The Preliminary report from the ISAF Windsurfing Evaluation trials in Lake Garda is now in. Here’s a summary of what they’ve found – for more information and analysis read the August edition of BOARDS!
The trials showed that neither current Longboards nor current Formula boards are ideal for future Olympic competition.
– Current Longboards do not reflect current trends in windsurfing and do not excite the sailors. If they remain the Olympic equipment then windsurfing as a racing discipline will continue to decline.
– Current Formula boards are not suitable for sailing in the full range of racing wind strengths found at Olympic class regattas, and have not yet been designed with such racing in mind. However the trials showed that a new “Hybrid” racing board, with exciting planing performance, can sail upwind effectively in 5 knots. Four Hybrid prototypes, and one existing production Hybrid board, were evaluated. While none was 100% satisfactory, they excited the sailors, they suit a wider weight range of sailor, and the designs can be refined in the short term to meet all the requirements of a new Olympic board. Some believe that further Formula development may also enable Formula boards to race in light winds, and this development should also be encouraged.
Similarly rig development has to date focused on meeting either the requirement of Longboard racing or of Formula sailing. The new Hybrid racing boards will stimulate the development of rigs that are suitable for racing upwind and off-wind in both light and strong winds.
ISAF therefore has a real opportunity to re-invigorate windsurfing by changing from the current Longboard to new Hybrid racing boards. The impact of this decision will be:
– to stimulate development in racing hulls and rigs;
– to re-establish windsurfing as a mainstream, popular racing discipline for youth and adult sailing throughout the world;
– to re-unite the windsurfing community, so that all windsurfers will regard the Olympic regatta as the pinnacle event in windsurfing.
To achieve this, ISAF should decide in November 2004 that:
1. The windsurfing equipment for 2008 will be the new Hybrid board.
2. A “one design with tolerances” equipment rule is agreed for this design in November 2004
3. In November 2006 ISAF decides the specific board and supplier / brand to be used in the 2008 Olympic regatta at Qingdao.
4. In November 2007 ISAF decides the specific rig to be used in the 2008 Olympic regatta.
5. Supplied equipment is used at the Olympic regatta, the 2007 pre-Olympic regatta and the 2007 Combined Classes World Championships.
6. The Hybrid board is used at all ISAF events and Regional Games from 2005 onwards.
7. Slalom racing is included in the Olympic regatta format.
8. For subsequent Olympic regattas, any changes to the equipment rule will be decided at the November conference 4 years beforehand, hull choice will be made 2 years beforehand, and rig choice will be made 1 year beforehand.