UK Techno 293 OD Class 2007 Rigs
9 October 2006
The RYA and Techno Support Group confirm that the current Tushingham TK 68 and TK 78 sails remain as the chosen UK one design sails for all RYA Racing department supported activities for the 2007 season.
The â€˜one design' Tushingham TK rigs introduced at the start of 2006 have undoubtedly helped to create a level playing field for junior windsurfers in the UK, while at the same time keeping costs down to a reasonable level for parents. This not only supports the development of sailors through the highly successful RYA coaching programmes, but also provides close and exciting racing at regional and national level competitions. During 2006 we have regularly seen fleets in excess of 50+ boards at UK training and racing events and we hope that this will continue to grow next year.
Informal feedback from sailors and parents in the UK has been almost universally in favour of a one design concept for both rig and board.
For international competition, sailors are allowed to select individual components from a list of â€˜approved' rigs. With around 10 approved rigs for each age division, this means in practice that sailors are faced with having to make a choice from around 50 different components.
Both during and after the 2006 World Championships in Marsala, there has been much debate amongst sailors and their supporters about the relative performance of the various different rigs approved by the International Techno 293 Class.
We know that some manufacturers have already modified their sails and also that new 2007 sails are in development. The international class has already agreed that new rigs can be registered, so it looks probable that the â€˜approved' rigs looks will increase further until the next formal review point at the end of 2007.
This multiple and expanding range of rig choices means that it is almost impossible for a sailor to pick out a single â€˜best' sail for the whole range of conditions that might be faced at different venues. This situation is unfortunately moving the class towards an equipment â€˜arms race' where sailors with the money will buy the latest/condition specific sails in order to give themselves an edge. The RYA does not believe this is a desirable outcome for Junior racers for whom the focus is developing skills for international success at youth and olympic level.
The Tushingham TK one design rigs performed well in Marsala and British sailors won silver medals in both the U15 (Girl) and U17 (Boy) division. The TK rigs are definitely competitive internationally, particularly when observed across the full range of wind conditions. However, it is acknowledged that the system adopted by the International Class of an approved rigs list is allowing the ongoing development of new â€˜second generation' sails that may in time have a performance edge in specific conditions.
The RYA recognises that there is a need to provide those sailors capable of winning at international events with access to â€˜tools' that will enable them to compete equally against the very best of the new â€˜second generation' sails being developed in other countries. It has been agreed that Tushingham Sails, along with input from the RYA and key sailors in the class, will work on options for possible Mk2 sail designs, solely intended for use at international events. Should this situation progress we will issue further details will be communicated in due course.
In closing, it is worth reminding sailors that despite any developments which may occur, what is clear is that the biggest improvements in performance do (and always will) come from a commitment to regular, effective training over the winter and being 100% prepared for next season. For 90% of the fleet, both in the UK and abroad, a sail with a perceived performance edge will not make the difference around the race course, smart sailing and robust skills will!
TSG Open Training sessions have been arranged for the winter to support sailors on going development, so there is no excuse!
Techno Support Group