On 14 May the World Sailing Council met in London to discuss and vote on the events that will make up the Sailing Competition of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Before the meeting it was confirmed that five of the current events would be retained: Men’s One Person Dinghy, Women’s One Person Dinghy, Women’s Skiff – 49erFX, Men’s Skiff – 49er and Mixed Two Person Multihull – Nacra 17.
Following debate the five events added to the program would be: Men’s Windsurfer, Women’s Windsurfer, Mixed One-Person Dinghy (New Event), Mixed Two Person Dinghy (New Event) and Mixed Kite (New Event).
The equipment that will be used for the three new events is yet to be decided and there is also some doubt over events that have equipment under antitrust review – namely the Laser, Laser Radial and RS:X.
The format of the new ‘Mixed One Person Dinghy’ event is unknown and the RYA anticipates considerable change to the formats of some other events – most notably both Men’s and Women’s windsurfing.
Ian Walker, RYA Director of Racing, said: “There is a lot for us as a National Governing Body to consider, but as a former 470 sailor who has raced three Volvo Ocean Races but also enjoys recreational kitesurfing you can see that I, like the Events Committee and Council, was very conflicted. There was never going to be a decision that kept everybody happy.
“I am confident that whatever formats and equipment are finalised this November at the World Sailing Annual Conference, it will be an outstanding regatta at Paris 2024 and our coaching team and sailors will find ways to adapt and excel.”
The message from World Sailing is very clear – sailing must be gender equal at all levels, appeal to the next generation of sailors, be event based and it must also appeal to the wider public and media.