LONDON (#1232) – WS President Kim Andersen (DEN) and the non-sailing CEO Andy Hunt (GBR) have been soundly defeated in their attempt to push the Laser (men) and Laser Radial (women) out of the 2024 Olympics in favor of the RS Aero. The Aero also had been the recommendation of the Equipment Committee after "sea trials" in Valencia, Spain in March that some of the European sailing media, and a number of our top sailing friends, suggested had been orchestrated more by the WS staff and less by world-class sailors. The vote came at the WS Midyear meetings in London on Sunday.
In a further embarrassment to the WS leadership, that appears increasingly out of touch with the "boat park" of sailors from around the world, the Council rejected the none-too-transparent push by Messers Andersen and Hunt to keep the RS:X as the 2024 windsurfer without having sea trials for possible other classes – in effect giving short shrift to calls from windsurfers across the globe to retire the expensive and single-source (i.e., monopoly manufacturer) RS:X in favor of the emerging and popular foiling windsurfers ("windfoilers"). As we reported on Friday's TFE LIVE, windfoiling is sweeping the windsurfing world, and is increasingly, and wildly, popular with both adults and youth. The RS:X is now in play and many now believe a foiling windsurfer will be the ultimate choice for 2024.
Your Ed.'s take on all this? It's a great day for the sport – the sailors are re-taking control. Not to mention the superb SSL / Star Europeans racing today on Lake Garda that made for compelling TV. World Sailing, take note! For sailors by sailors.
At the outset of today's Council meeting, Mr Hunt confirmed that the cash-strapped organization has arranged a bank credit facility, backed by the 2020 Olympic TV revenues, so they can continue to spend money at an unprecedented rate – while acknowledging that the 2016 Olympic TV revenues will not carry them through 2020. We broke this news in a world-exclusive article here on Sailing Illustrated as the meetings got underway on Thursday.
WS President Kim Andersen (DEN) and the non-sailing CEO Andy Hunt (GBR).
More, of course, on these decisions and others from the Midyear meetings on Tuesday's TFE LIVE, as always at 1300 Pacific / 1600 Eastern / 2000 UTC / 0800+1 NZT on our Sailing Illustrated Facebook page.