailing would fold or significantly shrink by 1000's in many of those countries? How many do you think would throw in the towel from the non-emerging nations? If I look at the UK nationals numbers from Y&Y, how many of the adult classes  (noting the FInn and Laser are the only active Olympic fleets) would fold/diminish, and where would they go? 

16 hours ago, dogwatch said:

Maybe true in Canada, I  wouldn't know.

Thanks for the nod, Dogwatch. We would be the "North" in "North America". I couldn't see a decline in sailboat racing if it wasn't an Olympic sport. We represent a small segment in global terms anyway. But we share start lines with US sailors all the time, so there are some similarities. From what I can tell, the biggest growth here remains Masters events - not only do people just fall into it via aging, but you get people returning to the sport after a few years off.

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1 hour ago, bill4 said:

1000's? Interesting. That number surprises me.  Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand  are referred in Investopedia as "emerging nations".

Your source isn't great for a list of what are described as emerging nations when considering sailing. When WS refers to "emerging nations", they mean ones that have only recently adopted formal sailing programs and are new NMA's. It's a pretty weak definition and there is no definitive list, but by way of example, from your list, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Russia would not be counted as emerging nations in the sailing world. Examples I do know in addition to some on your list include Malaysia, Singapore, PNG and even the Cook Islands. Add Indonesia, Taiwan and South Korea from your list. I believe that if sailing was excluded from the olympics, all government money, which is what supports the development programs in those countries, would be removed because they only support olympic sports. That is only a selection of countrries. I tried to find a document I read a few years ago, about the impact of the loss of the olympics for sailing, and it was a real eye opener as to how many countries would lose all their funding. IIRC, there were something like 65 countries that send sailors to the olympics and the loss of the olympics would hit over 1/3rd of those countries.

As an aside, it is also the biggest argument against changing classes, particularly the long established on that provide big numbers, namely the Laser and 470. These emerging countries have invested in programs to feed those classes and have also bought fleets. Again, IIRC, changing from the Laser would cost Indonesia something like $300k and they simply do not have the money. If the Laser goes, so does their olympic program. The same applies to the 470 in some countries, where it is worse because their state funded feeder fleets would no longer be relevant (think 420's and other conventional spinnaker boats). This is why it is so hard to get changes made that us in the developed sailing countries think should be no brainers.

2 hours ago, Tcatman said:

We are talking about the pool of sailors aged 15 to 30.

That's not strictly true. The range of competitors should probably be shown as up to 37, although there were a reasonable number at the last games over 40 including medalists plus one medalist who was over 50. I took a quick look at the medalists from 2016 who are going again for 2020 and there are a surprising number who either are already over 30 or who will be.

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On 5/7/2018 at 3:13 PM, Gouvernail said:

Who cares? 

Seriously. 

Who cares?

Make a list of who cares. You can add in those you think Should care but you have to defend your assertion. 

So what? 

What does it matter to anybody else than those who care?

Then:

1. explain how the business called “The Olympics” has ANY reason to include sailing? 

2., Explain why  we who sail should wish to put our money in the hands of the Olympic business or their advertisers?

3. Why should we give our money to those seeking to “win a medal@ from the Olympics company? 

 

 

1. The Olympics includes sailing because it's an important sport for many nations. People work very hard and it's an incredibly physical and mental exertion. Why wouldn't they want it?

I don't really see how questions 2&3 are really relevant, you're not forced to do either of those things. It means a lot to some people to see their nation do well at international sports, and since the USA doesn't really do anything to support Olympic Athletes from a federal funding level, they need support from fellow sailors and businesses who want to see them do well. So if you want a reason to support someone who wants a medal, you could think about it that way.

I have a hard time believing that Olympic status is hurting class numbers in any way. I think it could really only benefit them. I have no idea how much losing sailing as an Olympic sport would affect participation but i'd hate to see it go. In my mind, it does legitimize competitive sailing. It makes me so happy to see articles about one design sailors in magazines like Sports Illustrated, when it happens. And I doubt that would happen if it weren't an Olympic sport.

 

21 hours ago, bait said:

The Olympic platform suggested was suppose to be a little bit of entertainment to lighten the place up a bit. But since you asked some of the best and most enthusiastic lasers sailors in the US are involved in the masters class. The class gets solid turn out for the master events. So for entertainment I said why not make that the parameters. I really hope you were not reading to much into it!

I just wanted to know where you were coming from! I like the idea, actually, but why not do what they do Laser sailing anyways, have both a Masters medal and a Standard medal. The Laser, in my opinion is the BEST Olympic class boat because it's so relatively inexpensive. Sailors from very small nations can (and do) compete at the Olympics. There were 46 countries represented at Rio in the Men's Laser, and 36 countries in the Radial Women race. No other sailboat class had above 26 entrants. The RS:X had 36, I think, which was the next closest.

