The deadline for making submissions to the ISAF Mid Year
Meeting in St.Petersburg, Russia is 1200hrs UTC on March 10th.
The debate behind closed doors is heating up with all the different
interest groups trying to work out a complete slate of 10 events
that may have a chance of winning a majority in Council.
With the men's keel boat on the bubble - lets not talk specifics about boat classes, it's too early - there is likely to be a big push to get that put back onto the slate. Remember, it was voted off the provisional slate last November in Athens.
This correspondent, for one, believes that keel boats both for men and women should be in the Olympic Sailing Regatta just in the same way as multihulls, windsurfing, kitesurfing, single handed dinghy and double hand dinghy should be.
Now if you've been counting that makes 6 core events X 2 which even I can make 12 and 12 is 2 too many. Sailing only has 10 slots to fill so something has got to give.
The game of musical chairs is well under way. Next May when the music stops as the ISAF Council make the final decision on the 10 events, two of the above will be left without a seat.
The wild card in the mix is the idea of 'mixed events'. The Multihull is currently slated as such as is the 470.
The completely new sailing discipline in the mix is kiteboarding. The IOC recognize it as such. It certainly deserves a place in the Olympic familly. The sport is growing worldwide. It will add diversity to the Sailing Games. It's attractive and media friendly.
Just like windsurfing which itself has a booming "Optimist" Class in the Bic Techno 293. Windsurfing has delivered medallists from every continent of the world except Africa. It leads in the presentation of the sport, developing new media projects and TV audience.
The statistics show that there are 2.059 million windsurfers in Germany alone - source IfD Allensbach - . Extrapolate that world wide and it's easy to come to the conclusion that there are more windsurfers on the planet that any other sort of sailor.
The bad news is that there are supposedly serious and responsible people within ISAF who think that windsurfing and kiteboarding should be combined into one event as a biathlon. If this was not so serious, it would be laughable.
Both the windsurfing and the kiteboarding communities are strongly against this idea. Small and emerging sailing nations will be quick to understand that this will double the cost of the 'boards' medal and exclude a lot of them because they either don't have a kitesurfer or a windsurfer worthy of a place in the Games.
If ISAF are serious about having kitesurfing in Rio then they must either make way by removing the duplication in the dinghy classes or, if they do not have the stomach for that, go back to the IOC and ask for two more medals for a genuinely new and refreshing sailing discipline.
Fudging the issue by talking of a biathlon or combined event is a clear failure to face up to the real challenge posed by the IOC which is... Modernise the sport of sailing and make it spectator friendly.
It's time to bite the bullet...