Even in boats of one design class, sailing will always be a sport of equipment. But leveling the playing field and ensuring that class measurement tolerances are met is a goal of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. In this World Sailing report, new tools are being tested to improve the process.
The introduction of 3D scanning technology into World Sailing is said to be crucial to ensuring races are “decided on the water rather than the boat park”.
To create a level playing field, the new equipment, which will see the foils in each Olympic division, is being tested in Paris 2023 at the 2024 trial event in Marseille, July 9-16, before the competition takes place.
Athlete feedback will be critical to the continued implementation of the technology and World Sailing Technical and Coastal Director Jaime Navarro is excited about the opportunities ahead.
“Sailing, as we know it in the Olympics, is a competition between athletes,” he said. “Everyone should use the same equipment and ultimately all athletes should have the same opportunities.
“What this allows us to do is to make sure all the equipment is the same and make sure the competition is at the race, not the boat park.
“We all recognize that this is imperative for global shipping. We are talking about a technical sport where the athletes are very reliant on the equipment they use and we need this improved testing equipment.
“The athletes are encouraging these steps and welcome the direction we are going. They have been asking for this and now we are responding and making sure we are there for them.”
Among the athletes excited by the technology’s first impressions was Aruba’s Ethan Vestera in the men’s IQFoil competition.
“It’s a great process,” he said. “A lot of people are trying to find ways to get faster, which, of course, is the best way to improve everyone’s ability in the water to be fair, so the best will win.”
Being an athlete with the details increases how professional you are and fair.
World Sailing works with manufacturers and athletes as technology continues to expand, improving product quality and reducing the amount of equipment purchased by athletes. The result will be more durability and reduced cost.
Leonie Meyer (GER) welcomes the investigation into equipment in the Formula Kite Women competition.
“It’s the first time we’ve had a scan and it’s great,” she says. “The goal is to have the same equipment on the race course and have fair racing, so it’s great that we’re on track to get that soon.
“Everyone is happy to have a fair sport where we all have the same equipment.”
Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Program:
Men’s One Man Dinghy – ILCA 7
Women’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6
Mixed two-person dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Men’s Kiteboard – Formula kit section
Women’s Kiteboard – Formula Kit Class
Men’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Women’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Mixed Multihole – Nacra 17
Location: Marseille, France
Dates: July 26 – August 11