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US ILCA 7 representative for Paris 2024

dogwatch

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Here's the result
Structurally, this isn't much different to the UK, TBH; except that there's enough coaching available to mean you can be competitive, though probably not for a couple of cycles at Olympic level.
A small number of elite Olympic sailors in the UK do receive a salary, an "Athlete Performance Award" of order up to something similar to a UK average wage. In addition, they get coverage of costs to attend regattas etc.

A long but detailed read, not specific to sailing:

https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/i...thletes-a-comparison-of-the-uk-usa-and-german
 

shebeen

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That would assume the budget goes only on elite coaching for the "Team": far from it: note my post earlier when I said my local dinghy club acquired a rib through "Olympic funding"; the money comes from the sport funding body and goes via the RYA to support the "pathway"... so some goes to the elite team, some to the Youth sailors, some to the junior squads, some to grassroots sailing etc. Our club hosted training events for Oppy kids, and was paid to do so for several events per year by the development programme over a period of several years. A very useful adjunct to club funds.
It also pays for ribs- which can be seen at training events, with coaches at big regional & national events and so on. Again, clubs that are savvy can set events up that bring "pathway" sailors in for top-level competition and the RYA ribs might bring coaches and support safety cover that the clubs would struggle to arrange for one weekend each year. Those ribs don't come cheap, as I'm sure you know, but are extremely valuable to event organisers.

There are hundreds of clubs in the UK, quite a few of them are engaged with "the system" and do OK out of it... the money gets spread quite thinly.

Success breeding success. It's a challenge to continue to improve- the rest of the sporting world is not standing still.
I think it's great gb sport spend so much on dinghy sailing. For most other countries they have been priced out of the market.

I see Thailand have some incredible oppie sailors, wonder if that will translate into Olympic success down the line?
 
I think it's great gb sport spend so much on dinghy sailing. For most other countries they have been priced out of the market.
It's dependent on success: if the sailors don't medal in Paris (well, Marseille :) ) then the budget may well go down.
I see Thailand have some incredible oppie sailors, wonder if that will translate into Olympic success down the line?
I'm told that success at junior level doesn't predict success at elite; however, the more sailors involved in the sport the more likely you'll get someone with what it takes.

One challenge for many Asian nations is that the Olympic classes tend to favour tall athletes- the ILCA-6 is a striking example, as the percentage of (to use your example) Thai women that share their build with the top Radial sailors is... "low". This ought to favour the USA, as one would predict a bigger cohort of competitive-build women (maybe a small contributory factor in Tunnicliffe's success? I dunno...).
 

tillerman

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It's dependent on success: if the sailors don't medal in Paris (well, Marseille :) ) then the budget may well go down.

I'm told that success at junior level doesn't predict success at elite; however, the more sailors involved in the sport the more likely you'll get someone with what it takes.

One challenge for many Asian nations is that the Olympic classes tend to favour tall athletes- the ILCA-6 is a striking example, as the percentage of (to use your example) Thai women that share their build with the top Radial sailors is... "low". This ought to favour the USA, as one would predict a bigger cohort of competitive-build women (maybe a small contributory factor in Tunnicliffe's success? I dunno...).
I take your point. So it's kind of ironic that the Chinese Laser Radial Olympic gold medal winner, Xu Lijia, is 3 inches taller than the American Laser Radial Olympic gold medal winner, Anna Tunnicliffe.
 

MattFranzek

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I take your point. So it's kind of ironic that the Chinese Laser Radial Olympic gold medal winner, Xu Lijia, is 3 inches taller than the American Laser Radial Olympic gold medal winner, Anna Tunnicliffe.
China also has 3x as many people to choose from and kids with prowess in different things, science, math, history, athletics, etc, are identified at a young age and groomed for that activity. Sort of like the old USSR system possibly? That type of system wouldn’t translate to the US, or any other free country. I’m also surprised every time I’m in China at how many taller Chinese there.

Cousin ran track, didn’t make it out of the qualifiers and to the Olympics. His mom did, many years ago. So not sailing but still wasn’t cheap.
 

Curious2

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Maybe everyone could stop taking at each other and instead spend that time and energy just doing a little bit more for your local sailing scene.

I run my club; my interclub association; and used to run what was then the only national association in what is now one of the world's fastest-growing classes (300+ at world titles).

How much more do you want me to do?

The reason I do all that is because when you approach those jobs the right way, you can grow the fleet significantly when other parts of the sailing scene are shrinking.
 

tillerman

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China also has 3x as many people to choose from and kids with prowess in different things, science, math, history, athletics, etc, are identified at a young age and groomed for that activity. Sort of like the old USSR system possibly? That type of system wouldn’t translate to the US, or any other free country.
Right. Lijia (aka Lily) has written an autobiography which gives a detailed account of how China selects and grooms athletes from a very young age. As I recall, she eventually decided that to achieve her ambitions she need to hire a coach from outside the Chinese sports system. It's a good read.

