The ISAF Equipment Evaluation Panel has tested the candidates for the women’s skiff and mixed multihull classes at the 2016 Olympic Games. Kiteboarding was also evaluated as a possible event for the Olympic Games. The evaluation was conducted at the Prince Felipe High Performance Sailing Centre, Santander, Spain from 17th March to 25th March 2012.
The evaluation panel judged the boats based on their performance, cost, spars, rigging, sails, class data and distribution and evaluation data.
Haylee Outteridge was one of 44 sailors, from all over the world, chosen by the evaluation panel to complete the sailing process of the evaluation. After sailing each class, the sailors scored the boats in order of their preference.
Six boats were evaluated for the women’s skiff including Bethwaite’s 29erXX, RS 900, Mackay FX, the Arup Skiff, the Aura, and the Rebel. With the RS900 and Mackay FX being chosen as favourites.
According to the panel the RS900 and Mackay FX fit the established criteria as well as being preferred by the sailors. Both boats require skills that exactly parallel those of the men’s skiff, and the suppliers have a proven track record for quality and global distribution.
The Mackay FX suits crews in the upper end of the weight range due to its size and weight. Where as the RS900 suits crew weight well within the weight criteria. The RS900 was designed to completely fit the criteria developed for the women’s skiff event.
The four other classes were deemed not suitable due to design and performance. Bethwaite’s 29erXX, a larger rig on a 29er hull platform, was decided to be too easy to sail and under powered.
In the mixed multihull class seven boats were evaluated for the 2016 Olympic sailing competition. These include Hobie 16, Hobie Tiger, Nacra F16, Nacra 17, Spitfire S, Tornado and Viper. The Nacra 17 and Viper were the preferred classes with the sailors and put forward for selection.
The same evaluation process was conducted for the mixed multihull as the women’s skiff. With 14 of the sailors choosing the Nacra 17 as their most preferred boat.
The Nacra 17 was designed by Morelli & Melvin (USA) to meet the evaluation criteria to the best of its ability. At 17feet long, the Nacra 17 is a modern hull shape with curved daggerboards, these are designed to create vertical lift. The boat suits a wide crew weight range with lower sheet loads.
The Viper was a close second place to the Nacra 17. The comfortable boat is easy to sail and suits both men and women as crew, although many sailors thought it suited the upper end of the weight criteria. The Viper was also the only boat to address the issue of raising the daggerboards from the windward side.
The other five classes were decided to be unsuitable for the mixed multihull class. The Tornado is too powerful for female sailors, at Olympic competition women would need to helm due to the heavy load on the sheets. The Nacra F16, Spitfire S, Hobie 16 and Hobie Tiger were dismissed due to design and performance and sailing qualities.
A small, specialist team was assembled to evaluate the recommendations by the Events Committee to consider the addition of kiteboarding to the Olympic Games.
It has been decided that kiteboarding is ready to included as an event for both men and women. IKA and ISAF can work together to promote the new discipline of sailing as well as promote the spectator opportunities.
Although being highly recommended for Olympic competition the safety issues are a concern. It would be essential to have a well-trained and prepared team on the racing area.
The Evaluation Panel’s recommendations will go forward to the Equipment Committee and Events Committee at the 2012 ISAF Mid-Year Meeting in Italy from 3rd till 6th of May.
For More information or to read the full reports on the evaluation process visit Equipment Evaluation.
- Kimberley Wilmot
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