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High cost of Olympic windsurfing

Published on May 22nd, 2023

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
Sailing took a massive overhaul of its competition program for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Under the direction of the International Olympic Committee, World Sailing needed gender balance, mixed events, and inclusive equipment for its ten events, with the results changing half the program.

There was also a desire to deliver excitement which led to changes in the Men’s and Women’s Windsurfing events. After an equipment review, World Sailing replaced the RS:X with the iQFOiL, which was newly created to provide a high-performance foiling class of windsurfer.

However, as seems typical for Olympic equipment, the iQFOiL has a durability issue. Sails may be good for one regatta and boards are getting replaced after 3 to 5 events. While the Windsurfing event is the least costly for equipment, there remains a question as to what to do with the discarded gear.

“I have yet to find a recycler who will accept the pile of iQFOil sails left behind at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (Long Beach, CA) after every regatta,” notes member Jennifer Golison. “We’ve been able to recycle or upcycle to Sea Bags of Maine all other donated sails, but not the plastic iQFOil sails.”

World Sailing may be sympathetic to the cost of campaigning, but is their choice of the iQFOiL consistent with that position?

Editor’s note: This report has been updated based on feedback.

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


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