With the emphasis by the International Olympic Committee for there to be events in which men and women compete together, the proposed Sailing Program for the Paris 2024 Games will convert the current format which has separate men’s and women’s racing in a two-person dinghy event to one mixed event.
The 470 Class has been used as the equipment for the two-person dinghy racing, and in an effort to remain involved in the Olympic Games, the organisation is looking to the 2019 season to test the concept.
This will occur at the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Iberostar, one of the most important Olympic Classes regatta in the World, in which the 50th anniversary edition of the Balearic event will host the introduction of mixed teams in the two-person 470 Class.
From March 29 to April 6, approximately 1,000 sailors from 55 nations will meet in the bay of Palma, distributed in the traditional ten Olympic fleets. But in this edition, the 470 Men and Women will be joined by the 470 Mixed, with crews formed by one male and one female, acting either as skipper or crew.
This new category will sail with the 470 Men for its world debut in Majorcan waters.
“It is an honour and pride for the Sofía Iberostar to be pioneers once again thanks to the close relationship with the classes and sailors,” said Ferran Muniesa, the event’s General Manager. “The request to introduce the mixed event came from the International 470 Class with the purpose of offering teams the chance to start testing at events with views to Paris 2024.”
While the top teams will remain gender based to prepare for Tokyo 2020, the first 470 mixed teams will mostly see youth teams that take a chance in the new category six years away from the Olympic target. They will have to overcome many obstacles along the way, the first of them being to find the balance on board with the new crew.
“We have already seen in the Nacra 17, also a mixed event, that it is not always easy to have mixed male and female teams due to an important psychological factor,” adds Muniesa. “But the IOC is determined to boost gender equality in sport and the Sofia Iberostar supports the concept, aware of the need to configure a fairer and more equal society at all levels.”