Promoting Olympic shorthanded sailing

Published on August 8th, 2019

In response to the introduction of a mixed double-handed, long-distance event at the Paris 2024 Olympics, the Annapolis Yacht Club announces a new 24-hour race for double-handed crews to start off the entrance to the Severn River on September 28, 2019.

For Tokyo 2020, there are 10 medals awarded in sailing in either double-handed or single-handed dinghies racing on short in-shore courses that last 20-30 minutes. However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has asked all sports federations to review each medal event with the goal to seek gender equity and encourage innovation in sports.

The response by Sailing is to introduce more mixed events along with kiteboarding and an offshore race of around 500 miles with approximately 20 countries competing in identical provided boats of about 30-32 feet.

As a trial event, Annapolis Yacht Club will designate a race course spread throughout the Chesapeake Bay with a finish line off the yacht club’s dock on Spa Creek. The AYC event will feature two divisions: one for mixed gender crews in J/105s and a second division without gender restrictions in boats between 25 to 36* feet using the ORC handicap rule to score the different size boats.

Among the early entrants is two-time Olympic medalist and winning America’s Cup sailor, Randy Smyth, and champion offshore sailor from Annapolis, Dee Smith. Both sailors say they were attracted to compete in this race because it is a new concept with so many unknowns.

Safety is a high priority for race organizers and competitors. Among the requirements for entry, the sailors will take a Safety at Sea course, wear a flotation device throughout the race, be able to communicate with race officials during the race, operate online tracking equipment, and carry appropriate safety gear.


* Update: The ORC division boat size limitation is now between 25 feet and 42 feet length overall.

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