Monday, December 10, 2018

A MOCKERY OF A SHORTHANDED OFFSHORE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP


World Sailing is going to have a Championship whose “objective is to create a pinnacle endurance competition to be pursued by the best sailors from all nations of the world”. Finally a world championship for offshore shorthanded racing, a type of racing that in what regards public attention has become the world’s most popular and that has already a large number of professional racers. 

Races like the Vendee Globe, the Route du Rhum, the Transquadra, the Barcelona World Race the Silverrudder, the Mini Transat, La solitaire du Figaro have become classics. The number of duo or solo races is increasing and many IRC and ORC top races have already a duo class. 

The most popular and the most important races are Solo offshore events even if there are some duo races that are raced by the same sailors that do solo racing championships, namely the Transat Jacques Vabre, the Barcelona World Race, the Transat AG2R and some others. 

It is clear to all that the main focus is on Solo racing and while there is not a championship specific for duo crews there are several Box design or Onedesign offshore solo championships that integrate some duo races, namely the Class Mini championship, the Figaro championship, the Class 40 championship and the IMOCA championship. 

However there is a champion for each class (not a duo). France was the precursor of this type of endurance solo sail racing but today it is popular in many countries and if France still dominates we can see that this year the 3rd on the minis is a German, on the Class 40 the 1st is British and on the ranking of the IMOCA class the 3rd is British and the 4th is German. 

L30, the boat for chosen to to create "a pinnacle endurance competition to be pursued by the best sailors"
So, the 1st big question is, why this new World Sailing championship is not a solo championship, as all existent offshore shorthanded endurance championships are, but a duo championship?

The 2nd question is, why on hell, on the only discipline where the women have shown that can stand on equal foot with men, it is not any duo but a couple (man and woman) championship?

The 3rd question is, why on a discipline that has already several classes, on a clear progression, from the beginners class of mini-racers to the top class of IMOCA racers, the boat chosen “to create a pinnacle endurance competition to be pursued by the best sailors from all nations” was a small 30ft boat not adapted for solo racing (narrow beam)? 

That would be as if on car racing the FIA created a class of small low power touring cars and declared that the world track champion would be the one that won three small races with that car. 

On top L30, below Mini 6.50 and a Class40
Of course that’s unthinkable and it would be a laughing stock to everybody. No top driver, namely not any top F1 driver or top Endurance driver, would have participated on such a ridiculous affair, even more if he had to find a lady driver to exchange the wheel with, on a underpowered ridiculously easy to drive car. 

The 4th question, related with what was said above, is, what kind “of a pinnacle endurance competition” would be attained by sailing duo a 30ft underpowered sailboat on two short coastal races (30 and 90 mile) and a three day / two-night offshore race ?

Even the ones that sail on the initiation class of solo ocean racing, the mini-class racers, would be laughing about that “pinnacle of endurance”. 

The 5th and last question is why, having decided that the Onedesign boat should be “8-12 meters hull length, high-performance offshore shorthanded racing monohull keel boat” they have chosen a boat with a type of hull not suited for shorthanded sailing instead of closing a well adapted existing shorthanded onedesign with a large fleet, the Figaro 3, or instead any of the existent production Class 40? 

Both boats are faster, much more adapted to solo sailing, much more seaworthy, able to do really long endurance races and suited not only to be used on this championship, but also in many other existing solo and duo races. 

For what I said one can have the idea that I am not in favor of a World Sailing Championship whose “objective is to create a pinnacle endurance competition to be pursued by the best sailors from all nations of the world” but it is quite the opposite. 

What I don’t want is a World Sailing Championship that makes a mockery of sailing endurance as a discipline, by the type of boat used, by the short races proposed and by the ones that would race them, certainly not the best solo sailors in the world, not by far. 

It may be said that there is no alternative, but there are several, the best of them created by the opportunity that is given by the VOR to be raced on an Onedesign IMOCA.

 I don’t know how many boats will be made but between the ones that are going to be built for VOR sponsors and the ones that are going to be bought by other sponsors to make the next vendee, it would not be difficult to reunite 20 sailboats and certainly, if the price is right, everybody will be interested in chartering them, or even racing them, on a set of major existing ocean races that would determine the Offshore World Sailing Champion. 

Somebody that thinks it is possible to organize an Endurance Offshore World Sailing Championship the same way it is organized a World dinghy Championship, with a series of regattas on the same location, does not understand what Endurance Offshore sailing is.


1 comment:

  1. Remember one of the open "questions" on the article above?: "The 2nd question is, why on hell, on the only discipline where the women have shown that can stand on equal foot with men, it is not any duo but a couple (man and woman) championship?"

    Well, a clear answer about the nonsense of the mandatory man/woman on the new world offshore championship has been given by the winners of the "Sardinia Cup", a duo Figaro 3 class race with top sailors: the winners were a couple, Yann Eli├Ęs and Samantha Davies, not because a couple was mandatory but just because they were the best and certainly Sam Davies is among the best solo sailors, man or woman.

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