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World Sailing Presidential Newsletter: February 2019

by Kim Andersen, President World Sailing 2 Mar 07:34 PST
World Sailing President Kim Andersen © Laura Carrau / World Sailing

The start of 2019 has been a busy one for the sailing community, with the major tasks focused primarily on the decisions made at the AGM meeting in November.

I hope you have been enjoying the start of the sailing season with the Hempel World Cup Series Round in Miami, which was a great success! With the SailGP series also kicking off in Sydney successfully, both events demonstrate the diversity of our great sport and are pushing new boundaries for showcasing sailing to a greater audience. The scenes from Sydney brought back memories of The Olympics and the many Sydney to Hobart races with huge crowds on the water and along the beautiful shoreline. I thoroughly enjoyed watching how the action on the water was presented.

Lots of debate and discussions are still ongoing regarding the decisions for our Olympic events for the Paris Olympics in 2024. Make no mistake, the process and the outcome is all about sailing and our ability to adapt and remain a relevant and exciting sport, now and in the future. The fantastic developments in our sport in recent years have increased the diversity of events and equipment, making the decision on how to evolve and include ten Olympic events more complex than ever. The IOC Agenda 2020 and other recommendations from the IOC support the direction of World Sailing agreed at our AGM.

Para Sailing

The future of Paralympic Sailing must ensure strong and positive development is maintained, despite the disappointing decision not to include sailing in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

As published earlier this month, no new event was accepted, so the number of sports at the Paralympics in 2024 remains the same.

We must strengthen the work on the inclusion of Para Sailing in all regional and continental games and continue the growth in participation. We need to establish a funding structure under the World Sailing Trust supporting and facilitating participation: not being a Paralympic sport in 2024, will limit funding.

Governance

At the Board Meeting in February, we received a report from the Independent Chair of the Governance Commission, with a draft proposal for changes to the governance structure of World Sailing. This draft proposal was based on the input and feedback received from the survey conducted by the Governance Commission, the participants comments from the annual meeting and the feedback sent in to it afterwards. The process and the feedback clearly shows a strong desire and the need for improving our structure. This is to ensure:

  • A simplified and a more open efficient and effective decision-making process.
  • The right people with relevant expertise, experience, global perspectives, the athlete voices and balance of genders sit on the various World Sailing bodies.
  • A broader focus of our sport beyond the Olympics including participation and development of sailing.
  • A dedicated focus on matters related to the Olympic Games.
  • A clear and transparent reporting structure.
  • A streamlined Committee structure which is aligned to the strategy of World Sailing.
  • An independent judicial process.
The Commission is refining the proposal and will be bringing it back to the Board in April. We then intend to circulate the proposal prior to the May meetings, so we can seek feedback on it prior to and at the May meetings. We look forward to your input and feedback as we work towards having a strong governance foundation to ensure we are equipped to continue to grow and develop sailing globally.

Gender Balance

A lot of dialogue within the sailing media is focussed on how to improve gender balance and how to attract more youth. I believe the two issues are connected. To stay relevant as a sport for the future, the gender balance needs to be truly "balanced".

To attract youth we need to offer broad options on equipment for doublehanded (mixed) and singlehanded at entry level. Studies show that youth want to learn more than "just" the sport, so we also need to focus education on broader learnings around the environment, wind, waves, currents, nutrition and so on.

At grassroots level the focus and priority needs to be on participation - sailing has so many facets that should be experienced before or in parallel with "going into racing mode". Gender balance is also important when we are looking at how to reduce the drop-out rate from young teenagers to university aged sailors.

Sustainability

As a lifelong sailor, sustainability and protecting the waters of the world is a matter very close to my heart. The latest studies show catastrophic levels of pollution from plastic into the oceans. Globally we are producing nearly 300 million tonnes of plastic waste a year.

We as sailors play a prime role in changing our behaviour and protecting our waters.

World Sailing has taken on a leading role as outlined in the Sustainability Agenda 2030, ratified, with unanimous support, at the 2018 Mid-Year Meeting in London. This agenda shows how the sport will contribute to the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals and the IOC's Sustainability Strategy.

The Sustainability Agenda 2030 is split into World Sailing's six main operational areas with a total of 56 different targets. The targets range from participation to gender equality, water quality to single use plastic. You can read more here.

Where we have made an impact

UN COP 24: We were able to showcase the sport of sailing at the highest level at this conference in December. World Sailing joined a number of Olympic organisers and other sports organisations committing us to reducing the carbon footprint of our operations. "With its global reach, universal appeal and the power to inspire, sport is uniquely placed to drive global climate action," said Prince Albert II of Monaco, who chairs the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission.

Youth Sailing World Championships, Corpus Christi, July 2018: The first World Sailing Championships to focus on sustainability and ocean conservation, this will undoubtedly set a benchmark for future events. You can read more about the amazing achievements here.

Hempel Sailing World Championships, July & August 2018: The event in Aarhus set a new standard for sustainable international events. Based on World Sailing's Sustainability Agenda 2030, Aarhus 2018 partnered with World perfect to deliver an integrated sustainability plan. IOC President Thomas Bach said 'I think it's remarkable that World Sailing, Aarhus and Denmark have built programmes with regard to sustainability. This is a benchmark project for these kind of World Championships'.

The Hempel World Cup Series in Miami: We had some fantastic initiatives including: competitor bibs made from 80% ocean plastic, our 1st Hempel World Cup Series event to have no single use plastic, wetsuit recycling point (where wetsuits are made into yoga mats) and we tested the use of biodegradable bow stickers.

What does the future hold? - We are pleased to have received funding from 11th Hour Racing for two projects:

  • A set of environmental educational resources for sailors in six languages aimed at 6-12 year olds expands on the hugely popular resources created by the Volvo Ocean Race.
  • A suite of resources again in six languages specifically for sailing and yacht clubs highlighting how they can lower their environmental footprint.
Finally, I'd like to remind members of the inaugural World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award where a $10,000 prize will be given to the winners who can demonstrate how they have implemented sustainability initiatives with positive results. The winner will receive a trophy made from recycled carbon fibre (from an AC35 boat) and bio resin.

Let's focus our efforts and make a true difference!

I hope that this monthly newsletter continues to provide you with insights into the direction of our organization and our sport. Please feel free to reach out to me either via , www.facebook.com/KimAndersenSailing, or twitter.com/KimAndersen. As always, I am happy to hear from you.

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