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4 hours ago, Team_GBR said:

Your source isn't great for a list of what are described as emerging nations when considering sailing. When WS refers to "emerging nations", they mean ones that have only recently adopted formal sailing programs and are new NMA's. It's a pretty weak definition and there is no definitive list, but by way of example, from your list, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Russia would not be counted as emerging nations in the sailing world. Examples I do know in addition to some on your list include Malaysia, Singapore, PNG and even the Cook Islands. Add Indonesia, Taiwan and South Korea from your list. I believe that if sailing was excluded from the olympics, all government money, which is what supports the development programs in those countries, would be removed because they only support olympic sports. That is only a selection of countrries. I tried to find a document I read a few years ago, about the impact of the loss of the olympics for sailing, and it was a real eye opener as to how many countries would lose all their funding. IIRC, there were something like 65 countries that send sailors to the olympics and the loss of the olympics would hit over 1/3rd of those countries.

As an aside, it is also the biggest argument against changing classes, particularly the long established on that provide big numbers, namely the Laser and 470. These emerging countries have invested in programs to feed those classes and have also bought fleets. Again, IIRC, changing from the Laser would cost Indonesia something like $300k and they simply do not have the money. If the Laser goes, so does their olympic program. The same applies to the 470 in some countries, where it is worse because their state funded feeder fleets would no longer be relevant (think 420's and other conventional spinnaker boats). This is why it is so hard to get changes made that us in the developed sailing countries think should be no brainers.

That's not strictly true. The range of competitors should probably be shown as up to 37, although there were a reasonable number at the last games over 40 including medalists plus one medalist who was over 50. I took a quick look at the medalists from 2016 who are going again for 2020 and there are a surprising number who either are already over 30 or who will be.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Where do you think the "emerged" nations would lose participation? I just can't see big non-Olympic fleets suffering. Nor can I see a major boatbuilder such as RS suddenly losing boat sales of all their products. 

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3 minutes ago, bill4 said:

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Where do you think the "emerged" nations would lose participation? I just can't see big non-Olympic fleets suffering. Nor can I see a major boatbuilder such as RS suddenly losing boat sales of all their products. 

I think it is the attraction of new sailors. It won't change anything for existing sailors. Those who are hooked on the sport won't become unhooked because there is no olympics. The problem all sports have to face is attracting new people. To plagiarise a recent article by Andy Rice in Yachts and Yachting, back in the day, the whole family took up sailing and threw themselves into it. Now members of the same family do different sports. For instance, with my brother's family, he sails, his wife is an ex pro tennis player, son plays rugby, one daughter is a gymnast and the other plays tennis. Sailing has to fight its way into that sort of mix and it competes against a lot of other sports. It no longer follows that a kid starts sailing because their parents sail. 

What's that got to do with the olympics? As I said above, to use the jargon,  its all about pathways. Many parents want their kids to participate in sports where if they turn out to be good, there is some end goal. Those goals should include lifelong participation, something sailing scores higher than, say, rugby or gymnastics, but pathways also need to include the highest level that can be achieved in the sport, because every parent secretly believes their kid is going to be the next great player. Kids get pushed into high earning sports (soccer, tennis etc) for this reason and sailing will never compete against that. What sailing does offer is a pathway to the olympics which, whether we like it or not, is considered by most to be a high or even highest level in sport. Without the olympics, the height of sailing would be a word championship or maybe some will have heard of the Americas Cup but will realise how few can ever get to that level.

I think that once sailing is out of the olympics, it becomes a less attractive sport for youngsters coming in. We have enough issues to tackle attracting kids anyway - the sport is expensive and very time consuming and difficult to do on a regular basis. If a kid (say 12 years old) playing soccer is trying to reach the top, they might train for an hour each day after school and have a match at the weekend. If that same kid did sailing, they cannot train on a daily basis and you lose most of the day on Saturday or Sunday, maybe both.

In short, we have enough challenges without the fallout from losing olympic status as a sport.

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LYRA

When LYRA died US Olympic sailing development crashed 

Also, the decline of the Laser >> and the rise of the fourtwinkie didn’t help develop real sailors. 

But the key has to be LYRA. 

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WTF is LYRA? All I can find is Lake Yacht Racing Association

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11 hours ago, Team_GBR said:

I think that once sailing is out of the olympics, it becomes a less attractive sport for youngsters coming in.

And a ton of gov't/instutional support vanishes, with impacts that are direct and indirect. The indirect ones are underreported -- govt funding to maintain venues, a supply of chartered 2nd hand boats for purchase...

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11 hours ago, Team_GBR said:

WTF is LYRA? All I can find is Lake Yacht Racing Association

Longhorn Yacht Racing Association.  About as grassroots as sailing can get.  One lady with no yacht club affiliation taking kids all around the country.

http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?/topic/44557-missing-the-bruce-cup/

http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?/topic/14093-team-lyra/

The "Longhorn" may have been a dig at the FWBC, which has a steer in their logo.  I think UT even gave FWBC some grief about it at one point as it's burnt orange.

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12 hours ago, Team_GBR said:

Many parents want their kids to participate in sports where if they turn out to be good, there is some end goal. Those goals should include lifelong participation, something sailing scores higher than, say, rugby or gymnastics, but pathways also need to include the highest level that can be achieved in the sport, because every parent secretly believes their kid is going to be the next great player. Kids get pushed into high earning sports (soccer, tennis etc) for this reason and sailing will never compete against that. What sailing does offer is a pathway to the olympics which, whether we like it or not, is considered by most to be a high or even highest level in sport. Without the olympics, the height of sailing would be a word championship or maybe some will have heard of the Americas Cup but will realise how few can ever get to that level.

