Olympic sailing, is it still the pinnacle?

dogwatch

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South Coast, UK
To give one example. Why sail a 49er when you have a job and maybe a family when you are going to get whipped by a small group of sailors paid to sail. Your 200-500 hours a year sailing versus there 2000 hours sailing or in the gym just won't cut it. 
To give one example of what?

If your objective is to win in a class with minimum input, there are always going to be classes that are easier to win than others and it isn't so hard to figure out which they are. Olympic classes will be hard to win but there are others.

 

dogwatch

Super Anarchist
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South Coast, UK
Overall from a US standpoint we have fallen off the podium in my opinion because we have not followed the route many other countries have moved to. Back when the eastern block country athletes where all members of the military they just trained all the time but avoided the professionalism limitations. Now they do not need to be in the military as the MNA’s can pay them directly. The US has not subscribed to this process. There is no structure in our country to change this.
That and the belief that domestic trials are an effective way to select potential medallists, when  the actual competition are out sailing the international circuit.

 
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Tcatman

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Chesapeake Bay
umm...USA does not do domestic trials anymore....  Points system based on 3 scheduled gold cup regattas (or whatever they call them now)  Guliari represented the USA  in N17s based on a very strong result in Miami OCR that nudged him into the lead by  a point or so... despite middle of the pack results afterwards in the scheduled events....

Also, they won't just fund  a sailing team unless they pass a threshold on the world cup circuit.   Tis why the team is not full.... (not that they can't find a body to fill the slot)  Of course the USA still supports self funded teams to compete using the  US allocation of slots. At the end of the quad cycle...  I don't think US Selection is as tight as the aussi standard... which seems to be chance at medal to actually secure your slot.  

The Olympics are about individual athletic performance....  So. that becomes the drive to change the events to tilt towards singlehanders. 

What I was surprised with is the enthusiasm for mixed classes.  I dont' think any other discipline is force into doing the country club social scene of mixed doubles events.

 
I loved this part:

It’s sad that we don’t have to travel far in our sailing communities to find the stories of those that were unsuccessful and drained their savings reaching for the proverbial brass ring only to fall short and feel like years have been taken off their life. As a parent looking out for your child’s future, especially considering the hours of coaching and travel at youth level that is an investment in itself, wouldn’t you rather choose to steer them towards professional avenues that give them some form of financial security and a return on their investment, away from the Olympic pathway?

This guy has somehow confused sailing small boats - a hobby - with a career.
So only big boat sailors get a career?  Don't we all start with small boats?

 

bdu98252

Member
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To give one example of what?

If your objective is to win in a class with minimum input, there are always going to be classes that are easier to win than others and it isn't so hard to figure out which they are. Olympic classes will be hard to win but there are others.
The point is that a class being in the Olympics results in no one who does not want to go to the Olympics sailing it. There is testing yourself against your peers and then there is entering a contest that you have no chance of winning before we even factor in talent. The disparity in equipment that goes beyond training hours is immense. What would your sail budget be as an individual to compete in a 470 on an equal footing. It would not be 1 set of sails a year on a rolling replacement scheme that is for sure. This is before you buy a boat to train in and a boat for major events assuming you want your A boat to last more than a year.  

 

shanghaisailor

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The point is that a class being in the Olympics results in no one who does not want to go to the Olympics sailing it. There is testing yourself against your peers and then there is entering a contest that you have no chance of winning before we even factor in talent. The disparity in equipment that goes beyond training hours is immense. What would your sail budget be as an individual to compete in a 470 on an equal footing. It would not be 1 set of sails a year on a rolling replacement scheme that is for sure. This is before you buy a boat to train in and a boat for major events assuming you want your A boat to last more than a year.  
Very few unsupported or unsponsored sailors could buy as many Finn sailors as Ben Ainslie was given in a season.

Having said that he did earn the right by his brilliance to receive that sort of support.

My only beef with the Olympic classes is the level of support that World Sailing gives them while virtually every other class has to look after themselves.

Is that equitable?

SS

 

WGWarburton

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Scotland
Not really true. There is, for example, a thriving Finn class in the club nearest mine.
 We have a few Lasers at our club, too, and a 470. No 49ers but we're inland and conditions are not conducive. We have a few 29ers, though, and a couple of 420s...

 We don't have any Nacras...but then we didn't have any Tornados, either, nor Hobies, back in the day.

I think I'm missing the point- which classes was it that have been killed by inclusion in the Olympics?

Cheers,

             W.

 

shanghaisailor

Super Anarchist
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Shanghai, China
Oh dear, just when you think you have the measure of the stupidity of some people they prove to you just how wrong you are.

$$s - as he puts it are most certainly required in our sport but not so many if you just RC sail.

But at least he does have a point - it IS all about dollars unless he has a means of getting boats, sails and other gear for free. If it wasn't we'd have 20 entries in the VOR and 10 going to Auckland in 2021 and does he think Sir Ben's Aston Martin runs on fresh air? Of course it doesn't.

Go on sir - you tell us how it isn't all about money? or do you live in a commune?

 
Not really true. There is, for example, a thriving Finn class in the club nearest mine.
Every little puddle here seems to have a Finn fleet. We have over 20 in my club with about 12 really active. I'm heading to Barcelona for the Masters on Thursday. 353 boats registered.
There is also a fair bit of 470 activity around too.

