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

frostbit

Anarchist
Imagine if instead of 20 hyper-short races in C420s without chutes on random Saturdays in the fall, there were multiple collegiate regattas with Olympic class boats in olympic competition format. Would it cost more? yes. Would this require colleges to send trailers and do boat setup beforehand and breakdown afterwards? yes. Would practice get more complicated? somewhat. 

Wouldn't it, however, result in better prep for the Olympics with more college sailors getting a chance to try the boats in real competition and actually get good at these classes of boats? The cream would rise to the top as opposed to whoever has the deepest pockets, and there would be much more competition for spots on the Olympic team and a greater chance for success. 

The crazy thing is that the best funding in sailing on a per linear foot is in sports boats. How much did the past 4 J70 world champions each spend in the 3 years prior to their win to make their win happen? If any of the egos involved in those expenditure could have their names on making Olympic gold happen for the US with a high degree of probability for success, would they buy in?

 
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frostbit

Anarchist
I'll add one more thing... College racing format is boring, BORING. Why do people drop out of sailing... lots of reasons, but boring is definitely one of them. Some of these kids will spend 10 years of their lives -10 YEARS - in the same general class of boats. Many of the top sailors coming out of college have NO other sailing skills and can't even tune a I420 for international competition let alone a 470 or god forbid a 49er or even a keel boat. 

 
Junior Sailing is the problem.  Kids are completely ruined before they get to college.

Most kids are sailing in boring over simplified boats in large regattas starting at age 7.  There is no tuning, just show and go.  Mom and dad (and coaches) clean the boat, prep it while junior gets poodled up in his Zhik gear and $100 sunglasses, energy bars, sports drinks and hits the water.  Does that sound like sailing as a kid to anyone over 40? 

Kids are not sailing just for fun - achievement over enjoyment - they rarely sail or practice outside the program and the programs are usually massively time consuming anyway.  Most are "over it" by age 15 and won't sail recreationally because they compete in events with 50 boats so why sail against 15 - they see it as a step into the unknown without their support network. 

In the 80's - we sailed for fun, to get around, and to compete.  We played baseball and soccer in yards and at school fields.  We played organized sports less than kids do now.  We learn how to sail, not just how to race.   Kids were well rounded.    In 1984, The USA medaled in every olympic sailing event and today, we have two 40 year olds sailing the 470 primarily because no one under 40 in the entire country cared to challenge them and we did not earn a spot in the 49er!

It is culture - the desire to try is gone for many kids sucked out of them by helicopter parents and the "everyone gets a medal" environment.  There are exceptions, as we just kicked everyone's butt in the 420 worlds, but even a broken clock is right twice a day.  

 

 

frostbit

Anarchist
Junior Sailing is the problem.  Kids are completely ruined before they get to college.

Most kids are sailing in boring over simplified boats in large regattas starting at age 7.  There is no tuning, just show and go.  Mom and dad (and coaches) clean the boat, prep it while junior gets poodled up in his Zhik gear and $100 sunglasses, energy bars, sports drinks and hits the water.  Does that sound like sailing as a kid to anyone over 40? 

Kids are not sailing just for fun - achievement over enjoyment - they rarely sail or practice outside the program and the programs are usually massively time consuming anyway.  Most are "over it" by age 15 and won't sail recreationally because they compete in events with 50 boats so why sail against 15 - they see it as a step into the unknown without their support network. 

In the 80's - we sailed for fun, to get around, and to compete.  We played baseball and soccer in yards and at school fields.  We played organized sports less than kids do now.  We learn how to sail, not just how to race.   Kids were well rounded.    In 1984, The USA medaled in every olympic sailing event and today, we have two 40 year olds sailing the 470 primarily because no one under 40 in the entire country cared to challenge them and we did not earn a spot in the 49er!

