Important discussions at RS:X AGM on opening day of Worlds
The opening day at the RS:X World Championships saw registration and equipment inspection take place for the 245 athletes from 41 nations as well as the RS:X Class AGM being held as part of the event being held in Torbole, Italy.
Carlo Della Vedova, President of the RS:X Class, opened the AGM with positivity for the class and windsurfing in that the 2019 RS:X World Championships had its biggest ever attendance since it was last in Torbole in 2006. Especially seeing over 100 women competing for the first time were all positive signs of growth for the class association.
The members of the association received a positive report from Neil Pryde on the supply and consistency of RS:X equipment. Marco LeConte, representing Neil Pryde, confirmed that in nearly all cases all orders had been fulfilled and that Neil Pryde were building up a stock buffer to prevent issues in the future. LeConte also confirmed that they had employed ex-Olympian Julien Bontemp as a sailors representative to directly collect feedback from the sailors and feed this back into the production process for further refinement. All of this will lead to incremental increases in quality of the equipment.
The RS:X Class also received report from the Executive members, including the coaches representative and sailors representative and the class chief measurer. Diderik Baker, coach representative, reported on the successful Emerging Nations program which had been delivered through 2019 – the focus of which is to get more countries to Olympic standard in time for 2020. Baker noted that interest had unfortunately dropped towards the end of the year due to uncertainty of the future of the class.
Bryony Shaw, Olympic sailor representative, reflected on some of the challenges around the equipment in the past 12 months but was pleased to note that Neil Pryde had taken positive steps to look at this. Shaw also gave feedback on the unstable situation with World Sailing and the uncertainty of the RS:X Class which was having a direct negative effect on sailors preparations. Specifically, the equipment to be used at 2020 was a major concern for athletes who have already started to shift their sights to Tokyo next summer.
Bas Edmonds, Class Chief Measurer, gave a report on the progress made on resolving the fin concerns from 2018. Edmonds reported that a significant amount of work with Cobra and Neil Pryde that the 66cm fin looks to be in much better place in terms of consistency and durability.
After the AGM, discussion turned to an open forum for equipment for 2020 and 2024 with the members giving the executive a number of options to take forward to World Sailing to help support them in the delivery of the 2020 Olympic Games.
In the background to the AGM, sailors were carrying out final equipment checks, putting on sail numbers onto crisp new sails, and going for a final warm up on Lake Garda. The evening saw a fantastic evening parade through the welcoming village of Torbole before local dignitaries welcomed the RS:X Class and its sailors, coaches and volunteers to the region with some local dancing, music and food.
Racing starts on Tuesday 23rd September with the medal races taking place on Saturday 28th September. Daily videos, news and updates can be found on the event website. Live tracking will be available from Wednesday 24th September
Text – RS:X Class
Images – Robert Hajduk
Website – www.rsxclass.org/worlds2019