I think that once sailing is out of the olympics, it becomes a less attractive sport for youngsters coming in.

Team_GBR, I think you and I must live in different worlds.

I didn't take up sailing because I was dreaming of one day going to the Olympics.

I didn't encourage and support my two sons to take up sailing because I "secretly believed" that one of them was going to be "the next great player" and go to the Olympics.

The reasons I took up sailing and got my sons into the sport was (to quote a new thread in DA) Dinghy Racing is Fucking Awesome. Dinghy racing is fun. Dinghy racing is the best way to spend your leisure time. Dinghy racing is a great way for families to enjoy playing the same sport together. Dinghy racing is a lifelong pursuit.

These are the sane and healthy reasons why we should be encouraging people to enter the sport. Anyone who takes up sailing because they think that they will get to go to the Olympics is delusional in 99.999% of cases.



 

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1 hour ago, tillerman said:

Team_GBR, I think you and I must live in different worlds.

I didn't take up sailing because I was dreaming of one day going to the Olympics.

I didn't encourage and support my two sons to take up sailing because I "secretly believed" that one of them was going to be "the next great player" and go to the Olympics.

The reasons I took up sailing and got my sons into the sport was (to quote a new thread in DA) Dinghy Racing is Fucking Awesome. Dinghy racing is fun. Dinghy racing is the best way to spend your leisure time. Dinghy racing is a great way for families to enjoy playing the same sport together. Dinghy racing is a lifelong pursuit.

These are the sane and healthy reasons why we should be encouraging people to enter the sport. Anyone who takes up sailing because they think that they will get to go to the Olympics is delusional in 99.999% of cases.

 

Dinghy racing whips major ass and many people come to it with no great aspirations but I think the point is that there will be people who get into sailing because they want to go to the Olympics someday and there will be people who want to semi casually race, and others still just like sailing around, and there’s space for everyone. So why get rid of Olympic sailing if it might bring in more sailors? A good fleet needs people of all levels and ambitions to remain active and competitive anyways.

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1 hour ago, dgmckim said:

Dinghy racing whips major ass and many people come to it with no great aspirations but I think the point is that there will be people who get into sailing because they want to go to the Olympics someday and there will be people who want to semi casually race, and others still just like sailing around, and there’s space for everyone. So why get rid of Olympic sailing if it might bring in more sailors? A good fleet needs people of all levels and ambitions to remain active and competitive anyways.

If people are going to getting into sailing purely because they want to go to the Olympics one day, I would prefer for them to go and sail in some other class from the one I sail.

I want to sail with people who sail for the sheer love of sailing, who are excited by the experience of sailing the boat I sail, and who look on sailing as a sport that people of all ages can enjoy and which can be a lifelong pursuit. So I am all in favor of the current trend to award Olympic status to classes that have hardly any following among regular sailors. Let the small elites with their Olympic ambitions go off and sail their esoteric classes, and leave the vast majority of us to sail boats that appeal to the masses.

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58 minutes ago, dgmckim said:

Dinghy racing whips major ass and many people come to it with no great aspirations but I think the point is that there will be people who get into sailing because they want to go to the Olympics someday and there will be people who want to semi casually race, and others still just like sailing around, and there’s space for everyone. So why get rid of Olympic sailing if it might bring in more sailors? A good fleet needs people of all levels and ambitions to remain active and competitive anyways.

This does a good job to sum things up. I've always thought that sailing is pretty cool in that anyone with the desire / means can attend most major class regattas and compete with the best in the world that the selected class has to offer including, should you sail an Olympic class boat, potential Olympic sailors. I don't think that many other sports offer such an opportunity. Does the "casual" sailor, i.e. a person with a "normal" job and other life commitments stand a chance to go to the Olympics? No, but simply sailing on the same race course and spending time on the shore with the Olympic / world class sailors is a nice experience. Take sailing away from the Olympics and the chance for us "casual / normal" sailors to experience our sport at the highest level diminishes.

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18 minutes ago, Alan Crawford said:

This does a good job to sum things up. I've always thought that sailing is pretty cool in that anyone with the desire / means can attend most major class regattas and compete with the best in the world that the selected class has to offer including, should you sail an Olympic class boat, potential Olympic sailors. I don't think that many other sports offer such an opportunity. Does the "casual" sailor, i.e. a person with a "normal" job and other life commitments stand a chance to go to the Olympics? No, but simply sailing on the same race course and spending time on the shore with the Olympic / world class sailors is a nice experience. Take sailing away from the Olympics and the chance for us "casual / normal" sailors to experience our sport at the highest level diminishes.

Good point. But "Olympic" and "world class" are not synonymous. All international classes hold world championships and provide opportunities to race and spend time on shore with world champions and wannabe world champions. I agree that this is something that is special about our sport, but we will still have that after sailing is no longer in the Olympics.

