Mar 20, 2018

Yacht Racing Forum 2018: Lorient, 22-23 October

Photos by Red Bull & Emirates Team New Zealand.-- I received this newsletter below today from the Yacht Racing Forum proposing some interesting discussions, specially the Foiling & latest AC tech topics. On gender equality, I think people is pushing too much on political correctness nowadays in every little aspect in life & sports.
Genders are not equal, thus there is not one gender. Opportunity should be equal but not forcing the envelope or relegating better sport person on the pursue of equality.   Those pushing the agenda for equality in - terms of performance - need to acknowledge there are differences that cannot be solved by bureaucracy or forced rules.

Any sailing Open Class event will show you that in a great percentage.  Still you will have Carolijn Brouwers showing you the way, that's the beauty of the Open format.

Equality needs to be as today in Sailing,  having the same number of events for men & women.
We don't need to reach the point where the podium in an open event must be formed by at least one x,y or z gender, to exaggerate (or not much nowadays) the equality concept.

But in terms of performance the real hands down opportunity for all it is an Open gender qualification and racing. Which of course will never be implemented and don't think it is the way to go eitherway, in sailing or any other sport.

- On Foiling compared to the evolution that killed Windsurfing golden 80s Era, it presents a good
question, but I think Sailing in gral will survive no problem the current high tech foiling frenzy.

Best example in cats is the F18, a good mix of tech and devel staying floating mode and still attracting good number of fleets.  We are still far away to massive numbers in full Foiling Classes with the exception of the A-Class, which is still supported by flaoting mode and recently also officially joined the Classic & foiling fleets.

Foiling is not there yet , as we've been saying for a while , to be adopted by everyone in the racing arena. The F18 is a good example on this, as any rookie can go out and adapt rather quickly and start racing in the breeze to acquire experience. Foiling Classes need more time and require lots of hours and training to be able to race in the entire wind range. Flying tech is still evolving , and even so in the future floating racing cats will remain as good as we know them.

In Windsurfing the major problem was targeting higher wind range with shorter boards, a trend that was somehow reverted with Formula Windsurf boards.
Bringing the Winglider back will not revamp Windsurfing  today, times have changed.
I still have plenty of fun windsurfing my Formula board, even earlier with a Mistral Vision 130 which I used with 4 to 8mts sail, also a Naish 86 lts , but  I always went out when others were only waiting for 20knots short board & 5mts sails. Formula Windsurfing (Formula Exprience too) can give you a huge wind range fun.
In reality I'm windsurfing today less that before, and the reason is the A-Class attacks the lower and mid wind range targeted by the Formula WS. In fact I always describe A-Cat sailing as a big windsurf board.
But Now waiting some Windsurf prototype foiling fin, that will put me back again with renewed drive.

Going back to displacement WS mode in light winds, I think it will not attract people back, really an era that is tough to get back as people in those days was the only thing they knew.
Windsurfing in floating mode still provides one of the best thrills around, but I agree it is harder to learn than Kitesurfing, but there are plenty of alternatives, my kids learnt on a Formula Experience board with full rubber deck, 1 mt wide, that is easier to learn than any previous Mistral or Winglider model.

The great difference for Winsdsurfing with an F18 or any racing cat is that you can have plenty of fun with same equipment from 5 to 20 knots. In Windsurfing that range is only covered by Formula Windsurf boards/Sails (which are not easy to handle for everyone) and above say 7-8knots. So I really don't see a solution for Windsurfing to go back to the Golden 80s Era  to be honest with only one board.

In the end I don't see Foiling killing Sailing at all, it will blend as another discipline with many traditional floating options at hand , even high performance flaoting like F18s or 49ers and the like.

- AC Tech: We wrote plenty on TNZ developments and definitely one of the errors of last Cup. Tech is to provide faster boats applied to final usage by sailors, and not to be replaced by  automatic trims. That is not sailing at all. Provide all the tech you want but leave decisions and basically functional physical effort in place, having cyclist or even grinders are not suited to show the best sailing athletes.

Best sailing athletes are defined racing an AC45 to the first foiling series or a GC32, or an RSX, an A-Class , even a Moth wands included. Bermuda playstation controls were not the right path at all.

