World Sailing President, Kim Andersen, delivered his monthly newsletter to share the activities from the world governing body for the sport of sailing:
This year has got off to a wonderful start in international sailing with Australia and New Zealand hosting numerous World Championships, showcasing the variety of our sport. It has been encouraging seeing so many people on the water, and this week the season has started for many Olympic teams at the Hempel World Cup Series Miami.
Off the water, it has been a great encouragement to see the work and enthusiasm being put into implementing all the decisions sanctioned at the World Sailing Annual Conference last November. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but the priorities are clear and we are all dedicated to securing a timely and successful implementation.
In this month’s newsletter, I wanted to take the time to reflect on what was a remarkable 2018 for sailing as a sport. We truly have much to be proud of. Below you will see my highlights of 2018 – there are so many that unfortunately I cannot include them all, but please enjoy the memories!
Events Highlights 2018
The 48th edition of the Youth Sailing World Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA in July was a wonderful success with more than 382 sailors from 66 nations competing across nine events.
Our Youth World Championship maintains a high participation rate and strong standard which indicates positive growth for our sport. The 2018 edition also set a benchmark with sustainability and ocean conservation at the forefront of the event and the Corpus Christi Yacht Club was rightly awarded the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award.
July and August saw Aarhus, Denmark, hosting the Hempel Sailing World Championships for all 10 Olympic sailing classes plus Men’s and Women’s Kiteboarding. It was one of the largest sporting events ever to take place in Denmark.
We had the pleasure of welcoming 84 sailing countries and 1,247 sailors over 14 days of competition, as well as over 400,000 visitors, with some of our greatest sports personalities and heroes in attendance. This event was the largest, most successful and sustainable Sailing World Championships in history.
Sportcal was commissioned to produce a Global Sports Impact Report which detailed analysis across eight pillars of impact, of which sustainability was a key element. For example, 5 tonnes of food was converted into 7.5 tonnes of biogas and 52% of all waste from the event was recycled. All trams and buses were free for athletes, spectators and officials during the Championships.
Worldwide, 75 broadcasters showed live, delayed or highlight coverage of the event in 198 nations and territories. A unique audience of 15.67 million watched more than 7.55 million hours of television coverage worldwide. In Denmark alone, 30 hours of the event were broadcast live on the domestic broadcaster, DR.
September also saw the very impressive World Cup Series and first test event for the Tokyo 2020 Games in Enoshima, Japan. There were 35 Olympic medallists and numerous World Champions, with 466 sailors from 44 nations competing and familiarising themselves with the waters of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing venue. I know this will be a great venue for the Hempel World Cup Series and the 2020 Summer Olympic Games!
The Para World Sailing Championships took place in September last year in the US – the pinnacle event of Para Sailing. Despite sailing not being included in the 2020 and 2024 Paralympic Games, the efforts made to develop and excel this hugely important area of our sport have been successful, although our Para Sailors are missing the opportunity to compete in the Games is a disappointment.
Para Sailing has developed positively, despite losing major national funding by no longer being a Paralympic sport. Let’s continue the development and support for Para Sailing and have a constructive dialogue to secure the backing of the International Paralympic Committee.
The numbers speak for themselves: in 2016, 88 participants and 23 nations took part, in 2017 this was 78 participants and 37 nations, and in 2018 the figures were 98 participants and 39 nations. I’d like to encourage all Member National Authorities to get behind Para Sailing in your individual countries and come along and support the Para World Sailing Championships. The 2019 edition takes place July in Puerto Sherry, Spain.
We also have, of course, our World Sailing Special Events, which means that World Sailing, as the world governing body, formally recognises and sanctions a particular event.
Throughout 2018 we had several exciting events held around the world including the culmination of the Volvo Ocean Race last summer, with the Dongfeng Race Team winning, and the World Match Racing Tour featuring the leading match racing events around the globe. Then in December we saw the finals of the Star Sailors League take place. In the high-octane Extreme Sailing Series, and for the fourth time in their eight-year history of competing, Swiss team Alinghi took the championship title after an amazing final in Mexico.
For 2019, we have the new SailGP Series, a thrilling new fan-centric grand prix racing circuit. The F50 equipment are high-tech wingsail catamarans using the latest technology, allowing world class sailors to compete in a series of events, which creates a career path for our athletes. The series will be kicking off in February in Sydney, and then continuing on to San Francisco, New York, Cowes, and Marseille.
The innovative discipline of eSailing was introduced at the beginning of 2018 after officially being launched in our mid-year meeting. Since its introduction, 169,000 distinct players competed in the 2018 eSailing World Championship, with 16,000 registered in 74 countries, and 1,000 players invited to the Playoffs and eight live finalists in Sarasota, Florida.
The eSailing platform provides an excellent way for us to provide a sailing simulation platform that is attractive both to sailors and non-sailors. In the future, just imagine being able to compete virtually with the heroes of our sport, as the competition is on!
Rolex World Sailor of the Year & World Sailing Awards (October)
World Sailing introduced a new format to the annual awards at the conference in Sarasota, Florida in late October, with four new awards given out including: the eSailing World Championship, World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award, Team of the Year, and the Boat of the Year.
The awards were a huge success and the innovative new format was a big hit with attendees.
A New Sponsor
Hempel was the title partner of the Hempel Sailing World Championships 2018 held in Aarhus in August. Following the success of the event, we were delighted to officially announce that Hempel, the world-leading supplier of trusted coating solutions, has partnered with World Sailing and will become the title partner of the World Cup Series 2019-2022, as well as the Youth Sailing World Championships 2019.
Hempel will also become an Official Event Partner for the 2020, 2021, and 2022 Youth Worlds and Para Worlds, the Offshore World Championship, as well as the 2022 Sailing World Championships.
World Sailing and Hempel share many parallel values. From sustainability initiatives and reducing environmental impact to improving efficiency, the world of sailing provides a positive context to bring Hempel’s and World Sailing’s values to life.
Social Media Engagement
We continued to make great strides on our digital platforms in 2018 and we’re reaching a younger fan base than ever before. Our audiences across the platforms are mainly in the 25-34 range, with Instagram the most popular platform with 18-year-olds.
We’re posting and publishing more content than we’ve ever done before, reaching millions on a monthly basis. Video viewership on our platforms is continuously rising and we’re achieving several million views each year, engaging more than ever before.
Ensuring we have great and regular content has been crucial to this success and we will be aiming to further enhance our output in 2019 and beyond.
I hope that this monthly newsletter continues to provide you with insights into the direction of our organisation 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.