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No discards at the 2004 Olympic Regatta
Posted On:  18/11/2003 09:10:25

Here's one opinion... Tom Ehman (Olympic Jury Member in 1992 and 1996)

Finally! After years of debate, the drop race is being dropped from Olympic scoring. One can't blame Ben Ainsle and others for being a bit upset when the decision was taken less than a year before the next Games. Nor can one understand why the sole justification given for the decision was "to make the sport more understandable and exciting for the media" (by simplifying scoring and assuring that the last race always counts). While important, forget for a moment about the media -- it improves the regatta for the competitors as a whole:

+ OCS (premature starter / general recall) problems will all but end as sailors become much less willing to risk being over early, and those who are OCS will for for sure return to re-start which clears the first leg for those who started properly;

+ the leader can no longer use a throw-out race to "match race the nearest competitor into the tank;"

+ competitors will take even better care of their equipment, and be more resourceful in fixing on-course breakdowns; and

+ rules compliance in general will improve -- after a foul competitors will more likely take a 720, and be less likely to make the risky move to begin with.

As to DNF's resulting from a clear failure of supplied equipment through no fault of the competitor, they will be able to obtain redress from the jury same as with any other prejudicial act or omission of the organizing authority or race committee.

In the "old days" when the Olympic regatta was 7 races and had no 720, a throw-out made some sense. But with 11 races and a 720 in effect, it does not. Congrats to ISAF for taking the hard decision, albeit a bit late, and following the lead of the Farr 40 and other major classes which, increasingly, are throwing out the throw out. Good riddance. -

For a full report on the ISAF Conference go to:  http://www.imco.org/page0177v01.htm