US isn’t competitive in medal chase at Tokyo 2020 because…

cbulger

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 that is obviously not the direction (US) adult sailing has gone, and I'm not sure anyone should 'push' adults into equipment they don't like just because that is what the olympics picked.  That is the tail wagging the dog.
I'm not promoting Olympic classes at the club level - better to use non-olympic classes like the 5o5 or F18.  The US adult club scene hasn't just abandoned the Olympic classes, we have largely given up on sailing anything without lead - our version of the sport has significantly reduced the level of athleticism.  I believe young American athletes see this and choose to spend their time on other sports where fitness is rewarded.  If we want to compete at the athletic end of the sport, then our clubs and associations need to prioritize sailing without lead.  

A big obstacle to change here is the fact that lead-mines require much more spending on all things marine - sails, pros, boats, etc....  Better for business to define the pinnacle of our sport as the big spending - less than athletic - "owners."

 

estarzinger

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I'm not promoting Olympic classes at the club level - better to use non-olympic classes like the 5o5 or F18.  The US adult club scene hasn't just abandoned the Olympic classes, we have largely given up on sailing anything without lead - our version of the sport has significantly reduced the level of athleticism.  I believe young American athletes see this and choose to spend their time on other sports where fitness is rewarded.  If we want to compete at the athletic end of the sport, then our clubs and associations need to prioritize sailing without lead.  

A big obstacle to change here is the fact that lead-mines require much more spending on all things marine - sails, pros, boats, etc....  Better for business to define the pinnacle of our sport as the big spending - less than athletic - "owners."
I guess I dont know enough about elite sailing to be able to evaluate this - but can you foresee a practical solution?  Seems like a really tough problem to turn around.  Harder than significantly increasing fund raising, or significantly  raising the level of selection, or of significantly increasing the coaching value-added.

As I said a few posts above - my first cut would be to pick one (or 2 or 3) location and try to build a cadre/small fleet of world competitive training partners (not world first, but can at least crush someone who makes national/college-competitive level mistakes).  That would seem to be doable with good leadership.  Seems like Paul is possibly positioned to do this in SF - but idk (I mean honestly dont know, I dont have enough knowledge) if that is the best place in the usa to pick.

 
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Tcatman

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https://britishsailingteam.rya.org.uk/olympic-classes/nacra-17/john-gimson-and-anna-burnet/ is an interesting read on the sailors' backgrounds, which are highly varied and multi-class.
OK....one quad for coaching up pro sailors on a new boat foil N17 to a silver is an impressive record!  Equally impressive is the system of coaching and training partners that made that possible.   What I don't get is a sense that Gimson was some kind of unicorn tho....   much more like accomplished sailors match the boat and moment with the necessary resources in coaching and training partners able to execute the game plan.    I think this speaks to simon's characterization of the brit program as truly a machine and luck/serendipity are not essential to great outcomes.

The US has a training center at Oakcliff on Long Island where the N17s were based for at least the last two quads.  I wonder how the powers that be evaluate the program.  (Why I ask about the ranking of USA coaching)  I would think that San Fran would be a great location for foiling kites and boards for the next quad....  Coaches for thesenew  events ???  Scot Steele is racing j35's these days.

 
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cbulger

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John Bertrand on Bar Karate podcast is a great listen on the winning approach to Olympic sports.   Not only is Bertrand an Olympic Medalist in the Finn and America's Cup champ - but Australia tapped him to bring his winning approach to their suffering Olympic swimming program.  He was never a competitive swimmer - but look at the results of his leadership approach in their medals collection in Japan.

"You need to think 20 years forward to build a strong program"

However, not sure his approach could restore US prowess in the athletic sailing that is done in the Olympics.  In the sailing world, we Americans seem to have knack for failing to see the present let alone the future.   The pinnacles of sailing  - the Olympics, the America's Cup, the Ocean Race have all moved on to new technologies that demand physically fit sailors.

Outside of kids programs, American clubs don't sail athletic boats (non-keel) anymore.   When the US was turning in strong Olympic sailing performances, the majority of Yacht Clubs had strong center board fleets sailed by adults - Thistles, Lightenings, 5o5's, Snipes.... etc.  Those fleets have all died.  Even in our sailing capitol, Newport RI/Narragansett Bay there are 0 clubs with fleets of adults sailing athletic boats.

Our clubs have chosen to emphasize the less demanding version of sailing - where lead does the work and sailors are seated.

Not sure how we expect to be competitive in a sport we don't participate in or even acknowledge.

 

Couta

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A massive contrast between the US and all the major competitive sailing countries was, and is....that dinghy sailing is categorised as being "for kids" and "real yachting" (keelboats) are for when you grow up! With all the keelboats now out of the lympix and with the AC now out of keelboats....the US is an outlier. All the recent development of sailing has come from dinghys...the main drivers in the sport ...are from dinghys (foiling=moths?)....and the US categorises "dinghys" as non aspirational "Kids stuff". Not surprisingly.....you're being left behind.

 

BWR

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A massive contrast between the US and all the major competitive sailing countries was, and is....that dinghy sailing is categorised as being "for kids" and "real yachting" (keelboats) are for when you grow up! With all the keelboats now out of the lympix and with the AC now out of keelboats....the US is an outlier. All the recent development of sailing has come from dinghys...the main drivers in the sport ...are from dinghys (foiling=moths?)....and the US categorises "dinghys" as non aspirational "Kids stuff". Not surprisingly.....you're being left behind.
Nail...head...hit!

