World Sailing, the Presidential Newsletter of December 2018
Monday, December 3, 2018 9:37 AM
My fellow sailors and friends,
Coming out of the 2018 World Sailing Annual General Meeting in Sarasota, Florida, I wanted to take this time to look back on the decisions made, the process that took us to make these decisions and the way forward on how these conclusions will shape the future of our sport.
Over the last two years, we have followed clear guidelines and processes in order to make important decisions. These decisions were based on all the valuable contributions of the sailing community and are now paving the way forward to make our sport stronger. While there continue to be passionate debates, we must also respect the democratic process that has led to these decisions and unite as a sport to ensure that continue to navigate forward.
I would like to thank all of you for your participation and involvement in creating new initiatives for the development of our sport and I remain open to positive dialogue from the sailing community and as always encourage you to reach out should you have any questions.
Communication around Sailing
Communication is an important tool for any sport as it allows us to keep up to date with important news. At World Sailing we have recently had a lot of miscommunication, where interpretations of news were trying to be used in order to influence the processes and decisions made by the Council. However, I was pleased to see that many of the traditional and prestigious sailing media took the time and effort to join our annual meeting in order to learn more about our decision-making processes as well as the many dedicated sailors who have been contributing in Committees, Commissions and Working Parties.
Governance & Decision-making processes
As many of you know, within the last year World Sailing implemented a new Governance Commission. I am happy to announce that the hard work done by this commission, led by the independent chair Maria Clarke, was presented during a workshop and at the Council meeting in Sarasota. After the presentation, breakout groups had the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions which will now guide the direction of work by the commission going forward. In order to ensure that all stakeholders are able to express their input, the sailing community also has the chance to contribute to the discussion. Those interested can send their feedback directly to the following email address: email@example.com. Please make sure to send in your input by December 31, 2018.
Once all input has been gathered, the final proposal for the new suggested governance structure will be communicated together with the plan for implementation. I am already planning how we can meet with the MNA groups during 2019 in order to present and discuss the proposed structure once it is ready. If you are interested in hearing more about the Governance commission and their report please click here.
Rolex World Sailor of the Year and World Sailing Awards
This year World Sailing decided to present the annual awards in an innovative new format much to the delight of the attendees. While the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award, Beppe Croce Trophy and the President's Development Award where highlighted, four new awards were also given out which include: the eSailing World Championship, World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award, Team of the Year and the Boat of the Year. I would like to once again express my sincere congratulations to all the winners!
The 2024 Olympic Venue
Certainly, one of the major sport decisions taken during the annual meeting was finalizing selecting the events and guidelines regarding the equipment for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, where the host city for sailing will be Marseille. As for the slate of events discussed during the Council meeting in May, I am pleased to inform that all events were confirmed. The only exception was the “Single Handed Mixed” event that was changed to the “Double Handed Mixed Offshore” – the reason behind this board’s decision is the feedback received after the midyear meeting from many MNAs that were struggling with the event format and equipment for the single handed mixed event. During the annual meeting this concern was confirmed by the many committee meetings and the above mentioned change of the event was ratified in the Council with a 79% majority vote and later in the AGM with a majority of 78%. In short, the events for sailing at the 2024 Olympics represent a strong new slate of events highlighting:
- Full gender balance for athletes and events
- Four mixed events vs. only one mixed event at Tokyo 2020
- The broad diversity of our sport by including Offshore Sailing and Kite Boarding
With the inclusion of Offshore in the program we are taking on board a major part of our sport which includes endurance and double handed events, both of which are being sailed on all continents. Furthermore, by including kiteboarding on the program, we will have one of the relatively new disciplines represented as well.
I am convinced that all these new disciplines will lead to an increase in participation across our sport, so long as they are introduced correctly. This means securing a platform for decision making regarding format and qualifications. Kiteboarding is an excellent example, regarding format and selection of equipment they have already produced a proposal for the Mixed Kite Event in 2024. Click here to find out more.
With regards to all Olympic disciplines, we need to focus on inclusion – bearing in mind that cost is a major priority issue. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you one idea that was raised for the Offshore event: it was proposed that all qualifiers on national, regional and continental level be sailed in existing equipment selected by the responsible bodies and approved by World Sailing. I believe that this could be one way of keeping a level playing field during qualifications and then at the Olympic Games equipment could be supplied. I am confident that our experts in Offshore Keelboat racing will work hard to come up with a great solution for the format and the qualification system for the new Offshore event. For this, working groups will be formed to work on different topics such as the security of the field of play, the course layout, the media coverage and the qualification system.
In any case, there is no doubt that the 10 disciplines for the Paris Olympics 2024 will represent and showcase the diversity of our sport with a mix of traditional and innovative equipment and disciplines in our sport. For an overview of the discussions and decisions made at our Council and AGM please click here:
Technology has always been an important part of sailing and now that times are changing we must embrace technology also from a communication and broadcasting perspective. We need to make sure that we are taking advantage of the latest technological advances out there. This year we have experienced great development in terms of technology, but also quality – with SAP Sailing Analytics delivering powerful insights, SailTracks showcasing our “story” with broadcast graphics and augmented reality and Sunset+Vine delivering high quality production and distribution using the latest state of art technology. I am pleased to report that we managed to bring the sport to 47 broadcasters in 181 territories live and 60 broadcasters in 198 territories for highlights, achieving a total of 16 million monitored viewers with a potential worldwide reach of one billion viewers. Let’s keep the momentum and development going in 2019!
The Sustainability Agenda 2030
We kicked off the Sustainability Agenda 2030 project with a huge ambition in 2017, and since then the moment has only been increasing. Already we have received positive feedback from more than 75 countries and we have reaped the benefits of our initial work when activities were fully implemented at the Hempel Sailing World Championships and the Youth Sailing World Championships this year. We should all be proud to count among our achievements that we are the first international federation awarded with the ISO 201121 standard and that we have been recognized by the IOC and UN Environment Programme. Of course, sustainability must be among our highest priorities given that our field of play represents more than 70% of the earth’s surface; as guardians of the water I believe that we are doing a great job to promote sustainability worldwide.
This innovative discipline was introduced at the beginning of this year and officially launched in our mid-year meeting. Since its introduction, 164,658 distinct players have engaged with this new initiative and 14,574 players registered to be ranked in the inaugural eSailing World Championship leading to an exciting final comprised of Alessandro Merlino (ITA), Cruzolator (ESP), L1 (FRA), epicure (FRA), HAVUC (TUR) and Velista71 (ITA). But it was Elouan Le Coq (L1) from France who took home the gold winning the first ever eSailing World Championship title. Just imagine that during the Olympic qualifiers of the Offshore Mixed event, we can all join virtually and have access to the same data on weather and maps as the participants. Imagine being able to compete with the sailors at the Olympics - it would be a fantastic and unique experience amongst Olympic sports!
Yours in Sailing,
President, World Sailing