- News & Events
- No comments
The sailing community is once again divided after the Mixed Two-Person Keelboat Offshore event was announced for the 2024 Olympics due to take place in Paris. Changes in sailing programming often lead to mixed opinions, especially when the changes influence an important event like the Olympics. Someone’s gain is most often another person’s loss.
With Olympic sailing focused on high-performance vessels in short races, the concept of an offshore event was naturally questioned. On the other hand, shorthanded sailing is growing exponentially and the sailing community can’t deny the positive impact this is making on the sport. In this case, there is potential for gain in diversity, which has caused excitement in the female sailing community.
The Potential for Impact on Female Sailing
The female sailing community is taking a positive stance on the change, and members of The Magenta Project have highlighted some of its positive aspects:
- Offshore sailing is more relatable to a wider audience as it is easier to learn and understand. When a boat races from one point to the next, it’s easier to follow, as opposed to a windward, leeward course where boats are not traveling in the same direction.
- The human factor in offshore sailing has to be considered. Crews can use onboard cameras and live links to shore to post onto social media platforms. They can share progress, explain strategies, and express their feelings. Sailing fans can experience the race firsthand.
- Including mixed events in the Olympics will bolster the growth of female participation, despite barriers that continue to exist in the sport.
Pathways Could Still be Clearer
Gender diversity and socio-economic diversity have been major challenges in the sport, especially in offshore racing. It is now time for this to change. Recently, the Offshore Doubles Sailing Association was launched – an organization on a mission to support and strengthen the sailing community. And already, double-handed offshore sailing is becoming the fastest growing subdivision of the sport. These pathways have to be cleared and financially backed so that the women who are competing at this level get the necessary experience to become credible and competent in the sport.
Using Thrills to Drive Diversity
The Double-Handed Mixed Offshore Event is a thrilling development geared to illuminate all the aspects of offshore sailing with full media coverage. The doubles are geared to drive the sailing events in the Olympics while also working with the Magenta Project with a goal of creating awareness of the need for inclusion and diversity for female sailors in sailing events across the globe.
One of the toughest sailing challenges, The Ocean Race, is also one of the few sailing events that mandate for mixed crews across all teams. This is a catalyst for change and the pathway for women to achieve the highest levels possible in the sport. This race is particularly helpful to women who are interested in competing offshore.
Equality is Becoming a Reality
Events like The Ocean Race, and the latest changes to the Olympics, are driving equality and diversity in the sport like never before. The more opportunities for equality there are, the more it will become mainstream.