470 Class: Optimistic about its future

Published on October 25th, 2021

There are some one design classes, such as the Star and Finn, which can make the transition when their boat is no longer used in the Olympics. Their history, popularity, and core constituent can carry on the torch. But for the 470 Class, their status seems less secure.

While the 470 Class has nearly 60 years of history, its commitment to Olympic-level competition puts a lot of eggs in one basket.

Excessive kinetics are now the norm, requiring elite fitness for peak performance. And now the class will have its boat used in the new Mixed Two Person Dinghy event for Paris 2024, thus impacting its current male and female division participation.

However, 470 Class President Andreas Kosmatopoulos remains optimistic in this report to class members:

A new Olympic era has begun for the 470 class. Merging two Olympic disciplines into one has created the exciting Mixed Dinghy Event for 2024 and beyond. Strong and immediate competition has already provided new challenges and great opportunities for our many recently-formed teams.

The Tokyo Olympic Games was a triumph for the 470 Class. The quality of the fleet was impressive. The best-ever 470 Olympians, Hannah Mills from Great Britain and Mathew Belcher from Australia, received their third Olympic medal each, both with two gold and one silver. Incredible!

As a former double-handed sailor, the images I most cherished were the reactions at the last race’s finish line at the Europeans, Worlds, and Olympics — that last hug with your teammate knowing that the journey had now come to a close.

Olympic Gold and Silver medals in the women’s class were won by boats built over three years ago — proving the impressive durability and quality of the 470 Olympic equipment. Juniors aged 16th and 17th years old competed at the Tokyo Olympic Games, a lifetime opportunity achieved by their skills and the existence of the 470 dinghy!

We have received many messages regarding the Oscar flag (kinetics rule), compasses (with tactical features), and other concerns. We are fully aware of the necessity of change and the impact those decisions will have on your future preparations. We respect that time is limited and want to work with you for the best outcome.

According to our constitution there is a specific procedure that we must follow in order to decide and validate any and all potential class changes. Soon we will announce an online Extraordinary General Assembly Meeting. Should changes be adopted, those items will then need to be approved by World Sailing in the coming year. Meanwhile, any changes will become public knowledge so that you may craft your training accordingly.

We are working hard and carefully in order to provide equal opportunities and a fair environment to all the sailors and coaches who wish to express their voice. A survey will be released soon but please continue to send your thoughts, comments, and suggestions to the 470 Management Committee at mc@470.org. All topics appreciated!

And, as ever, please also work with and through your MNAs. We look forward to your recommendations and proposals. This is truly a world-wide effort.

With the 470 we have a powerful global tool. The International 470 Class Association will focus on world-wide development and support for teams from emerging nations. This includes an emphasis on equipment, coaching, and participation opportunities.

Our strategy is very much centered on a wider expansion of the 470 class and the attraction of youth to sailing. We are encouraged by many ongoing discussions with our stakeholders. Together we will strengthen our class and create new partnerships and synergies.

I wish you all fair winds.

Editor’s note: The problem with asking class constituents what they want is the consensus does not include the voice of people who quit the class. Additionally, the loudest voices tend to be those at the top of the fleet, and their desires tend not to be in line with participants down the rank that create the foundation for any enduring class.

Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Program
Men’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 7
Women’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6
Mixed Two Person Dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Men’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class
Women’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class
Men’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Women’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17

Venue: Marseille, France
Dates: July 26-August 11

Details: https://www.paris2024.org/en/the-olympic-games-paris-2024/

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