Offshore sailing is a universal discipline that every World Sailing Member National Authority (MNA) can participate in. Following the selection of a Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat Event at Paris 2024, event numbers for double handed offshore events in One Design boats and handicap racing have increased.
The dedicated section on sailing.org, available here: https://www.sailing.org/classesandequipment/offshore/paris2024_events.php, provides information on Paris 2024 as well as a list of double handed offshore events that will be regularly updated. A section on equipment is also included.
To encourage focus on the discipline of offshore sailing itself rather than on specific equipment, the Paris 2024 Olympic Equipment will be selected relatively close to the event.
The broad discipline of doublehanded offshore sailing, which includes all doublehanded events over 50 miles in length, with no gender restrictions, and sailed one-design or under any rating system (e.g. ORC, IRC, or regional systems) can guide sailors and MNAs to focus their preparation efforts on the required skills to succeed. Skills such as seamanship, navigation, weather prediction, route selection, boat-handling and of course fast sailing, common to the discipline, can be refined rather than optimising the performance of a particular boat.
The 2024 Mixed Keelboat Offshore Event will be a representation of this discipline. A very specific, one-race, mixed-gender, one-design, supplied-equipment, event with a specified duration.
In recent weeks and months, a 2024 Offshore Equipment Working Party, that brings together members of the Equipment Committee and Oceanic and Offshore Committee, have been in consultation with manufacturers of offshore boats.
The Working Party is developing a set of criteria in consultation with the industry both for the Paris 2024 Olympic event and for the qualification events.
An initial draft of the criteria will be made public and accessible here when available, https://www.sailing.org/classesandequipment/offshore/paris2024_equipment.php .
Towards the end of 2019, World Sailing issued a Request for Information https://www.sailing.org/news/89562.php#.Xt0qdTozbIW , to engage manufacturers and classes in the discussions around the equipment.
World Sailing received 12 responses from manufacturers and designers who provided information on initial proposals.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the manufacturers all met World Sailing collectively via a video conference. Discussions centred around opportunities for all fleets, how World Sailing can help all manufacturers thrive and increase events, as well as emphasising the important of equipment equalisation and the one design aspect for the Paris 2024 Olympic event to ensure the focus remains on the skills of the sailor.
The discussion was positively received by all manufacturers as they underlined their commitment to ensuring the continued growth of the discipline.
The criteria for suitable Equipment for the Olympic Offshore Event will be published no later than 31 December 2020 and the Equipment will be selected no later than 31 December 2023.
Manufacturers and Class Associations who wish to be considered should review the RFI and send the requested information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Promoters of sailing circuits, training camps, and event organizers seeking to incorporate double handed offshore are invited to contact World Sailing to contribute to the promotion of this exciting and fast growing discipline.