Multihull back for 2016 Olympic Games

The much-criticised decision by the International Sailing Federation to cut the multihull class out of the Olympic Games in 2012 has been reversed for 2016 at the annual general meeting in Athens .

But it could be at the expense of a competition in which Britain ’s Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson hope to defend successfully the gold medal they won in China , the two-man Star keelboat.

The Stars will not go down without a fight and the recommendations of the equipment committee have still to be ratified by the ISAF council. Other recommendations include possibly introducing a kiteboard instead of a windsurfer and making the 470 dingy a mixed class as the women’s division in that boat moves into a high performance dinghy to match the men’s 49er.

But the committee wants to retain the keelboat class for women and has retained two singlehanders for men, the heavyweight Finn and the lighter Laser.

The final package for the 10 sailing events scheduled for Rio in 2016 will not be finally ratified until the mid-year meeting in 2011.

Past the halfway point of the Route du Rhum race from St. Malo to Guadeloupe , Pete Goss lies 15 th in his 44-strong Class 40 fleet on DMS with Richard Tolkien 30th on ICAP Orca.

The Olympic high performance dinghy, the 49er, will race alongside Extreme 40 catamarans in the Extreme Sailing Series in 2011 in a deal announced by ThirdPole, the group which joined forces with the Isle of Wight-based Offshore Challenges in October. The first Extreme 40 regatta in 2011 is expected to be in Oman in February.

But the Sultanate, which sponsors two extreme 40s and the 105-foot triamaran damged in the Route du Rhum, yesterday banned competitors in the Dubai to Muscat Race from sailing through Omani waters.

All non-commercial flights were also banned from Omani airspace as the Sultanate gears up for extensive 40 th anniversary celebrations for the present Sultanate. The Dubai race, which starts on Saturday, will now finish in Ras al Khaimah, briefly a candidate to stage the America ’s Cup until the then holder, Ernesto Bertarelli, saw his plan thrown out in the New York Supreme Court at the insistence of the current holder, Larry Ellison’s BMW Oracle.