World Sailing Presidential Update – April 2019
Published on May 2nd, 2019
World Sailing President Kim Andersen delivers his monthly newsletter to share the activities from the world governing body for the sport of sailing.
It has been another busy month, starting with celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma de Majorca, a fantastic legacy and contribution to sailing. This event is one of the longest running Olympic Sailing events, and it is a real mainstay on sailors’ calendars. It was great meeting the creators and the supporters of the event and to feel the enthusiasm for sailing, especially on such a landmark occasion.
Genoa hosted their first Sailing World Cup, part of the Hempel World Cup Series – an annual circuit of Olympic sailing for elite and professional sailors, it is truly a key touchpoint for fans and the media to connect to the sport of sailing as they support the athletes on their journey towards Tokyo 2020.
Of course, hosting a new major event is a huge challenge, but the support in Genoa and from the sailing community is very strong and committed to delivering a great event. The weather was a difficult factor in this region around the Mediterranean coast and all the way inland to Lake Garda, there were days without wind which caused challenges for the race management and created a lot of waiting around for sailors. Despite these challenges, most of the races took place in the end and it was a wonderful atmosphere.
I also joined the EUROSAF meeting in Istanbul in mid-April: our European continental organization has in the past had its work cut out, but they are now clearly getting better organized and doing a good job in running the Race Officials Exchange Programme, Youth Initiatives and exchanging best practices on different programs. It’s not easy to carve out a clearly defined role on the European continent, when you have so many MNAs working daily to grow sailing and many major stakeholders of the sport in your “backyard”.
A new World Sailing Special Event
In April we also saw the launch of a new World Sailing Special event, The Star Sailors League Gold Cup. The SSL Gold Cup concept is for each nation’s top sailing athletes to team together into a single crew and then race against each other in 47 foot one-designs to be the best sailing nation. This is another great concept from Michel Niklaus and Jack Griffin, promoting Olympians and sailors in a competition of nations. You can see more here.
Mid Year Meeting 2019
The Mid Year meeting is fast approaching with many important issues to be addressed on the agendas of the Equipment Committee, the Events Committee and the Council meeting. Some of the major topics are:
• World Sailing Events Strategy 2021 – 2028.
• Paris 2024 Olympic Games: Equipment recommendations for events, Mixed Kiteboarding, Men’s and Women’s windsurfer, Men’s and Women’s one person Dinghy, Mixed Two Person Dinghy and Mixed Two Person Offshore event.
• Updates on formats for Paris 2024 Olympic events.
Getting feedback from the Youth Events Sub-Committee on the Senegal 2022 Youth Olympic Games and the objectives for those Games, the impact on Paris 2024 Olympic decisions on the youth pathway and increasing female participation in youth sailing.
We will also receive an update from the Governance Commission on their latest work on the proposed revision of the existing Governance structure, which will be provided before the meeting in English, French and Spanish.
To deliver our vision, we need to refresh and strengthen the foundations of our governance structures and decision-making processes. I am looking forward to the presentation and discussions. As a reminder, the link to the Governance report presented in Sarasota is here.
Attracting New Sailors
In many of my newsletters in the past I have talked about attracting new sailors and reducing the youth dropout rate, and at the same time highlighting the need to understand the Digital age and Generation Z: those born after 1995.
Some time ago we received the British Marine Futures Report which gave us additional information on the way young people view sailing and leisure boating, and the impact social media can have on increasing exposure to different experiences. The emphasis was on the industry adapting and thinking differently in order to stay relevant, something that I personally feel very strongly about.
There are many other international projects on the subject and you can find information on the British Marine Futures Report with a link to the Executive Summary here which makes for really interesting reading.
The British Marine Futures Report is the backdrop to the newly launched campaign from the RYA, and it’s hugely motivating and encouraging to find out about Why Sailability Is #More Than sailing.
#MoreThanSailing campaign helps people to really understand what getting involved in sailing can do for them, particularly currently inactive disabled people. It is about breaking down perceived barriers to getting on the water and talking to people who might never have realised what the benefits of sailing are.
#MoreThanSailing is about combining our efforts to spread the word and is centred on four key messages. You can read more about those messages here.
There are so many initiatives we can introduce in our great sport to create new approaches for adapting sailors who are new to our sport: the words Excite, Engage and Educate are still very much valid when talking about sailing. To see the initiatives coming out of North America shows many new approaches to making sailing attractive not only for our up and coming sailors, but also for sailors and instructors.
At Mission Bay Yacht Club, San Diego, at the O’pen Bic North American Un-regatta, the emphasis is very much on fun in a safe environment, and the competitors love it. We think the ‘Un-Regatta’ could provide an exciting template for the future! Check it out here.
Last but certainly not least, I wanted to mention Paul Elvstrøm, with his great legacy and his bestselling pocket reference for sailors “Paul Elvstrøm Explains the Racing Rules of Sailing” which has now been launched as an App (PEX).
When Paul’s son in-law Søren Krause talked with Paul before he passed away about updating the booklet, Paul in his usual frank and direct manner said, “if it’s not an App going forward then don’t do it, younger sailors should get the information via an App, not a booklet!” Søren made it happen and we can now all enjoy Paul’s way of explaining the racing rules on our mobile devices.
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.