Pushing Pedal to the Metal

Published on November 15th, 2016

It is at the World Sailing Annual Conference when, every four years, elections are held which define the leadership for the sport’s international authority. Scuttlebutt correspondent Rob Kothe reports on the newly elected Board of Directors…

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Kim Andersen

In 2012 Carlo Croce, the President of the Italian Sailing Federation, was elected as President of World Sailing (then ISAF). But after four years punctuated with a range of managerial and PR disasters, Croce was defeated at the 2016 World Sailing General Assembly meeting in Barcelona on Sunday, November 13.

Prior to the election on Friday, Croce had taken advantage of his incumbency to address the council in a long speech to ‘use his words’ to ‘to try remove the pebbles from his shoes’, but to no avail.

In Sunday’s three-way ballot, former President Paul Henderson was eliminated in the first round and in the second-round Denmark’s Kim Andersen, the Chairman of the Equipment committee, won over Croce.

In the Vice Presidential battle, four of the seven-person Board stood for re-election. Chris Atkins (GBR), the face of some of the worst event PR disasters, was eliminated, while there was a renewed vote of confidence in Gary Jobson (USA), W Scott Perry (URU), and Quanhai Li (CHN). New faces on the board are Jan Dawson (NZL), Anna Sanchez (ESP), Nadine Stegenwalner (GER), and Torben Grael (BRA).

The new President, already back in Copenhagen, shared with me his thoughts:

“Our new World Sailing Board representation is reasonably broad and that is pleasing.

“The Asia Pacific is covered and obviously Europe and the Americas but not Africa. That is a very important area for us to develop and I had hoped we’d have Africa represented on the board but that is politics and you cannot always manage that.

“Now we have a great deal of work to do. Andy Hunt, the CEO of World Sailing, is coming to Copenhagen this week and we will get our heads around World Sailing and each other and how we can best operate together.

“We are going to engage with the whole World Sailing team to make sure we are running at speed and we are using these our most valuable resources in the right way.

“Then as soon as possible, the Board will get down to the very important decisions that we have to make regarding the Olympic classes.

“We need to produce documents explaining the whole event for 2020 which means we need to talk about formats and scoring systems and presentation and again a lot of issues concerning all the emerging nations programs that are going on.

“We will be contacting all the MNAs, asking them to provide their input and priorities going forward so that by May 2017 we can all be on the same page.

“Remember different parts of the sailing world are in different stages of development; for instance think about the emerging nations of Africa and old sailing nations in Northern Europe.

“That’s why being a world organization with 145 different nations, the dilemma is you can only have so many first priorities. There are defined world regional groups of MNAs in A, B, C, D, etc. and I am going to ask the MNAs to work together in their groups to agree as a group on a set of regional priorities.

“I think that’s just some of the really exciting solutions to make progress that I am really looking forward and I will be driving that hard as a major part of my responsibility in taking World Sailing forward.

“But right now we have a great deal to do and we really need to push ahead rapidly.”

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

Rob Kothe is the Founder and former Publisher and Managing Editor of the Sail-World.com network

About World Sailing’s Annual Conference
The General Assembly marked the end of the 2016 World Sailing Annual Conference. Across nine days of meetings on November 5-13, more than 1,000 delegates attended a variety of Forums and Committee meetings to discuss, debate and share best practice to take the sport forward into the new year and beyond. The 2016 Annual Conference was held at the Hotel Renaissance Barcelona Fira in Barcelona, Spain.

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