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World Sailing Presidential Update – December 2018

Published on December 31st, 2018

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Kim Andersen

World Sailing President Kim Andersen delivers his monthly newsletter to share the activities from the world governing body for the sport of sailing.


I have been reflecting on all the events and activities that we as a sport and as an organization have accomplished this year, and I truly believe that we have a lot to be proud of.

There is one area that has been a focus of discussion throughout the year – the decisions on Olympic events and equipment. This topic has been challenged throughout the year and has been testing the processes that are currently in place.

The Annual General Meeting supported the decisions made by a clear majority and undoubtedly confirms that our governance processes are intact. I truly believe that if we all have a clear understanding of the decisions being taken for the future of our sport and the new initiatives being implemented to advance sailing, we will be stronger. This is evident by the achievements made already this year.

2018 has been a great year for World Sailing, from working on our governance standards to improving our gender equity as well as expanding the development of our sport worldwide.

It was also the year of the combined worlds, with the Hempel Sailing World Championships which took place in Åarhus and made such a positive impact on all parameters, and what with the launch of eSailing, attracting new audiences and sponsors, and most recently launching the World Sailing Trust, we have achieved many goals!

As we look to the future, I know that we are setting sail in the right direction to accomplish even greater achievements for next year.

Council Decisions & Governance standards
The last month has been marred by a lot of misinformation being circulated around one decision voted on at the recent World Sailing Annual Meeting in Sarasota, Florida. I would like to take this opportunity to ensure that the entire World Sailing family is fully briefed and informed on this situation so that there is no further misunderstandings.

Proceeding of submission 037-18:
At the World Sailing Annual Conference, the World Sailing Board made a late submission regarding the Mixed One-Person Dinghy Event, Submission 037-18. The reason for the late submission came from the expressed concern of the Member National Authorities (MNAs) and a detailed explanation was clearly outlined to Council and Committee members.

Many of our Member National Authorities expressed concerns that the Mixed One-Person Dinghy Event would not work as a format and the selection of the Equipment would not be possible. The MNAs, therefore, asked the Board to give guidance to Council in order to resolve this matter.

The World Sailing Board made this a priority. On the first day of the Board meeting, ahead of the conference, the Board spent one day going through all the options available for the Events in question, which resulted in the Board agreeing to a late submission.

The late submission was then made available at the earliest possible time, immediately after the Board meeting that same day, which was the start of the
Annual Conference. The submission was launched at that time in order to make sure that it could be a part of the 
full Committee process leading up to the Council meeting at the end of the week.

During the week, no Committee reached a solution on what Equipment was suitable for the Mixed One-Person Dinghy Event, nor the format that it would take.

At the Council meeting, Submission 037-18 needed 75% of votes to be passed: it received 79% and was approved by Council. It was then submitted at the Annual General Meeting and required only a simple majority to pass – it received 78% of the votes.

After the meeting, World Sailing made public all voting results for each vote in Council and the requested votes at the AGM.

Summary of results
Submission 037-18 had been carried forward. As per the World Sailing statutes and regulations, this submission has received the required number of votes both within Council and at the Annual General Meeting.

While some individuals may not like the outcome, it is important that the entire sailing family understand the facts and transparent processes that have been followed which have led to this result.

It is very clear that the minutes in question reflect the true actions and decisions from the meeting, in particular the actual voting at the meeting, and not the intentions of individuals before or after the voting process. Therefore, I would like to refer to the minutes of the World Sailing Council and Annual General meeting: http://www.sailing.org/meetings/2018-conference.php.

Furthermore, I believe that given the situation, this overview shows that the way that we deal with difficult situations (in this case the difficult situation being an outcome of a compromised decision from the Mid-Year meeting in May 2018) in our existing decision-making process is done in an open and transparent manner.

While some individuals believe that the intentions of the Board are not in the best interest of sailing, I would like to say that if the intentions for the late board submission were as bad as some of the accusations, an alternative route for the Submission 037-18 could have been to make it only available for the AGM vote. This would have bypassed the Committee structure and Council in the process, avoiding the 75% majority vote in Council – personally I don’t think this would have been an appropriate or transparent way forward.

Lastly, in the event that Submission 037-18 had not been approved in Council, some of the MNA’s in favor of the proposal would have carried the submission forward to the Annual General Meeting. For example, the French MNA had already made a submission to the Annual General Meeting before the council meeting.

Nonetheless, the results of the vote at the Annual General Meeting was clear – 78% in favor when only a simple majority vote was needed, the majority were clearly in favour for the submission and it has been approved.

Comprehensive follow up & transparent audit
World Sailing prides itself on being a transparent organization, which is why any suggestions of voting fraud or conflicts of interest are allegations which are taken very seriously.

This is why when individuals made public claims about flawed voting systems and the Board being conflicted, the Board gave this accusation its full attention and launched an investigation. Any unidentified technical problems with the voting system would have affected not only the vote for submission 037-18 but all the voting over the two Council days and at the AGM.

