GUEST COMMENTARY

Published on August 18th, 2012

Scuttlebutt strongly encourages feedback from the Scuttlebutt community. Either submit comments by email or post them on the Forum. Submitted comments chosen to be published in the newsletter may be limited to 250 words. Authors may have one published submission per subject, and should save their bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.

Email: editor@sailingscuttlebutt.com
Forum: https://sailingscuttlebutt.com/forum

* From Roger Vaughan:
In Butt 3656, I saw the Editor’s Note that spoke of Red Bull’s outer limits approach to extremism in sport, concluding in how Red Bull was likely “not concerned if disaster were to fling the crew through their wing branding…like this” and there was a link. So I clicked on it to find that capsize of the AC45 in the shadow of the Golden Gate on a 20+-knot day. Then I looked and realized I was the 1,923,615th person to watch this capsize that featured a crewman being flung (as promised) through the wing. We really are a bloodthirsty lot.

* From Brooks Magruder, Singapore:
Regarding the U.S. “Failure to Perform” in Olympics sailing (Scuttlebutt 3656), instead of reviewing and analyzing what USA did to prepare, it would seem more productive to look primarily at what all the medalist countries did to prepare.

* From Matthew Fortune Reid:
Simply said, I am proud of our U.S. Olympic sailors and, athletes in general. To participate is a huge win in itself. Not to medal may cause disgruntlement amongst those of us who were on the sidelines watching, but really, isn’t it obvious how hard these sailors worked and sacrificed for years to get the chance to complete in this venue?

As it has been pointed out, Great Britain and other well-funded countries were there on the podium. If you really want to see a difference and make a difference, donate to the cause. Otherwise, quit moaning and groaning, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

Again, well done, all of you!

* From Barrie Harmsworth, Dubai, U.A.E.:
Back when Paul Henderson was President in 2002, the IOC reduced the number of sailing events and athletes because of the “costs and complexity of the sailing competition”. The President of the IOC warned that Olympic Summer sports would be reviewed with the intention of removing one sport and replacing it with another every four years. In the Olympic Commission report given to the ISAF Executive, the principle of “universality” and qualification through Continental representation was emphasized.

There is a misconception that the ISAF Executive Council – the decision making body – is democratic and these decisions are made on that basis. Anyone familiar with process would be aware that it is highly biased towards the vested interests of the most powerful sailing nations to the extent that the naïve developing nations scarcely understand what is happening.

The latest decision to replace the windsurfer with the kite board is a clear demonstration of such actions by Council. Whilst I cannot speak for all Continents, I can for the Continent of Asia where approximately over twenty percent of ISAF’s membership lies. These MNAs (member nations) have been left breathless and highly disappointed that their hopes and aspirations have been crushed… and who can blame them?

For a corporate body that acknowledges that at least 65% of their revenue, and on top of that, even more comes to their stakeholders (MNAs), from one client, the IOC, they have a funny way of respecting the desires of that client. If it was my business I would run for cover.

* From Chip Johns:
Certainly the lack of U.S. medals in Weymouth is a disappointment, but to blame the fabulous growth of the C420 and CFJ classes in the country as the problem seems a bit extreme and misguided to me.

Look at the positives of these classes. They have expanded the number of kids racing double-handed boats in the U.S. dramatically over the past 20 years. Well over 5000 C420s and CFJs have been built during this time vs 20-30 double-handed boats being built per year in the 80s. Many (half?) of the junior double-handed boats built in the past 20 are used in club or institutional environments serving multiple kids. This growth allowed the base of junior sailors to grow significantly over the past 20 years.

Should an Olympic sailor athlete be sailing one of these boats when they are 16 or 17? Probably not, but if that sailor does not have the hunger to seek something a bit more challenging at age 16 or 17, then will they have the hunger for a medal when the time comes? I don’t think so.

I wonder how many top level junior sailors get burned out and completely quit sailing after attending too many national and international events when they are 12?

What this country needs in its development program is a natural evolution that feeds as many kids into boats as possible, keeps them there for as long as possible, and allows the cream to rise and excel to international levels when they are ready.

COMMENT: To clarify, in Scuttlebutt 3656 I was not faulting the contributions the C420 and CFJ have made to sailing in the U.S. But I contend their growth has required a couple realities to be acknowledged. One, as I said and Chip appears to agree, that elite young sailors need to seek out boats with greater complexity if they are to continue to improve. And also, these youth boats expire when young sailors grow older. The sooner a young sailor moves to a type of sailing that will exist beyond their youth years, I contend the more likely they are to remain active in the sport. Anyone want to comment on that? – Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt



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