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Foil Kites Banned for Racing in 2015?

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Freddy B
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Re: Foil Kites Banned for Racing in 2015?

Postby Freddy B » Tue Oct 20, 2015 9:09 pm

While there are some great points here, I think a few things are missing in this discussion. One thing that is accurate, is that pinning a sport to a single style of equipment is detrimental to entry and progression of talent in the sport.

As a background, I am and have been an avid racing sailor since I was 7 years old. I have competed in many international one design and PHRF events from an 8 foot optimist dinghy for kids, up to 70+ foot yachts.

The one big advantage to the optimist dinghy, a one design boat, was that it was relatively inexpensive and allowed for a huge contingent of kids to learn an become competitive in the sport for generations. I saw a recent article that over 90% of gold medal winners in the Olympics started in such a boat. This has been a great draw to the sport, and is a big reason that we have such a large talented pool of sailors today.

That said, racing has its origins in many boats, PHRF in the US and IRC has allowed boats of all sizes to race against each other with different ratings. Some regattas have a mix of one design fleets and mixed design boats to encourage as much participation in the sport as possible. You see this in your grand prix automotive racing as well.

What I see for the sport is a mixed class of racing. Some will be inclined to purchase an LEI that is good for both racing and kiter cross events. These events can be held together and trophies awarded for each one. And the advanced racing can be limited to foil kites, or they can have a specific class if one wishes to go into that arena. You can even make a time factor as in the IRC and PHRF and let both foil and lei kites race together with a certain seconds per mile of upwind racing to be able to score everyone together for lower turnout events. I regularly race in my local racing events when we owe and are owed time by other boats depending on the course. Even most of you windsurfers have seen different classes in your racing boards over the years.

The effect of this will allow more people to be able to try out this side of the sport, and will absolutely bring more talent to the sport over time by including those who either can't do the other tricks or would be shunned due to economics over their choice of entry into a sport that could easily be more inclusive.

Hopefully this gets read, as I believe that kite racing will take the sport further than just being a judged trick sport. And this will bring more money and entrants to the sport than might have looked at it previously. Hell, I still remember old Joe Kool out of California rigging up a trimaran with a kite instead of a sale. And just looking at the way sailing has gone to foiling and speed, I can help but think kiting helped push some of those previous notions of what sailing was into the flying realm.

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