World Sailing Presidential Newsletter
My fellow Sailors and friends,
Having just wrapped up the 2017 World Sailing Conference & AGM in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, I wanted to take this time to provide you all with insights into the decisions that were taken and also to share with you the direction of World Sailing for the next year.
The theme for our Conference was “Uniting our Sport”, and I truly believe that this starts with each one of us – MNAs, Administrators, officials and sailors. We each have a great opportunity and responsibility to lead our sport to a new, more successful future. By working together and using the expertise and knowledge that we have, this can be achieved.
I was very much encouraged by the discussions and meetings I had with many of you in Mexico and over the past year. By keeping you up to date on the latest activities around World Sailing through this newsletter, I hope that we can continue the positive momentum forward. Please feel free to reach out to me either via email, Facebook or Twitter with any questions or comments you have.
Yours in Sailing,
President, World Sailing
Overview from Puerto Vallarta
The 2017 Annual World Sailing Conference kicked-off on a strong note, with two open forums on Sustainability and Gender Balance and the first Council Symposium focused on Grassroots Development and Technology.
Mike Golding OBE, World Sailing Sustainability Commission Chairman led the first forum covering Wold Sailing’s Sustainability Agenda 2030, good discussions arose around the identified sustainability objectives. While at the “Balancing the Boat” forum, a clear message of equality in sport and sailing was on the agenda. The forum was well attended with committee members and delegates joining the debate. The full forums can be watched on the World Sailing YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChLA7Rq8L9E
At the first Council Symposium, we had the opportunity to hear from Tom Herbert Evans – Community Sailing Manager for the 35th America’s Cup (AC35) – who spoke about their Endeavour Program which enabled hundreds of youngsters to get into sailing before, during and after the AC35. While Matthew Mason – former America’s Cup winner and talented boat designer – showcased a design that can be implemented on an Optimist boat helping to evolve the equipment. In addition, Stan Honey – Technical Innovator within sport – and Richard Slater – AC35 Umpire – presented exciting advancements in the adaptation of new technology via tracking, telemetry and electron umpiring which will make our sport more understandable to global audiences.
These presentations and discussions set a positive tone for the week sparking good dialogues and deeper discussions among the Sailing community, especially in regards to attracting new audiences and developing our sport worldwide. In addition, various committee meetings were being held throughout the week, with many decisions being taken on the next steps of our sport.
Setting the Agenda Forward
With two days’ worth of World Sailing Council meetings and the AGM, we covered a lot of ground. Personally, I wanted to share my thoughts and my speech which covers in detail reflections from the last year as well as points for the next steps for the future of Sailing.
As the World Sailing Council and AGM came to a close, there were some major decisions that were made. Among which were Council’s decision on various governance issues including; the approval of terms of reference for a Governance Commission, the approval of an Antitrust Policy for World Sailing, the establishment of new safety panel and incident reporting guidelines to improve safety standards and increase awareness, the appointments to the Judicial Board and Ethics Commission, the approval of water quality standards (which were developed on the experience gained from the 2016 Summer Olympics) and the approval for the Sustainability Agenda 2030 consultation process.
With regards to the World Sailing Events, I am pleased to report that the Tokyo 2020 format and qualification system was finalised. This will give our sailors clarity for their training and Olympic preparations. In addition, the framework for selecting disciplines for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games has been agreed. Furthermore, gender equality initiatives at an event level have also been approved including having a minimum of two (2) and a maximum of four (4) mixed gender events as well as ensuring men and women of different physiques have an opportunity to compete.
Lastly, the Event Strategy Working Party have taken some clear initiatives to work with the Board Sub-Committee on its event strategy. Other programs and events where agreed that will address the following: Laser Radial & RSX Women’s coaching programme 2018-2020, Para World Sailing Championships combined with the Sailing World Championships from 2022, eSailing World Championships, approval of 2018 Boats for Para World Sailing, 2.4 Norlin OD, Hansa 303, RS Venture Connect, World Sailing one-design Offshore World Championships, One-design keelboat World Championships and ORC and RORC to work together to create a combined offshore World Championship.
New initiatives in World Sailing
As mentioned, one of my key focuses for World Sailing is expanding and growing our sport worldwide. This means finding new and exciting ways of bringing our sport to global audiences. The best way to do this is by adapting to new technology and showcasing our athletes, which brings me to make a few exciting announcements.
First, World Sailing has officially launched its revolutionary eSailing World Championships. In partnership with Virtual Regatta, the Championships will be held every year starting from 2018. The eSailing World Championships will open our sport to a new audience as well as allow sailors to practice their favourite sport everywhere at anytime.
Second, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the Star Sailors League has been recognised with a Special Event status by World Sailing. The Star Sailors League provides an established platform for the heroes and legends of our sport to showcase their skillset and thrive. Together both the League and World Sailing are able to provide our athletes with more opportunities to shine. And I am looking forward to seeing some excellent competition.
World Sailor of the Year
The Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards are the highest award a sailor can receive in recognition of his/her outstanding achievements by the world of sailing. The Awards are presented every year at our World Sailing Annual Conference and AGM to one male and one female winner.
This year it gives me great pleasure to recognise two incredible athletes who continuously demonstrate the values of a champion both on the water and off. Marit Bouwmeester, Dutch Olympic gold Medalist from Rio 2016 Olympic Games and Peter Burling New Zealander helmsman who was part of the Emirates Team New Zealand who recently won the 35th America’s Cup. Congratulations to our 2017 Rolex World Sailors of the Year!
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all this year’s nominees and all sailors worldwide who continuously push themselves and our sport to the limit, your dedication continues to drive our sport forward.