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World Sailing Council looks to the future

by World Sailing 12 Nov 06:00 GMT 12 November 2017
World sailing's President, Kim Andersen © World Sailing

A week of discussion and debate from delegates at World Sailing's Annual Conference in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico culminated in a two-day meeting of World Sailing's Council.

The submissions that proposed change, made in advance of the conference and the subsequent recommendations made by the expert committees, were put forward to the Council. World Sailing's Council subsequently voted on the submissions that shape and will unite the future of the sport.

Decisions were made on a wide range of topics that were not solely connected to the Olympic Games. Decisions on offshore sailing, keelboat racing, Para World Sailing and Racing Rules of Sailing were made that will impact sailors from the grassroots to the elite level of the sport.

World Sailing also reached out to the virtual world with a revolutionary launch of the eSailing World Championships.

The regulatory decisions made by World Sailing's Council will go to the delegates at the Annual General Meeting for ratification on Sunday 12 November.

Offshore World Championships to provide a pathway

World Sailing will hold an Offshore World Championship in the future following approval from the Council. The Offshore Worlds will be held in One Design boats to help promote and raise the profile of Offshore Sailing which represents a significant element of the sport.

Selection of equipment, dates and venue as well as arrangements of the Worlds will be decided by World Sailing's Board of Directors after consultation with the Oceanic and Offshore Committee.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic format and qualification

The racing format for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was decided. The Men's and Women's 470, Finn, Laser and Laser Radial will all sail an opening series which will be followed by a double point Medal Race.

Men's and Women's RS:X sailors will also sail an opening series and a double point Medal Race, however when the wind conditions suit planing, they will have a reaching start and finish.

World Sailing's Council had a discussion and debate on the 49er and 49erFX Medal Race format. The Events Committee proposed that three single point races on the final day shall be sailed with the use of boundaries at the discretion of the Race Committee.

Council voted against the proposal and the 49er and 49erFX fleets will now sail an opening series and a single double points Medal Race.

The Council also noted that the Nacra 17 format had not been fully tested but it's expected they will retain their current opening series and a single double points Medal Race.

The qualification system for Tokyo 2020 was also approved by World Sailing's Council. The Aarhus 2018 Sailing World Championships will be the principal qualification event.

Places will be available at the 2018 Asian Games, 2019 Pan-Am Games and 2019 World Championships. Further places will be available at continental events.

The qualification system will now be reviewed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and all International Federation qualification systems will be approved by the IOC Executive Board in February 2018.

Para World Sailing representative to be included in Athletes' Commission

Since its inception, World Sailing's Athletes' Commission was open only to sailors who had competed at an Olympic Sailing Competition. World Sailing's Council approved the inclusion of a Para World Sailing representative into the Athletes' Commission as many issues considered by the Commission affect Olympians and Paralympians.

Sailors who competed at the 2017 World Championships will be able to vote for a representative who competed at the worlds as well as the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

In addition to the inclusion of an Athletes' Commission representative, Council approved the equipment and formats for the 2018 Para World Sailing calendar.

To include athletes with high level disability, help grow participating nations and spectator / media appeal the following will be used in 2018:

  • Single Person Keelboat (Technical) – Open Gender – 2.4 Norling OD - fleet racing with a Medal Race
  • Single Person Keelboat (Non-Technical) – Male – Hansa 303 – Short course fleet racing, supplied boat with a Medal Race
  • Single Person Keelboat (Non-Technical) – Female – Hansa 303 – Short course fleet racing, supplied boat with a Medal Race
  • Two Person Keelboat – Open Gender – RS Venture Connect – Short course fleet racing, supplied boat with late stage knockouts. The winner of the final race will win the event
World Sailing introduce a Governance Commission

World Sailing's Council approved the introduction of a Governance Commission.

The Commission will undertake an in-depth and wide-ranging review of the governance structure of World Sailing. From there, they will make recommendations to the Board of Directors for modernising World Sailing's governance.

The Governance Commission will identify models of best practice from the IOC Basic Principles of Good Governance, the IOC Declaration on Good Governance, the work of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations Governance Task Force (ASOIF) and governance reviews of other federations.

From there they will consider and recommend changes such as composition, powers, functions and procedures before reporting to the Board and Council in May 2018 with proposed changes.

These will be presented in their final form to the Board in September 2018 and then put forward for consideration and review at the 2018 Annual Conference.

The creation of the Governance Commission is in line with World Sailing's two-year governance modernisation roadmap outlined in May 2016. World Sailing's two-year road map focuses on meeting ASOIF's standards.

Other business

From 2022 onwards, the Para World Sailing Championships will be held alongside the Sailing World Championships.

Three new classes were approved to receive World Sailing Class Association status. The high flying GC32, the youth windsurfer Techno 293 Plus and the 50-foot yacht, ClubSwan 50 will join 114 other existing classes.

More than 40 of World Sailing's Class Associations are One Design keelboats. With keelboat sailing widely representing the aspects of sailing a "Champion of Champions" event will be established. The event will welcome World Champions of all World Sailing Keelboat Classes to promote keelboat sailing worldwide and showcase a keelboat pathway from club racing, through to class championships and into the Champions of Champions event.

An Offshore Sailing World Championship will be introduced and will include the best results from the joint ORC/IRC Offshore World Championship as well as a separate long distance offshore component selected from existing major events.

The scoring system will be defined between RORC and ORC with prizes awarded to skippers and crews, not the boat, enabling chartering of boats.

Members of Judicial Board and the Ethics Commission were also approved.

The next meetings of World Sailing will be held from 12-15 May 2018 in London, Great Britain. Sarasota, USA will host the Annual Conference from 27 October to 4 November 2018.