World Sailing Presidential Update – March 2018
Published on April 3rd, 2018
World Sailing President Kim Andersen delivers his monthly newsletter to share the activities from the world governing body for the sport of sailing.
I am happy to report that World Sailing is continuing to work closely with the IOC and the Local Organizing Committee for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games. We are making major steps forward regarding the organization and the planning of our event, as well as securing the field of play on the water.
Staying on the Olympic subject, we also had our first kick-off meeting with the Paris 2024 leadership team to discuss the preparations of our future venue in Marseille. The direction is clear, we are moving the momentum forward and once we finalize the events selection process at the mid-year meeting in May, further plans will be discussed regarding the venue.
I also had the pleasure of joining the Hellenic Sailing Federation – the national governing body in Greece – for their 2017 top sailors’ awards ceremony in Athens. On an evening focused on celebrating our sailors, it was truly inspiring to not only applaud the achievements of our athletes but also see the excitement of young talented sailors who were given the chance to present the awards to their heroes!
In addition, I had the opportunity of meeting many top sporting officials, including the Honorable George Vasiliades – Minister of Sports for Greece. He was incredibly supportive and encouraging of the sailing community and the future of our sport.
And the next day was spent presenting World Sailing’s mission in front of the HSF General Assembly which included around 100 sailing clubs – I learned onsite that Greece has now secured support for a para-sailing program showing strong dedication for para-sailing and support of the clubs.
The time spent with sailors, clubs and organizer this month has allowed me to reflect on the importance of promoting the values of sailing towards all our stakeholders. One of which is World Sailing’s Sustainability Agenda 2030 which concentrates on global sustainability, and how we as sailors can protect the environment and the waters of the world.
I firmly believe that, over the rest of the year, we should continue promoting all of our values which is why the remainder of this newsletter provides you with a more in-depth overview of the areas we can look into. We have many reasons for being proud of what sailing represents and I hope that my reflections provide you with some inspiration and ideas.
Sailing is a sport built on positive values, and in this day and age, we see many of these same values supported by external stakeholders and sponsors. The values we hold such as our contribution to society, environmental sustainability, and water quality impact – are all natural and core parts of our sport which should align to create a sound value proposition.
However, sometimes we tend to be too focused on costs and other factors, in the end missing out on opportunities with sponsors and even broadcasters. That is not to say that costs should not be a factor, however, in order to grow our sport we must be considered and also be seen as an attractive partner – and I truly believe that by promoting our values we can get the best of both worlds.
Our sport is special as we depend a lot on the weather conditions, as such any changes can be a challenge for a broadcasters’ schedule. Today, traditional broadcasting is changing to digital, therefore we need to identify our place in this new digital market. Already we are actively showcasing our sport in many of our elite events, including the Olympics, World Cups, the Volvo Ocean Race, Vendee Globe, America’s Cup, Star Sailors League and all the Rolex Offshore events – all of them displaying our great sport and values.
Like many other sports, we are still finding our footing. But I believe that by looking inside our sport (at our values) and then connecting with external stakeholders based on this unique identity, we will provide good opportunities for sponsors, cities or other stakeholders to partner with sailing. Although we are on the right path, we still need to improve the way we capitalize and leverage our values.
Events Strategy Working Party is working hard
We have recently created an “Events Strategy Working Party” and among the various areas they are looking into are the challenges of cost splitting. It is clear that planning venues to minimize travel and optimize sailing is a major focus. It comes as no surprise that this is a complex issue, with many stakeholders having different interests.
However, I want to assure you all that this is an area the Working Party is looking into because there is no doubt that World Sailing, Classes, and events organizers need to plan better in order to reduce costs for sailors and ensure they get more time on the water.
Addressing equipment costs
In anticipation of the upcoming event revisions for the 2024 Summer Olympic Program, the cost of equipment has been put forward as a major issue. Of course, we must pay attention and study the possible consequences of such changes as they must be sustainable enough not to cause big economic losses for sailors and MNAs – as the introduction of events for the Yngling and Elliott 6m has shown us.
That said, having looked at the proposals for the events presented for the upcoming mid-year meeting, some of the proposed changes offer only relatively small changes in regards to the existing equipment.
Safety is the priority
Unfortunately, the sailing family has started the year with four fatalities, which in my view is clearly four too many. For World Sailing and the entire sailing community, safety must always be placed at the top priority, after racing every sailors should return home safely.
In that sense, I can inform you that our technical department is working on developing a reporting system where we can share all the knowledge gathered from past accidents, with the objective of learning from these past incidences and avoiding them in the future. I look forward to being able to share with you all very soon; in the meantime please stay safe on the waters.
I hope that this monthly newsletter continues to provide you with insights into the direction of our organization and our sport. As always, should you have any questions, concerns or insights please feel free to get in contact with me via email, Facebook, or Twitter.