The calendar for Olympic campaigners may not be well understood from those on the outside, with a handful of seemingly random European events providing valued training. Scuttlebutt has always promoted the idea of these events being branded under the same umbrella, but the execution has historically been troubled.
World Sailing has liked the idea so much that they tend to bulldoze tradition, but their motivation is often commercial rather than promotion. The result has been poor attendance amid conflicts, and questionable cooperation as the world governing body for the sport of sailing moves in on locally hosted events.
But Scuttlebutt remains a fan of the concept, and is exceedingly hopeful that the latest plan put forth by the new administration at World Sailing can succeed … we do hope to visit utopia someday.
For 2023 and 2024, World Sailing and four of the leading Olympic class regattas have forged a commitment for greater collaboration across the sport with the ambition of delivering benefits for event organizers on all continents, for national federations and for individual sailors.
The shared ambition is for all four events to be brought together under the World Cup banner, enabling a more consistent and collaborative approach which will make planning in future Olympic cycles easier for Member National Authority (MNA) teams and athletes.
2023 Regatta calendar:
April 1-8 – Trofeo Princesa Sofia – Mallorca, Spain
April 22-29 – Semaine Olympique Française – Hyères, France
May 31-June 4 – Allianz Regatta – Almere, Netherlands
June 17-25 – Kieler Woche – Kiel, Germany
The World Cup concept of multi-class competitions has often been derailed due to individual class world and continental championship, so improved calendar coordination may be putting more pressure on the classes to work around the World Cup calendar, rather the other way around.
But if this plan makes it easier for sailors to compete across multiple events in the series and helps to promote Olympic class sailing, that would be a pretty achievement.
“Each of these regattas has a remarkable heritage and provide the foundations for both the Sailing World Championships and sailing in the Olympic Games,” said World Sailing Director of Events Alastair Fox.
The elephant in the room is how the international federation is focusing solely on Europe. “Ultimately, we are looking to partner with events on all continents to work together and make sailing in the Olympic classes a better experience for sailors around the world and more accessible for our MNAs in every region,” explains Fox.
However, maybe that’s when the plan collapses as additional travel and seasonal conditions tend to fill the entire calendar, thus squeezing out the class activity which is needed to maintain the health of the organizations which must sustain the equipment used in the Olympic Games.
Too much of a good idea may be too much.
Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Program:
Men’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 7
Women’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6
Mixed Two Person Dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Men’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class
Women’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class
Men’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Women’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17
Venue: Marseille, France
Dates: July 26-August 11