Thank you for your interest in the new Olympic Mixed Offshore Double-handed event and the US Sailing Team’s focus on this exciting discipline at the 2024 Olympic Games.
We hope to offer all available information on the event, the boat, and racing opportunities, including future events held both in the United States and abroad. Since this new Olympic event is evolving, details and plans are in development and regularly updated by both World Sailing and US Sailing, so please read more in the tabs below and check back for the latest news!
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The 2024 Olympic Games Offshore event will take place off the coast of Marseille for a three day, two night race in a boat 6-10 meters long. The plan is to adjust the course so that no matter the breeze or sea state, the race will remain at two nights to finish in the daylight of the third day. While physical stamina is always important at this level of our sport, experience in shorthanded long-distance offshore racing will certainly prevail. This level of racing ensures 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 appeals to a potentially new demographic of Olympic sailors, as an opportunity for Olympians, both elite small boat and offshore racers, younger athletes, and the more mature all to compete. For World Sailing’s video introduction to the event, click HERE.
The L-30, built in the Ukraine, has been selected as the boat for the 2019 Mixed Gender Doublehanded Offshore Europeans and the inaugural 2020 Offshore World Championships, held in Malta during the October 2020 Rolex Middle Sea Race. Despite this equipment selection, World Sailing has proposed waiting to announce the actual 2024 Offshore equipment, both boat and sails, until six-seven months before the Games. This ensures the focus of the event is on the teams’ talent and seamanship, not an arms race of finely tuned boats and rigs should the boat itself be prioritized over athlete training and preparation.
World Sailing has not yet published the NoR for the Offshore World Championship 2020, but the event will be raced in L30s from October 10-22, 2020, in Valetta, Malta alongside the Rolex Middle Sea Race.
US Sailing and the Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) released selection procedures for the 2020 Offshore World Championship on December 10, 2019.
- 2020 Offshore World Championship Selection Procedures (revised February 18, 2020)
World Sailing's initial presentation on the event can be found HERE and provides a good overview, though event details have been updated since its release.
Numerous events are already on the calendar for the 2020 season, with additional events created almost weekly! When registering for these events, pay close attention as there may be special safety requirements and procedures in order to successfully train and compete in the Mixed Offshore Doublehanded division.
For example, below are the requirements that were listed in the NOR for the 2019 European Mixed Offshore Championships, held October 8-11, 2019. Events in the US may require subtle variations on these policies. Keep in mind that this is merely an example, and you should always read the NOR closely.
6.1. Each skipper must personally register at the Race Office located in Lido of Venice from 10:00 to 14:00 on October 7, 2019.
6.2. The following documents shall be presented at registration:
- Certificate of competence (Yacht Master or equivalent).
- Valid certificate of Sea Survival Course.
- Valid certificate of VHF Radio Operator.
- If advertising is to be displayed, an authorization from the skipper's MNA.
- Crew information, including name, surname, weight, World Sailing Sailor ID and World Sailing Sailor Classification Code.
- Damage deposit of 1,500 euro (see 21–Damage Deposit).
- Contact phone number both on-boat and land, including the name of the contact person
- Liability acceptance form duly filled out and signed by both skipper and crew.
- This changes RRS 78.2.
Disclaimer of liability: I hereby submit the entry form according to RRS 2017-2020. I will participate in the regatta entirely at my own risk. See RRS rule 4, Decision to Race. The Organizing Authority, the Racing Committee and the Protest Committee will not accept any liability for material damage or personal injury or death occurring in conjunction with or prior to, during, or after the regatta.
Resources to satisfy the potential requirements:
2020 Mixed Offshore Doublehanded Events
Atlantic Cup | June 10-21
The Atlantic Cup is a hard-fought, intense double-handed offshore race held on the eastern seaboard of the United States every other spring in the even years. Over 1,000 nautical miles, the Atlantic Cup is the longest offshore race in the Western Atlantic. With three different stages - a long distance leg, a sprint leg and a crewed inshore series - the Atlantic Cup is one of the toughest sailing races around the world.
- Equipment: Class 40
Oakcliff Test Event | July 13-14
After last Spring's successful first test of mixed-gender double-handed distance racing on Melges 24's in Long Island Sound, Oakcliff is gearing up for round 2 with an expanded field for 2020's Distance Race. 6 teams of Oakcliff Shorthanded Acorn program trainee's will compete on our fleet of Melges 24's alongside an open entry Mixed Double Handed ORC class, and Oakcliff's growing fleet of 4 Farr 40 Turbos crewed by trainees in Oakcliff's Offshore Acorn Program.
With a 34-36 hour target time, it will be a must-attend prep event for Olympic hopefuls.
College Offshore Sailing Circuit – potential North East clinic/race | July/July
There are ongoing discussions with the management of the College Offshore Sailing Circuit to charter their 10 boat fleet of Figaro 2s (a 33’ boat similar to the short list of boats proposed for the 2024 Games) for a clinic/race somewhere between Newport and New York in Summer 2020. While still very much in the discussion phase, this clinic/race will be open to anyone, though a qualifying series may narrow the field to the final 10 for competition. It will greatly appeal to college sailors considering an Olympic campaign in the Mixed Offshore event.
Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac | July 18, 2020
The 2020 Chicago Mac plans to host a special division for the Mixed Offshore Doublehanded discipline, for both a one-design fleet as well as a rated ORR fleet in J-88s. The intention of the Chicago-Mackinac Race Organizers is to provide six (6) boats for charter with sails and a partial inventory of safety equipment. The US entry to the 2020 Offshore World Championships will be selected from one of the eligible teams competing in the Mixed Two Person division of the 2020 Chicago – Mackinac Race.
The Organizers also intend to allow entry to teams chartering or bringing their own J-88.
The inspection, measurement and equalization process for all boats, sails and the complete list of required safety equipment will be specified in the Notice of Race of the Chicago-Mackinac Mixed Two Person division.
- Contact: Jay Kehoe
Ida Lewis Distance Race | Newport, RI | August 14-25, 2020
The annual Ida Lewis Distance Race is scheduled to start on Friday, August 14, 2020. Classes will include Double-Handed boats of 28 feet or longer and will sail between 104 and 177 nm, depending on conditions. The start and finish of the race are off Newport’s historic Ida Lewis Yacht Club and includes turning marks at Castle Hill, Brenton Reef, Block Island, Montauk Point, Martha’s Vineyard and Buzzards Tower.
- Contact: Pat Kennedy
Annapolis Yacht Club Doublehanded Event | September 2020
Plans are underway to once again host the AYC Doublehanded event. Similar to the 2019 event, it will feature a one-design class sailed in J/105s and a rated class for boats 25’-35’.
- Contact: Linda Ambrose
2020 Mixed Offshore World Championships | Malta | October 10-22 2020
World Sailing has not yet published the NoR for the Offshore World Championships 2020, but the event will be raced in L30s from October 10-22, 2020, in Valletta, Malta alongside the Rolex Middle Sea Race. World Sailing may announce a series of qualification events for country (Member National Authority) quota places.
- At the November 2018 Annual Conference, World Sailing voted to accept the Offshore double handed mixed gender discipline at the 2024 Games.
- World Sailing’s mid-year meeting laid out the draft plans, goals and focus of the event, the courses, potential boats and how and when the Games boat will be selected
- Further details on when equipment will be selected for the Games
- Scuttlebutt: "How Olympic Sailing will go Offshore" (Aug. 16, 2019)
- World Sailing's "Mixed Two Person Offshore - New Sailing Event at Paris 2024" video announcement (Aug 16, 2019)
- Scuttlebutt: "Developing the Paris 2024 Keelboat Event" - information about equipment selection RFP (February 17, 2020)
- January 22-25, 2020
- Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race
- Equipment: Ocean racing and cruising monohull boats who comply with the requirements of the ORC (Offshore Racing Congress):
- ORC Requirement: Boats must have an offshore long-distance time on time rating factor of 0.880 and lower.
2019 EUROSAF Mixed Offshore European Championship
- October 8-11, 2019
- Venice -- Trieste (Italy)
- US Athletes: Peter Becker and Barbara (Basia) Karpinska
- Equipment: L30
- May 14-15, 2019
- Oyster Bay, NY
- Equipment: Melges 24s
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 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. One of the few American sailors to bridge the worlds of Olympic and offshore sailing, he has won 2 Olympic Medals, coached at three Olympic Games, and competed successfully in the Mini Transat, Barcelona World Race, and Volvo Ocean Race:
“To all Olympic Aspirants:
If you think you can sail hard for 60 hours and 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 skill set than the other Olympic classes. You will need to be a good sailor, a fast helm, a good trimmer, and a smart coastal tactician. But you will also need to have the endurance and toughness to race hard for 2-3 days straight, and forge a close working relationship with your partner. If this is of interest to you, there will 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 the VOR 2005-6 and 24hr/Transatlantic multihull and monohull races:
“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 two continuous days of 24-hour live internet feed. The scoring will be dead simple: the first boat into the Olympic Harbor wins 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 American sailors. Nobody knows whether age and experience will triumph over youth and energy! 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:
“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 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 the young and more experienced can compete. 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:
“The new doublehanded distance event is very exciting! As someone in the marine industry, this growing segment of the sport worldwide is 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:
“The new Olympic offshore doublehanded discipline is so exciting for our sport. This can and will bring Olympic sailing to the common man and woman! While perhaps not be the goal of the Olympic Committee or World Sailing, it is the 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 sport’s need to rally around our athletes, especially when this discipline makes it significantly easier to compete against the best! Look for the Chicago Mac Race, the 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! Good for the sport, and great for the USA!”
Stan Schreyer - North Sails sailmaker, long time Boston University head coach and potential offshore double handed mixed gender campaigner:
“I think the new Olympic Offshore discipline will be great for both Olympic Sailing and the sport as a whole, with a television-friendly format. 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.”