Yes.. the existing format does work and has worked for a
long time but we have to take account of the changes going
on around us.
If we didn't we would still be driving model T Fords and writing
with a quill pen on parchment.
Last November the ISAF Olympic Commission reported to the
ISAF Council and made four important recommendations
- Sailing must do more to promote itself especially in regard to TV
- Sailing must play to its strengths
- Sailing must do more to reduce the cost of the Olympic Sailing Regatta in particular and the cost of competing in gneral
- Sailing must do more to attract more nations into the sailing family
Lets take it from the top...
Sailing must do more to promote itself especially in regard to TV ...
Windsurfing is attractive to the media. We've had 121, 279 visitors from 169 countries visit rsxclass.com in the last 12 months. Part of that audience is from nations who are not even members of ISAF.
In an interview made at the 2010 RS:X Windsurfing Championships in Kerteminde, Denmark ISAF President Goran Petersson said “If we cannot take the public to sailing, then we must take sailing to the public by using technology to deliver the story and LIVE commentary to tell it” This interview was sent LIVE to the web from a spectator boat just behind the starting area.
So RS:X windsurfing is taking sailing to the public using technology to deliver the story and LIVE commentary to tell it too... using a proprietary event website template that integrates the major social media properties including video, images and micro-blogging in one dashboard. Fans wherever they are can opt in to receive alerts telling them finishing orders which are delivered to them by email or SMS messaging.
We know that the organizers of the 2016 Olympics in Brazil are building stadium seating right there on the beach in Rio de Janeiro specially for sailing. So it would make sense to be able to offer sports fans a variety of entertainment during the day. Windsurfing must have a format that is well adapted to this new reality. The organizers want to sell tickets to spectators.
This is an opportunity that we simply cannot ignore.
A start just off the beach with 200 colorful sails all setting off at once on a long distance race will certainly stop the traffic... And and pull the public and the media to the beach. Fans - wherever they are in the world - will be able to watch the race as it unfolds using their laptops, smart phones and Ipad like slates.
Tracking is the new black. Everyone's doing it. Live video and course commentary will be relayed to the shore and to the world. The fleet will pass through security gates thus containing it within a given sea area. They will be brought back to the starting area at least once during the race before the finish.
Compare this scenario with what we do at the moment... The fleet leaves the beach in the morning. The races take place. The fleet comes back. No-one gets to see a start unless they are one of the lucky ones to get on a spectator boat.
Yes... we can bring the pictures and tracking ashore but there's nothing like seeing a LIVE start with a mass of racers going for it full on.
This has not proven possible with the existing format... so now we have the chance lets do something about it
Seeding the fleets based on the results of the long distance race is as fair as any other system. Everyone will have raced against everyone else on the day. We would not be dividing the fleet into 2 groups based on results almost a year old or indeed on the ISAF Ranking List which would favor the Europeans because they get to race more often at less expense.
The racers on top form on the day would head the list.
Day 2 - would be much the same as the existing format except the races would have a target time of 45 minutes with a maximum of 2 rounds ensuring that the windward legs were as long as possible. This would give racers the opportunity to use their tactical ability to the max. Play those shifts and come back from a poor start.
Day 3,4,5 - would be short course racing with the course set as close to the shore as possible. This would mean that we would have to be a lot more careful to chose venues with an onshore breeze where possible but remember that in every quadrennial there is only one event that you really must win... The Olympic Regatta.
Everything else is just training for that big event. We are testing city centre racing because we know that there will be stadium seating with paying spectators right there on the beach in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
And explaining quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals to sailors and non sailors alike would be easy. They'd 'get' it immediately
The RS:X class has to ensure that we offer the maximum opportunity to racers to train and get used to the new realities.
The proposed 'Back To the Future' format aims to do just that AND this diversity in races would be great for the athletes.
Demanding too. Variety is the spice of life. Different courses, Different race target times, Different skill sets. No discards would make every race count. What you see is what you get.
Tomorrow I'll take a look at the scoring options...