 

savoir

Super Anarchist
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 We have a few Lasers at our club, too, and a 470. No 49ers but we're inland and conditions are not conducive. We have a few 29ers, though, and a couple of 420s...

 We don't have any Nacras...but then we didn't have any Tornados, either, nor Hobies, back in the day.

I think I'm missing the point- which classes was it that have been killed by inclusion in the Olympics?

Cheers,

             W.


Soling

470

 

WGWarburton

Anarchist
993
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Scotland
Soling

470
Soling was designed for the Olympics, it's inclusion did not kill an existing class.

470?  It's a stretch... There are a fair number of single-trap double-handers around, is the 470 faring worse than others as a result of its inclusion in the Olympics? I'm open to persuasion but I don't think its self-evident. It's not like there are big fleets of Hornets, Ospreys, Javelins and Laser-2s around, nor that the Fireball or 5-0 would be down the pan if they were selected. Sure there are people who might choose a non-Olympic class over an Olympic one so that they don't go to the Nationals knowing they'll get schooled but there are also people who would choose to join a class where they know they can share the start line with the absolute best in the world... Mostly, though, I don't think it's a major factor in the way people choose which boat to sail... Class enthusiasts, local fleets, cost, atmosphere, suitability all play a bigger part in the success, and hence failure, of a class...

Cheers,

             W.

 
The point is that a class being in the Olympics results in no one who does not want to go to the Olympics sailing it. There is testing yourself against your peers and then there is entering a contest that you have no chance of winning before we even factor in talent. The disparity in equipment that goes beyond training hours is immense. What would your sail budget be as an individual to compete in a 470 on an equal footing. It would not be 1 set of sails a year on a rolling replacement scheme that is for sure. This is before you buy a boat to train in and a boat for major events assuming you want your A boat to last more than a year.  
This comment is naïve at best.  The last time I was involved in a 470 campaign we (my sail loft supporting the team) had three 470's, five masts, maybe a dozen suits of sails, a double dinghy trailer with tow vehicle and a RIB support boat with 40hp outboard.  A typical event would have the sailors, a support crew of at least two and sometimes someone to photograph our sails and our competition to do analysis of mast bend, sail twist and such after the fact.  Black and white images were fed into software that measured and recorded this data and was correlated with results and weather conditions.  My partner and I probably spent $150,000 on this Olympic campaign in 1977-1980, which would be maybe $400,000 in todays money.  And we are not counting man hours.  There were even occasions when we were unhappy with the sails and did an 'all nighter' to make new sails for the next day.

To run your own campaign for the Olympics today IMO would be a minimum of $800,000.    

 
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savoir

Super Anarchist
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Soling was designed for the Olympics, it's inclusion did not kill an existing class.

470?  It's a stretch... There are a fair number of single-trap double-handers around, is the 470 faring worse than others as a result of its inclusion in the Olympics? I'm open to persuasion but I don't think its self-evident. It's not like there are big fleets of Hornets, Ospreys, Javelins and Laser-2s around, nor that the Fireball or 5-0 would be down the pan if they were selected. Sure there are people who might choose a non-Olympic class over an Olympic one so that they don't go to the Nationals knowing they'll get schooled but there are also people who would choose to join a class where they know they can share the start line with the absolute best in the world... Mostly, though, I don't think it's a major factor in the way people choose which boat to sail... Class enthusiasts, local fleets, cost, atmosphere, suitability all play a bigger part in the success, and hence failure, of a class...

Cheers,

             W.


The Soling has always been a numbers disaster. The last US Nationals attracted a whopping 11 starters. Killing off another class has nothing to do with it and wasn't the question. I couldn't tell you the last time I saw a 470. None of the clubs around Narragansett Bay race them.

 

rgeek

Super Anarchist
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It's also the wrong question.

The question is whether competitive sport is relevant any more.

 

bdu98252

Member
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33
This comment is naïve at best.  The last time I was involved in a 470 campaign we (my sail loft supporting the team) had three 470's, five masts, maybe a dozen suits of sails, a double dinghy trailer with tow vehicle and a RIB support boat with 40hp outboard.  A typical event would have the sailors, a support crew of at least two and sometimes someone to photograph our sails and our competition to do analysis of mast bend, sail twist and such after the fact.  Black and white images were fed into software that measured and recorded this data and was correlated with results and weather conditions.  My partner and I probably spent $150,000 on this Olympic campaign in 1977-1980, which would be maybe $400,000 in todays money.  And we are not counting man hours.  There were even occasions when we were unhappy with the sails and did an 'all nighter' to make new sails for the next day.

To run your own campaign for the Olympics today IMO would be a minimum of $800,000.    
So you agreed with my comment and provided more evidence to back up my view then call the comment "naïve at best". I don't get it. Maybe it is my naivety.

 

Meat Wad

Super Anarchist
In Olympic Sailing, the Country Qualifies to participate, usually a year or 2 before the games,  but not the actual sailor who qualified the country.........Yep, some sailor qualified the country and then has to go through a system or payoff someone to be the actual rep for that country.Pretty weird.

When Sailing has a qualification system more like track and field so the worlds best are all sailing at the Games instead of one from each country, then it might be the pinnacle.

The Olympics are great for individual athletes, that play the game (and it is a game), but overall bad for sailing.

 

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