Olympic status

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#21
I join the majority, I think, by writing that Olympic status is not necessarily helping the selected class. And may, in fact be detrimental. But one positive aspect of the Laser as an Olympic class is that a casual Laser sailor can get top-level training and coaching in places such as the Laser Training Center in the Dominican Republic and the International Sailing Academy on the West Coast. There may be similar sites in Europe and elsewhere.
 

thieuster

Active Member
#22
That's a good point of view!

Indeed, as an example: Marit Bouwmeester's coach, her brother Roelof, is also a coach at a very run-of-the-mill sailing school-and-regatta training centre. You can spot him every weekend with his RIB behind all sorts of 4.7 and Radial sailors. One of the main features of this sailing school is the training of new coaches: 16, 17 y/old boys and girls are trained by Roelof and his mate Sietze-Jan (try to pronounce that if you're not Dutch). These young coaches go out and train very young optimist sailors.

Big part of the Talent Squad Program here in Holland is the fact that those young adult sailors are prepared to take a leading role in coaching as well when they're older. This winter, all Squad members are trained to get the ICC-certificate that allows them to drive a RIB on open waters. And some have started coaching already. My son has coached a group of youngsters in Optimists for the Dutch National Team Sailing Championship. His bunch finished 2nd (silver) out of 8 finalist teams. Only last summer he had a few conversations with Jon Emmett during the UK Open. His comment: "I really would like to do what he does: become a well-known coach after I've stopped sailing at an international level!"

It will take years before another Dinghy class can match this sort of sailing-coaching-sailing-coaching level. And it will take a few years before we (sailors, trainers, those who have an interest) have reached the level of 'understanding' the new dinghy. As said, I don't mind replacing the Laser, but the period to the Olympics is too short.
 
#23
That's a good point of view!

It will take years before another Dinghy class can match this sort of sailing-coaching-sailing-coaching level. And it will take a few years before we (sailors, trainers, those who have an interest) have reached the level of 'understanding' the new dinghy. As said, I don't mind replacing the Laser, but the period to the Olympics is too short.
I understand your point of view but I don't think the lack of a network of coaches skilled in the new boat and a shortage of sailors with many years of experience in the new boat should stop a new boat from being selected for the Paris Olympics. Coaches and sailors would quickly transition to working with the new boats and it would be rather refreshing to see people competing in the Olympics when they "only" have 5 years experience in the boat and when they might not be able to rely on coaches with 20 years experience in the boat. Good Laser sailors will quickly become good Melges 14/ D-Zero/Rs Aero sailors. The cream will still rise to the top.
 

LaLi

Active Member
Thread starter #24
I don't mind replacing the Laser, but the period to the Olympics is too short.
I don't know how long an optimal transition period might be, but this time it would be a whole year longer than before. In the past, Olympic classes have been chosen only after the previous games.

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thieuster

Active Member
#25
That's true. But I think that times are changing. Here in The Netherlands, the number of kids picking up sailing (and stay in the boat for years) is dwindling. In the past we had large, 150+ lasers on the starting line during the competition. Nowadays, we're happy to see 50 - 60 boats. Cost and time, school, parents' working hours, ... (just fill in any other obstacle...) contribute to the lesser numbers. And what's more: it is not only a Laser-related problem. Most boats that were 'changed' over the years, were boats that attracted experienced sailors from other classes. (The Argentinian Nacra 17 winners are a great example of that). Changing a 'fundamental' boat from Laser to ... should be done with a longer timescale in mind.

As for testing the new boats: most Dutch National (& National Youth) Squad members are off to Vilamoura in December, January and February. Launching a few of these test-dinghies in Vilamoura would give instant response and feedback - and enough interested sailors.

Yesterday evening, a few parents (and all sailors) were busy loading trailers, vans and a truck for the trip to Portugal. The 'top floor' has to be filled with boats as well. Not visible is the trailer with 4 49'ers stacked...
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LaLi

Active Member
Thread starter #26
Most boats that were 'changed' over the years, were boats that attracted experienced sailors from other classes. (The Argentinian Nacra 17 winners are a great example of that). Changing a 'fundamental' boat from Laser to ... should be done with a longer timescale in mind.
I don't think that is a problem. Just like there were cat people ready to jump into the Nacra 17, there are even more singlehanded sailors eager to get their hands on a new Olympic singlehander. What I am worried about is that dropping the Laser would further deepen the division between the elite and the grassroots, which is especially problematic in a small sailing country like mine.

As for testing the new boats: most Dutch National (& National Youth) Squad members are off to Vilamoura in December, January and February. Launching a few of these test-dinghies in Vilamoura would give instant response and feedback - and enough interested sailors.
Might you be able to strike some deal with the Portuguese Melges 14 builder?

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