People power kicked the decision to drop windsurfers from the Olympic sailing line-up into the oblivion of history as rank and file national representatives voted against the council members of the International Sailing Federation at its annual general meeting in Dublin.
An earlier decision in May to bring in kiteboarding had shocked and rocked the sailing world and there had even been an application in the London courts for a judicial review and the ISAF council refused to re-open the question because only 68.4 per cent. voted in favour and the rules require a 75 per cent vote in favour.
But the general assembly only needs a 50 per cent plus one vote and that was duly delivered in the final meeting. Windurfing is restored and that means that the UK silver medallist Nick Dempsey and the 2008 bronze medallist Bryony Shaw live to fight another day.
Rory Ramsden, spokesman of the RS-X windsurfer boards, which are used for Olympic competition, said: “Fantastic. This has been a long hard fight but sanity seems to have prevailed.”
Italy’s Carlo Croce was elected president, to replace Göran Petersson, who now takes up a seat on the IOC.
Five were recalled for making a premature start and one of the 20 missed it altogether after damaging his boat leaving the dock but there were fast conditions in prospect for the first night of the Vendée Globe singlehanded non-stop round the world race.
Bertrand de Broc, a colourful character, was the man left behind in Les Sables d’Olonne as his shore crew repaired a small hole caused by a support boat as he tried to manoeuvre out of his berth.
Early leader was Switzerland’s Bernard Stamm in his Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed Cheminées Poujoulat but all three British skippers, Alex Thomson, Mike Golding and Samantha Davies were in good shape and looking forward to favourable winds first to Finisterre and then on to the Equator.