You make an outstanding point about the proportion of sailing medals to cat sailors. IOC gives world sailing 10 medals and so you have many objectives to meet. EG. No keel boats points to one objective not met.
The most important issue (for me at least) was the impact on our actions of the past 8 years and what the future holds. You are correct... what happened to the junior development and growth in woman multihull sailors we expected to see?
So... take another look at the politics of the time 8 to 12 years ago.
With respect to cats.... the Americas cup DOG challenge that led to cats and tris is the primary reason that cats had to return to the games. Gender equity was almost a mandatory objective for the IOC as well. So... No worries in boards, dinghys, skiffs, single handers (lasers).
That leaves two disciplines to meet all the remaining objectives and multi's HAVE to be one objective met.
So... the politics of the times gave us Men's Finn and Mixed Multis. I thought and still believe that the proper compromise was a return to the tradition and make Multi's OPEN.. Then pick a boat that favored light teams to rig the game in favor of women to manage the politics of the times.
The righteous decision had everyone voted on principle would have been Men's Finn and Woman's single handed multi (to be designed).
What have we learned over 8 years?
The past 8 years PROVES that you can design and build a half assed boat for the olympics...(Do you really want to argue that the N17 was a winner.... hell they redesigned the damn thing completely for quad 2) AND if you make it Olympic Gold ... they will come and compete. It does not matter if the boat is a POS. Olympic Sailors are Olympic sailors... If they see an opportunity that matches their size.... They are going for it. There are NO sailing skills involved that can't transfer quickly. The fact that very few woman competed in any multi class world wide WAS true (and a great political argument... It made sense to me at the time as well). The number of woman sailors in the PAST is irrelevant.. Olympic sailors want the gold.... the means to that gold are irrelevant.... so... sailing an Aquacat for a gold medal... may be beyond stupid... but ultimately irrelevant to the Olympic competitor competing in the multihull class. Build it... they WILL come.
The idea was... that mandatory MIXED would be such an appeal to young woman sailors that by quad 2... the demand would force Men's and Woman's multis in the Olympics.. The reality is just a handful of woman participating in cats at ANY LEVEL STILL! (Count the number of woman competing in all recreational multihull class's at a national/international level... and I bet you don't match the number of woman racing the N17. MY Point... they are racing N17s because its OLYMPIC and they are olympic competitors... They are not sailing N17s because it' mixed... or they like co ed sports, or they love sailing in the best designed boat of all time... the N17.
Bottom line... make it Olympic single handed and you get the SAME number .... if not more woman on multi's at an equal or greater rate then creating the silly MIXED discipline.
While it's counter factual.... I think that cat sailing would be far far better off had we told the T sailors have a nice post Olympic life.... Had we had the vision... and made the Olympic mulithull a woman's single hander balancing men's single hander (heavyweight)
On earth 2... I see every elite female junior and collegiate sailor looking at an individual multi discipline and seeing a clear straightforward path. No need to find a partner (M or F) that compliments you and whatever boat they use. NO BS.... its all on their skill and competitive drive. NO olympic pathway fleet will ever look like a pyramid again... However, a robust pipeline of woman from juniors on up will generate extremely skilled amateurs who step off the pipeline path but stick with sailing a single hander for recreation as time, money and life allow. Tipping my sexist hat to the woman... Perhaps a more natural ability to build community works to grow and maintain participation more so then the forest of dicks that you see at regattas now. Perhaps, the sailing scene that has more woman single handed competitors looks just like golf and tennis. Lifetime sports with lots of woman competing. The normal recreational sailor (mostly male) will find the competition with these woman a great challenge on the water and to their ego and maintain interest for a life time.
I see an Olympic single handed 18 foot platform with a rig optimized for the target weight class as a SMOD (because that was ISAF's non negotiable requirement). I see an independent recreational class organized around a formula rule that closely matches the olympic platform design spec with a larger rig. (laser and laser radial)
I see an international Formula One Design of Single handers being extremely successful (Hell... the Hobie 14 still holds ISAF world championship status and the A class continues to flush sailors through as they try to hang in the development class world. Finally, the number one factor in getting young boys to join the sport... would be.... Young girls.
A womans single handed olympic multihull would have been a winner on the Olympic level (fair gender equal competition) and shaped the recreational world in profound ways.
If the recreational single hander class is successful.... the Olympic single handed men's class could change as well. Moths... kites... foiling singlehanders, who knows... A much more sensible objective then mixed giving way to M and W cat classes.
How about a world on earth 2, with three dominant international classes an entry level cat. The Hobie 16 with open, womans and youth divisions.
The International single handed Class with Woman's OD Olympic and Formula OD single hander divisions.
The Int. A class continues with their development/builder ethos.
A spin double hander class like the F18.... and what ever evolves from the F18 movement..... drawing competitors and sending them back to the single handed and Hobie 16 classes in a dynamic healthy way..
Last edited by Mark Schneider; 02/05/17 12:48 PM.