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At the conclusion of their mid-year meetings, the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has announced that kiteboarding will replace windsurfing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and that the New Zealand designed MacKay FX (now 49er FX) will be the new Olympic womens’ skiff discipline.
Yachting New Zealand is disappointed with the decision to replace windsurfing, however the announcement has also brought some welcome news for the NZ Sailing Community and Marine Industry through the confirmation of the 49er FX.
“We have recently invested significant resources into rebuilding windsurfing within our development programmes” said YNZ’s Chief Executive Dave Abercrombie. “This is a major setback but if it’s a fait accompli, we will have to adapt and get up to speed as soon as we can”.
Until more information is made available, including equipment and race format for the kiteboard, Yachting New Zealand is somewhat hamstrung in any decision making.
“In the meantime will be putting our high performance team together and will identify existing talent on the kiteboard, develop a pathway for youth to enter the sport, and investigate a racing structure”. Abercrombie continued.
Yachting New Zealand does not currently have a pathway to support sailors starting to kiteboard, developing skill or excelling on the world stage. In March 2011, YNZ’s Board of Directors sent a submission to ISAF to include both kiteboarding and windsurfing.
New Zealand’s MacKay Boats (who currently build the men’s 49er and other Olympic classes) have had their equipment selected for the 2016 Women’s two person skiff event, and the impact will settle deep within the sailing commuity and marine industry.
“It is an accolade of boat design and delivery for this to be going to the world market, and our women can be supported quickly into race mode” said Abercombie. “It is the best possible outcome for Dave MacKay and John Clinton who have put tireless effort into the development of these classes”.
Other companies within the marine industry will also see the benefit long term, including Southern Spars who will build the rigs, and North Sails who will make the sails. Also of great benefit are the skiff sailors, as the existing development pathway will be strengthened and participation increased for both men and women.
The inclusion of kiteboarding, a women’s skiff, and mixed multihull will certainly lift the excitement and visibility of the sport, and provide inspiration to a younger generation.
The final events and equipment to be included for Rio 2016 Olympic Games are...
Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser
Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Men's One Person Dinghy (heavy) - Finn
Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470
Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470
Men's Skiff - 49er
Women's skiff - 49er FX
Mixed Two Person Multihull - Nacra 17