Well, I hear you say, the idea of a middle gate has been around for some time
Yes, I must admit it has but this time it has been put in a context in which we have not seen before... Let me explain
This is an idea that the ISAF Olympic Commission are looking at within their brief to analyse and stratgise what ISAF should be doing in terms of making sailing in the Olympics as relevant as possible to the IOC goals.
Naturally TV, that is terrestrial TV, is high on the list of items that sailing could do better. Not just at the Olympic Regatta but also over the whole quadrennial leading up to it. Remember that the IOC do not just look at what happens at the Games but also how relevant each sport's offering is over a much wider spectrum.
So Phil Jones [AUS] and his co-comissioners are considering this middle gate idea for the medal races for the following reasons
a) including a middle gate cuts down the width of the course which could bring land spectators closer to the centre of the action
b) including a middle gate would make it easier for a spectator to tell more often who is leading and therefore more understandable
c) this would make the spectacle more exciting for the viewer
d) racing would be easier to televise and commentate upon
Whilst I have some sympathy with the thinking behind this concept, it first needs to be tested by the sailors before we can make recommendations based on a blind survey similar to the one we did after the 2009 RS:X Youth World Championship in Yalikavak.
Please do not hesitate to tell us what you think...