Thursday, November 15, 2007

It's starting......

Got sent this today....

New Zealand Paper Tigers Owners Association Inc.

President Secretary
Glenn Syman Lynley Manning
30 Duchess Place
15 November, 2007

To the YNZ Chief Executive and
YNZ Olympic Committee

ISAF Selection of Olympic Classes for 2012

Dear Des

Can you please distribute this letter to the YNZ Olympic Committee and YNZ Board members as appropriate.

It was with considerable disappointment that we have learnt that the multihull class has been not been selected to sail at the 2012 Olympics. We cannot understand how ISAF can claim that the selection is a “showcase of the wide range and diversity of sailing” while the multihull class has been excluded.

We are aware that Yachting New Zealand voted to exclude the multihull class. This vote was significant to the overall result. Can you, or the YNZ Olympic Committee please advise on the basis that this vote was cast.

The Tornado class has been very successful in past contests for New Zealand. Multihull classes are well supported across New Zealand, and in turn deserve the support of YNZ.


Glenn Syman

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


As I've said I am totally in disbelief at the recent ISAF move to discard the multihull from the Olympic Games.

Here's my recent rant on the subject from

In answer to criticism of the age of the Tornado design:

First find a better boat. The Multihull Trials couldn't. The other designs were all newer but in terms of sheer refinement and reliability, not to mention speed, all fell short. No surprise there given the investment over many years on improving the Tornado while staying true to the basic form .

Look also at international fleet spread and the durability of the universally accepted manufacturers product - Marstrom - where the quality is so good now that some boats last more than one Olympic cycle.

So you could not find a better boat that ticks all those boxes. Why on earth would you start from scratch anyway? I am sure that you could design and build a much faster boat within the same or more economical parameters. But could you get the same sort of performance gain the 49er achieved over the FD? And is it even necessary? So I believe the Tornado could remain as a great representative in the Multihull slot.

But I'm gutted about the loss of the Multihull berth for several other reasons:

(next rant starts here.....).

One is that like the Americas Cup, the TP52's and the VO70's constant investment leads to refinement and an eventual trickle down of technology that benefits us all. Such as Tornado refinements and techniques like wild thing, mild thing, batten technology, some of the Marstrom construction and fitting innovations, sail design - more recently gennaker design and handling advances etc etc. It's great for our sport.

Next, the Olympic circuit naturally builds a quality of sailors that exceeds the standards in most if not all other classes. Just look at the results of the A Cat worlds after 2 races and count the number of current or past T sailors who have jumped in - some just for this regatta - and are immediately in the top 15 or so). So in order to succeed you have to beat, and be, the best. That's fairly worthy.

Not all developments work out well. I personally believe the carbon mast was unnecessary in the context of maintaining class strength and a mistake for the class in terms of the decision and/or its implementation. Of course there are performance gains for the boat but I question whether they were needed. Regardless the single manufacturer concept and the resulting 4,500 Euro plus freight/tax etc cost (which can't really be short-cut) created a division and killed the depth of the class overnight in NZ and no doubt in other countries. And I think that gives a pretty good pointer to what might happen if a brand new cat class was introduced.

I do care about TV coverage and it pisses me off that the last couple of Olympic Regattas have been totally awful in that regard.

But my main point is that we as multihull sailors and aspiring athletes - and I use that term in the very broadest sense of the word (maybe I should say sportspeople instead!) - who aim to compete and succeed at the very top level were privileged to have the Olympic Gold as that goal. Even in these dark days of drug taking in many sports, for sailors it doesn't come any better than that. How on earth can anyone feel good about that opportunity being taken away from such a major arm of our sport - even if they themselves didn't aspire to pursue it!

Rant over!

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I am in a state of shock today - the multihull has been dropped from the 2012 Olympic Games.

Outrageous decision.