ISAF Council has reviewed and reversed the decision to do away with a Drop Race at the Olympic Games. The Athens Olympic Regatta will be run under the Drop Race System previously announced which means the sailor can drop 1 race.
The No Drop Debate has, in my opinion, been very productive as many issues which previously had only been "Boat Park Rumours" were put on the table mostly by the sailors.
The sailors have challenged ISAF to correct the issues that concern them which made them demand that they be protected from arbitrary decisions by Officials .
They believed that the Drop Race lessened the chance of their results being impacted by either a discriminatory decision or a mistake by the Race Officials.
Some of the issues which were put on the table which must be corrected are: (Olympics Only)
- Scoring when the Time Limit kicks in.
- Number of races allowed in each class each day.
- OCS and informing the sailors. With the small Olympic fleets this should not be difficult.
- Perception of an unbiased Rule 42 assessment.
- Measurement issues especially impounding of sails.
One issue which was put forward which I personally did not agree with was the need to stop one sailor legally driving another sailor back in the last race as happened in Sydney in the Laser.
This has always been part of sailing where you sit on your closest competitor so as to give them "Bad Air". It is a traditional part of Sailing. I watched the last race in Sydney where Ben Ainslie match raced
Robert Scheidt. These two top sailors in the World ended up over 1/2 a leg behind. Scheidt finally got through Ben, all legally, and took off after the fleet. He almost made it but Ben prevailed to win Gold with Robert the Silver. It was one of the greatest dinghy races I have ever watched.
The major request from the sailors was that ISAF institute a program of ensuring top qualified Race Officers, who are knowledgeable about the specific classes, be initiated for all Grade 1 events. Most sailors clearly point out that qualified Race Officers are the most important aspect of ensuring good racing. ISAF must positively respond to this challenge. -- Paul Henderson, President, International Sailing Federation