The 2009 Worlds marked the end of a decade for formula windsurfing. Both Thailand in 2000 and Santa Pola in 2009 will be seen as landmark events in the history, and development, of the class.
Formula Windsurfing may have begun its life as a bid for Olympic status, an attempt to radically change both windsurfing and sailing as an olympic sport; but it has survived, and prospered, over the last 10 years without being tagged with the 5 rings!
So what does the next 10 years hold in store for the class? Formula Windsurfing has never stood still, it has constantly evolved, but every now and again some significant decisions are made that are intended to inject fresh enthusiasm and new direction. Some key decisions were made at the last Annual General Meeting. Those decisions arose from proposals made by class members, that were discussed and debated fully, that were refined by friendly amendments, or suggestions, that the management committee were asked to incorporate in any final policy publication.
I wholeheartedly support those decisions, and what follows is a brief summary of those decisions; the reasons for, and benefits to be gained from, those decisions.
The FW World Ranking has been an outstanding succes in promoting the class, but also encouraging organisers, in particular organisers of national events. Its format may be unique (eg. no discards) - but it is what sets formula apart from the rest, makes it more interesting. Why change it?
It cannot be disputed that the system rewards participation - it is a fundamental principle; but it should also reflect excellence. Surely these aims are compatible?
By approving the proposal - for a beginning and an end to an "annual" ranking - and setting the class World Championship as the start of a new annual ranking, the target has been hit!
Formula Windsurfing is for pro and amateur windsurfers - they cannot exist without each other. All sailors from the previous years ranking will be recognised by the new ranking. Some changes to the weighting (Factor) may be applied to prize money events that are also class championships.
Championship Rules - Qualification Series (QS)
I think the minutes identify the changes very clearly. This was probably the most debated discussion! These are my comments.
1) the previous year's world championship ranking ( final positions of participating racers) will only be used to split the fleet into groups at the following year's world championship. For all other events the current "world ranking" will be used, as specified in the current Championship Rules.
2) 4 races is both the minimum and maximum number of races in the QS.
This may take 1 day or more days to complete. The committee were charged with responsibility to investigate the options available for managing a 4 race QS. These options will put before an AGM before implementing at a world championship.
3) the QS result, carried forward to the Final Series as the first race, will be discardable after the 3rd race of the final series (ie QS result + 3 FS races = 7 and second discard according to Championship Rules).
Prize Money Split
The new rule is good for the men and good for the women. It has a better balance to it - particularly at the lower end: but significantly rewards greater participation of women.
I think this was a well received and non controversial proposal.
Participation is the "key" - at all levels:
gender - men & women
age - youth & master
Over the next few months I will address the other issues that need to be faced. Ideas are being expressed, and plans being formulated, to continue the development and expansion of the class.
EXPANSION is a key word - it cannot happen without your support.
links - agm minutes / summary of votes