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6 hours ago, torrid said:

Longhorn Yacht Racing Association.  About as grassroots as sailing can get.  One lady with no yacht club affiliation taking kids all around the country.

http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?/topic/44557-missing-the-bruce-cup/

http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?/topic/14093-team-lyra/

The "Longhorn" may have been a dig at the FWBC, which has a steer in their logo.  I think UT even gave FWBC some grief about it at one point as it's burnt orange.

wow that is pretty darn cool. too bad it fell apart.

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3 hours ago, tillerman said:

Good point. But "Olympic" and "world class" are not synonymous. All international classes hold world championships and provide opportunities to race and spend time on shore with world champions and wannabe world champions. I agree that this is something that is special about our sport, but we will still have that after sailing is no longer in the Olympics.

There is a significant step up from world championship to olympic sailing. Remove olympic sailing and I believe the standard at world championships goes down. There are certain skills that can only be developed in the heat of olympic classes competition. Take as an example starting. After a season of racing the olympic circuit, the start line for any other class is so easy. The starting skills of a top olympic class sailor can only be developed in the heat of olympic class sailing and is usually the first thing that strikes even the most talented when they first join the circuit. There is a sort of OMG moment when you realise that everybody is as good or better at holding their position, that the holes you are used to in every other class simply aren't there and that you cannot line up next to somebody weak and legally "bully" them to create space.

 

6 hours ago, tillerman said:

Team_GBR, I think you and I must live in different worlds.

I didn't take up sailing because I was dreaming of one day going to the Olympics.

I didn't encourage and support my two sons to take up sailing because I "secretly believed" that one of them was going to be "the next great player" and go to the Olympics.

Let's be clear. i never said anybody took up sailing because they secretly believed their kid would win go to the olympics. What i said is that sports spend a lot of time building what are know as "pathways" because research has shown that sports with the clearest and most appealing "pathways" attract the most new participants. Many parents who don't know a particular sport ask basic questions, such as what future options there are. These aren't just for the top participants. They want to know what happens if their kid just enjoys the sport rather than becomes a megastar but they also want to know what options there are for their kid if they become really good at the sport. For some sports the answers are simple. Take tennis. Anybody who learns tennis has the potential to participate throughout their life and there are events for all levels. If you get really good, there is an option to turn professional with the top players making millions (and they have the olympics!). Check out pathways at US Sailing.

Pathways tell you that a sport is well structured and looks after all levels. Sports with weakly defined pathways struggle to attract new participants, particularly from families who have no experience of that sport. 

I haven't seen or bothered to look for evidence of how it really works in the USA, but in many countries, without olympics or high paying professionalism at the top of the pathway, the sport struggles to attract people.

So here is a question. Am I right that you took up sailing a fair time ago and your sons took it up because you sailed? If so, you probably didn't look at pathways because they weren't drawn up years ago.

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6 hours ago, Team_GBR said:

There is a significant step up from world championship to olympic sailing. Remove olympic sailing and I believe the standard at world championships goes down. There are certain skills that can only be developed in the heat of olympic classes competition. Take as an example starting. After a season of racing the olympic circuit, the start line for any other class is so easy. The starting skills of a top olympic class sailor can only be developed in the heat of olympic class sailing and is usually the first thing that strikes even the most talented when they first join the circuit. There is a sort of OMG moment when you realise that everybody is as good or better at holding their position, that the holes you are used to in every other class simply aren't there and that you cannot line up next to somebody weak and legally "bully" them to create space.

 

Let's be clear. i never said anybody took up sailing because they secretly believed their kid would win go to the olympics. What i said is that sports spend a lot of time building what are know as "pathways" because research has shown that sports with the clearest and most appealing "pathways" attract the most new participants. Many parents who don't know a particular sport ask basic questions, such as what future options there are. These aren't just for the top participants. They want to know what happens if their kid just enjoys the sport rather than becomes a megastar but they also want to know what options there are for their kid if they become really good at the sport. For some sports the answers are simple. Take tennis. Anybody who learns tennis has the potential to participate throughout their life and there are events for all levels. If you get really good, there is an option to turn professional with the top players making millions (and they have the olympics!). Check out pathways at US Sailing.

Pathways tell you that a sport is well structured and looks after all levels. Sports with weakly defined pathways struggle to attract new participants, particularly from families who have no experience of that sport. 

I haven't seen or bothered to look for evidence of how it really works in the USA, but in many countries, without olympics or high paying professionalism at the top of the pathway, the sport struggles to attract people.

So here is a question. Am I right that you took up sailing a fair time ago and your sons took it up because you sailed? If so, you probably didn't look at pathways because they weren't drawn up years ago.

I didn't look at "pathways" because I wasn't thinking about whether or not my sons made the Olympics. I just wanted them to try the sport as kids - an opportunity that I never had - and hoped that they would enjoy it as much as I did. They were certainly aware that sailing was an Olympic sport but I don't think that factored into their choice to take up sailing. By the way the elder son is now 40 and he never stopped sailing. The younger took a break from sailing, as many do, in the early years of his career and marriage, but he is planning this year to get back into the sport and introduce his kids to it.

Mission  accomplished!

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Focus!! Bring back LYRA!!