It is culture - the desire to try is gone for many kids sucked out of them by helicopter parents and the "everyone gets a medal" environment.  There are exceptions, as we just kicked everyone's butt in the 420 worlds, but even a broken clock is right twice a day.  

 
disagree. Some junior programs may be the problem, but not all. We get 200+ unique kids out every summer and they progress through learning how to sail and muck around in boats. parents do none of the work on boat prep. Kids go to regattas. parents do none of the boat prep. they do drop off as they get older, but they have so many other time-consuming activities, that it is hard to pin point any one thing that draws them away.  

 
they have so many other time-consuming activities, that it is hard to pin point any one thing that draws them away.  
You just supported by argument... Junior sailing, like other organize sports focuses on achievement over enjoyment and all are way to time consuming as achievement requires commitment.

At 200 kids a season, you have put ~2000 kids through the program in the past 10 years.  So how has that impacted the popularity of sailing in your local community?
My guess is sailing in general is either the same or less popular than it was 10 years ago.  Net gain = 0.

 

frostbit

Anarchist
You just supported by argument... Junior sailing, like other organize sports focuses on achievement over enjoyment and all are way to time consuming as achievement requires commitment.

At 200 kids a season, you have put ~2000 kids through the program in the past 10 years.  So how has that impacted the popularity of sailing in your local community?
My guess is sailing in general is either the same or less popular than it was 10 years ago.  Net gain = 0.
Not following your logic. B/c I gave you a fact, the junior sailing program is achievement oriented? Given kids coming back year after year for something they like and for which most of their parents have no idea about, it's a success. Guaranteed that without it, hundreds of kids (sailors in general attend on average 5 years at our program, so not 2,000 kids, more like 600 - 700 in last 10 years) would never have gone sailing at all and many who love it have gone on to cruise, race, screw around in boats, etc. etc. wouldn't have had the skills to do so. 

 

gohawks

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My guess is sailing in general is either the same or less popular than it was 10 years ago.  Net gain = 0.
Yes, we know for a fact that there are fewer people sailing.  Some sources say a 25% decline in the last 20 years. 

Like you say also, the culture of the sailing program has a lot to do with the kids' success.  In my coaching experience, programs that leave more responsibility with the kids end up having competitive advantages.  I've coached a bunch of teams, and the teams with the helicopter parents were a sad, embarrassing mess; I felt so sorry for the kids.  

 
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Rambler

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East Coast OZ
So in the UK, there is a pathway system to the olympic circus, it starts at maybe 6 years old in Optimists or Toppers and goes through Fevas and 420's and 29ers and Radials, local to national squads.  Up or out. Puts a huge time and expense pain on the families.  Much talent is lost because it doesn't come prepackaged with a Volvo SUV and kit fund.  The tree gets very narrow at the top (16 plus).  RYA effectively bypassed the club scene, so most of them rarely continue racing when they leave the system.  There are no free lunches.
And my big beef with this system is it destrys clubs.

The cost of Olympic glory is too high.

 

eliboat

Super Anarchist
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In the US we have an almost religious devotion to a junior sailing format that is clearly inadequate.  In our system, all kids MUST sail Optis until they're 15, at which point they MUST sail C420's, which they basically sail until they are about 21 or 22 through college.  The odd FJ or Lark is thrown in there, but 99% of competitive sailors have never seen a bendy rig until after they exit college.  That's just plain dumb.  If you look back to when the US was either dominant or comfortably competitive, none of those sailors had backgrounds resembling what we have today.  Sure all countries sail Optis, but after that,  other countries force a narrative that where only shit boat like the 420 are part of the story..... also the money obviously, but I truly believe that competitive youth sailing as it exists now is beyond dumb.  My daughters are going to be sailing boats with bendy rigs long before they are 14.

 

fastyacht

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The International 420 I sailed was so much more fun and interesting than the collegiate 420. The hulls looked the same but sure didn't behave the same! I still loved racing in college though. There are always compromises. Then again it was close to 40 years ago, a different time.

