Organisation/Reports to ISAF/2006
2006 annual report for
International Raceboard Class
2006 class membership fees were received from 18 countries, representing 3 continents.
The class successfully held its 2005 World Championship in Cadiz at the end of the year, following our report at last year's November conference, attended by 130 sailors from 24 countries and 4 continents; two thirds sailing RS:X boards.
In 2006, despite the relatively slow availability of new 'hybrid' boards, 51 competitors, from 6 countries, entered the new successful Raceboard Youth World Championships in August, limited to hybrid boards. The majority of the youth fleet was made up from sailors using RS:X boards although new Bic, Exocet, Starboard boards where also present. The Bic hybrid board dominated the podium displaying strong performance in lighter conditions. The wider availability of these boards in 2007, some of these costing almost 40% less than an Olympic board, augur well for next year's Youth World Championship in Formentera, Spain.
This year's championship formed part of the hugely successful Junior, Youth and Masters annual festival of racing, this year held in Marsala, Sicily.
The Masters fleet, conversely, was comprised only of traditional longboards.
The 2006 World Championship will be held in Thailand at the end of November. It will provide the first real opportunity for "hybrid" racers to compete in a major international event against both traditional and "new generation" longboards on a wider array of boards. Charter boards have already been pledged from Exocet, Starboard (Phantom) - possibly Mistral and Bic charter will be added. The event will be the first opportunity to race in a raceboard fleet for a number of these boards. In addition to the boards already available on the market, Starboard and Exocet will be racing there latest new generation longboards: the Phantom and the Warp respectively.
The Class AGM will be held during these Championships. There are no proposals to alter class rules - stability being a major factor in encouraging growth. Changes to championship rules, however, will be considered as a means of adding variety and interest to racing. The class is proposing to have two major divisions going forward: "hybrids" (up to 3.20 metres) and "longboards" (3.20 metres to 3.80 metres) which will continue to race together.
Two comments from the class's 2005 Report spring to mind:
"Manufacturers and 'brands' must encourage participation - send pro riders to events and support grass roots development."
Thankfully, the industry has responded positively - some top riders have pledged to attend the Worlds; and the Kona, Warp, Phantom, and Prodigy class projects are targeted at developing "recreational racing" around the world. In no other year in the recent history of our sport have so many new raceboards been developed. The class is confident that this development will lead to a resurgence in recreational racing.
Raceboard Class is now a vital element in the development of future Olympic windsurfing equipment".