Although World Sailing and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) scrapped plans for a mixed double-handed offshore class for the 2024 Olympic Games, the genie is already out of the bottle. The idea of this new Olympic class had proved to be controversial, but the concept of a one-design 30-something-footer sailed by just two has sparked a great deal of interest across a wide range of ages and abilities, while at the same time aligning with a growing trend offshore.
Although the Olympic short-handed rug has now been pulled from under our feet, the sport has been left with a range of interesting production-built designs. To some, the number of new designs was a clear indication of the competition between builders to deliver the next Olympic class. But, as those that have played this game before will know, pitching to be the next class at the Games can be an expensive and commercially unrewarding exercise, especially if you don’t win.
Little surprise, therefore, that when builders launched their new double-handed pocket rockets they were keen to state that the Games wasn’t the goal. Some have successfully built fleets that offer good, close racing while being competitive in the handicap world.
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