Testing New Formats for Olympic Games

Published on March 10th, 2017

While the Princesa Sofía regatta is no longer among the World Cup Series of events, this Spanish event in Mallorca remains a staple for those campaigning toward the Olympic Games. All ten Olympic sailing events will compete, with over 650 entrants to race in the 48th edition on March 27 to April 1.

As athletes begin their training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, race formats are getting trialed too. With an interest to evolve the competition structure for the Games, the Mallorca regatta has been chosen by the Classes and World Sailing to test new concepts.

“Over the past years, we have faced situations where a sailor was the Class winner before the Medal Race, explained Ferran Muniesa, the event manager. “The idea is to avoid this kind of situations and, therefore, new formats will be tested.”

The goal is for Sailing to reflect the crescendo that occurs for other Olympic events, where anticipation builds through the competition and the medals are determined only at the very end of the event schedule.

The Finn, RS:X Men and Women, 49er and 49er FX , and 470 Men and Women are the Olympic events that have decided to change the system to decide their medals, with varying formats to be tested at the Princesa Sofía and other events at the request of the Classes and World Sailing.

Following an opening series, the top teams will advance to the medal stage. Here are the formats to be tested:

• The 49er and 49er FX classes will use the Theatre Style Racing format, in which the top teams sail three 10 minute races inside a closed rectangle with the winner being the best of the three races.

• The RS:X Men and Women will advance 12 sailors to the quarter finals, with stages then eliminating competitors until only four reach the last race final which will decide the medals.

• The Finn, 470 Men and Women results will take into consideration the scores obtained the day before the Medal Race and the podium places will be decided in just one final, each of them with different details considered and adapted for each class.

Another test will be the length of the medal race. Whereas the target time for medal races at the Rio Olympics was either 20 or 25 minutes, a race length between 10 and 20 minutes will be trialed in Mallorca.

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