Thank you for your interest in the new Olympic Mixed two-person Offshore event and the focus of the US Sailing Olympic Team on this exciting discipline in the 2024 Olympic Games. In this document we hope to offer all the available information on the event, the boat and opportunities including future events here in the United States and abroad. Since this new Olympic event is truly evolving, details and plans are regularly being developed and updated by both World Sailing and US Sailing so please check back to this document for the latest updates!
US Sailing is strongly behind this new discipline and has established a committee and strong leadership to guide the direction and support the athletes enthused to pursue will need.
Sally Barkow - Olympian, Yachtswoman of the Year, World Champion and Volvo Race competitor:
"The new mixed gender offshore Olympic discipline is such a great advancement for our sport. Offshore sailing has the opportunity to provide an inclusive platform for many different sailors from across all skill levels to get involved with the Olympic movement. We are really excited to embrace it here in the USA. Strong trimmers and drivers of all ages will have a chance to shine in the spotlight and enjoy developing as a double handed team while competing against the best in the world!”
Jonathan McKee - A valued member of the new Offshore mixed gender committee. He is one of the few American sailors to bridge the worlds of Olympic and offshore sailing. He has won 2 Olympic Medals, coached in three Olympics, and competed successfully in the Mini Transat, Barcelona World Race, and Volvo Ocean Race:
“Dear Olympic Aspirants,
If you think you can sail hard for 60 hours and might have what it takes to be an offshore Olympian, now is your moment! This is going to be an amazing event, showcasing a completely different skillset than the other Olympic classes. You will need to be a good sailor; a fast helm, a good trimmer, a smart coastal tactician. But you will also need to have the endurance and toughness to race hard for 2-3 days straight, and you will need to be able to forge a close working relationship with your partner. If this is of interest to you, there will increasingly be opportunities to develop your program, some driven or supported by the US Sailing Team, others from your own initiative. If you think this could be for you, I would encourage you to GET STARTED TODAY! Find a way to develop the necessary skills and experience, find a partner. Get out on the water any way you can and align yourself with other like-minded sailors to make it more fun and efficient. If you need advice on how to do this, feel free to contact me or any of the expert coaches and staff on the USST. No excuses!”
Stan Honey - Chair of World Sailing Oceanic and Offshore Committee and winning navigator for numerous events such as VOR 2005-6 and 24hr and Transatlantic multihull and monohull races says:
“The Olympic Offshore Event will dramatically increase the visibility of sailing in the Olympics. It will be the longest endurance event in the entire Olympic Games, and the only event with 24-hour per day internet video for two continuous days. The scoring will be dead simple; the first boat into the Olympic Harbor wins the Gold. The event will make Olympic sailing more relevant to existing sailors as it will be closely related to the type of sailing pursued by over 50% of sailors in the US. Nobody knows whether age and experience will triumph over youth and energy in this event. A good call on how to handle the inevitable wind transitions from nighttime drainage wind to afternoon seabreeze could make all the difference for the Gold, and the more experienced sailors might have the edge.”
Chris Groobey - Enthusiastic Annapolis YC member who provided support to their first Offshore mixed gender doublehand event, states below his thoughts and then reflections on lessons he learned after their successful event in the section “Past events and results in the US”.
“Offshore mixed gender doublehanded sailing is a great example of how the sport is evolving to support events that can be shared by not only the most dedicated Olympic sailors and alumni, but also we local weekend warriors and everyone in between who is excited to be a part of it all!”
Dawn Riley - Was the CEO and captain of America True, and the first woman to manage an America’s Cup sailing team. She has raced on four America’s Cup and two Whitbread (now Volvo Ocean Race) teams and says:
“I see this new discipline as a tremendous boost to making Olympic sailing relevant to a whole new set of sailors. Both young and “more experienced” can compete. To be honest, initially, I was skeptical about adding Offshore Sailing to the games. But after hosting a test Offshore doublehand event at Oakcliff last May, with media and in Melges 24s slightly modified for offshore sailing, I realized it is not only possible it is going to be cool.”
Allan Terhune - J/22 World and Lightning North American Champion, North Sails Salesman Annapolis AND enthusiastic potential campaigner for the 2024 games says:
“The new double handed distance event is very exciting! As someone in the marine industry, this a growing segment of the sport worldwide and what I believe to be part of the future. It is something all of us are and should be working to support and get off the ground. As a sailor, this is a huge opportunity. I love the fact that I could do this with my wife and chase our Olympic aspirations, which is something we couldn’t do in any other class. We can’t wait to see how this event develops and grows in the future.”
Jay Kehoe - Waterfront Director of Chicago Yacht Club and spokesman for the Chicago Mackinac distance race 2020 says:
“The new Olympic offshore doublehanded discipline is so exciting for our sport. This will and can bring Olympic sailing to the common man and woman! While this may not be the goal of the Olympic Committee or World Sailing it is a desperate shot in the arm our sport needs. With the plethora of current “short” offshore events that are always looking for entries this discipline gives every man a chance to sail with and against the best on an almost level playing field. Athleticism is always an advantage! But my sense is smart sailing, good seamanship skills and good old-fashioned common sense will likely prevail in the early stages of the quadrennium. This will help focus our sports need to rally around our athletes, especially when this discipline has made it significantly easier to compete against the best! Look for the Chicago Mac Race to have a doublehanded division, Block Island Race and Newport to Bermuda race to all focus and promote doublehanded sailing and racing. This type of racing can also be brought back to your local club and run some shorthanded racing! All and all it is good for the sport and will be great for the USA!”
Stan Schreyer - North Sails sailmaker, long time Boston University head coach and potential offshore double handed mixed gender campaigner says:
“I think the new Olympic Offshore discipline will be great for Olympic Sailing, and the sport as a whole. The format will be television friendly. In many ways, I think distance racing is easier for non-sailors to relate to - it is a battle against the elements as well as a competition with other boats. So, I think this will grow Sailing’s audience.”
The Olympic Games 2024 Offshore event is planned to take place off the coast of Marseilles in a boat 610 meters long and last 3 days and 2 nights. In fact, the plan is to adjust the course so that no matter the breeze or sea state the race will indeed be 2 nights and finish in the daylight of the third day. While physical stamina is always important in this level of our sport, experience in shorthanded long-distance offshore racing will certainly prevail. This level of racing will ensure that fitness, weather expertise, navigation, speed tuning, sail trim, seamanship, expert crewing and helmsmanship for both members of the team, as well as an excellent campaign strategy and of course, commitment will all come into play. Certainly, this event could appeal to a potentially new demographic of Olympic sailors. This is an opportunity for former Olympians, both elite small boat and offshore racers, younger and the more mature all to compete. Here is a link to a video produced by World Sailing: https://www.sailing.org/news/88920.php#.XZt7HUZKjF8
The L-30, built in the Ukraine, has been chosen as the boat for the 2019 Mixed Gender Doublehanded Offshore Europeans and the 2020 inaugural World Championships in Malta October 2020 during the Rolex Middle Sea race. One of the World Sailing proposals is to hold off announcing the actual 2024 Offshore equipment- boats and sails- until 6-7 months before the games. The goal is to ensure the focus of the event is on the teams’ talent and seamanship and not an arms race of boat speed fined tuned boats and rigs that could happen when buying the exact boat to train in becomes a priority.