World Sailing seeks to unite sport
Published on November 15th, 2017
No sport is perfect, and with sailing having so many versions that seek to share common threads, governance is a challenge. World Sailing has that challenge as it seeks to oversee the interests of over one hundred member nations from all continents and cultures. Talk about corralling cats!
Our theme for this year’s Conference is ‘Uniting the Sport’ and, as the Council, this must start with us. We have a great opportunity, and responsibility, to lead our sport to a new, more successful future. And by working together and using the expertise and knowledge that we have, I have no doubt that this can be achieved.
Many of you will remember very clearly where we were one year ago, with many MNAs (Member National Authorities) expressing concern at the lack of progress being made. We are a broad sport representing many disciplines, creating different ideas, visions and priorities.
It is totally clear that the agreement we made in May 2017 to deliver a strategy document for World Sailing by the next Mid-Year meeting is crucial for setting a clear path including all disciplines from grass roots to elite. The past year, we have made good progress, but we need to do much more.
Firstly, we cannot take our place in the Olympic Games for granted. We must do more to align ourselves with the Olympic Movement, being more proactive in developing our sport in line with Olympic Agenda 2020, including gender equality and youth participation.
As a sport, we are confirmed for Paris 2024, – but the decisions we are making now, are fundamental to a strong proposition for our ten Olympic events for keeping the platform intact.
Mixed events have been a new and uplifting part of Agenda 2020. We know this is something which can accelerate our women’s participation and we also know this is a recommendation that can benefit our sport which hasn’t been a possibility in the past.
To strengthen our relationship with the IOC we have invited IOC members to visit the 2018 Worlds in Aarhus (Denmark) and I am pleased to say that we have confirmed visitors.
We must also continue the strong momentum, to make sure that Para Sailing is fully integrated in our framework and has the strongest possible bid for returning to the Paralympics in 2024.
We have a major part of our sport, racing keelboats with strong development plans for the future, America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Racing, Vendee Globe and the two big rating systems, ORC and IRC, now also combining forces to create a combined World Championship. On top, World Sailing wants to have a World Championship for offshore one design. All this to keep on developing a major part of our sport, keelboat sailing.
Secondly, we can do more to make our sport even more accessible for all age groups, – but with clear emphasis on youth. It also means extending our development programmes. We must build upon the success of the Emerging Nations Programme and spread our sport to new sailing nations.