Giorgio Pizzarello from Italy is my friend. We share the same passion for racing and the 12footdinghy. Giorgio likes the situation that all dinghies have the same speed. I like the situation that all dinghies have the same slowness and will stay real classic. See the blog article all dinghies equal slow. Read Giorgio's interesting vision.
I have received, like many of you, one of the items of the agenda of the next Annual Meeting of the Dutch 12’ Dinghy Class, together with some thoughts of Fred Udo , Reinhard Schroeder and Pieter Bleeker. The item concerns the international future of the 12’ Dinghy. As it often happens, I agree with some concepts, I notice that certain things that have been written are incorrect and I don't agree at all with others. As you know, I have been the Chairman of the Italian 12’ Dinghy Class for 3 years and during that period I have organized with enthusiasm in Bracciano the first World Cup of the modern era (see the picture). In Bracciano I was second after Pieter Bleeker in the modern division, while with a classic dinghy I have won the Venice World Cup and have been third in the Portorose World Cup. Furthermore, I have attended to the meetings that have given birth to the Jolanda and to the Martini protocols, as well as to the recent meeting last October in Tuzla. On top of this, I am the only Italian sailor who owns a Dutch 12’ Dinghy, a Van der Meer, as well as other two Italian 12’ Dinghies (a VTR/ wood and a total wood Colombo of 2012). In the light of the above, I have therefore deemed it right and appropriate to give my contribution to the discussion, with the hope to be also able to clarify some concepts.
Some preliminar clarifications. In Italy we have achieved the very important goal to have similar speed in the water between VTR 12’ dinghies and wooden 12’dinghies (not all of them, of course). At the point that Paolo Viacava has won the Italian Championship in 2011 with a totally wooden 12’ Dinghy of recent construction. In the same event other two wooden Dinghies, of more than 40 years, arrived within the first 10 in a fleet of more than 70 boats . This means that the Italian wooden 12’ Dinghy has reached a very good compromise as far as speed is concerned. This didn't happen in one day, but is the result of small and progressive adjustments along the years ( the Dutch friends call it " modernization ") . We are proud of this, because, as I have said many times, the Italian 12’ Dinghy Class is the only one that has been able to have on the water Vtr and wooden boats that have similar performance as far as speed and structural solidity is concerned.
Recently, in Portorose, on the occasion of the Cockshott Trophy races ( the first day, 80/90 boats competing, wooden and vtr together, same start) the winner over all has been a wooden Dinghy and another one (myself )was forth. Furthermore, the three single races of that day have been won respectively by a wooden boat, a VTR/wooden boat, and by an only VTR boat.
This year at the Italian Championship the wooden boats didn't repeat the 2011 "exploit", but if you give a proper glance to the results ( 74 competitors), you will notice that the top Italian helmsmen of the wooden Dinghies weren’t there, while among the modern Dinghies there were almost all the best helmsmen including, just to make an example, Dodo Gorla, yes the one who won Olympic Medals and a Star World Championship !!!
In Italy we have 3 kinds of 12’Dinghies: VTR, VTR/Wood, only Wood (some of the latter are of recent construction, some are older). All together they represent a unique and united Sailing Class that every year counts on about 120 races . Only five of them are reserved today only to Wooden Dinghies ! In all the others all the different kinds of 12’Dinghies race together without any problem, with an overall result and in addition to it a separate classification for the wooden Dinghies. In Italy nobody talks, neither now, nor ever, of “an internal schism”. But maybe telling about it in Northern Europe is “instrumental”; as we say in Italy, it brings water to the mill of a certain “Propaganda” !?
I agree with Fred, Reinhard and Pieter on the fact that differences do exist between Dutch and Italian Classic 12’Dinghies, but I also think that today the road for a standardization is long and difficult, especially in the light of the huge distance existing between the Italian and the Dutch philosophy as far as the 12’ Dinghy is concerned.
On the contrary I do not believe that the French, the Swiss, the German , the Turkish , the Japanese and the Slovenians, are victims of anybody: they have the ability and the freedom to evaluate the things and the situation and to make their own choices.
Now some considerations and thoughts about the 4 alternatives that will be examined by the Dutch Annual Meeting of January 27, 2013.
