Thursday, 8 November 2007

No Moth in the Olympics.

So is does not look like the Moth will be in the Olympics, unless the Europe dinghy is reintroduced. So what effect will this have on the Moth class?

I always thought that if the Bladerider was accepted for the Olympics then the sailing that would be going on would be very different form the Moth sailing I have done. Olympic sailing is full time professional 7 day a week 24 hours a day stuff. This is not traditionally the Moth level of competition although Rohan is a full time Moth sailor and promoter now and (I think) Si Payne spent 3 months not working and only Moth training before he won the Worlds. A lot of the fleet are ex-Olympians (3 out of the last top ten at least) or sail in things like 18ft skiffs (another 2 out of the last top 10), or boatbuilders and sailmakers (2 more) so the fleet is no stranger to top level competition. However the Olympics is a different game, where travel expenses make the boat cost irrelevant.

In the Moth class we have a saying, that has been valid for many years, that you can tell who is taking Moth sailing seriously because their boat is worth more than their car.

The Olympics would have raised the profile of the Class even more and meant that there would be a lot of bits around on the second hand market or that could be repaired. This would have been good for guys like me that could collect up broken or "old" bits and build competitive boats out of them. This is a shame but it also means that I have more chance of getting into the top third of the fleet.

The people I feel really sorry for are the Olympic competitors. The poor bastards must now spend 7 days a week 24 hours a day sailing a Laser or a Fin or a ..... This is like asking an F1 driver to steer a shopping trolley round a supermarket. It is also about as interesting to watch as supermarket shopping. I would get to the bottom mark and look up the 1 nautical mile beat, that I have to hike my way up for the next 20 minutes trying to get a fraction of a meter advantage form each tack, and think fuck it do I really have to do this again.

I respect the bravery of the people that support these out of date classes because I would not be able to sit in meeting after meeting discussing how the Fin is the best way to represent sailing and have a good visual completion, and keep a straight face. So is it corruption, stupidity, religious fundamentalists or creatures from another planet that control this. I do not know or care but I will be spending as much time following the Olympic sailing as I spend following Americas Cup legal battles.

So is this an opportunity for the Moth to reinvent sailing events, with a fresh look and without the baggage of traditional views. Maybe, or maybe if it ain't broke then why try to fix it. I will be happy if I get round a mark point the boat, hike, sheet in and blast along looking to gain 100m from each tack or gibe, that is fun and where it is really at.

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