World Sailing Authority To Be Tested

Published on March 21st, 2016

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
It is ridiculous to call Major League Baseball’s championship series the World Series. Really, 29 teams from USA and one team from Canada is called a ‘world series’? While this North American game overstates the reality, the regulations of World Sailing seek to maintain it.

As described in World Sailing Regulation 25.1:
World Sailing approval is required for any event that is described as a World Championship, uses the word “World” in the title of the event, or any of the promoters, organizers or any other organization officially connected with the event, represents or holds out in any way that the event is a World Championship or does the foregoing in such a way that the event is reasonably perceived to be a World Championship.

The sport of sailing is muddled with too many World Championships, but it is a big world and there are no limitations on starting classes. To maintain the relevance of the ‘world’ reference, World Sailing, as the governing body for the sport of sailing, specifies a list of criteria in Regulation 10 which dictates the level of international activity required for ‘world’ status.

There have been instances in the past when I have seen the liberal use of ‘world’ in event titles, but whenever I have brought this to the attention of World Sailing, I found these to be largely toothless rules. The penalties they could impose lacked sufficient vigor to affect change. World Sailing was counting on people to do the right thing.

Apparently not everyone does. For the first time in my memory, World Sailing has recognized and announced events that are in conflict with their regulations.

Organized by the newly established International Federation of Kitesports Organization (IFKO), the 1st Junior Kitesports Freestyle World Cup (7-10 April) and the Kitefoil Silver Cup GP World Series (12-16 May) have been included on the Prohibited Events list following improper designation as a world event [Regulation 19.15(c)] and using an improper organizing authority [Regulation 19.15(d)].

Disciplinary action may be taken against competitors who compete at a Prohibited Event and who then enter an event run under the Racing Rules of Sailing within a period of 2 years or World Sailing Race Officials who officiate at a Prohibited Event.

The kiting segment of sailing has been a mess lately with various organizations seeking authority. However, as World Sailing is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and SportAccord as the world governing body of sailing, their authority extends to kiteboarding* (on water).

The IFKO recent establishment and governance claims to kiteboarding does not alter World Sailing’s responsibilities. As the organizer of these two events, IKFO has not given World Sailing any assurances that the 1st Junior Kitesports Freestyle World Cup and the Kitefoil Silver Cup GP World Sailing will be run under the appropriate rules or standards for kiteboarding and therefore have listed the events as prohibited.

Part of World Sailing’s responsibilities is to ensure that events take place within the structure of the rules and are run to appropriate standards for the event and protection of competitors. But whether the threat of disciplinary action has any impact remains to be seen.

* To date World Sailing have developed the racing rules for freestyle, wave and speed kiteboarding, secured the introduction of kiteboarding to the Youth Olympic Games, supported the creation of the World Kite Tour and promoted recognised world championships through the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) and separate World Cup events in the freestyle, wave and slalom disciplines.

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