- The first one (Close the borders)
I think it would be a pity and wrong as well ! In the last ten years we have had together so many pleasant and friendly meetings among dinghy sailors of many countries ! They have been successful sport wise and given rise to many exchanges and true friendships.
-The second one ( All dinghies start together in international events) ( i.e only one start, an over all result and also separate classifications for different kind of 12’ Dinghies). I think that this solution is appreciated and supported in Italy especially as far as the Cockshott Trophy is concerned, an event for which the Italian 12’ Dinghy Class, as well as the friends of the German Flotte Nord, care because it welcomes all types of 12’ Dinghies. As far as the World Cup is concerned, in the three modern editions that we have had, we always had separated starts, because the World Cup has always been valid as one of the races of the 12’ Dinghy Classic Trophy-Swiss and Global Cup Series, that is the Italian 5/6 races series reserved only to wooden dinghies. In my opinion this precedent can be maintained, but one could find an agreement on adding prizes on the basis of additional classifications.
In a recent meeting in Turkey (Tuzla) during the Turkish Cockshott event, it seemed that an understanding had been reached about international series, by identifying the Cockshott Trophy as the common international series for which each Nation would have organized a Race (common start, an overall classification and three classifications for modern dinghies, Dutch wooden dinghies and Italian wooden dinghies ), thus obtaining a higher concentration of boats, in a sustainable number of international events. The outcome of the Tuzla meetings has been published by Steve Crook on the 12’ Dinghy international web site. If on top of this somebody wants to organize in Northern Europe a Friendship Series between classic 12’ dinghies Dutch style: just do it !
It is really difficult for me to understand where the danger for Dutch wooden boats is !? In Italy , VTR boats do not seem to send wooden ones in " Museums ". For many different reasons somebody likes 12’ wooden Dinghies, somebody likes 12’ VTR Dinghies. Where is the problem ?
Besides, I like to repeat once more that in Italy the great majority of 12’ Dinghy owners, including those of wooden Dinghies, agree with this position, which is the official one of the Italian 12’DinghyClass.
- The third proposal (Separated Starts) I don't think this format would encourage sailors to make long journeys pulling their boat with the car, just to race (at least at present) against competitors that they can meet comfortably at home. This is the reason why last April, after Easter, we cancelled the trip to L'Ailette .
-The forth proposal ( The Compromise) And now I come to the forth proposal : the compromise ! Regarding this a preliminary clarification is necessary.
The International 12 foot Class Association, as far as I know, is not an association of Classes . It is a Committee composed by 3 volunteers whose role is to optimize the calendar of international races approved by National Classes. Furthermore Steve Crook , who is the President of the Committee, manages the international web site, financed by the Italian and Dutch Associations, a web site that is the "Home" of all 12’ Dinghy Sailors. In this respect I would like to take this opportunity to underline how much all of us is grateful to Steve for the job he carries on with passion, fairness and balance.
Under the circumstances the International 12 foot Dinghy Class cannot act as " neutral umbrella " over anything . Furthermore the Italian 12’ Dinghy Class has already expressed itself on this subject and does not take into consideration international agreements relating to 12’ Dinghy owners of only one kind of 12’Dinghy. This official position is very well known both at National and International level.
This forth proposal, in my opinion, is therefore not suitable for Italy.
Nevertheless I hope that the World Cup in Naples will take place with the same Format of the three previous editions and since it will be disputed in Italy, I believe that the Italian Class will make some Italian boats of different types available for foreign friends who don't want to travel so far away with their own boats. In Tuzla all those attending to the meeting, at personal title (R. Schroeder, W. De Boer, F de Bot) or in the name of their national associations/fleets ( Italy, Turkey, Switzerland, Germany) agreed.
Should then somebody decide not to come, I would be very sorry for him because he would miss an extraordinary event, in a beautiful place, where there is a very intriguing race field where the wind seldom lacks ! Not only that: he would loose the warm welcome of Naples and of it's old, prestigious Yacht Clubs and the opportunity to attend all together a big Festa ! For what I know of you, I trust it won't happen .
My best regards to all of you and wishes of good sailing, fair winds and happy time .