Thursday, July 7, 2011

Big changes for the formula windsurfing class

We just finished the annual general meeting for the formula windsurfing class. Some difficult decisions were made in favor if cutting cost for the amateur and traveling sailor. The decision to limit the class to 2 fins and 2 sails was debated and finally voted on with 9-8 vote in favor of the reduced equipment. The thinking behind the proposal was the sailors still might buy and race 3 sails but only be able to register 2 fins and 2 sails at any regatta. This will hopefully reduce the barrier to entry for new sailors intimidated by the cost if putting together a full formula quiver. It also allows sailors traveling to regattas by airlines to fit within the current airline excess baggage limitations (or at least closer to it.) Consequently it will force the sail and fin manufacturers to make their products more efficient. On the flip side, it makes the choice much harder and might favor the heavy weight sailor with the 12.0. Looking into the future, wind maximums might be the next necessary step. Im not sure it will stop the people who have the $ from buying 3 sails, but now you'll have to register 2 sails per regatta. In places like SF, this might cause some interesting debated given the current mindset but in all honestly I've been doing well with a 9.5 and 10.7 quiver for the past 2 years. On the flip side, lightweight sailors in europe might need a 12.0 and a 10.0 to cover the range while heavier sailors might choose a 12 and 11.0. The biggest burden will be put on the the manufactures how to best develop this into their new lines which are already into r&d and ready to be put into production. Maybe they can have a later release date or maybe the solution will become from the sailors with 2 sets of battens (one for heavy air and one for light air) to fit within the rules. whatever the case, it's going to take a new midset to solve the problem. Before we could have 3 sails to fit within the wind range of 6-30k. Now we must fit 2 sails to cover the same range. Traveling to events will be easier with 2 rigs. Sean O'Brien and Sergio from Argentina even the sailed the with 1 sail in their quiver.

I was pretty torn on how to vote as the US had 2 votes but I voted in favor of trying to reduce the cost given the global economic crisis we are in now. I've always been in favor of an open development class but I think thus will force the sailors and manufactures to be more efficient. It also will allow new sailors to come into the class easier.
We also voted on class dues for sailors and manufactures to promote the class and sailors. How this is achieved is yet to be determined but the idea is that a sailor doing 1or 2 events on the tour would nor have to pay as much as a professional doing all the events. A sub committee will be formed with details to follow.

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