Bring back the Bruce Cup

 

(Hardesty, Bourdow, Foerster, Adamson, Lovell, .... and on and on 

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I hadn't been keeping up on all the latest regarding the 2024 Olympics. At the bottom of this post are three articles that describe what is going on. In summary (quoting from one of the articles):

What by all accounts the WS leadership are pushing for 2024:

Female

Kiting, format TBD (different venue than Sailing)

Windsurfer (new class TBD, not RSX)

Laser Radial (with a new rig)

49er FX

Male

Kiting, format TBD (different venue than Sailing)

Windsurfer (new class TBD, not RSX)

Laser (with a new rig)

49er

Mixed  (one male, one female)

Nacra 17 (foiler, being introduced in 2020)

Beneteau Figaro 3 (offshore double-handed overnight "marathon")

https://www.facebook.com/NAFinnclass/

https://www.sail-world.com/news/204915

https://www.sailingillustrated.com/single-post/2018/05/03/Olympic-Classes-In-less-than-48-hours-over-5000-have-signed-the-Changeorg-petition-asking-World-Sailing-to-Save-our-Sport

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when you say 'with a new rig'....

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16 minutes ago, dgmckim said:

when you say 'with a new rig'....

Oh boy, just when you thought it was safe to get back on the water.

"We're going to need a bigger sail."

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I mean I assume it would make the rig somehow more adaptive to different weight ranges (since they are canning the Finn?) but not exactly sure how they'd do that

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Maybe they will put an Aero rig on it to keep everyone happy!

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17 hours ago, tillerman said:

I didn't look at "pathways" because I wasn't thinking about whether or not my sons made the Olympics.

I hadn't realised that in the US, pathways seem to only refer to Olympic sailing. Maybe this is a problem in itself. In other countries, pathways define the route from starting a sport to whatever level and activity participants might want to go to. One pathway might be from beginner to doing the sport to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle, being in the wide outdoors and only leisure sailing. It could be a pathway from beginner to a regular club racing participant. Sports that have clearly defined and documented pathways to all activities and levels tend to do better in attracting new participants than ones that don't. One of those pathways will show the route to competing at the highest level and what that highest level looks like and there is lots of evidence that sports that are part of the olympic movement and therefore have it on a pathway attract more new participants than sports that don't. 

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Pathway is a loaded term for US parents...   The vast majority of kids now in sailing camps have parents who do not sail.  Sailing camp is many things.... but pathway is not in the marketing plan.   Rather its summer day care with a positive outdoorsy experience for your kid.  If the kid LIKED it.... fantastic.... next years camp is settled...   For sailor parents...the debate between  Sailing as a lifetime activity versus sailing as sport (competition) seems very important and Sailing parents and Sailing clubs constantly scheme to direct their kid to one of these two outcomes....

The  sad outcome of kids from sailing families or non sailing families is that most of the kids of course don't sail after their junior experience.  Lots of finger pointing as you can see in the debate.

My view... is that you can't undermine the integrity of the competition.... And you need the clear stepping stones in competition/coaching/training camps/ championship regattas  to give you the benchmarks of success. We should refrain from the term pathway until relatively late in a sailors procession through the sport.    The olympic classes are the ultimate and provide the incentive for those truly competitive animals to go for the ring and be the best. So... when the kid asks.... OK.... who is the best in the world.... you have an answer. 

For sailor parents who really really want their kid to continue in their footsteps... pathway forces up a discussion about winning and loosing that may not be fully resolved in their own heads...  For competitive sailors... pathway reminds them about the pecking order  and so... as stuart walker notes...  only 1 winner in sailing..  So its complicated.... The fact that pathway is created and run by the establishment is either a fail or a feature. and sailing or racing is expensive.....is again... a feature or a fail...   

The goal of supporting olympic sailors is admirable but clearly a big challenge moving forward and us rank and file have to think clearly about what we want or need.

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4 hours ago, ASA said:

 

Need the industry to drive the sport.

Industry, industry, industry. Racing sailing craft isn't an industry, it's a sport. Want to see a branch of the sport killed by the "industry"? Try windsurfing. Of course if you are company trying to sell your PR services to the "industry", you might write a self-serving opinion piece like that one.

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That's a good article. I don't think people are afraid to say it, though.. it's a regular point of discussion on the sailing circuit.

 Seems to me that sport generally has a problem with overdevelopment. The equipment and the people that use it become over-specialised and narrow in purpose. Driven in many cases by technological innovation. That's a broad statement, I know, and hence inherently flawed- shoot holes in it if you like. Throw in the whole "professionalism is ruining sport" argument and you're off down a sideline for a long, long time...

 In sailing there's a particular split between cruising and racing. When we talk about junior/youth training there's a widely unacknowledged difference between teaching sailing as an adventure activity and teaching sailing as a sport. I'm not saying that they are exclusive (far from it), just that it's not as obvious as we would like to think that there are a lot of different pathways available, and navigating them is harder than you might think.

