World Sailing Presidential Update – June 2017
Published on July 4th, 2017
World Sailing President Kim Andersen offers his monthly update on what is occurring within the international governing body for the sport of sailing.
June has proven to be a very productive month, with the World Cup Series Final and the Para World Sailing Championships both taking place; two events which I consider to have been tremendously successful and positive for our future.
I have also been fortunate enough to meet and speak with MNAs from around the world, listening to their views and priorities for the future. In addition, we are continuing to progress with our relocation to the new home of the World Sailing headquarters London.
Please see below for a short summary of many of the things we have been working on throughout this month.
Focusing on our Future
This month, I also had the great pleasure of visiting the America’s Cup venue and seeing the evolution of the event up close. It must be said that the America’s Cup in Bermuda was an incredible spectacle that showed-cased our sport brilliantly – expectations from all stakeholders are already set very high for the next venue.
While the races were fantastic, two area that caught my attention – the AC series and the AC Endeavour Program. First, AC is making a series of international events which brings the sport to a greater audience worldwide. And the AC Endeavour has taken great strides to develop a strong link to young people.
Notably, strides have also been made across the sport with regards to improvements in design, materials and skills. Six months ago, for example, we did not see tacks and jibes foiling. As we go into the future, we at World Sailing must also be focused on making our sport as inspirational and accessible as possible for the next generations. I am certain that we can accomplish this together!
World Sailing Headquarters
The relocation of our Headquarters in Paddington, London, is progressing according to plan. We are still completing this process and expect to begin operating out of the new office in August. We are hoping to announce an official opening date soon and look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible to our opening event.
As you can imagine, relocating our Headquarters is quite the operation, leading to many changes in the organisation. Between now and our opening, we will be saying goodbye to some employees and hello to many new faces who will start working with us. Naturally, this presents something of a challenge, but I am confident World Sailing will be much better off in the long-term.
In the meantime, we ask for our stakeholders’ continued understanding and patience. I would also like to thank all of our staff for their continued commitment to the future of our sport and our organisation.
Meeting with World Sailing MNAs
This past month, I had the great pleasure of heading to Athens to meet with the MNAs from Group D. The meeting provided a very good opportunity for the group to share opinions, and agree upon priorities for their Council Members to bring forward at the next Mid-Year and Annual meetings.
One area which was highlighted was the process of qualification and participation in Championships sanctioned by World Sailing. For far too long, MNAs and World Sailing have been trying to solve issues with Classes in specific regions regarding this particular point.
However, to be clear, World Sailing cannot accept that any Class is given priority over MNAs in this regard. And while the vast majority of regions don’t have an issue in this area, I am certain that should this come up we can resolve it.
Additionally, the IOC cut on quotas is naturally a cause of concern. This is an area we are looking to address as soon as possible in order to allow the MNAs to plan their priorities for the Olympic Games in 2020.
Upon reflection, collective meetings such as this one allowed for specific regional issues to be identified and addressed on a more urgent basis. I believe that this kind of initiative can only strengthen the governance of our sport and encourage this kind of positive dialogue.
2017 World Cup Final
Sailing’s 2017 World Cup Final, held in Santander, Spain, on June 4-11, was a great event! We received excellent feedback from sailors, coaches, officials, sponsors and the city of Santander.
The sailing conditions were very good and we had a fantastic turnout with approximately 100,000 spectators visiting the event over the week. The engagement with fans was aided by the city creating a strong festival atmosphere.
While the World Cup Final was a success, it did highlight the need for us to improve the sporting element of the World Cup Series itself, and the relationship between the calendar, the events structure and the implication on rankings which will need to be carefully analysed moving forward. I believe that the priority must be to create clarity in the lead-up to the Olympics in 2020, followed by setting the calendar structure for 2024.
Para Sailing World Championships
I am proud to announce that we had a record 39 nations competing at the Para World Sailing Championships took place in Kiel, Germany, on June 20-25. With 80 sailors from around the world, the participants had good conditions on the water and on land. It must be said that all were welcomed with tremendous hospitality delivered by the very professional Kiel team, for which are very thankful.
With this successful Para event in the books, all involved can be very proud of these efforts. However, we must now focus on building upon the momentum that has been created, especially with regards to securing the inclusion of Para World Sailing in our events.
As you may be aware, the new Olympic foiling discipline has had a difficult start, creating unacceptable uncertainties for sailors and MNAs. The past four years’ inconsistent quality issues have led to a revised design to secure equipment with sufficient durability for the Olympics. The uncertainty surrounding this issue is still being addressed by the manufacturer Nacra, and we at World Sailing are aware of the situation and are in communication with them to solve the problems.
In fairness, the history of introducing new Olympic equipment has always been difficult, but the Nacra 17 introduction is unfortunately setting a new negative precedent which World Sailing needs to address. This is not only an issue for 2020 but also 2024, and we have to address the problem of the Olympic Classes equipment for the new contracts for 2024.
This is being clarified now and the team at World Sailing is working hard to find a solution so that the World Sailing Council knows which disciplines can be revised when making their decision at the annual meeting in November.
As always, I am very interested in hearing your views about the direction of sailing in the future, so please feel free to get in contact with me via email, Facebook, or Twitter.