World Sailing presidential update – February 2018

By | March 1, 2018

World Sailing President Kim Andersen (right) offers an overview of the process that will select the 2024 Olympic events along with a look forward to other issues World Sailing is working on.

Recently, I read an article by Craig Leweck at Scuttlebutt where he quoted Charles Darwin.

Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most adaptable to change.”

Both Darwin and Leweck were right!

While change has never been easy, I believe that as sailors we cannot sit back on our accomplishments. But rather, we must force ourselves to evaluate our events and ensure they in turn keep our Olympic status intact, develop our sport and continue to attract new sailors.

Make no mistake, the process at hand is not about the International Olympic Committee but rather about sailing and our ability to adapt and remain a relevant and exciting sport – now and in the future.

Why is a new decision process being done?
In November 2014, at the World Sailing Annual Conference, a submission was approved to introduce a new Olympic Events and Equipment decision process. The reason for this new process was to improve the predictability and continuity of World Sailing Olympic decisions.

What is the decision process based on?
The decision process is based on Regulation 23 in the World Sailing Statutes which states that a minimum of four events need to be reviewed for the 2024 Olympic Games. As per the regulation, World Sailing will make two important decisions in the coming months: deciding on the event types and the equipment used for the 2024 Olympic Games by May 2018 and November 2018, respectively.

However, should new equipment be recommended, then the decision for new equipment should be selected no later than November 2019 following equipment trials.

How is the decision process being implemented?
In order to efficiently accomplish this important milestone, the World Sailing Council took a decision on November 2017 focused on achieving gender equity on an event and athlete level. This decision meant including a minimum of 2 or maximum of 4 mixed events to ensure that men and women of different physiques have the opportunity to compete.

A working party under the Events Committee was then appointed to review the new decision process and used the above mentioned background and framework as considerations for the review.

As a result, the Working Party and the Events Committee recommended five events to be reviewed, including:

• Men & Women’s Windsurfer
• Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavyweight
• Men & Women’s Two Person Dinghy

This was indeed a tough call, dealing with the wide range of complex issues such as variance, emotions and legacy. Given the recommendations and deadlines involved, an electronic vote by Council was required. It is important to note that before voting electronically, a lot of positive feedback highlighting the quality of information shared was exchanged.

For those interested, the full discussion on the topic can be seen on YouTube (click here).

What are the decisions made to date?
I am glad to announce that the Council vote has supported the recommendation from the 2024 Olympic Games Events & Equipment Working Party and the Events Committee. As such, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Working Party and the Committee for delivering a high quality report and providing their recommendations. Furthermore, I would like to thank the Council for sharing their knowledge in regards to this key procedure in view of the next Olympic Games.

Again, I would like to mention that this decision and process is a crucial element to the future of our sport. It is decisions and processes like these that help World Sailing in the long-term; allowing us to evaluate our events on our terms, to ensure that they are aligned with the Olympic guidelines and above all to continue developing our great sport worldwide.

What are the next steps in the process?
By March 19, 2018 Submissions for event proposals matching the events under review must be put forward for decision at the Council meeting in May 2018.

That said, I would like to re-iterate and re-assure you all that the Board is doing everything in its power to ensure that all decisions being made are exactly in accordance with World Sailing Regulations. While the review process has been a challenging task, I would like to express my gratitude to all the people involved in the project for their excellent job. There is still much to do, but we are moving forward in the right way.

In order to provide a transparent overview of the process, an FAQ document has been created which gives extensive and detailed answers to potential outstanding questions. To read this document… click here.

Looking forward
As we look forward to our mid-year meeting in May, there are many more major deliveries that the World Sailing Board and organization as a whole are working on.

I would also like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the main tasks that we are carrying out in World Sailing:

• Development of a commercial platform
• Launch of E-Sailing
• Preparation of the first presentation of the World Sailing strategy – as agreed in May 2017
• Work on the Hempel World Sailing Championships in Aarhus
• Presentation of a World Sailing Olympic Events strategy 2021
• Planning for the sailing competition at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games
• Preparation of a report including the ongoing work with the governance commission
• Work on our future Olympic venue in Tokyo

As you can see, 2018 is off to a good start for our sport and we are working hard on all fronts. There are many opportunities open to the sailing community, from making a strong slate of events in order to showcase the diversity of our great sport to commercial expansions.

Now is our time and I encourage you all to embrace and adapt to change – I look forward to sharing more insights and developments with you in the coming months.
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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.