 It seems there are many different perspectives on how sailing should "work" as a sport (or as a hobby, to take the distinction above at face value). It doesn't make a lot of sense to promote foiling and skiffs as the pinnacle of the sport, the ultimate goal for those learning to sail, when many people will look at them and think- "not for me!". Similarly, kitesurfing just doesn't look like a natural progression or fit for sailing- I was a keen windsurfer years ago and would like to make time to have another go but kitesurfing doesn't really appeal... it just looks like a different sport to me...

 What's becoming clear to me is the huge challenge that World Sailing is facing, trying to maintain Sailing as an Olympic Sport. The IOC seems to want to turn the Olympics into a televisual sports festival, instead of a celebration of sporting excellence (can it be both?). The MNAs have different agendas according to the profile of the sport in their country and there are widely differing views on what represents the pinnacle of the sport- is it a gymnast in a skiff? a cerebral tactician in an expensive custom built yacht? a fit athlete in a strict SMOD? Should Olympic sailing be "relevant" to the ordinary sailor in their 25' cabin cruiser?

 I'm not convinced the industry should be driving the sport. Better to have paper-pushers than commercial interests; better still for it to be bottom-up, not top-down but that's maybe impractical these days.

 There's a very interesting contribution on sail-world (it's going to be an interesting few days following the conference...). One key take-away seems to be that the TV/media coverage needs to improve... and that it should be driven by Sailing, not by the Olympics or the Broadcaster of choice (is that even possible?). Seems to me that the issue with the current classes is (as discussed here on SA) is that we need to update the way they are covered, rather than changing the classes to suit the media available... We need much better technology covering the races, alongside top-notch production and commentary teams... Then the sailors can get on with the racing instead of being hamstrung by the format.

Cheers,

               W.

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18 hours ago, Tcatman said:

We should refrain from the term pathway until relatively late in a sailors procession through the sport.    The olympic classes are the ultimate and provide the incentive for those truly competitive animals to go for the ring and be the best. So... when the kid asks.... OK.... who is the best in the world.... you have an answer. 

I agree with your assertion that we shouldn't use the term "pathway". It should be "pathways". In other words, there are multiple pathways and no one pathway should be given any extra weight than another. it should be seen that there is an option to go to sailing school, summer camp or whatever introduction to the sport you want and then "progress" to leisure sailing around your local lake as an adventure, just like there is an option to do long distance cruising or join a club and race at local level or race at events around the country or try to go for the Olympics. Each is a pathway and each is just as relevant to the sport as the others.

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I agree with you on that front Team_GBR. Pushing kids into a chosen path is a recipe for an unhappy parent and unhappy child.

What I've noticed in the U.S is kids that stay at the club and go sailing either do so for 2 reasons:

1) They have friends their age that hang out there. In Annapolis its a youth social scene as much as a competitive thing.

2) They are competitively driven by their nature

I do what I can to offer interested youth time on the F18, and I know the 5O5 class does a bit of the same. We don't introduce kids to high performance sailing well in the U.S, some areas are doing a better job with fleet of Nacra 15's popping up (I'd bet real good money that there are more N15's in the U.S than foiling N17's, but both are still rare as mentioned up thread). I mention this as my under 30 fiance was bored as all get out going to sail albacores during learn to sail...that came out after she had a fun ride on the F18 and actually makes solid crew as she is a natural athlete and general bad ass, but I use this to make a point: youth sailors don't want to go sail daddies laser, they want to go foiling or for a fun spin run in breeze. They don't want to sail around in a drift fest on a 40 year old design. If that is all they ever see, they will lose interest quickly, no matter what pathway options remains open.

Where I see sailing heading in the U.S is a state of decline as the party size at major regattas continues to shrink...not good for retaining sailor 1 above...competitive sailors will generally stick with it until some major event changes that, either they don't make the cut at the next level for some reason, so abandon that class and possibly sailing all together, or some other major life event comes along that sucks up time, and nowadays time is more precious than money (that can always be printed).

The olympics aren't going to fix that either way, World Sailing probably won't, its bottom up change that is needed not top down. Building boats in country is a top down change with maybe some bottom up efforts by those promoting the boats to get them out there...its also generally too expensive to build a dinghy in the U.S or the developed world for that matter.

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1) They have friends their age that hang out there. In Annapolis its a youth social scene as much as a competitive thing.

2) They are competitively driven by their nature

Very true... However,   MOST of the junior programs on the Chesapeake don't focus on competition... they are much more learn to sail oriented programs.  IMO, without a focus on competition ... I can't see how you can maintain a critical mass of teens  that build that social scene.   What do you do with your time on the water...swim.  Many of the clubs  barely get their racers up to the 420s  (essential to building those social ties)   Most of the junior racers on the bay are sailing optis and laser radials.  My hunch is... that before you get kids up to 29ners, N15s or partnered up on adult boats... you have to fill the 420 competitive ranks.    (We have no cat juniors... and at most a handful of 29ner  individuals who go north to play)

Whats the program in other parts of the country/world?  Do you push kids up to two person boats asap?  What are the key elements to building a good competitive culture at a club?