 

sunseeker

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I run my club; my interclub association; and used to run what was then the only national association in what is now one of the world's fastest-growing classes (300+ at world titles).

How much more do you want me to do?

The reason I do all that is because when you approach those jobs the right way, you can grow the fleet significantly when other parts of the sailing scene are shrinking.
Sorry, didn’t mean to suggest you didn’t otherwise contribute, had no idea, was just trying to be supportive and it came out awkward. I was hoping others would pick up on the idea, being that sailors generally tend to like being with sailors. We need more of that, and less of this digital stuff.
 

Curious2

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I think I figured out one spot we aren’t communicating on. I’m saying the Waszp and Moth should be the next step after the Laser. It’s great to have 800 youth and 8000 oldies out racing, but what’s next? Or is the Laser the pinnacle we all stop at.

The Waszp is going in the right direction is my point. Production was 200 boats a year, now it’s up 4x that. That’s going in the correct direction to be something people move into after a Laser. In the US a new Waszp delivered with covers and a dolly is only $3k USD more than a delivered race ready new Laser. That’s pretty good for a foiler. We also don’t have the abundance of used Lasers right now to get people into sailing cheap. I’ve been looking and the cheapest Laser I can find for sale online is $1200 from the 1980s and needs a lot of work.

You are correct, at the top level you do need specialized coaches for Nacra and Moth sailors. But for the kids in summer camps, after school programs, weekend clinics, they don’t need that level or coaching for a Waszp, a decent club level Laser coach should be able to get kids foiling, teach them to get around the race course, get them the basics. When sailors want to move up to a higher level than a local club can supply, then they can go find a coach to get them to that level. Foiling is also very new still and the sailing establishment hasn’t evolved to training coaches for that level. We need a larger general acceptance then better coaches will be trained. I know on my Moth I have to take video then share it with other Moth sailors to get feed back.

The high % of youth in a Waszp is exactly my point about why a single handed foiling dinghy should be considered for the Olympics. Those are the sailors who are training for the top level of sailing. They did Optis, moved up the Lasers and then moved on. The wave of participation is towards foilers, your example of 400 youth and 40 oldies is exactly my point. Of course Lasers are going to have 800 youth and 8000 oldies, boats are easier to come by and we as humans don’t like change. But the wave of participation for youth is towards Waszp, iQFoil, Moth, wing foiling, etc.

You are correct that Laser sailing can be gotten into cheap, and Moths are expensive and not many new boats sold each year. Now I ask how many people who are getting into a Laser cheap are looking at doing an Olympic Campaign? A cheap laser is GREAT for a kid, or teenager to have as their first boat, but once you have been identified as someone who could represent your country in the Olympics, a cheap Laser and club level coaching doesn’t cut it any more. Now you are looking at new boats, new gear, and elite level coaching. Elite level coaching is expensive, that is why the cost of a boat doesn’t matter.

I have a ton of respect for how Aussies keep the cost of sailing down. What’s crazy to me, as an American, is the cost of a used Mach 2 Moth in Australia is 2-3x what it is in the US. I saw a Mach 2 posted for sale in I believe Queensland for $20k, similar to what a buddy had for sale her for $8k, and he couldn’t get an offer on it. I believe that boat in Queensland sold. But they still keep kids and adults in boats and everyone on the water. We can’t do that. Used Moths are cheap, yet used Lasers are really expensive.

Aussies all seem to all live right on the water, we are a bit more spread out. Sailing in the US is just not as main stream as it is in Australia. You don’t see the start of the Bermuda Race or Transpac on the news. Hell, I’d say out of 300(ish) million Americans, maybe 1 million even know what those races are. But if you ask 300(ish) million Americans who Patrick Mahomes is, 85% probably do. Sailing just isn’t that big of a deal to most Americans, where it is to Aussies.

We both hurled insults, I don’t drive a BMW, Im ‘Merican, I drive a truck! I’ll strive to be better, but I will not cave on my opinion that Laser no longer belong in the Olympics.

Side not about the Waszp, I just remembered the Waszp is not even World Sailing recognized currently. So any talk about it being an Olympic class is pointless because they can’t even hold an official World Champs.

1- Agree with some of that and I have been snappy because I'm passionate about keeping the sport strong and have spent a lot of time growing it and researching it.

IMHO the sport doesn't need just one pinnacle, any more than running needs just one distance or swimming needs just one stroke. It's a diverse sport and foilers don't work well in many places. If we only have foilers, a very high proportion of the world's sailors will basically be excluded from top line competition because of their location. And if we say that because a class is newer and faster it's the pinnacle, then probably NO dinghy would be in the Games; just the kitefoilers and perhaps a cat and windfoiler.

