Originally Posted by Unregistered
What other class has actually grown when it went Olympic?
Lots of the dinghy classes have died out (in terms of having widespread fleets) after becoming Olympic, or become much smaller. The Olympic dinghy classes normally get fewer boats racing than similar non-Olympic boats.
Remember when they said that the RSX would get huge fleets because it would get the FW sailors and the IMCO sailors together?
Why risk hurting FW?
49er grew with Olympic selection; Laser is definitely growing at the moment I would guess including the radial rig version - both olympic specific developments from existing fleets; without olympics neither would exist.
There are lots of reasons why things grow and die; being an olympic class need not be the kiss of death; choosing a board a little too early in the design process (RSX), making it uneccessarily high tech and then over priced (RSX), launching it with a rather average rig and design issues that had to be addressed (RSX) and then not letting anyone buy it who isn't campaigning for Olympics (RSX) would seem to be good reasons to make a class die if it is no longer the Olympic class.
I am still a fan of the 4 year cycle update similar to the 2 years formula cycle update; goes to a panel each time in the olympic year, and then the selection is made for the following olympics based on prevailing winds, best technology and to a brief created by the industry for a OD 4 year cycle board that meets a certain price point, can hold racing in 3-30 knots, has ideally 1 rig, is reliable, has solid worldwide distribution, ideally fits within an existing rule, etc etc.
The IMCO shows what happens if you play with evolution.
I just don't see how formula would suddenly die if you started allowing a single formula board into the olympics. I don't see the longboard proponents suggesting that the IMCO caused longboarding to die; if anything that was the only lifeline keeping them alive in racing for a large part of the world until the recent resurgence; and the resurgence of non pumping OD longboards like the Kona don't have too much to do with the IMCO and RSX type boards anyhow, and yet have if anything gained from the efforts the industry put in (Exocet included) in creating the holy grail of the 3-30 knot racer which led to the Kona in some respects.
Why the industry should base itself on the boat building industry which doesn't have nearly the level of cost effective innovation in it I have no idea. We are more similar to the snowboard industry; I don't see anyone still racing GS in soft boots on a burton backcountry when they could be rocking a Kessler with Hangl plate.