World Sailing Presidential Update – October 2018
Published on October 30th, 2018
World Sailing President Kim Andersen delivers his monthly newsletter to share the activities from the world governing body for the sport of sailing.
Insights from the Youth Olympic Games
During my visit at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, I had the chance of catching up with a number of MNA’s from the South American Region and in particular discussing about their future plans for the development of sailing in the region.
There is no doubt that they are already doing a great job engaging with youth. Just being at the venue in San Isidro you could feel the sailing tradition in Argentina as well as the good preparations they are making for the next Sailing World Championship.
Looking ahead to the next Youth Olympic Games in 2022, I am pleased to announce that the beautiful city of Dakar in Senegal was officially chosen to host this great event. The choice of an African country for the next YOG is an excellent opportunity for sailing to reach out to young sailors across this continent, World Sailing will already start planning to ensure that we have another great sailing event in 2022.
Olympic Events and equipment development
Looking ahead to our annual meeting, we have a lot of work to do regarding our events and equipment development. In particular, we must check the slate of events, ensuring that we have ten strong events that reflect the diversity of our sport and as we move forward we must also see how we can minimize equipment changes benefitting the wishes of MNA`s (Member National Authorities).
During the process for the selection of events and equipment, different views were put forward. Unfortunately, some wild accusations and rumors were made regarding several topics. I would like to take this opportunity to mention one in particular, which is the reference made to questions of anti-monopoly.
At this moment all Council members have received information about the restrictions imposed by manufacturers who have raised issues concerning supply rights for Olympic equipment. While the prospect of conducting a reversal of the chosen events has been suggested by some MNA’s, allow me to say that this is not a tenable solution from a legal perspective.
Furthermore, I would like to inform you all that there has been a lot of misinformation raised regarding kiteboarding. To clarify once again, this discipline became part of the World Sailing family in 2008 and it was only shortly after this time that they were included as part of the event and equipment selection process for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
With regards to the general process of Olympic events and equipment selection, the main criticisms focuses on the fact that the majority are not in favor of a change in the Olympic program. I personally believe that when Regulation 23 was approved by the Council in 2014, it was accepted, because it was dealing with the evaluation of events and equipment based on a structured process.
While our Olympic events and equipment programs have been stable, the number of athletes allotted to sailing has decreased significantly from 460 in 1996 to 350 athletes in 2020. The reason behind these disappointing results is a combination of a limited numbers of total athletes being able to participate at the Olympics as well as the introduction of new sports and events in the Olympic program.
While some are asking about getting an extra medal for our sport, I believe securing the existing numbers of athletes that we will have in Tokyo once more at the Paris 2024 Games is of primary importance.
As we prepare to take key decisions for our sport at the upcoming annual meeting, there are two questions that I urge all of us in World Sailing to asking ourselves:
1) Do the 10 disciplines chosen represent the diversity of sailing?
2) How can we select equipment for these events and make sure that the equipment change is as minimal as possible?
Insights from a sailing icon
In the debate and discussions leading up to the annual meeting about events and equipment selection, reference has been made to one of the great icons of our sport Paul Elvstrøm. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you all to have a look at his vision for Olympic sailing.
In a paper written in 1992, he clearly outlined his thoughts for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, and it is interesting to note how he saw the challenges of getting the right events and equipment process while taking into account the different stakeholders of our sport. Something for all of us to consider in the coming days – click here for the full article.
The launch of a new event – SailGP
I am very happy to announce that on October 3 a new event was launched. SailGP, sanctioned by World Sailing as a special event, it will be a new global racing league with five grand prix events, featuring six national teams on identical wingsailed F50s. Spearheaded by Russell Coutts, SailGP will bring intensely competitive, high-speed inshore racing.
Already for 2019, six teams from Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States have committed to the competition. Each five-person crew will race on identical 50-foot foiling catamarans – similar to the 2017 America’s Cup boats.
The 5-event circuit that will begin in February 2019 in Sydney, Australia before coming to the USA for events in San Francisco (May) and New York (June) and continue on to Great Britain for Cowes Week (August) then conclude in Marseille, France (September). This is a great new event giving new opportunities for sailors to live their dreams, racing and competing at the highest level of modern sailing technology on a world circuit.
Venice Hospitality Race
Recently I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Venice for the Venice Hospitality Race. There, I had the pleasure of not only watching some excellent sailing but also catching up with many sailing friends and also make some new ones. In particular, I had the opportunity to meet with the incredible two-time (consecutive) Optimist World Champion, Marco Gradoni.
This week we have a big and exciting program for the annual meeting in Sarasota.
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.