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Olympic sailing looks to go extreme

The world’s top Olympic sailors were in South Florida reading wind and waves aboard two-person dinghies, keelboats and windsurfers at the recent Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta. The sailing lineup has not really been altered much in the last 20 years. But that is about to change, and this regatta provided a sneak peek into the sport’s future.

While Olympic medalists were being towed to their courses, kiteboarders skimmed along at twice their speed attached to inflatable kites at the end of 80 feet of razor-thin lines.

A new Olympic slate of classes for 2016, proposed last fall by the International Sailing Federation, or I.S.A.F., has turned the traditional sailing fleet on its head in the hope of attracting young viewers and higher television ratings, creating a sort of X Games for sailing. If men’s and women’s kiteboarding is selected, it will replace windsurfing.

full story and pictures
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/10/sports/10sailing.html?_r=1&src=twrhp

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