 

eliboat

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The International 420 I sailed was so much more fun and interesting than the collegiate 420. The hulls looked the same but sure didn't behave the same! I still loved racing in college though. There are always compromises. Then again it was close to 40 years ago, a different time.
Yes.... I sailed I 420s too, and the difference is significant.  I also sailed C420's in high school team racing, and at the time it seemed to be a good boat for that format, but at the time I never thought that it would become what it has now, which is all kids ever know.  Shit... I was sailing I14's when I was 14 and Stars when I was 16.  Talk about being thrown in the deep end.  

 

fastyacht

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Yes.... I sailed I 420s too, and the difference is significant.  I also sailed C420's in high school team racing, and at the time it seemed to be a good boat for that format, but at the time I never thought that it would become what it has now, which is all kids ever know.  Shit... I was sailing I14's when I was 14 and Stars when I was 16.  Talk about being thrown in the deep end.  
I raced 505s with two different 12 year old skippers in different decades :)

 

martin 'hoff

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In the US we have an almost religious devotion to a junior sailing format that is clearly inadequate.  In our system, all kids MUST sail Optis until they're 15, at which point they MUST sail C420's, which they basically sail until they are about 21 or 22 through college.  The odd FJ or Lark is thrown in there, but 99% of competitive sailors have never seen a bendy rig until after they exit college.  That's just plain dumb.  If you look back to when the US was either dominant or comfortably competitive, none of those sailors had backgrounds resembling what we have today.  Sure all countries sail Optis, but after that,  other countries force a narrative that where only shit boat like the 420 are part of the story..... also the money obviously, but I truly believe that competitive youth sailing as it exists now is beyond dumb.  My daughters are going to be sailing boats with bendy rigs long before they are 14.
Here in Miami there's bazillion kids in Opti, some for fun, other for competition, and only the most vanishing trickle gets into 29ers. Must be, dunno, 50:1. And this isn spite of having amazing coaching right here. The amazingness is both in warmth/fun and in results. 

My own kids are skipping the opti, lots of bendy masts, carbon fiber "crafts", and we're having a ball. 

I won't claim to know why. It's shocking to me how over-grown the "graduating" kids in opti are – I'd push them out of there by the time they're 9 or so, to a cut-rig 29er or a Feva or whatever that is challenging and skiff-ish.

 

Ncik

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 If I may be so presumptuous to make a few observations, and I have little doubt I will get a pilloried!

The only “Rock Stars” that I am sure of that have degree are Sir Russel Coutts, and Sir Jyrki Javia.

I may be 1000% wrong but Nathan, the 2 Tom’s, all the Grael’s, most of the AC skippers, most of the VOR skippers and crews, have spent very little time in universities.
Mat Belcher has two master's degrees.

https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/olympic-games/en/results/sailing/athlete-profile-n1484036-belcher-mathew.htm

"



FURTHER EDUCATION
He has two master's degrees from Bond University in Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. He studied urban development and sustainability between 2012 and 2014, and completed a master's in project management between 2012 and 2018. (LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2019; bond.edu.au, 28 Nov 2018)
"
 
 
 

eliboat

Super Anarchist
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Here in Miami there's bazillion kids in Opti, some for fun, other for competition, and only the most vanishing trickle gets into 29ers. Must be, dunno, 50:1. And this isn spite of having amazing coaching right here. The amazingness is both in warmth/fun and in results. 

My own kids are skipping the opti, lots of bendy masts, carbon fiber "crafts", and we're having a ball. 

