Call for Change at World Sailing Annual Conference

Published on October 28th, 2019

Hamilton, Bermuda (October 28, 2019) – Dee Caffari, Chair of the World Sailing Trust and one of the world’s most accomplished offshore sailors, led the presentation of the Trust’s Women in Sailing Strategic Review today.

Caffari, the only woman to have sailed solo, non-stop, around the world in both directions and the first woman to sail non-stop around the world three times, opened the Gender Balance: A Case for Change forum.

Addressing the delegates, Caffari commented, “This report is for all of us in this room, male, female, young, old to defend our sport and take it forwards into the future appreciating society as a whole and making it safe and progressive for all. We need to collaborate and make a stand now to cohesively change sailing.

“We can no longer tick the box for the subjects of inclusion and diversity. Diversity is a given and inclusion is an act and from the evidence, we need to act. Action can start right here in Bermuda with the key decision makers here.

“If we want our sport to progress and move forwards, then we need to consider 50% of the population otherwise we are going to be left behind and we might not like to hear it but deep down we all know it.”

Hannah Hoare, Head of Fundraising at the World Sailing Trust, then gave insight into how the strategic review came about and what the goals were before the Project Lead, Vicky Low, presented the key findings.

It was noted that 59% of women and 14% of men have experienced gender based discrimination in sailing and that it is a global issue that happens at all ages. The presentation reported that discrimination occurs across all classes of sailing with 71% experiencing it in multihulls, 64% in keelboats and 58% in dinghies and that there is often stereotyping and a lack of opportunities for female sailors.

Ten recommendations were put forward on how to address gender balance in sailing and range from a gender charter, engagement of events and venues as well as implementing programs for coaching, talent fast tracking and Olympic career transitioning.

Although there is a prevalent issue, Caffari, Hoare and Low, encouraged the Annual Conference delegates to create positive change by working in partnership to influence the global sailing community.

The Forum is available to listen back to here and the full report will be published on the World Sailing Trust’s website and promoted via the @WSailingTrust Twitter towards the end of November.

Match Racing Sub-committee
World Sailing owns numerous match racing events including the Women’s World Championship, Youth World Championship, Blind World Championship and the Nations Cup. These events fall under the responsibility of the Match Racing Sub-committee and during their meeting, numerous reports on recent and upcoming events were received.

James Pleasance of the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) reported to the committee on the direction of the tour. Late last year, the WMRT changed ownership and in July, World Sailing renewed the Special Event status of the WMRT.

The WMRT mission is to grow match racing, increase participation and accessibility as well as providing a career pathway. Moving forward, all WMRT events will be Open Match Racing events and a mixed team format will be introduced. Throughout the WMRT tour events, points will be awarded at World Championship and World Tour events.

The top 12 skippers following the penultimate World Championship event will then be invited to the final event which will have a points multiplier of 1.5. The skipper with the highest number of points will then be crowned official Match Racing World Champion.

Equipment Rules Sub-committee and Special Regulations Sub-committee
The technical side of the sport was discussed in both the Equipment Rules Sub-committee and the Special Regulations Sub-committee. In 2020, a new edition of World Sailing’s Offshore Special Regulations – governance of offshore racing for monohulls and multihulls – will be published.

The Special Regulations Sub-committee reviewed and made recommendations to the Oceanic and Offshore Committee on a dozen submissions related to the Offshore Special Regulations.

These included requiring periodic inspection of the structural integrity of boats, extending the requirement for AIS transponders down to Category 3 races, electric propulsion engines, emergency pump specification, halyard locking devices, deeper mainsail reef as alternative to storm trysail alternative, as well as adding to the Offshore Racing Environmental Code that offshore racing yachts built after 2022 will produce at least 20% of their power requirements using renewable energy sources while racing.

The new edition of World Sailing’s Equipment Rules of Sailing will cover the next cycle – 2021-2024. The Equipment Rules Sub-committee spent their time reviewing submissions proposing amendments and new definitions to the book.

Olympic Classes Sub-committee and Regional Games Sub-committee
Representatives of the 470, RS:X, Laser, Finn, 49er and Nacra 17 make up the Olympic Classes Sub-committee. Throughout the day, the Sub-committee spoke in depth on the Olympic Games and the World Sailing event strategy.

The last 12-months have featured numerous Regional Games and the Sub-committee within World Sailing reviewed events such as the Pan-Am Games. Furthermore, they looked at strengthening sailing’s position in global games to ensure greater representation in the future.

The Annual Conference continues tomorrow with a full program of meetings, a forum on sustainability, the eSailing World Championship Final and the World Sailing Awards.


World Sailing Annual Conference details… click here.

How to Follow
Daily news reports will be available on World Sailing’s website, World Sailing’s Twitter and Facebook account will cover the event with regular news and updates and daily videos, providing insight into the discussions, will also be available: click here.

And Scuttlebutt will be there
As I did in 2018, I will be attending the World Sailing’s 2019 Annual Conference to watch the sausage get made. Within the brick and mortar of World Sailing is a volunteer army seeking to navigate an amazingly diverse sport through cultures and requirements, and I again look forward to seeing how it is done. – Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

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