Yesterday we discussed the reasons why the RS:X Class
is working on not only the evolution of its equipment but
also the evolution of its racing format.
- The Olympic Sailing Regatta is the Final
- Sailing Regatta costs need to reduced
- Quotas may be reduced as a consequence
So we have to change our format to address the new realities.
The Olympic Sailing Regatta is currently quite long as are RS:X Windsurfing Championships. An event that takes 10 days to climax means that spectators and press have probably forgotten what happened at the beginning by the time they get to the end. The story becomes confused by the mists of time. It's hard to keep people excited about a competition that takes a week.
Even the competitors need a day off in the middle.
So let's look at the alternative course types that we could use without taking away the tactical upwind downwind legs.
In fact, let's think about how we can boost those elements at the beginning of events outside the Olympics whilst reducing the number of days involved.
Variety is the spice of life so let's use different course configurations, different target times and different fleet sizes during our events
Beginning a championships with a long distance race on day 1 would allow the whole fleet to start together either off the beach or using a 'rabbit start' very close to it. The course could follow the coast line and pass through security gates along the way. One of these could be just off the venue which would contain the fleet in a given sea area rather than have them spread out all over the ocean :)
Target time for this would be equivalent to 3>4 standard windward/leeward courses depending on conditions. It would be the only race sailed on day 1.
Day 2 and the fleet would be split in 2 as we do now but the seeding would be based on the results of the long distance race. Racing would take place on massive windward leeward courses with a target time of 45 minutes. No more than twice round. Take a look at the attached course configurations which we used 'way back when'. Number of races 2 -3 depending on wind speed.
These were drawn by hand before the digital revolution so they really are 'back-to-the-future'
As for scoring, we could continue to use the same old low points scoring system or we could be more adventurous and base the results on elapsed time. The public would understand that and so would the media. I'm not talking about existing sailing fans here but the potential fans we want to attract who know nothing about the technicalities of sailing or windsurfing for that matter.
Day 3/4/5 and the top 50% go into the quarter finals, semi-finals and finals. No points are carried forward.
The top 50% - 64 - are splt into groups of 16 and race a double elimination knock out system with the top 50% in each heat going through to the next round on the winners side and the others going into a repecharge. Target time for each race 10 minutes just as we are testing in the "RS:X City Centre Racing Grand Prix" format. Course configuration - short upwind/downwind with slalom end of 2 minutes.
The course is set close to the shore.
No discards are allowed. if you break a piece of equipment during a race, you go into the repecharge and have the chance of going through to the final that way.
No protests ashore. Under addendum Q all protests would be heard afloat between heats.
And what would the silver fleet be doing all this time?
Continue to race a variety of different windward/leeward courses with target times of 30 minutes.
And what would the Olympic Sailing Regatta format be?
Well, The IOC view this as the finals. The Q events are where they will look to see how many nations took part which is why it is probable that there will be 5 in 2015. One in each continent. The format at the Olympic Sailing Regatta would therefore follow the format of day 3, 4 and 5 above... just 3 days in all
Spectators and press would remember the beginning, middle and end. It would be short and therefore reduce costs. it would be sailed right in front of the grandstands being built especially for sailing spectators and press in Rio de Janeiro. It would be media friendly because races would be short and fit between scheduled TV advertisinng breaks. There would be plenty of starts and finishes so there would be a continuous story to be told...
If you have any comments, ideas or other feedback, please feel free to contact the RS:X office. In the meantime, Why don't you try out your own ideas and get back to us?