World Sailing Presidential Update – May 2017
Published on May 30th, 2017
World Sailing President Kim Andersen offers his monthly update on what is occurring within the international governing body for the sport of sailing.
The month of May has been yet another busy one for all at World Sailing. This included a busy schedule of meetings at our Mid-Year Meeting with the Board, the Council and a meeting with the new Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs. I would like to extend a big thank you to the World Sailing office and Singapore Sailing, who worked together brilliantly to provide a great venue that was perfectly prepared.
For more information of the range of issues discussed at the mid-year meeting, the minutes will be available on the website in the coming week. In other news, I am also happy to share with you a few additional stories on the progress that has been made in terms of new sponsors, Olympic programme and our world events.
A Warm Welcome to New Sponsor – Volvo
It is my great pleasure to welcome the Volvo Ocean Race, Volvo Group and Volvo Car Group as the Official Automotive Partner of World Sailing. As you know, the Volvo Group and Volvo Car Group are leaders in the automotive sector with a DNA deeply-rooted in sailing. The positive synergies between the Volvo Ocean Race and World Sailing makes Volvo a perfect match for the sailing family. Together we will be developing our sport to create clear pathways for offshore sailors and establish sustainability initiatives which are all important for our sport. Details.
Ready for the Para Worlds
We are now looking forward to the Para World Sailing’s biggest event for 2017 – the World Championships in Kiel, Germany, on 20th-25th of June. I have no doubt that it will be a fantastic event, with a record number of entries from 41 countries, at a venue that has great experience in hosting excellent sailing events.
I am personally very much looking forward to welcoming all participants and their supporters to this championship. I am also counting on all the MNAs to maximise the support for their sailors – this event is a truly a cornerstone for World Sailing and of great importance for getting Para World Sailing back into the Paralympics.
Improving Media Coverage
We are continuing the focus on developing and improving the quality of our media coverage. I am happy to report that World Sailing have selected Sail Tracks to deliver live streaming, digital coverage and highlights programming from Sailing’s World Cup Series of events from 2017-2019.
The combination of Sail Tracks’ production, our relationship with SAP and improved live commentary should increase the availability and quality of our coverage and, importantly, enable us to measure our progress with data analysis. Already there have been clear improvement made, and the coverage of our Sailing World Cup in Melbourne late last year and up till now are the perfect example of development. I encourage all of you to follow our World Cup final in Santander from 4th-11th June!
We have also evaluated The World Sailing Show and are very happy the Show is successfully showing the diversity of our great sport. This will therefore be continued until the end of the year, when we will review how best to develop and optimize its quality and content going forward.
Our Olympic Future
Whenever the Olympics is discussed within the sailing community, there is a tendency to focus these debates solely on equipment. In the future, we must take a broader perspective, focusing on a range of other issues that will strengthen our sport and align ourselves with the Olympic Movement.
This includes issues such as increasing women’s participation in our sport, establishing complete gender equity at the Olympic Games, and looking into possibility of Mixed Gender team events (ex: should all Youth Worlds doublehanded disciplines be mixed?). Our ambitions are clear, and our focus must now be on finding a strategy that is effective in achieving them.
In other areas, we must focus on asking fundamental, and sometimes difficult, questions of ourselves, such as:
• Should we have a stronger connection between disciplines and club activities?
• Do we want to develop multi-medal disciplines?
• How should we increase the number of Nations in the qualification and event of the Olympic Games?
• Should we request more medals?
• Should we have a look at how to reduce the cost driving factors of Olympic campaigns?
• How can we create more value for our sailors?
World Sailing should take the lead in setting the direction and priorities for our sport. With the IOC’s Agenda 2020, the PWC report and the media reports from the Rio Olympics, we have a great framework with which to make substantial improvements, and I look forward to working with all of you on achieving this.
The Challenges of Equipment
While our entire discussion surrounding the Olympics should not solely focus on equipment, there is no doubt that we must resolve some important issues regarding the manufacture and supply of equipment. During our Council meeting, various concerns and points of confusion were made regarding this issue. In an attempt to clarify the situation for all of our stakeholders, and make our approach and philosophy as transparent as possible, I have listed our key points of understanding below, as dealt with and supported by the Council:
• World Sailing needs to enhance its fulfillment of EU legislation and our equipment arrangements need to be part of this. As part of our reforms, we will re-tender our agreements with our equipment manufacturers regularly.
• Council should continue to have the ‘freedom’ to select Olympic equipment based on objective and transparent criteria. This is not restricted by EU law.
To clarify on other points of confusion:
• If MNAs wish for World Sailing to take over all rights for Olympic equipment, they must make a submission. Please note – this makes no difference to the EU legislation! It just changes the responsibility of World Sailing.
• If stakeholders want to challenge the copyrights of any class, they are free to do so.
• If a stakeholder wants to make a new design and secure the rights for World Sailing, they must make a submission.
After the discussions at the Council meeting, we will now draft the upcoming Olympic Classes contract that needs to be agreed as soon as possible. This will ensure that the Council can vote on specific equipment and feel assured that we have an agreement on fulfilling legislation.
Sailing’s World Cup Series
The events structure and the integration of the World Cup Series is very important to get right. With so many interests and a disputable history, I want to assure you that the Board are working on it! We hope to have a proposal ready for the Events Committee Working Party shortly. It is a complex structure with a lot of conflicting interests, therefore we need to secure the ability for sailors to live the dream of both competing at a reasonable cost and qualifying at the elite level.
Looking to the next month we have so many activities. As ever, my schedule is full – but I will endeavor to respond to your questions and requests as soon as possible. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me using the various methods listed above.
I hope you will all continue to enjoy our great sport and, for those of you on the northern hemisphere, I wish you a very pleasant summer filled with lots of sailing!
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.