In other Olympic sports, like cycling, they use gear that is the same as the stuff that keen weekend warriors use, not the fastest gear. The human powered foiling boat Decavitator and a streamlined recumbent bicycle have the same sort of speed advantage over conventional kayaks and bikes as a Moth has over a Laser, but they aren't in the Games and the mainstream gear is.

decavitator_faired.il.gif
streamliner.jpeg



2- As you said, in Australia sailing is much more of a mainstream sport - but I'd say it's BECAUSE we strive to ensure that sailing is cheap enough to allow the average person to do well at the sport. We have lots of little amateur clubs with fees of about $250 a year and no joining fee that breed sailors like Outteridge, Jensen and Burton. "Elite coaching" in Australia comes free if you're good enough, and you can become good enough without elite coaching if you do the hard yards.


3- While I don't ask and most of them don't tell, many of the parents who support Olympic campaigns here are simply not rich enough to spend $250/k p.a. year on year. Many of them have very normal jobs like teaching. Mara Stransky (Radial, Tokyo) and her whole family has lived on the catamaran they built themselves for years; it's nice but I don't think they have $250/k to spend p.a. Nathan Outteridge's dad is (I think) an electrical engineer "on the tools" and his mum a teaching assistant. I don't think guys like Ben Ainslie came from a wealthy background either.

At a regatta a fortnight ago, a parent whose kid is campaigning (and whose spouse is an ex-Olympian) did specifically mention that a campaign in a fast boat with less resale value is much more expensive than in a cheap and popular craft, as well as saying that Euros get much more support. So at least some of the people paying for campaigns are saying that the cost of the craft DOES matter, and plenty of those who are supporting Olympic campaigns here are far from rich.


4- The IOC Olympic Programme Commission has stated that the disciplines within each Olympic sport are to be reviewed according to these criteria, which are similar to the ones used to select each sport;
  1. cost and complexity;
  2. popularity and host country interest;
  3. uniqueness, universality, gender equality and relevance for young people;
  4. best athletes and athlete safety;
  5. integrity and fairness;
  6. environmental sustainability
The Laser is clearly ahead on most of those criteria since the foilers are expensive, hugely less popular, and far less widespread. To see how the IOC assesses such criteria, look at;


The IOC also prioritises and publicises things like the number of "emerging" countries with competition, getting Games selection and winning medals, and that's one of sailing's weaknesses. Sailing needs the "emerging nations", the "emerging nations" know what their budget is, they know how much each class costs, and they keep on voting for the Laser.

None of this is knocking foilers, and it's not supporting the status quo in the USA because (as an outsider) it seems that there's some pretty clear reasons why the USA is struggling these days, and it's not through lack of foilers.

5 - The claim that there's a big wave of youth in foilers doesn't seem to be reflected in the actual numbers sailing in boats around the world. Sure, the Waszp Games got a good youth fleet which is great, but still only a small proportion of youth sail foiling boats. It's a great class and good for sailing, but there's little indication it will be any more than a niche.
 
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Curious2

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Sorry, didn’t mean to suggest you didn’t otherwise contribute, had no idea, was just trying to be supportive and it came out awkward. I was hoping others would pick up on the idea, being that sailors generally tend to like being with sailors. We need more of that, and less of this digital stuff.

Ah, ok, cheers. I'm just fascinated by the way technology and design affect the popularity of sports. It's a deep and complicated subject, and discussions like these were one of the things that drove me to take up running clubs and classes. :)

While this stuff may seem like a dead end, going back a while there seemed to be only a tiny number of us who felt that a certain discipline should be kept alive. We were scattered around the world and could only find each other through forum discussions like this. The mutual support and encouragement we got from this sort of stuff was quite important in getting that discipline from a state of near death back to the stage where regattas are getting 140-360 sailors. It's also led me to do some work that has been used by associations in several countries, from NZ to Italy. So some discussions like this can be of value in growing the sport.
 
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shebeen

Super Anarchist
One challenge for many Asian nations is that the Olympic classes tend to favour tall athletes- the ILCA-6 is a striking example, as the percentage of (to use your example) Thai women that share their build with the top Radial sailors is... "low". This ought to favour the USA, as one would predict a bigger cohort of competitive-build women (maybe a small contributory factor in Tunnicliffe's success? I dunno...).
Good point, except elite olympians are outliers. I immediately think of Yao Ming the 7ft 6 basketball player.
I take your point. So it's kind of ironic that the Chinese Laser Radial Olympic gold medal winner, Xu Lijia, is 3 inches taller than the American Laser Radial Olympic gold medal winner, Anna Tunnicliffe.
see above. There's a good chance she was 'selected' to go to a sailing academy, her wikipedia entry all but confirms that - "Xu Lijia was born nearly deaf in one ear and nearly blind in one eye.[5][6] She started swimming at age four and attended a sports school in the Changning District of Shanghai. When she was ten Xu was chosen by coach Zhang Jing to train for sailing.[7]"

China also has 3x as many people to choose from and kids with prowess in different things, science, math, history, athletics, etc, are identified at a young age and groomed for that activity. Sort of like the old USSR system possibly? That type of system wouldn’t translate to the US, or any other free country. I’m also surprised every time I’m in China at how many taller Chinese there.
totally. In anticipation for Beijing 2008, some sports were identified as "cheap" medals to focus on. One of these was sprint canoeing. Despite having basically zero canoeing racing scene and never having even entered the olympics they came away with medals at first attempt.


