Changes Prove A Success At ISAF Sailing World Cup
The ISAF Sailing World Cup is continuously striving to evolve and
adapt to make the Olympic class races better for its competitors and
In Weymouth and Portland, ISAF have introduced some changes and are trialling
others to ensure that the races are the best they can be through greater
communication out on the water with the athletes.
Something that is being trialled is the use of radios between competitors and
race officials. This has been in use already in big boat events such as the
Farr 40 and Melges Class Worlds, but the trial introduction into the 470
class at the ISAF Sailing World Cup could be the first step to introducing
the concept to all the Olympic classes.
The use of radios has been introduced on the request of coaches and came to
fruition through ISAF's cooperation with the Event organisers. Put into
action on day two in Weymouth and Portland it has allowed the race committee
to communicate better with all boats and help with the starting procedures.
Head of ISAF Sailing World Cup John Craig said, "This is an idea is to increase communications
prior to racing between the race committee and athletes.
"Once the race has
started it will enable all competitors in that race to know who started early
which has significant impact on the tactics used in that race.
"This type of
communication to competitors has been utilised significantly in other areas
of the sport, particularly in big boat sailing, but it is a first time
introduction to the Sailing World Cup.”
The hope for Craig and everyone involved in the Event is that this extra
communication will prevent any possible confusion.
In advance of their first use, Germany's Philipp Autenrieth thought that the
introduction of radios would be a good thing saying, "It's quite nice to have the
radios, especially for general recalls, and it has worked for big boats so
why not the Olympic classes.”
Philipp's thoughts were confirmed by Australian Mat Belcher who said, "The radios were really great
actually, especially pre-race. It was really good to have the information
like nothing on the course, time delays and things like that.
"They said a couple
of times it was all clear which was good to know I thought.
"The weight of the
radios didn't matter either and it was really clear. It was on my crew's life
jacket and he didn't notice it really, and anything I couldn't hear he would
just relay to me.”
Belcher thought it was such a good idea that he even suggested using them for
more sailor information other than just for the starting procedures, "Maybe they could even take it
further, like dropping pumping flag would have been quite interesting or we
are moving the mark to the right ten degrees, that kind of verbal information
would have been helpful.”
The other change that has been introduced to all the classes at Weymouth and
Portland are the numerical flag system for race starts.
It is quite simply a numbered flag system which gives competitors a countdown
to the start of the races. An orange flag gives a three minute warning that
the race officials are going to be beginning the countdown. A white flag with
the number five indicates five minutes to the start, a blue with three
indicates three minutes, a red two, a yellow one and finally a green to go.
Autenrieth believes the flag system has worked and is a good change from
traditional flag system, "The
flags are good, it definitely makes it easier for us, the public and the
The public and the media were also factors in the changes being made to the
Sailing World Cup. The changes aim to make the start easier to follow for
everyone and will help stop confusion and will give the sailors a greater
chance to focus on their tactics and race strategy which should make for