The Olympics are the highest podium for athletes, amongst them sailors. The best of all professional sportsmen in the world, compete once every four years at a unique event at a central location.
Athletes work and train throughout their career to perform at the highest level. The same for their equipment and material. Like sailing, all sports have experienced an enormous development: Usain Bolt would not run the 100-metre dash in 9:58 second on the same shoes as Jesse Owens did in 1936!
Like Bolt’s shoes, Olympic Sailing material development has also been impressive. The boats, hundred years ago, then state of the art, were made of wood or steel with cotton sails and without joystick, spinnaker or trapeze. The designs of then are now considered slow and heavy. In a world of Olympic plastic and skiffs some predecessors might look dated. However, many former Olympic classes are still active as international classes sailed at high level by sailors, from all around the world.
For example, the 12’ Dinghy, active at the Olympics in 1920 and 1924, is still today active in regattas in twelve different countries on three different continents. More recent, the in 1910 designed Star, the primary Olympic keelboat from 1932 through 2012, may have lost its Olympic status but not its Olympic reputation! Still this keelboat is raced by the some of the best sailors worldwide.
The Olympic history has produced many of these beautiful designs stills fit for sailing at high level all around the globe. Besides the two classes mentioned earlier the Europe, 2.4 Metre (active at the Paralympics), Olympiajol, 12m2 Sharpie, Flying Dutchman, Yngling, Soling, Dragon, 5,5 Metre, 6 Metre, are all internationally active and racing at high level. Some the boats have kept their original standard (more or less), others have kept pace with ongoing technical development with materials and techniques used.
Apart from their shared Olympic heritage, they have more in common. The boats are sailed by a large group of fanatic regatta sailors from numerous countries all over the world. Most classes have developed and improved and are still modern racing machines. With modern materials and equipment and sailed by the best, sometimes professional sailors.
Specially developed for these classes the first Vintage Yachting Games was organized in 2008 in Medemblik, the Netherlands. A multi-class sailing event for former Olympic and Paralympic classes. After it successful start, this event is, like the Olympic Games, repeated every four years. In 2012 it took place on Lake Como, Italy. With almost 200 boats and 400 sailors from 4 continents and 27 countries is was highly successful.
The 2016 edition at Weymouth, the 2012 Olympic sailing arena, unfortunately had to be cancelled at the latest moment. Therefore, this led to a new Olympic schedule, the Vintage Yachting Games will now be raced coinciding with the Winter Olympics. The 2018 the Games will bring the fleet of the former Olympic and Paralympic Classes to Copenhagen, Denmark. The hosts, a cooperation between the Royal Danish Yacht Club and the Hellerup Sailing Club will organize the regatta and the social activities including a grand opening and Gala dinner. These sailing clubs who themselves are the cradle of many Olympic sailors are medal winners among them Paul Elvstrøm!
Recently the organization published the Notice of Race and opened the registration via Manage2sail.com. The Vintage will take place between September 16 and 22 (first day of racing Sept. 18th). The host Clubs and racing water will guaranty high-level racing and hospitality.ll take place up to 25 registered boats per class. See the NOR for details on restrictions of materials used. In case too many register, the final starting list will consider representing countries and ranking. Several former Olympic sailors and current champions have indicated their interest to compete at this unique event at this perfect location. But also, for the less high aiming sailors counts: you cannot get closer to an Olympic aspiration!
See you all in Copenhagen
Rudy den Outer
Daily management Vintage Yachting Games Organization