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World Sailing Presidential Newsletter: April 2018

by Kim Andersen, President World Sailing 10 May 2018 09:52 BST
World Sailing President Kim Andersen © Laura Carrau / World Sailing

For those of you living in the Northern Hemisphere, I hope you fully enjoy this early taste of summer. Apart from being a sunny and warm month, April has been another busy one for all at World Sailing.

High on our agenda was the preparation for the SportAccord Convention and our midyear meeting in May, fully focusing on the new events' selection for the 2024 Olympic Games.

Just as every month, it is my great pleasure to share with you all the work we have done at World Sailing and keep you all informed about what is coming next.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all our sailors on their achievements at the recent World Cup series in Hyeres. Also, the Volvo Ocean Race has now left Brazil to Newport US and we are proud to see seven of our teams on the starting line. Well done!

World Sailing scores high in governance

During the recent SportAccord Convention, the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) held its Annual General Assembly. Among the points on the agenda was the score and feedback of governance assessment of all 33 International Federations representing the summer Olympics. For World Sailing, I am pleased to report that we received some very positive news - ranking seventh on the list with 142 points (up from 113 points) and qualifying into group A2.

This is an excellent starting point to see if we, on top of this assessment, can add some agility to our processes as a result of the work from our Governance Commission in the months to come.

Personally, I believe World Sailing can do even better and with a solid structure already in place, we are looking forward to discussing the current findings of our commission and further setting the direction of World Sailing's governance structure going forward. In the meantime, I would like to congratulate all those who have been working hard to ensure that our sport continues to be a leader in good governance.

In addition, during the SportAccord Convention, I had the opportunity to present World Sailing on the main conference programme. My presentation addressed the benefits our sport can gain from using new media; with graphics, I was able to provide an overview of our sport and ways of securing a strong sports presentation for the future.

Creating a competitive offering for youth

While meeting with a number of MNA's and visiting EUROSAF's General Assembly, I was positively encouraged by the number of new ideas and projects focused on strengthening the access and entry of youth to our sport. I cannot express the importance of increasing the learning aspects around our sport, in order to create a competitive offering to youth globally. Our sport needs to do more than just cover the basics of sailing rather we must create a teaching environment where young people can learn about our sport as well as life-skills – I am very pleased to see many new initiatives and projects being rolled out in this area.

However, we must not forget that in order to continue growing our sport we must keep in mind three aspects: ease the access to our sport, reduce the drop-out rates, and improve gender balance.

1. Ease the access to our sport

What attracts and retains newcomers to sailing is our capacity not only to cover the basics of sailing but also increase the learning aspects of our sport. Our focus should move towards new initiatives that will make our sport more understandable and attractive to youth at a global level.

2. Reduce the drop-out rates

There are three phases where most drop-outs can be observed, one at age 14, one during high school and the other when starting university. Exploring the reason for drop-outs occur as well as developing new initiatives that promote sailing should be part of World Sailing's future goals.

3. Improve gender balance

While visiting Asia, I had the pleasure to meet with Kevin Withcraft - President of the Opti Class. During this visit, I learned about the ambition to focus on potential existing markets and had the chance to see the mixed competitiveness in the class. An observation that I took away from this was the realisation that some of the young women – who are doing fantastically well based on their good racing skills - are struggling to progress and find a pathway to the Olympics because we do not have disciplines and equipment that facilitate this majority of women sailors.

Therefore, giving equal opportunities and achieving gender balance are both major needs to be addressed and should be at the core of our focus.

With this in mind, the upcoming decision regarding the selection of new sailing disciplines to be added to the 2024 Olympic Games should consider the positive impacts of our goals and the fulfillment of these three aspects.

Sailing forward

With our midyear meeting just around the corner, the organisation and committees have been working tirelessly on developing a solid decision platform to provide our Council with the best guidance and advice. I would like to express my gratitude in advance to all of you for your contribution.

In addition, I would like to provide an update regarding the one-design, double-handed Offshore World Championships. The tender has been launched and in addition we will be announcing in the coming weeks the tender for the one design Keelboat World Championships. We are making progress and I am pleased to see the strong development of new events in this area with both events due to commence in 2019.

Furthermore, the World Sailing Strategy Plan is now ready to be introduced at the midyear meeting. The plan has been formulated based on the survey conducted at the beginning of 2017 and from the results presented at the midyear meeting from May last year. I strongly believe that the Strategy Plan will give our sport guidance in regards to direction and priorities for World Sailing as a whole.

I hope you enjoy the reading this month’s newsletter. Please feel free to reach out to me either via E-mail, Facebook, or Twitter with any questions or comments you have. I am always happy to hear from you.

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