 

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there seems to me, in discussions both here and in real life - including for my brief time period coaching before i started sailing desks, to be two distinct camps. The "oh my god, you can't make them race you'll intimidate then and scare them away!", and the people like us (or at least me) who - while they might enjoy sailing - also love racing. From what i've seen standing on the sidelines of even peewee football, you can apparently get quite aggressive yelling at kids and throwing them in to complex situations and still have them coming back the next day (not that i advocate that for sailing, just making a comment on the white glove treatment some people think we need to have WRT sailing). Kind of echoing Sam's comment here. I think it's incredibly important to foster a love of sailing - i've been so burned out on racing during various periods of my life that if i didn't love sailing at its core i'd have given up years ago, but i would also have given up years ago out of boredom sailing 420's. 

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"incredibly important to foster a love of sailing " and "competition" and "burnout" need to be parsed!

Most of the kids in junior programs come from families that don't sail....   So  what does foster a love mean to you? and what do sailing leaders/coaches/parents/etc have to do with FOSTER A LOVE of Sailing???

Newbie kids start with ... lets go for a boat ride!  Our responsibility is to create opportunities that allow a person (juniors to adults) an experience of sailing as a past time and as a sport...  Its a subtle thing and so you have to educate complete novices to the nuances to give them a chance at enjoying sailing. So,  I think of it like swimming, running, skiing...   Its a skill that you learn.....  For some it becomes an experience they enjoy and a small number may  love...   I don't think you "foster a love"..... I think you could provide a rich experience...and demonstrate how You love the experience  and so you set an example...   I am not sure foster is the right word here.

Some of the kids come from family's that do sail and so  foster means something entirely different, given their families commitment to sailing.  So at least these kids have taken a boat ride....  For both groups... you have to move them from taking boat rides... to sailing as something you own as a skill.   If you love the experience ... you will do this for a lifetime. But,  I don't know how you foster a love.     The "oh my god... you can't make them race" seems like a misguided attempt by people with a pre fixed idea of what "foster"  means ..... and it is the worst sense of the notion.

If any aspect of sailing resonates with a kid or and adult.... that's the love that keeps you in sailing once you have the skill.  Otherwise... you are just sending kids/adults out for boat rides for a couple of summers and hope they walk away with a basic skill. This is a good result... . this is not a religious conversion.... sending kids/adults off with a basic skill is worthwhile.

Competitive programs with coaching and training naturally compress the experience of sailing and develop advanced skill in a short period of time.  You get better at sailing...   Is that what you mean by Foster a "Love of sailing"?   Likewise.... competitive does not mean kill the love...(so foster not the word I would choose in context of Love of sailing)

Burnout???   Why are you bringing up the notion of burnout here.   Competitive programs don't cause burnout....Hell you could cruise for two weeks and "burnout: never to sail again.  Burnout is blamed on the program in question...  but you are talking about an individuals reaction to his current circumstance..  The cause and effect between burnout and the nature of competition/training is generalized..... I believe it's an individual reaction to your circumstances. Overused in our day and age of helicopter parents.

Final point...   learning a skill like sailing (or swimming) has value...  for us true  believers.. we hope that one day... some day...the junior dropouts with a skill renter the game at the RACING level... and contribute to the racing community. (our self interest is to create and maintain a vibrant racing community)   and to be honest... we really don't care if they just go off and cruise for a charter weekend once a year...  (We are not in the boating industry)

My question is... do we have better outcomes (more racers)  if we move sailors through single handers to more social boats competing in races faster?....

 

 

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2 hours ago, Tcatman said:

"incredibly important to foster a love of sailing " and "competition" and "burnout" need to be parsed!

Most of the kids in junior programs come from families that don't sail....   So  what does foster a love mean to you? and what do sailing leaders/coaches/parents/etc have to do with FOSTER A LOVE of Sailing???

provide the kindling and the spark, but let the fire grow on its own to the most reasonable extent possible. Don't fan it so hard you blow it out. Don't stoke it so little it never gets going. 

Newbie kids start with ... lets go for a boat ride!  Our responsibility is to create opportunities that allow a person (juniors to adults) an experience of sailing as a past time and as a sport...  Its a subtle thing and so you have to educate complete novices to the nuances to give them a chance at enjoying sailing. So,  I think of it like swimming, running, skiing...   Its a skill that you learn.....  For some it becomes an experience they enjoy and a small number may  love...   I don't think you "foster a love"..... I think you could provide a rich experience...and demonstrate how You love the experience  and so you set an example...   I am not sure foster is the right word here.

agreed fully with everything thus far.

Some of the kids come from family's that do sail and so  foster means something entirely different, given their families commitment to sailing.  So at least these kids have taken a boat ride....  For both groups... you have to move them from taking boat rides... to sailing as something you own as a skill.   If you love the experience ... you will do this for a lifetime. But,  I don't know how you foster a love.     The "oh my god... you can't make them race" seems like a misguided attempt by people with a pre fixed idea of what "foster"  means ..... and it is the worst sense of the notion.

