The Reasoning Behind Foiling Regattas This Summer
The board of World Sailing formally requested that the Nacra 17 Class review its plans for the regattas this summer with respect to full foiling. As previously reported the class executive replied reiterating support for the plan to have foiling at both the Europeans and Worlds being the best plan. The Board of World Sailing wrote back endorsing that plan.
These are the reasons the class executive believe this plan to be our best option. Other options included delaying the distribution of equipment until after Worlds and/or delaying the 2017 World Championship. At this point, it is fair to add a reminder that the class is not ultimately a driver of the current situation with regard to boat availability. Both World Sailing and Nacra Sailing hold ultimate responsibility for the current state of affairs, and it’s the class role to make the most of the situation as it stands.
Our thought process and recommendation:
- The greatest risk to the success of the Nacra 17 as an Olympic event in 2020 lies in the functionality, durability, suitability, and general sailing experience of the full foiling configuration. As such, we feel it is vital to get a reasonable number of boats into the hands of some trusted sailors to get their feedback as soon as possible. The manner in which the June 26th delivery is being handled, putting boats into the hands of the best sailor from each nation along with a few additional elite sailors, accomplishes just that. These 45 teams will get 5 weeks of training focused on racing the European Championship. In that time, all of the boats will be geographically close in northern Europe less than a half day drive from Nacra Sailing, their technical experts and repair facilities.
- We feel that this 6-week period of training followed by proper racing will allow quick and honest feedback that can easily be observed by all (sailors, manufacturers, race management, Class). Either the boats will perform without issue, or any issues will quickly become apparent in a location that makes quick and effective resolution possible.
- The “delay distribution” option would see a larger number of boats delivered at once, with a significant percentage shipped to all 5 continents. Initial feedback from sailors would not be as coordinated or as complete. Additionally, Nacra Sailing would not easily be able to physically go and observe any issues that may arise. Not only would initial feedback be delayed but also any changes necessary would be spread across a greater number of boats and across the Globe.
- We have communicated the June 26th plan since the middle of January. While there has been some dissatisfaction the reality is that many sailors have now made their plans on that basis. Trying to change, at this late stage, back to the ‘C’ foil configuration for our 2017 events is not easy and will also lead to significant dissatisfaction.
- For these reasons, we have decided that the best course of action is to continue with our June 26th initial distribution and to race the European Championship in the full foiling configuration but with the inclusion of a ‘C’ foil division.
- Note that our decision, with quick feedback from the Europeans, does not necessarily commit the Class to a full foiling World Championships. It would be possible, theoretically, to run a ‘C’ foil Worlds with full foiling boats already having been delivered.
- We considered running the World Championships with ‘C’ foils. We are not satisfied that:
- all teams would still own, or have access to, ‘C’ foiling boats,
- that the regatta would ultimately be compelling to the top teams,
- that the regatta would be fair from an equipment reliability and consistency point of view.
We therefore rejected this as an option.
- Our scheduled, and currently on target, delivery plan sees 60 full foiling boats available by the World Championship. There has only been 1 Nacra 17 Championship to date with more than 60 boats, and therefore we feel that a supply of 60 boats does an adequate job of getting equipment to the vast majority of sailors wishing to compete.
- We considered breaking our contract with the current World Championship venue and organizers and moving the regatta to a ‘winter’ destination towards the end of December 2017. Apart from the implication of breaking a contract, we feel, at this late stage, that this would be hugely disruptive to many teams’ plans. It is not budgeted and in the end we do not think that more teams would ultimately compete given the location options. Therefore, we also rejected this option.
- We considered making a fourth request to World Sailing to allow us to postpone the 2017 Worlds by a few weeks without changing the venue. On each of the 3 previous occasions, World Sailing denied us that scope, as it falls within the 6-week period before the Japanese Sailing World Cup. While it might be an option, at this late stage, it would require all of our volunteer officials, local volunteers, and sailors to change their plans and ultimately would not result in a significant change to the number of boats participating.
- Considering all of the above, The Class Executive reaffirmed its commitment to the existing plan to introduce the foiling configuration on June 26th and to race both the European and World Championship in that configuration.