World Sailing Presidential Update – November 2019
Published on December 5th, 2019
World Sailing President Kim Andersen delivers his monthly newsletter to share the activities from the world governing body for the sport of sailing.
Following the 2019 World Sailing Annual Conference in Bermuda in November, our main focus has been to follow-up on a successful Conference, by planning and organizing the administration of the World Sailing office for the interim period before we recruit a new CEO.
I have also had the opportunity to join the Chinese Yachting Association and the German Sailing Federation (DSV) for their own annual conferences, as well as attending the Yacht Racing Forum in Bilbao. It has been very beneficial to catch up with many faces within the industry and various organizers and other stakeholders of our sport from around the world.
Interim management of World Sailing
With the departure of our CEO Andy Hunt, whose last day of work will be December 9th, we began to plan the interim period. Numerous scenarios were discussed, and the Senior Management Team (SMT) decided on an interim management structure where they will be directly responsible to the Board for the delivery of their departments’ objectives.
The SMT will continue to meet regularly to manage the operations of the Executive Office, and the Board has agreed on regular reporting arrangements for the Executive Office to ensure direct communication. Given this structure is in place, the Board has decided not to appoint an interim CEO until a permanent appointment is made.
I would like to thank the employees of World Sailing for their hard work in delivering a successful Annual Conference and for stepping up during this interim period. The Board is in the process of initiating a search for the CEO position, and this process will be finalized in the coming weeks.
Chinese AGM Conference
It is interesting to follow the impressive growth of the Chinese Yachting Association which, in sailing terms, is still a relatively young federation. They have demonstrated a broad, strong development across all the many disciplines of our sport – from family programmes to windsurf, skiff and other high-performance programmes.
The Chinese Yachting Association are promoting engagement, participation and technical high performance programmes, while at the same time building the infrastructure, implementing the facilities, and planning the future of our great sport, which is certainly impressive.
Their Awards night showed their development across many disciplines through a great depth of candidates. Not many countries have an Ocean Race winner, a podium team in the SailGP, and top-ten finishers in Olympic classes! I had the opportunity to talk with the Minister of Sport; his enthusiasm for our sport was genuine and he is pleased with its progression.
German AGM Conference
The roots of the German Sailing Federation go back to 1888 – today it has approximately 1,300 member clubs and is rated as one of the top 20 elite sports federations in Germany. During the last 12 months, they have been working on a new structure to mirror the development in society and to address the challenges, with a special focus on youth attraction, development and reducing dropout, as well as revitalizing the participation part of our sport.
Yacht Racing Forum
The opening keynote speaker was Stan Honey, who discussed “The Present and Future of Yacht Racing.”
With changes in sailing moving quicker than ever, this could be difficult, but Stan had some clear trends in mind. These included the adaptation of foiling technology and how we will see new records and new ways of “traveling” within our sport as well as the power of technology continuing to make our sport understandable and engaging with weather predictions to electronic umpiring and broadcasting techniques.
The delegates at the Forum conducted a poll on the new Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat event with 89% welcoming its introduction and noted that there will continue to be an increase in opportunities via the new Olympic event.
Interestingly, years ago, the technical forum discussed and predicted the future of foiling in sailing, but they were highly uncertain regarding stability. Once again the real-life scenario has gone beyond our imaginations!
Other major topics at the Yacht Racing Forum centered around participation, how to welcome more women into our sport, and actively improve gender balance, engage youth sailors, and how to promote our sport and sailors in a better way.
New era of live sailing coverage
When you read this newsletter, the at 2019 Hyundai 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra17 World Championships will already be underway in New Zealand. It’s great to see that new ways/platforms are making top sailing events available for sailors and showcasing the sport to a new audience.
The combined class organization for the 49er/49erFX and Nacra 17 will have live streaming available using the SidelineApp and will provide a worldwide audience with access to live and on-demand coverage from the Hauraki Gulf race course. Advances in technology has made broadcasting in sailing more affordable than ever. Using 4G has made it possible to provide reliable streams across the globe, showcasing the sport in the best possible way.
The World Championships will be of huge importance for the sailors and nations competing, preparing for the Olympics with some nations still aiming for qualification. The Royal Akarana Yacht Club is hosting the 206 teams competing from 41 nations comprising 412 athletes.
With winter now very much apparent on the northern hemisphere we are looking forward to following all the great events on the southern hemisphere including a lot of the Olympic classes who have their major events for the year with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Enoshima on the horizon.
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.