Based on the investigation launched, the Board has since received a technical report from the supplier of the voting system, a report from the Chairman of the Audit Committee, a detailed analysis of the votes cast during the Council meetings and a report of an independent firm of auditors. The results concluded that no failures were detected or indicated.

Therefore, after the review of the investigation, the minutes were signed by myself as President and approved by Council on a Council call held on December 21st 2018.

Furthermore, I would like to say that whilst this one vote has been the center of many misinformed discussions, there were also a lot of other decisions that were made at the annual meeting in Sarasota.

For those interested in those additional decisions, they can be read in the published minutes from the Council meeting. In addition, more background information for the selection of Events and Equipment for the 2024 Olympics can be read in the “Report from the President“.

Developing Sailing – A focus on Asia
Sailing in Asia is developing strongly. It is impressive to see how the region expanding on the successes from earlier this year at the Asian Games in Jakarta, with the number of sailing events throughout the region gaining momentum and strength.

Noteworthy events include the Asian Windsurf and Kite Championships which had 170 entries and the recent International Sailing Symposium event hosted by the Chinese Sailing as a part of their annual meeting. The Sailing Symposium invited a number of guest speakers from around the world to talk about how to develop our sport.

Speakers addressed themes such as “Sailing Cities”, cities using Sailing as their main marketing strategy and “How to create winning sailing teams”, by the team manager of Dongfeng Racing, Bruno Dubois, who shared his insights and views, as well as topics on how to develop sailing generally and social integration. Additional topics of the event included general education and the training of Officials.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Chinese Sailing on the launch of their new official Sailing media channel, which now brings sailing to existing sailors and new audiences. The symposium and media channel are excellent initiatives that will benefit sailing in China and the Far East region, so a big thank you must go to the CSA for their great efforts in promoting sailing.

Hempel Sailing World Championships Aarhus – Data analysis
In a recent Global Sport Impact study made by SportCal Global Communications, who gathered all the data from our recent Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus we, we are seeing some truly encouraging results. While the full report will be published in the New Year, I am very happy to share with you some highlights.

– On top of the great legacy effect for the city of Aarhus it looks like the money invested is payed back three-fold.

– Top 5 in event attendance: Based on attendance, the Hempel Sailing World Championships is ranked 4 out of 25 IFs – IAAF Worlds (Athletics), Men’s Handball and FINA Worlds (Swimming) being the top tree. The Hempel Sailing Worlds had 400.000 people in attendance.

– Top 5 in event participation: In numbers of athletes participating, the Hempel Sailing World Championships ranked 4 out of 30 IFs – FINA, IAAF and Shooting being top three. The Hempel Sailing World Championships had 1,247 athletes. In numbers of athletes participating, ranked 9 out of 30 IFs.

– Sailing achieves universality: When looking at Sailors continental breakdown by event (universality) it is interesting to see the “newcomer” Nacra, as the only mixed event, scoring as one of the most universal events participating in the World Championship.

Special Sailing Events
On the special events side, we recently saw the Finals of the Star Sailors League take place at the beginning of December. This fantastic event is focused on the sailors; the equipment and format are designed to create an excellent field of play for top sailors from different classes. The concept of focusing on the sailors and giving a solid media platform bringing sailing to sailors and new audience has seen huge success increasing year by year. Great work to the Star Sailors League and all of our sailors!

Another great concept is the Sailing Champions League, which was developed in Germany and quickly got momentum in Europe. This new concept of league sailing is “jumping continents”, -building momentum in the Americas, Oceania (Australia) and Asia (China). The concept of Clubs racing in a national league and being able to qualify for regional and continental championships is a great way of connecting clubs and sailors.

Perhaps this is a platform that our MNAs can interact with and learn from, it would be quite interesting to see if in the future we can get more National Sailing Leagues around the world.

Expanding and developing Sailing worldwide
Over the past few years, I have been addressing the importance of improving our Gender Equity, using Diversity to promote and develop sailing and highlighting the importance of supporting expansion and development around the world.

It’s encouraging to see so many activities, programs and articles on how to improve our gender equity around the world. This has great importance in order to stay relevant as a sport, to reduce the drop off rates for young sailors during their school and university years and even more importantly to attract new sailors. With the Volvo Ocean Race success of mixed crews, I am sure other major events are contemplating how to further integrate gender equity.

Regarding gender equity and diversity, I am particularly looking forward to the 2024 Olympic Games as it will be an event that will showcase the diversity of our sport. The ten Olympic disciplines selected for the 2024 will be gender equal for sailing athletes and sailing events – especially as we will be having four mixed events. For both, new discipline work is being carried out to secure the best possible input from all the experts in Kite and Offshore, securing the knowledge available for making the final decisions at our Mid Year Meeting in May 2019.

When it comes to expansion, as mentioned we have a growing momentum in the Far East and Asian regions. And in 2019, we will have an opportunity to realize our efforts on the African continent and get many excellent initiatives strengthened by using the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games as a catalyst for growth. The IOC is planning for the initial structures for the Youth Olympic events to be discussed during first quarter 2019, so this will be an opportunity for us to build up to 2022 but we will need to work fast.
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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.

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