Right. Lijia (aka Lily) has written an autobiography which gives a detailed account of how China selects and grooms athletes from a very young age. As I recall, she eventually decided that to achieve her ambitions she need to hire a coach from outside the Chinese sports system. It's a good read.


would be one hell of a read, I'm sure you could confirm/pick apart some of my perceptions.
 

shebeen

Super Anarchist
1- Agree with some of that and I have been snappy because I'm passionate about keeping the sport strong and have spent a lot of time growing it and researching it.


In other Olympic sports, like cycling, they use gear that is the same as the stuff that keen weekend warriors use, not the fastest gear. The human powered foiling boat Decavitator and a streamlined recumbent bicycle have the same sort of speed advantage over conventional kayaks and bikes as a Moth has over a Laser, but they aren't in the Games and the mainstream gear is.
Cycling might not be the best example of this, definitely not track cycling where literal fortunes are spent on looking for microgains.
exhibit a:
the bike from Barcelona '92 that kicked off insane lab programs https://road.cc/content/feature/check-out-chris-boardmans-olympic-winning-lotus-type-108-294779
1992-olympics-lotus-type-108-chris-boardman-5.jpeg


there's a rule now that you can't have prototype bikes anymore, so everything has to be 'available' to the general public.

exhibit B:
Screenshot-2021-08-02-at-07.43.14.png



Incidentally exhibit A got team GB a first olympic cycling gold for 72 years and first medal since a bronze at Montreal '76, they've top the medal table by some distance for the last four games. Talent plays a part in this for sure, but they have run an incredibly large scale and professional program to get there easily outspending the competition who are still playing catch-up.
 

tillerman

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As I recall, Xu Lijia was chosen as a child to try out for sailing because she was good at swimming. I think there are probably better tips on how successful sailing nations manage Olympic development programs that the US could emulate.
 

Xeon

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Unfortunately unless US sailing can manage to get a long term ( at least two Olympic cycles ) revenue stream that it can use to set up systems similar to the GB, Australian, New Zealand,Spain etc .
Nothing is going to change .😕


This has to be a large amount as has to pay for regional squads, national squads , coaches ,infrastructure and travel costs that are needed . Plus you have the pay the sailors at the top of this pyramid a living wage.
If you want the best results you cannot have your best sailors worrying about anything other than sailing .


UK elite sport were very lucky with the National lottery as it gave them revenue separate from government grants.

Could not some of the smaller Olympic sports in the US come together to launch their own national sports lottery as a way of funding their elite athletes ?
 
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dogwatch

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Team GBR sailing budget for Marseilles (sailing venue for Paris) is IIRC around £20M for the 4 year cycle. For a country of the size and wealth of the USA, it isn't really that much. The current USA AC effort would be several times more. If the USA had some useful Olympic sailors coming out of the system, they wouldn't have to rely on Aussies, Kiwis and Brits to sail their boat for them.
 

Bill5

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Over the past several Olympics, the US has won very few medals in any of the mode of transportation events, ie boats and bikes (they have done ok riding horses). But way more than any other country in overall medals. When the US focuses, they usually win or seriously contend. There is simply not enough interest in the US in dinghy racing.
 
...and every nine months or so, someone will pipe up here that the problem is The Olympics, The Laser or The Optimist Mommys, without any appreciation that dinghy sailing in the rest of the world isn't just the same as in the USA. :)
 

RobbieB

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It's all about money and talent. I was a member of RCYC when Paul Forester was making his Olympic runs in the 470 class. His sailing abilities were, (and still are I believe) freakish. Anyway, back in 2000 it took like $80k a year to support a proper 470 campaign due to the world travel, (mostly Europe) needed to compete with the proper caliber people and stay on top of the latest "tweaks" happening with the boat. I believe it took him 3 cycles to finally get his gold and he was out after that. However, on the last campaign the story is US Sailing came to him late in the game as they believed he was one of their best bets for a gold, (literally weeks before the US trials and offered $$'s in support to get him on board) he hooked up with Kevin and the rest is history. Oh, and pretty sure he's an actual rocket scientist as well so brains help..
 


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