The ISAF Sailing World Cup is now quite a lot different to the product of just 12 months ago, it is now it is more continental as it aims to increase high grade event accessibility for sailors around the world as Antonio González de la Madrid (ESP), the ISAF Sailing World Cup Manager, explains.
This highly regarded Spanish sailing event organiser, had spent six years working here in Palma at one of the Sailing World Cup venues, Club Nautico Palma, and then Calpe in Alicante before moving into his ISAF role.
Appointed in 2012, La Madrid, an ISAF International Race Officer was a member of the ISAF International Technical Official team at the London 2012 Olympic Games and was working as the ISAF Competitions Manager where he was responsible for Race Officials as well as acting as the ISAF Technical Delegate for ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship, ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship and ISAF Team Racing World Championships.
La Madrid explains, ’Calpe has a sailing club which runs a lot of Grade 1 events, World Championships, so I had a lot of experience organising high level events. When the Competition Manager position within ISAF came up last year I decided it would be an interesting challenge and then ISAF recognised they needed a Sailing World Cup Manager and so I moved to that role in October.
'My first World Cup event was in Melbourne in December. It was the first event inside the new structure, with the new format. Melbourne has signed on for another four years.
‘Miami followed, now it’s Palma de Mallorca and Hyères is only a few weeks away.
Medal race start - 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami - Ants Vainsalu
‘Then Qingdao will lead off 2013/14 in October, before Melbourne, Miami, a Middle Eastern venue, then back here to Palma and Hyères. The plan is to have the Sailing World Cup occur on each continent or region to help promote the growth of the sport.'
‘The challenge for the Sailing World Cup is to develop an overall product, which is similar everywhere, to take the best from every event and bring everyone onto the same field.
‘We had a meeting with all the Sailing World Cup organisers last November in Dublin and we are going to have another one in Hyères for the next season working towards consistency between the events. .
‘In a series like the Formula One it doesn’t matter if the Grand Prix is in Valencia or in Malaysia. You have the same racing rules, systems and scoring and that is what we are trying to achieve.
‘It’s an evolutionary process for the older events. Here in Palma, this event is a Sailing World Cup but it is also the Trofeo Princesa Sofia which is a 44 year old event with a lot of traditions, so we have to respect that, while gradually making needed changes.
‘We are working towards consistency in documentation and now we have a pretty good notice of race and sailing instruction set.
‘Each event only has to plug in local things. As well as the Sailing World Cup I am also in charge of the Youth Worlds. I am now doing the same. I want the same sailing instructions, the same procedures so that the sailors start getting used to this system.
‘‘I am trying to get consistency in not only for the technical side but for the marketing and branding of the venue.
‘Each event is different. Palma has a strong sponsor so we have to look after the sponsor too. So there are some challenges that we have. For us and the local guys, I know them very well and they are fantastic and they are very happy to do this with us.
‘So it is not only consistency in the technical side but to build a product called Sailing World Cup and be consistent and it doesn’t matter if we are in Melbourne, Miami or Qingdao or in Palma.
‘It is a challenge. It is a very nice challenge. We are working now on the event manual for all the organisers for now and the future.
‘The legacy that we have after London 2012 is great because all these areas are covered and very well explained and I know Alistair is working here with local organisers to adapt this document which is in Olympic language, which is a bit different.
‘It is a very helpful document because it explains everything and for a new organiser like Qingdao we can explain for the media you need a boat, minimum this size etc.
Who said Olympic sailing was boring? Big winds again characterised the final day of the ISAF World Cup, Hyeres - © Jean-Marie Liot /DPPI/FFV
‘All the events are different. For Palma and Hyères, the numbers of Olympic class sailors in Europe delivers them big fields. We expect to see more sailors from South America in Miami in the years ahead.
‘The Sailing World Cup in Qingdao, China is a new step, a new challenge. I am very happy with that. Qingdao is going to be the first Sailing World Cup for next year and I think that providing a lot of boats and with the prize money is a good way to attract top sailors to Qingdao.
‘I think we are working in the right direction. It will be simpler with Qingdao because it is a new event so they are going to start doing things that we want to be done. We will see, after Qingdao, how many entries we will have.
‘The Sailing World Cup in Melbourne has less Olympic Class sailors than any other events and that is the challenge. We recognise it wouldn’t be possible to run Sail Melbourne without all the invited classes to bring critical mass and they have to be combined from a practical point of view.
‘But we do welcome Melbourne’s increased focus on the Olympic classes.
‘I know they have a very good relationship with China and they are talking with them on how can they work together to get sailors.
‘Perth 2011 had a very successful emerging nations program and I understand Sail Melbourne is looking at a similar training program too.’
‘In summary, the nature of the Sailing World Cup is changing. The new structure of the Sailing World Cup is not like the old one now it is more continental, it aims to increase the accessibility of these major events for more countries and encourage increases in numbers of Olympic Classes sailors around the world.’
Australia’s Anna Kendall and Michelle Muller under spinnaker in the FX. - ISAF Sailing World Cup - Sail Melbourne - Alexandra Mckinnon
by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team
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2:45 PM Sat 6 Apr 2013GMT
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