World Sailing Presidential Update – March 2019
Published on March 30th, 2019
World Sailing President Kim Andersen delivers his monthly newsletter to share the activities from the world governing body for the sport of sailing.
I hope you are enjoying the spring weather and getting the chance to get out on the water or enjoy watching some sailing as a spectator! It’s a very busy time as we work on delivering the changes which will take our great sport forward.
I would like to thank everybody for contributing their valuable knowledge, time and effort – it’s really appreciated.
I wanted to take this opportunity to remind our community of the importance and relevance of the values of respect, friendship, tolerance, understanding and solidarity. These are values that we really hold in high esteem within the sailing community and it is vital that we keep them at the forefront of our minds and our behavior as we seek to promote and develop our sport. Doing so truly honors our great history and legacy.
When reading about and seeing first hand all the initiatives around the world to increase women’s participation and the many ideas for our sport at the grass roots level, I believe we will soon see some fantastic results.
Indeed, earlier this month I had the pleasure of visiting the Italian Sailor of the Year awards, honoring all the great achievements within our sport in Italy and with an emphasis on youth development at both club and elite level.
We also met with the President of the Italian National Olympic Committee to discuss some of the challenges for Olympic sports in general and to get the reassurance that Sailing is well positioned within the Olympic Family, which is fantastic to hear!
The introduction of the eSailing World Championship has proven to be a success, engaging a new, youthful audience. We were pleased to launch the eSailing GBR National Championship in collaboration with the Royal Yachting Association earlier this month.
This was the first official launch of an eSailing National Championship and there have been many suggestions for development, such as an event structure having qualifying regions to a National eSailing Championship leading into continental and the eSailing Worlds.
We have our work cut out to keep up with the demand with further announcements imminent. The eSailing event structure is taking shape and whilst it may take some time to build the system, we are continuing the engagement with existing young and new sailors.
The Paris 2024 Organizing Committee presented at the IOC Executive Board in Lausanne this week. It was really encouraging to see again that reference was made during the press conference to the work that World Sailing has been doing with our eSailing World Championship in producing a realistic virtual version of the sport.
Tokyo 2020: Preparations are well underway but there is a lot of work ahead in order to deliver an Olympic event which sets new standards for our Olympic Sailing venue. I am looking forward to meeting with the Tokyo Organizing Committee in May for further discussions on getting the last major issues resolved, and I am sure that we will have a fantastic Olympic event in Tokyo 2020 thanks to the support of the Japanese Sailing Federation and the Organizing Committee.
Paris 2024: Since November, working groups have been giving input on ideas and suggestions for the two new events, Mixed Kite Sailing and the Offshore Mixed double-handed event. This information will now be formally presented via Working Parties making recommendations to Council at the upcoming Mid-Year Meeting.
You may remember from my November 2018 newsletter that Kite are proposing a relay type format with a changeover area and multiple one design models for equipment. For a video explanation, click here.
Regarding the Offshore event, a huge amount of work has gone into this with several working groups giving input, including Equipment & Qualification, Field of Play & Format, Safety & Security, and Broadcast & Technology.
For qualification, the suggestion is to have a list of equipment available worldwide to be used for national, regional, and continental qualification events and the Olympic equipment to be chosen after nations have qualified, thereby maximizing the participation in the qualification rounds. Regarding the field of play, safety meetings with the French Navy have taken place which will make sure the event is in good hands.
Discussions with Paris 2024 and the IOC about the 10 disciplines have taken place regarding the ongoing process for the selection of equipment.
Sea trials for the selection of equipment for the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Men’s & Women’s One Person Dinghy Event took place in Valencia earlier this month. Three new boat designs – D-Zero, Melges 14, and RS Aero – were evaluated, along with the existing Olympic equipment, the Laser.
The trials showed we have four good equipment designs for the discipline in question. The report from the Working Party will be made to the Equipment Committee at the Mid-Year Meeting and will serve the Council well by giving input on the equipment performance based on feedback from sailors.
The Council must evaluate the other considerations for choosing an Olympic event, before making the final decision on what equipment should be adopted for 2024.
To read more about the Sea Trials here and get some more in depth background on the timeline, click here.
An ongoing discussion within World Sailing has been to establish an events strategy better serving the sport and all stakeholders in their interests to promote and grow sailing worldwide.
The present Sailing World Cup structure is not ideal and when the events structure fails then the ranking gets troublesome. Developing a structure promoting our great sport and sailors worldwide by using the 10 Olympic events looks like a fantastic opportunity, however, getting all the interests and parameters right is challenging.
These challenges include: Continental seasonality and calendar issues, the dominance of Europe and its events legacy, the changes and development of Olympic Host Cities, the cost of campaigning for MNAs and Olympic Committees, and commercial values.
How then do we take these challenges and develop a strategy with the goal of promoting and growing sailing worldwide?
We have established a Working Party which will take learnings from the past and capitalize on the advantage of already knowing the Olympic Host Cities for 2024 and 2028. There is much to do and the Working Party will be reporting to Council at the Mid-Year Meeting, but I believe the work and recommendations will put a strong events structure in place serving sailors, MNAs, Classes, organizers and the many other stakeholders in our sport.
World Sailing Trust
I mentioned in my newsletter at the end of last year that we have established the World Sailing Trust, a new international charity registered in the UK.
The aim of the Trust is to promote and enhance sailing in all its forms and protect the water our sport depends on. We want to use our collective influence to work in conjunction with individuals and organizations around the world to inspire and enable greater participation across the globe and to safeguard the future of sailing.
The Trust’s work is also aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the World Sailing Sustainability Agenda, which has specific targets to be achieved by 2030. I am very pleased that the Trust has already announced its first two sets of works, looking at marine sustainability education and infrastructure guidance, and gender diversity in our sport.
To see what programs the Trust currently has taking place and to let us know where you can help please look at the website: www.worldsailingtrust.org, and do follow the Trust on Twitter – @WSailingTrust.
In a few days we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma (Spain). This great venue has developed into one of the longest running Olympic Sailing events, with around 1,200 sailors racing and being the training ground for many Olympic teams leading up to the event itself: a true ‘home destination for sailing’.
Genoa (Italy) will be hosting the next round of the Hempel World Cup Series, another city with a fantastic sailing legacy, and home for many Flying Dutchman regattas when I was racing this class. It’s going to be great kicking off the Hempel World Cup Series in Genoa!
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.