Kim Andersen, President of World Sailing: “For 2024 we have to have a minimum of two and maybe four mixed events.”
The President of World Sailing Kim Andersen visited the Sofia Iberostar regatta for the first time since being elected to the post in November 2016.
He knows the regatta well and the island of Mallorca as he has a house here. He gave us his thoughts on the outlook during a turbulent period and summarises what has been achieved.
Look back on your first two years, what has been achieved?
“I think it has been two tough years. We came out of the last period with a lot of issues that we needed to deal with and I think we have dealt with most of them. Right now you can say there have been some financial issues and some legal issues which needed to be taken care of.
We have moved the office from Southampton to London. We have changed a lot of the organisation. So the first year has been very busy. Now we are working on one of the things we inherited which was the election of events for 2024 and also the consequence that will have on equipment.
So that is where we are. I think when we hit November we will know a lot more and maybe then we can really set some strategies going forwards.”
And so what are the main targets for the next two years?
“First issue is bringing sailing to a bigger audience and a lot of that we are doing with broadcasting live and engaging with SAP Analytics to make it mush easier to promote sailing. For the time being we are sending this broadcast on new media to more than 60 countries.
That is one thing which is very important which we are doing in order to promote our sport, the other thing is to get more women into sailing. Here I feel like we are fighting against history because we have a terrible history in this area.
A lot of the history of sailing great, a lot of inheritance we have to respect, but the engagement with women I think we cannot be so proud and so I think that is something we have to work hard on. We are doing that every day. That is a major thing for the Olympics how do we engage more women.”
The HQ has been moved to London from Southampton, has this been a good move and why?
“I think it is always difficult. We had been in Southampton for a long time and it is very difficult to attract people to Southampton and so turning a worldwide body in to an international office is very difficult. Nobody would travel and live there from the outside.
In London you need to be at a hub where people can come in and out and where people want to live and stay connected. Being a worldwide body I think you need to be in one of the major cities of the world in order to have the right connections to your stakeholders.”
We are looking at equipment for 2024, some classes are not feeling sure? You see the campaigns here with flags and t shirts and social media?
“I have been sailing Olympic classes and know how I felt angry when the Flying Dutchman went out. I know how you feel as a sailor and that is how you should express yourself but I am more looking into the strategic level where should we be with the events in the Olympics and then to see the consequences on the classes in that order.
Right now in May we are voting on the events, if you are really looking at the slates and the submissions there are changes which will mean more mixed sailing, one of the issues is we have to have one more class, at minimum two and maybe four being mixed events.
With those changes you can change the events without changing the classes so much. There are some good solutions which we are going for but of course they have consequences for some of the classes.”
Now it is two years to Tokyo, what do you think of this event as the curtain raiser to the European season?
“The European season really starts here not just with the regatta but because many of the teams have been here for weeks training so this is the kick off event before they go to Hyeres and then on to other events and they have the Europeans and the Worlds. There is the Worlds in Denmark this year where the first qualification is.”
This is the biggest ever Sofia Iberostar, what do you think? Sailors say they enjoy it as an open even and don’t need to be invited, so it is liked?
“On the World Cup we have also opened the events to the limit of where we can have the fleet sizes and so the organisers are setting the fleet sizes and so we have learned the lesson there and changed as quickly as we could. So the World Cup events are opened in this fashion. In Palma sometimes we can be struggling, it is a big challenge for the organisation.”
How is Tokyo going to be?
“I think all Olympics are great for sailing. I think Tokyo will be great, having the event in Asia where sailing has been developing these past many years. To have a pinnacle event in Tokyo, in that area is great for the area and for sailing in general.
We also know the area and the club which is hosting the event. It is an established, old club with a tradition and so we feel quite confident about a good event in Tokyo.”
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