RYA U-turn on catamarans

The RYA have responded to the outrage over their amendments to the ISAF Council which omitted catamaran events and classes from future Olympics and the
Youth World Championships.

In an apparent turn around, the RYA statement has announced that the RYA
Council will debate the issues and review its decision at their next
meeting which is scheduled for Wednesday 3 October.

The two submissions to the ISAF Council provoked a furious response from
the UKCRA.

‘This would not only set back youth catamaran sailing worldwide but the
knock-on effect of this would be to cost Britain its chances of ever again
winning an Olympic gold medal in catamaran racing,’ said Reg White, who won
the very first catamaran gold medal.

‘Without developing the youth teams, Britain will be sunk in future
catamaran competitions,’ he said.

Excerpt from the RYA statement:

The RYA is aware of the strength of feeling from UK-based multihull
sailors, surrounding submissions from the RYA to the 2007 ISAF Conference,
due to take place in early November, which relate to the future status of
multihull events in both Youth and Olympic Classes programmes.

First and foremost, RYA firmly believes that catamaran racing is a vital
and vibrant part of the sport of sailing in the UK and recognises the work
carried out by the Catamaran Class Associations in generating and
supporting activity.

Decisions on the future direction of the global sport of sailing remain the
responsibility of the International Sailing Federation. However, difficult
decisions have to be taken from time to time because of the expense of
running competitions in a multitude of classes and restrictions placed on
the sport by the IOC.

It’s regrettable that certain parties feel the consultation process on this
issue was lacking. Within the RYA the decision making process was
consistent with our normal practice; there was no attempt to hide the
policies. These issues were discussed by specialist [non-executive] groups,
who then had their views commented on by the RYA Racing Committee. After
this the ISAF proposals were then submitted to the RYA Council who are the
final arbiters in the UK.

As a consequence of the attention that these two proposals have received
from the Cat community in the UK and overseas, the RYA Council will debate
the issues and review its decision at their next meeting which is scheduled
for Wednesday 3 October. Council members will be provided with a selection
of representative emails, letters and web forum addresses as well as this

Representatives of the RYA are planning to meet Rob White and Brian Phipps
on Monday 8 October in the late afternoon/early evening, venue TBC but
probably London. Should representatives of the UK umbrella catamaran
organisations and the Hobie and SL16 classes wish to attend could they
email racing@rya.org.uk so that we can let interested parties know the
exact time and venue.