Monday, April 1, 2013

New year (2013), new goal (2016) and new classes (Nacra and the FX)

Many will argue that the racing season has never stopped (the frosbite warriors amongst us) or has already started (the lucky Caribbean sailors amongst us) for the Olympic Circuit today is start of the Princess Sofia Regatta held in Palma, Mallorca and for many in the Olympic Scene the start of the racing season and your 2016 campaign.

Weatherwhiz's Libby Greenhalgh has had a fantastic 4 years with the British Sailing Team culminating in her supporting both the Olymypic and Paralympic Sailing Teams to their 7 medal haul success and is back with a brief update from Palma for us.

After 2012, the Games year there is as you would expect some down time for many of the top athletes and 2013 is often called a quiet year where perhaps not everyone is back and racing or doing full campaigns. But with the introduction of 2 new classes and a whole stack of sailors behind the last Olympians champing at the bit for their turn, it does not feel that quiet.

There have been a changes in classes with the Match Racing in the Elliot 6M going and the Star Class no more, this has made way for a Mixed multihull- (the Nacra) and a Female Skiff (the FX -basically a 49er with a smaller rig). This event will be the first serious racing with decent numbers on the start line for those classes and really  the start of serious campaigns that are going at max speed on and off the water to achieve the GOLD at Rio 2016.

For me this sees the balance tip to 5 years of Met Support versus 4 years of Regatta racing and still we seeing new weather set ups, probably why I love the job!

Weatherwhiz is pleased to say that Libby Greenhalgh will have the envious role of supporting the British Sailing Team in hopefully another highly successful campaign for Gold in Rio at 2016. Some early venue research is already being carried out by most teams in what will no doubt prove to be a most challenging venue both wind and tide wise in the Guanabarra Bay in Rio

The format of the racing is also changing trying to keep the medal options open for longer. They are currently trialling more medal races on the final day. So rather than one double points race it is likely there will be between 2 (slow boats) and 4 (fast boats and windsurfers) on the final day with the top 10 to decide the medals.

There was resistance to the medal race initially and there is some resistance to some of the formats being tabled understandably so. These new formats do not allow people to build a big points lead that means they have all but won on the medal race day or guaranteed a medal, which for spectators may be great but perhaps for the sailor something is lost.....or the better way to look at it....the game has changed again.