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News Item
2004 ISAF Mid-Year Meeting - 4-6 June 2004
Posted On:  10/06/2004
Olympic Windsurfing Evaluation Event – The ISAF Council received a presentation on the Olympic Windsurfing Evaluation Event, held in Torbole, Italy to identify suitable equipment for use at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Based on the feedback and evaluation in Torbole, the Evaluation Panel concluded that the current longboards do not reflect the latest trends in windsurfing and do not excite the sailors, warning that if longboards remain as the Olympic equipment then windsurfing racing will continue to decline. Similarly, the Formula boards are not suitable for racing in the range of wind strengths required for an Olympic sailing event.

The Evaluation Panel had considered key criteria for windsurfing and wanted to re-establish the Olympic windsurfing competition as a pinnacle event, using equipment that does not hold back the evolution of windsurfing, but be state of the art, able to race in all conditions, have media/visual appeal, global availability and be inexpensive, to enable the windsurfing events to be part of all developing sailing nations’ Olympic campaigns.

The Evaluation Panel presentation and recommendation focused on the new breed of “Hybrid” board – which has the light wind performance of long boards, combined with the planning capabilities of formula boards. The ISAF Council was advised that “Hybrid” boards excite the sailors and meet the needs of Olympic windsurfing, although at the present time there is not a suitable board. The Evaluation Panel concept was for production boards, built to an outline rule within specified minimum/maximum hull length, hull width, hull weight, tail fin length and centreboard specifications, as follows:

Hull length: 2650 – 3100mm
Hull width: 790 – 1000mm
Hull weight minimum: 12kg without foils and straps (but including mast track)
Foil length (maximum): Tail fin: 650mm; pivoting centreboard (optional): 850mm

The Evaluation Team proposed this box rule, with development for two years, before identifying the specific design in 2006 which would be used for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition. However, the Events Committee and Council were uncomfortable with this proposal to delay the specification of the equipment beyond November 2004.

Therefore, in order to propose a specific one-design at the 2004 November Conference, ISAF will be working with manufacturers to conduct a further Evaluation Event in September 2004 and identify a board that could be used at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Concluding, the Evaluation Panel recommended that ISAF must never allow a board to be used at the Olympic Sailing Competition which is behind windsurfing as sailed around the world and that ISAF must continue to guide, encourage and improve the sport of windsurfing.

After unanimous support was given by the ISAF Council to the presentation, ISAF President Paul Henderson commented: “Hopefully in September [2004], the industry will meet ISAF’s challenge, but ISAF has to be ready if it does not. This is a clear message from ISAF that we want windsurfing, but the industry has to act.”
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