British are good because they are good

Published on December 11th, 2019

It’s the handy default to say that the British Sailing Team dominates at the Olympic Games because of their significant lottery funding, and that certainly is advantageous, but from the view at Scuttlebutt HQ there is another reason.

They have their sh#t together.

Before kiteboarding was confirmed as an event at the Paris 2024 Olympics, they read the tea leaves right and put out a recruiting announcement to find people that can race kiteboards. That effort exceeded their goals, and now they are doing the same for the new double-handed mixed offshore event that will also debut at the 2024 Games.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has already registered an entry for a British team in the inaugural World Sailing Offshore World Championship (OWC), to be held in conjunction with the 2020 Rolex Middle Sea Race, and now they are looking for the best team to fill it.

Jack Fenwick, RYA Keelboat Manager, is hoping to bring interested parties together in early 2020 with a view to running doublehanded offshore taster sessions and training next spring.

“Double-handed offshore sailing could appeal to a wide range of people from professional sailors to existing or former international sailors, or perhaps even those just graduating from our RYA British Keelboat Academy,” he said.

“At this stage we would like to hear from as many people as possible to try and build a database of interested parties. We would particularly like to hear from yacht owners who might be looking for partners to get afloat and give it a try.”

The RYA will use the RORC Channel Race which starts from Cowes on August 1 to select their OWC team.

“We believe the existing RORC Racing calendar of events will provide excellent training opportunities and should be a huge advantage to British medal hopes in 2024,” said Ian Walker, RYA Director of Racing.

Chris Stone, RORC Racing Manager, said: “In 2020 the Channel Race will run as normal for our IRC rated fleet but we will extend the race for those double handed mixed entries who wish to be considered in the RYA selection for the OWC. The intention is for this selection event to best replicate the duration of the OWC which is likely to be three or four days.”

RORC racing is IRC rated and not one design so in order to best reflect the criteria of the new Olympic equipment, the RYA selection for the OWC will only be open to fixed keel, monohulls within a proposed IRC rating band between 0.990 and 1.055 (subject to confirmation).

“We need to strike a balance between keeping the rating band as narrow as possible to minimize the impact of the boats’ rating differences on the results and making the selection as accessible as possible for a range of suitable existing boats,” explained Walker. “We will confirm the rating band after any revisions to the IRC rule for 2020.”

The official selection policy will be published by March 1, 2020 but anybody interested in getting involved in double handed, mixed offshore sailing is warmly encouraged to register their interest by sending an e-mail containing details of their sailing experience, aspirations and their boat (if they have one) to keelboatracing@rya.org.uk.

If more than 20 nations enter the OWC then there will need to be a country qualification event in Europe in May/June 2020. Britain would then need to send a representative team to aim to qualify a place for Britain for the OWC in Malta and an announcement will be made on how these representatives will be selected once the details are announced by World Sailing in due course.

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