Below check Yacht Racing Forums topics, dates and registration links for the 2018 Edition:

Dear Yacht Racing Industry Professionals and Sailing Fans,

We are pleased to share the latest news regarding the upcoming Yacht Racing Forum in Lorient, Brittany (October 22-23).

The conference is taking shape and promises to be great! New partners and exhibitors are joining on a regular basis and a fair number of delegates have already seized the Early Bird discount opportunity to register. Dont’t waste any time: the offer is valid for the top 80 registrants.

The conference programme and speakers list will be renewed, with a focus on « the future of sailing » : Youth sailing, new classes and events, computerized systems, digital sailing, new materials, designs and technologies.

The evolution of the sport and technology generate interesting questions. Here are some discussion angles (some of them slightly provocative!) to trigger your minds and help us all wait until October 22.

Happy reading!

The Yacht Racing Forum organizing team

YRF Topics
- Will foiling affect the sport of sailing ?
Foiling is fashionable and at the heart of many passionate sailors’s conversations. Foils are with no doubt a great innovation, but let’s take some distance and ask ourselves: who really wants to sail and race at 25 knots + ? How many sailors are really concerned ? Is it good for the development of our sport?

Twenty years ago, windsurfing was a truly popular sport that helped thousands of people discover the word « regatta » and learn the basics of sailing and racing.

Then something went wrong: the sports’ marketing experts focused on tall blond and muscular windsurfers riding big waves in Hawaii; the sport suddenly became totally disconnected from its popular roots and almost disappeared.

Let’s not forget grass-roots sailing, amateur yacht racing and the pleasure of cruising at 6 knots! At this year's Forum, we will surely discuss the future of foiling and showcase the latest technical developments. But we will also put a strong emphasis on youth sailing, new sailing classes and events for kids.

- What’s the link between sustainability and gender equity ? 
The Yacht Racing Forum started promoting sustainable development in 2011. At the time, many delegates were asking us what this subject had to do with sailing and yacht racing… Today, everybody recognizes the importance of protecting our oceans and our lakes. Sustainability has become a strategic topic for World Sailing, whilst many new organizations such as Sailors for the Sea, 11th Hour Racing or Race for Water focus on the protection of the seas.

We’ve also been discussing the place of women in our sport since the first edition of the Forum, in 2008. There’s obviously still a lot to do to promote female participation, although some prominent events such as the Volvo Ocean Race and the Olympic Games show the way.

This year in Lorient, instead of organizing specific sessions dedicated to sustainable development or gender equity, we want these subjects to be present wherever relevant. We hope to include more women amongst our speakers: please spread the word! And we believe that sustainability must be - implicitly or very concretely - at the heart of every presentation and debate.

- Will computers and robots replace crew members (well, replace us!) ?
In a very short time, automatic pilots will steer better than helmsmen (they often already do…); robots will react quicker and better than trimmers (even cyclists!); weather models coupled with live satellite coverage of the world and the latest apps will be much more reliable than the best tacticians.

What will be left for us, passionate sailors, amateurs as well as professionals? What will be the interest of our favorite sport? What will be the role of the crews?

These are changes that we - classes, events, sailing journalists, World Sailing etc. - need to anticipate and regulate. Otherwise races will be sailed by robots and we will be left on the yacht club terrasse with a cocktail….

Great conference topics
The Yacht Racing Forum is the place where this debate - and much more - takes places. This year’s conference will focus on the following subjects:
The future of Sailing
Design & Technology
Marketing & Media
Event and teams Management
Top of the Sport

Draft Programme
- Monday October 22: 
Design & Technology Symposium (all day)
The Future of Sailing (morning)
Regatta and Teams Management (Afternoon)
Evening Reception at the Cité de la Voile Eric Tabarly
Mirabaud Sailing Video Award prize giving

- Tuesday October 23:
Marketing & Media (morning)
Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image prize giving (afternoon)
Top of the Sport (afternoon)

- Wednesday October 24 (optional):
Guided Tour of the leading companies, industries and actors involved in yacht racing (all day)

Registrations & Early Bird Discount

Registrations are open. Our Early Bird Discount is valid for the top 80 registrants. Don’t waste any time and save € 100 !