Sunday, April 29, 2012

Clinics · MOWIND · The RS:X Olympic Dance

Makani Fins sponsored clinics ~ Andy McKinney's WIND-NC was where these 3 clinics occurred; they were led by Wyatt Miller and Tyson Poor. All the clinics (6 parts) are stored on UStream and all 6 videos will be interrupted from time to time by short commercials. The first 2 videos, filmed live April 18, 2012, are about improving your speed.

The next 2 videos are about Wave Sailing and were filmed live April 23, 2012.

The next 2 videos are from the Fin Clinic and were filmed live April 25, 2012.

MOWIND is "a volunteer group of active racers and event organizers in the Midwest. They provide regatta insurance and a standardized set of rules and scoring methods. Their events are scored both individually and combined as a season total. An annual meeting is usually held in the winter to review the previous season and determine the course for the upcoming season." That description is straight from their website, but there's more to this group than just those organizational functions.

If there was an award in windsurfing for Outstanding Website, they could win it every year. And what criteria would the judges use to score such an award ?  MOWIND describes and tracks a group of 15 regular events with their individual histories and current information; provides a GPS map locating all the events; offers a yearly calendar with more than their regional events listed; provides instructional help to wannabe racers; does event reporting and keeps tabs on all the racing results. In short, they are a one stop information and promotional beacon for their region and the broader sport of windsurfing. And they have a sense of humor.

Please visit the MOWIND Website.

The RS:X Class is data rich right now. After four years of training and campaigning, the countries and their respective proud Olympians have qualified and are raring to compete in the XXX Olympiad. But even with all the excitement and anticipation of what's soon to come, there is an air of worry hanging over the Class. Will this be the last Olympics for windsurfing?

During the 2012 Worlds in Cadiz, Spain, the Class held their General Meeting. Neil Pryde pulled from consideration the much anticipated new 6 lbs. lighter prototype board that would have been used throughout the next quadrennium, siting bad world economics as a hindrance to developing the class. It would be better to conserve financial resources by using the existing board. At the 2011 Worlds in Perth, Australia this past December, "the RS:X men's fleet in Perth was bigger in terms of nations than even the Laser men's fleet." The Laser is the most popular sailing class in the world. Rory Ramsden, RS:X Class Secretary, is quite proud of the "94,457 unique visitors to the RS:X micro-site in the seven race days of the 2012 Worlds." Most of his recent newsletter is a report about many new and positive developments in the class but he ends it with a request for all of us "to encourage your ISAF Mid Year Meeting delegates to vote for 'windsurfing men' and 'windsurfing women' as the two boards events to take part in the 2016 Olympic Regatta." If you follow the general sailing media, there has been a persistent campaign to promote kiting to the Olympics which would be OK if it didn't mean eliminating windsurfing. This recent Sail World article enlists the testimony of many former Olympic windsurfing  medalists who all resonate a chorus of support to include kiting in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

The ISAF Mid Year Meeting set for May 3 - 6 can decide the fate of windsurfing for the 2016 Olympics. According to the official Agenda: The Equipment Committee and Events Committee will take into consideration reports and recommendations from the Kiting Trial held in Santander, Spain, March 21 - 25 of this year. If they are confident with the information and can render a decision as to who should go the the 2016 Olympics, they will do so and pass their respective opinions to the Council. The Council will then review and and make a final decision if appropriate.

Look for the latest developments about this story from Ben Barger, one of ten members and chairmen of the ISAF Atheletes' Commission, on their AC Facebook Page. While nothing has been decided, Ben thinks windsurfing will make the cut for the 2016 Olympics. Even though the RS:X Class has wide support with most Member National Authorities, especially in Europe, don't expect much love from the U.S. With 2011 Kiteboard Course Racing World Champion, Johnny Heineken, runner-up Adam Koch and Robert Douglas, World Speed Sailing Record Holder, US Sailing is dreaming of nothing but Kiting medals. US Sailing must be pleased with the possibility of an already developed field of competitors. I'm sure no one wants to eliminate windsurfing from the Olympics, but if it's going to be only 10 events for sailing...somebody is going to be unhappy.

Shahar Zubari loops his RS:X racing gear and yes, that's a 9.5 sail.

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