I won't claim to know why. It's shocking to me how over-grown the "graduating" kids in opti are – I'd push them out of there by the time they're 9 or so, to a cut-rig 29er or a Feva or whatever that is challenging and skiff-ish.
yup... Miami and Florida in general is where all of this BS started.  After I had gone through 3 years of junior sailing, sailing Dyer Dhows, Flying Terns, Lasers, Rhodes 19's and a few other odd types of boats, I switched programs, and I was forced into sailing Optis, which I really resented at the time, because I had seen them during Marblehead Race Week and thought that they were pretty lame.  At any rate my dad, being who he is, figured out that the epicenter of Opti sailing was centered in Florida, specifically in St Pete, Ft Lauderdale, Clearwater and Miami.  Within half a year he was secretary of the class, and my brother and I were racing in Florida on weekends all winter long, usually playing hooky on Fridays and sometimes Mondays.  That was the beginning of the end for the US being competitive in Olympic sailing, because along with the Opti drowning out all other jr sailing boats came the C420.  In the short time I raced Optis, I saw the class go from a more or less Florida only phenomenon to guaranteed over 100 boats on the line at any decent event up and down the eastern seaboard; during this time the Sabot took a back seat to the Opti in a few short years (thankfully the Californians have kept the Sabot and the El Toro around as they are both superior to the Opti)   Years later, when hired as a private coach, I was in disbelief at what the scene had devolved into.... Sometimes 300+ boats, possibly the majority of kids not actually rigging their own boats, insane armadas of parents and South American coaches in giant RIBs shadowing the fleet from behind marked off boundaries (because if they weren't there...) and on top of that SI's that have to have verbiage that mandates coaches helping kids in distress that aren't under their tutelage.  

Almost all of the best sailors I know did not follow the current US system.  If you listen to Dave Kirkpatrick's excellent 505 Podcast you will hear some of the best dinghy sailors on the planet talk about how they came up in sailing, and 100% of the time these sailors describe an experience that is completely foreign from the JR sailing experience that currently exists.  Thankfully some people recognize what has happened, and developments like the Open bic are positive, however, single classes are not going to fix the systemic issue that exists.  Clubs, programs and school programs need to have the wisdom to choose quirky boats, or at least have sailors experience a whole lot more than they currently do before they turn 20.  

 

eliboat

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Mat Belcher has two master's degrees.

https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/olympic-games/en/results/sailing/athlete-profile-n1484036-belcher-mathew.htm

"

FURTHER EDUCATION
He has two master's degrees from Bond University in Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. He studied urban development and sustainability between 2012 and 2014, and completed a master's in project management between 2012 and 2018. (LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2019; bond.edu.au, 28 Nov 2018)
"
 
 
and going back a bit further... both John Bertrand and Robbie Doyle had degrees from MIT.  Also, HOW ABOUT THAT Gabrielle Thomas getting bronze in the 200M???  Harvard Neuro bio major.  Pretty badass right there.

 

Ncik

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and going back a bit further... both John Bertrand and Robbie Doyle had degrees from MIT.  Also, HOW ABOUT THAT Gabrielle Thomas getting bronze in the 200M???  Harvard Neuro bio major.  Pretty badass right there.
Yeah, I think JBeth jumped the gun on any adverse correlation or causation between sailing Olympians and tertiary education. Can't find the quote now but it was either Sir Russel or Sir JohnB (maybe not entitled to Sir yet) when they were active that said most AC sailors have degrees, they need the brain to win at that level.

https://www.olympics.com.au/olympians/jessica-fox/ - Psychology (but not a sailor so -1 point)

 
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Bill5

Right now
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Here is what I am thinking:

”Hi, Paul (Cayard), it’s Ken (Leger) at Tufts. I have a couple kick-ass sophomores in Lasers this year that definitely have potential. I suggest you give them a call”

”Thanks, Ken. Mitch Brindley at OD sent an awesome young woman my way last year and we are working with her now!”

Every sailing coach in the US could/should be a scout for the Olympic program. There are 276 collegiate sailing teams in the US. There just has to be some talent in that mix. They aren’t all just drinking beer. 

 
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enigmatically2

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In the US we have an almost religious devotion to a junior sailing format that is clearly inadequate.  In our system, all kids MUST sail Optis until they're 15, at which point they MUST sail C420's, which they basically sail until they are about 21 or 22 through college.  
Wow, really? I would have quit sailing if I'd had to sail Oppies past 11 never mind 15. I hated them

 

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