Offshore event to open eyes at Paris 2024
Published on November 14th, 2020
The addition of the Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat Event to the sailing program at Paris 2024 will make it the longest-running event at the Olympic Games. But as sailors spend several days and nights racing at sea, technology will enable millions to track the competitors online, following the action as it happens.
As offshore events, such as the Vendée Globe, have demonstrated, the tools available allows fans to gain insight into every move the sailors make as they battle the elements, miles away from life on land. Each boat can be tracked, and it is even possible to see personal stats of each individual, such as heart rate, calories burned, and how much sleep they have had.
But according to Uruguayan Federico Waksman, unlike the other sailing events in which sailing knowledge is an asset when watching, you won’t need to be an expert in the sport to follow along and cheer on your favored Olympian.
Adept in a range of dinghies and keelboats, such as the Snipe, J/24 and J/70, Waksman is also a talented offshore sailor, and recently moved to Barcelona, Spain, in order to take on the challenge of the 2021 Mini Transat.
He believes the double handed offshore event at Paris 2024 will provide an enlightening experience for everyone following, regardless of whether they are already fans of the sport.
“The offshore regattas can be followed by tracking, which states precisely the speed and the position of the boats and the fleet, together with the wind,” explained Waksman. “So everybody can decide which decision they will be taking if they were sailing. They really feel like they are there on the boat.
“It happened to me many times; for example, at the last Gran Premio d’Italia. We were arriving and we almost had a match race against another good friend, an Italian guy. This match race went on for almost seven hours. During these seven hours, all my family and all my friends that were following the tracking said they suffered more than what I was suffering inside of the boat!
“So it’s not just for people who understand sailing. Not all of my family sail, but they understood that the boats were really close and what was happening. I think this will create a nice show that everybody will be happy to see.”
Though the Mini Transat for which Waksman is preparing is a solo handed race, he revealed he also enjoys double handed sailing, and believes it will make a great addition to the slate of events for Sailing at the Olympic Games.
“I think offshore sailing is amazing; it’s incredible to be able to run a boat that fast, to be able to do all the sail changes, everything at maximum speed and maximum performance,” he said. “It’s simple, it’s all that we have learned about sailing and competing, plus the ‘Mother Nature’ – you are there with the ocean.
“It’s not just about organizing and administrating your food, your clothes, but also about the focus. Everything has to do with the waves, which influences decisions about which side of the strategy to take, so learning all that part of racing, for me, was amazing.
“I like sailing solo, but I like it better when it’s double handed. To qualify to the Mini Transat, some of the races are double handed and those are the ones I enjoy the most.
“I’m happy that it is part of the Olympics and I think it’s a really good idea. I am surprised they haven’t done it before. Offshore racing is so important in our sport. I just tell everybody: come and do it, it’s a good experience.
“Now I am qualified to the Mini Transat after this season. I’ve been doing races all season and I’m really happy because I qualified first in the ranking in the Mediterranean Sea.
“Of course, the Olympics has been in my mind all the time; for whatever sport, that’s your goal, of course. Time by time, let’s see what happens.”
Source: World Sailing