 

dogwatch

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OK....one quad for coaching up pro sailors on a new boat foil N17 to a silver is an impressive record!  Equally impressive is the system of coaching and training partners that made that possible.   What I don't get is a sense that Gimson was some kind of unicorn tho....   much more like accomplished sailors match the boat and moment with the necessary resources in coaching and training partners able to execute the game plan.    I think this speaks to simon's characterization of the brit program as truly a machine and luck/serendipity are not essential to great outcomes.
Up to a point. GBR performance does vary by class according to the sailor selected/available for a particular quad. But in general, I agree with your argument as I understand it; it's not just about finding talented sailors and given them a bit more support, it's the whole ecosystem, moving sailors from teen years onwards through the progressive squad funnels. It's what other sports do, why should sailing be different?  

The 3 countries that have won most sailing medals in recent years have been GBR, AUS and NL. We've talked about the first two, anyone know much about how the NL organises itself?

 

WillyT123

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Outside of kids programs, American clubs don't sail athletic boats (non-keel) anymore.   When the US was turning in strong Olympic sailing performances, the majority of Yacht Clubs had strong center board fleets sailed by adults - Thistles, Lightenings, 5o5's, Snipes.... etc.  Those fleets have all died.  Even in our sailing capitol, Newport RI/Narragansett Bay there are 0 clubs with fleets of adults sailing athletic boats.
I have to think you're being a touch dramatic here no? The 505 NA's are in newport in a month and a half, at sail newport I believe. I find it hard to believe that those other classes are dead up there as well considering that in the southeast thistles and lightnings are thriving.

 

Tcatman

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I have to think you're being a touch dramatic here no? The 505 NA's are in newport in a month and a half, at sail newport I believe. I find it hard to believe that those other classes are dead up there as well considering that in the southeast thistles and lightnings are thriving.
define athletic boats  and then  define thriving relative to J70s.

 

cbulger

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I have to think you're being a touch dramatic here no? The 505 NA's are in newport in a month and a half, at sail newport I believe. I find it hard to believe that those other classes are dead up there as well considering that in the southeast thistles and lightnings are thriving.
No drama - it’s a fact that there are nomadic bands of athletic sailors and many of us use the public facilities like Sail Newport to access the water - but the fact is there are zero dinghy clubs on Narragansett Bay.   No dedicated facility, no dedicated race committee to run regular events - those resources are dedicated to youth sailing and adults sailing keel boats.

 

Rambler

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No drama - it’s a fact that there are nomadic bands of athletic sailors and many of us use the public facilities like Sail Newport to access the water - but the fact is there are zero dinghy clubs on Narragansett Bay.   No dedicated facility, no dedicated race committee to run regular events - those resources are dedicated to youth sailing and adults sailing keel boats.
Just looked at the map to get a perspective on that comment.

Its beyond sad given its location and size

There'd be a dinghy club in every indentation in Australia

Put a search for "Sydney Harbour Sailing Clubs" through Google maps to get an idea, Some called yacht clubs are actually dinghy clubs (goes back 80 years). And some are missing. If you google "sydney Harbour Skiff Clubs" you seem to pick up most of the rest.

 
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estarzinger

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A thought experiment:

If the Olympics suddenly decided to switch to keel boat equipment . . . . do you think the USA would suddenly dominate the medals again (since USA has such a keel boat culture and infrastructure)?

I do not.  I think the current well organized and skilled and knowledge (and well funded) elite teams would continue to dominate. 

 

Tcatman

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Star sailors fondly remember the glory days of US Dominance... of course they believe the new keel boat event is in the bag because they fund the US program... (don't you get it.... money talks. and is sufficient).   oops  who wrote this thread (grin)

 

Jethrow

Super Anarchist
So say the IOC has a major brain fart and says "OK, for LA 2028 the organiser can have what ever classes it wants".

What would the USOC choose?

Star, M

Snipe, M&W

Club 420, Mixed

Sled race to Hawaii, Mixed

???

 

Xeon

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Even if that happened , the three big sailing nations would still be the biggest winners . It’s not about the boats , it all about the system the sailors are in 

 

Tcatman

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https://www.buzzsprout.com/392416/9030232-bar-karate-the-sailing-podcast-ep121-malcolm-page-multiple-gold-medallist

A recent podcast with Malcolm Page where about 25min in they talk about US Sailing and their  performance at Tokyo.
Great listen!....   One highlight (from my point of view)... Page indicates that hiring full time coaches for each discipline was his goal.  Save each campaign 40% of their budget and be the magnet for athletes to come and work together.     IMO, now, do you get a coach, a good enough coach, or a great coach COULD be a source of contention.   Apparently his coach, Victor ???  was one of those internationally known great coaches and he was asked if he learned to coach from Victor....   (answer... victorisms rubbed off...but I think a lot more could be said)

 

Rambler

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Great listen!....   One highlight (from my point of view)... Page indicates that hiring full time coaches for each discipline was his goal.  Save each campaign 40% of their budget and be the magnet for athletes to come and work together.     IMO, now, do you get a coach, a good enough coach, or a great coach COULD be a source of contention.   Apparently his coach, Victor ???  was one of those internationally known great coaches and he was asked if he learned to coach from Victor....   (answer... victorisms rubbed off...but I think a lot more could be said)
Victor Kovalenko

 

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