The International Olympic Committee’s rejection of the mixed-sex double-handed offshore event proposed by World Sailing for the the Paris 2024 Olympic regatta in Marseille means that sailing’s arguably most engaging and entertaining discipline will not be showcased to a mainstream sporting audience.
That’s a pity for all concerned, as the potential for captivating content coming from a fleet small one-design keelboats, co-skippered by top class male and female sailors would be high. Case in point – this short film by Tim Butt from Vertigo Films chronicling the highs and lows of British duo Shirley Robertson and Henry Bomby’s Sunfast 3300 entry Swell in the double-handed class at the recent Rolex Fastnet Race.
It’s a great watch and really gives you a feel for what it was like to be there on the boat through the stormy start from the jam-packed Solent, the pair’s 0200 pitch black rounding the Fastnet Rock, and their 24-hour light airs match race along the English Channel to the finish in Cherbourg.
Just imagine the live broadcast Leon Sefton and a full production team from The Ocean Race could have put together in 2024, with a full fleet of boats scattered across the Bay of Marseille, and a clutch of shiny Olympic medals up for grabs for the first three boats home.