49er Votes To Recommend Theatre Style Racing for Rio

On Sept 22nd, after 12 months of testing and 3 years of preparation the 49er & 49erFX fleet have voted to recommend that Theatre Style Racing be used for the final of the 2016 Olympics in Rio.  There was also overwhelming support for the scoring weight of the final day of the regatta be made equal to the weight of any other day of the Olympic regatta.


Theatre Style Racing is the name given to our restricted courses that have been used on the final days of 49er regattas in 2013.  A lane rope is placed on either side of the race course so that sailors must stay together in the center of the course and engage with each other.

By coming out strongly behind Theatre Style racing, the class is saying to ISAF and the IOC “we’re ready for primetime!”  The power rests within ISAF who will decide the format for all classes at the 2013 ISAF Meeting in Oman this November.  Class president, Marcus Spillane, was proud of the class, “When ISAF started looking into formats for Rio, the class decided to be proactive, follow up on our own ideas, and try to contribute to the process.  After a year of hard work by our format committee, regatta organizers, race officials, and jury members, to get a vote of confidence from the class says a lot about the attitude our sailors have about pushing for excellence.”

On Saturday night was the class open forum, where over 100 sailors discussed and debated the issues.  A straw poll was held with roughly 75% of those in attendance voting to recommend theatre style racing for Rio.  Then on Sunday night was the World Council meeting, the formal class voting mechanism where the national representatives vote.  With 19 countries represented along with the executive members, the vote was 47 For, 7 against with 9 abstentions.  Both of these votes send a clear message to ISAF that the class has looked long and hard at this issue and are ready to create a spectator experience in Rio that rivals any other event at the games.

A number of other items were discussed at the Open Forum and World Council meetings.  There is an initiative being tested at the 2013 worlds to race 20 minute races instead of 30 minute races, and the class will get feedback following the worlds.  The class members also voted to assign the rights to their jibs to the association, who may now negotiate with sponsors on their behalf to attract additional event and class sponsors.  We hope that as we expand our commercial approach and appeal that sponsors will jump on board and help us reach our fan base.

Outgoing executive members Sumeet Patel (CFO) and Kristen Lane (USA) are thanked for their service to the class.  Sumeet has been our CFO for 7 years now and has done much for the class to secure it’s current financial stability during his term.  Kristen has been wonderful this year as she was co-opted to be the first 49erFX Vice President until we could hold an election.

Joining the executive are our long time race officer David Campbell James who is also an accountant.  He will be our new CFO and as he already works so much for the class will now join the executive officially.  Also, Jena Hansen from Denmark is elected as the vice president of the 49erFX.  She will work hard to represent the sailors and the views of the 49erFX especially so that the executive can remain on target.  There was also a vote to add 2 more vice presidents, one for 49er and one for 49erFX that passed.  We are looking for one more sailor from each fleet to join us, so write in to the class if you are interested.