New Broom at World Sailing

Published on November 13th, 2016

The all-important four yearly vote for World Sailing Presidential and Board positions lingered to the final day of this year’s Annual Conference in Barcelona on Spain’s north east Med. As the international delegates proceeded through the full schedule from November 5 to 13, Scuttlebutt correspondent Rob Kothe had been tracking the elements that determined the keeper of the top job. Here’s Rob’s report on November 13.


Kim Andersen

At the 2016 World Sailing General Assembly meeting in Barcelona today, Denmark’s Kim Andersen has defeated incumbent Carlo Croce of Italy to become the new President of World Sailing.

After an intensive week of discussion amongst the Member National Authorities (MNA’s) gathered at the Renaissance Hotel in Barcelona, there was an obvious level of dissatisfaction with the lack of progress since 2012 under the leadership of President Carlo Croce.

Mounting a strong bid to take over the leadership of Sailing’s peak body, Andersen received strong support from outside Europe, in Africa, the Asia Pacific, and the Americas and split the vote in Europe to take an historic victory.


Paul Henderson

Canadian Paul Henderson, the 1994-2004 President, now 81 years old, also vied for the position but had no serious expectations of victory. He was in fact standing out of frustration with the inability to get answers on a range of issues from the current leadership. He was eliminated after the first round of voting, after securing just twelve votes.

In that round Andersen led Croce 44 to 43, then in the second round most of Henderson anti-Croce votes went to the Dane and Andersen won 53 to 46.

As we reported during the week, the tide appeared to be running hard against the Italian buoy in recent times and it is a sad day for Croce – the first incumbent President to be defeated in a ballot in the history of the organisation.


Carlo Croce

There is no doubt that Croce, like his father before him, gave his all for sailing. Many observers wished he had withdrawn from the election in favour of Andersen, rather than suffer harsh judgement from the General Assembly.

Newly elected President Kim Andersen said to this scribe today:

“When I decided to put my name forward as the World Sailing President, I did this because I was inspired to do more for our great sport. Because I believe that we can do more.

“Today showed that World Sailing and our MNAs are ready to move our sport forward and I am ready to take on the responsibility of ensuring our sport continues to succeed.

“This is a great day for World Sailing. Today we are a united family, I have been talking to MNAs all week and I want to make sure that this dialogue continues.

“We need to ensure that our federations are equipped with the right tools to succeed, what works in one country many not work in another. We cannot copy and paste success, we need tailored plans and the only way to do this is to speak with our MNAs. I want to involve everyone in making sailing stronger.”

Following the Presidential decision came the Vice-Presidential election with a strong field of 15 candidates.

The Vice Presidents elected were Jan Dawson (NZL), Anna Sanchez (ESP), Nadine Stegenwalner (GER), Gary Jobson (USA), W Scott Perry (URU), Quanhai Li (CHN), Torben Grael (BRA).

A clean sweep for the three women, always likely as each of the 99 MNA’s present had to vote for at least two of them. Gary Jobson and Scott Perry, the two standouts, stand-up players from the old board have successfully recontested along with Quanhai Li who had strong Asian support and they are joined by Olympic icon Torben Grael.

The new Board of Directors will serve a four-year term up until the General Assembly in November 2020.

I will be talking at length with the new President in coming days and hopefully will be able to do a retrospective with the outgoing President too. Yes, the interesting times continue.


World Sailing CEO Andy Hunt (left) with newly elected President and Vice Presidents.

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Rob Kothe is the Founder and former Publisher and Managing Editor of the network

About World Sailing’s Annual Conference
World Sailing’s Annual Conference brings together international delegates every first full week of November. It is the central meeting point where the strategy of sailing is reviewed, discussed and celebrated. Over the Annual Conference, participants plan for the future, make key decisions to drive the sport forward, share best practice and generate new ideas. The 2016 Annual Conference will be held in Barcelona, Spain at the Hotel Renaissance Barcelona Fira on November 5-13.

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