You provide an experience, and skill, and hopefully they'll want more experience to further that skill, i agree. The question is, as you said....... howMy thought on that, is you need to allow room for the participant to operate outside of the program. I've said it a couple dozen times, but i think a big part of why i love sailing is i was given the freedom to go out and sail around with any coaches (or parents) on the water - or even at work that day. This applied to both club-owned 420's, as well as my own laser and then 29er. Sometimes we went out and practiced, sometimes we just sailed around. That time we put a flying scott spinnaker on a 420 in 15-20kts was a really special day (not for the kite though, may it rest in pieces). We also did regattas on our own without support from coaches a few times (especially when i raced radials/4.7's as a young teen, and the 29er as an old teen through and after college)

Definitely agreed with your last point in that paragraph. 

If any aspect of sailing resonates with a kid or and adult.... that's the love that keeps you in sailing once you have the skill.  Otherwise... you are just sending kids/adults out for boat rides for a couple of summers and hope they walk away with a basic skill. This is a good result... . this is not a religious conversion.... sending kids/adults off with a basic skill is worthwhile.

Competitive programs with coaching and training naturally compress the experience of sailing and develop advanced skill in a short period of time.  You get better at sailing...   Is that what you mean by Foster a "Love of sailing"?   Likewise.... competitive does not mean kill the love...(so foster not the word I would choose in context of Love of sailing)

Racing can almost be a completely separate entity from sailing. Personally, i race to sail. That is, i go racing so that i can be on the water sailing. But, i do know lifelong sailors/racers who only sail as a means of wringing out their competitive nature. They don't go out on the water unless its to race. This group has the largest attrition in my experience, ending sailing after college. 

Burnout???   Why are you bringing up the notion of burnout here.   Competitive programs don't cause burnout....Hell you could cruise for two weeks and "burnout: never to sail again.  Burnout is blamed on the program in question...  but you are talking about an individuals reaction to his current circumstance..  The cause and effect between burnout and the nature of competition/training is generalized..... I believe it's an individual reaction to your circumstances. Overused in our day and age of helicopter parents.

brought it up because, if only sailed to race, just for the sake of competition, i'd have given up. I can think of 3 distinct times where i came home from a regatta and said, fuck this. A couple weeks later, go out and sail around for a bit, not think about any regattas, sail other boats (lead mines if i was burned out on dinghies, dinghies if i was burned out on leadmines), etc. 

Final point...   learning a skill like sailing (or swimming) has value...  for us true  believers.. we hope that one day... some day...the junior dropouts with a skill renter the game at the RACING level... and contribute to the racing community. (our self interest is to create and maintain a vibrant racing community)   and to be honest... we really don't care if they just go off and cruise for a charter weekend once a year...  (We are not in the boating industry)

agreed

My question is... do we have better outcomes (more racers)  if we move sailors through single handers to more social boats competing in races faster?....

To your final points: i think we get more better outcomes if we let kids sail on their own. I can only speak from experience and that of my friends, but all of my friends that still actively race are the ones that came down on sundays when there wasn't practice or coaches, or tuesday (or whatever) after school on our "off" days from practice, and we just went out and sailed. Sometimes just sailing, sometimes self conducted practices. We would come down when there were rain squalls ripping through - position the boats upwind waiting for the next band to roll through so we could blast downwind for a few minutes - beat back up and wait for the next band. 

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if we let kids sail on their own.

Yup....  that is the ownership bit that I mentioned...  I am not so worried about snowflake kids who's passion gets snuffed out by ANY junior program   but OK... when we ID an olympic sweatshop sailing factory similar to the gymnastics empire of bela karoli... we can discuss solutions.

Of course most kids in junior programs don't have boats in their family...    second issue is the logistics of just getting to the water and a boat is for many a killer.  I don't have solutions on these two issues.

So...   within structured programs what do you do?    Your personal anecdotes imply a rat pack of kids building social ties messin around on the water..    I personally think that is essential for the teen years and think sailing team of two person or more boats is the best way to move the ball.   High School sailing team is probably the best innovation on the sailing scene in the last 20 years... AND more interesting boats would not hurt the cause....      Of course...   this is a long long long way from addressing the thread topic of Olympic support... but it has to be where you start.

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15 hours ago, Tcatman said:

Yup....  that is the ownership bit that I mentioned...  I am not so worried about snowflake kids who's passion gets snuffed out by ANY junior program   but OK... when we ID an olympic sweatshop sailing factory similar to the gymnastics empire of bela karoli... we can discuss solutions.

Of course most kids in junior programs don't have boats in their family...    second issue is the logistics of just getting to the water and a boat is for many a killer.  I don't have solutions on these two issues.

So...   within structured programs what do you do?    Your personal anecdotes imply a rat pack of kids building social ties messin around on the water..    I personally think that is essential for the teen years and think sailing team of two person or more boats is the best way to move the ball.   High School sailing team is probably the best innovation on the sailing scene in the last 20 years... AND more interesting boats would not hurt the cause....      Of course...   this is a long long long way from addressing the thread topic of Olympic support... but it has to be where you start.

like i said, we used the club's 420's sometimes, sometimes our lasers (most of the people who sailed lasers also at least dabbled with 420's). Some of my friends could bike to the club from their house, some had to have their parents drive. The question is, will the club let the kids take the boats. I'm inclined to say that, four or five program managers later, my home program would not let a 13-15yo take a 420 out on their anymore.... but that's not based on anything at all. 

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