Standing by for more transparency

Published on June 14th, 2022

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
When I worked for World Sailing at the Rio 2016 Olympics, I gained an excellent network of people who helped me do my job at Scuttlebutt. The organization’s interest for transparency was an additional bonus, but those days seem to be gone.

There aren’t many people at World Sailing that I know now, which doesn’t seem to matter much as there’s been a general lack of responsiveness. I didn’t bother inquiring about (the lack of) information from the recently held 2022 Mid-Year Meeting. It felt good not to bang my head against the wall.

However, I did click on some of the submissions that were discussed. Here are some highlights:

• A rule that requires quick release harnesses which comply with ISO 10862, which was to begin in 2023 to improve safety, has been pushed back two years because nobody has made the product.

• The Safety Panel report that with the introduction of Windfoiling and Kites, there’s been an increase in injuries in sailing events which include shoulder dislocations along with ankle and foot fractures. This trend had already begun leading into Rio 2016 with the Nacra 17.

• Regarding environmental impact, the Athletes Commission, noted how there was no end of life strategy for any and all sailing equipment. This committee is comprised with the same people who, as athletes, are/were replacing gear at a high level to be competitive, and are looking for World Sailing and all associated equipment manufacturers to lead a strategy and enforce the expectation of life cycle responsibility for products.

• A review of the rickety World Sailing governance has taken on a life of its own, and while it is seemingly agreed that the current model does not work well, changing it seems to be beyond the organization’s ability. May be that’s because the current model does not work well.

• Apparently it’s hard to close the door on Member National Authorities, even when in arrears with payments for a decade, but the lights were finally turned out for the African nations of
Botswana, Djibouti, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Zimbabwe along with Kosovo (Southeast Europe) and Panama (Central/South America).

While past President Kim Andersen (DEN) had enough detractors in which he got ‘Trumped’ in his reelection bid, at least he promoted a level of transparency not previously provided by World Sailing.

However, and perhaps by coincidence, the leadership by Quanhai Li of China no longer extends that same window into the organization. Hope this improves… standing by.

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