Published: Monday, 14 November 2016

The meeting of the World Sailing Council has concluded in Barcelona, Spain after two days of discussions, debates and presentations at the 2016 Annual Conference Nov 5-13.

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(Photos: World Sailing - World Sailing Conference 2016)

More than 1,000 delegates gathered in Barcelona to join the conversation and the meeting of World Sailing Council saw them vote on the recommendations made from the expert committees across the week.

A number of decisions were taken on the future of the sport from Offshore sailing, Paralympic sailing, the Olympic Games and strategic priorities for 2017 and beyond.

IOC Agenda 2020

Pierre Fratter-Bardy from the IOC Sports Department presented Agenda 2020, outlining the strategic roadmap of the Olympic Movement. Agenda 2020 will put the athletes at the forefront, show Olympism in action, unity in diversity, the IOC structure and organisation and the uniqueness of the Olympic Games.

World Sailing Council Meeting Concludes In Barcelona

(Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner)

Fratter-Bardy explained that the IOC aims to have all National Olympic Committees in the world to participate at the Olympic Games, increase viewership and promote the value of the rings.

Gender equality within the Olympic Games in constantly evolving and Fratter-Bardy presented sailing's statistics. At Beijing 2008, 35% of athletes were female, London 2012 37% and at Rio 2016 43%. At Tokyo 2020, the IOC wants to achieve full parity and the upcoming Youth Olympic Games will be the first Games where it will be 50/50.

World Sailing Council endorsed the principle of 50/50 gender equality in sailing athletes for the 2020 Olympic Games. 

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(Pierre Fratter-Bardy from the IOC Sports Department)

Fratter-Bardy also outlined the IOC's decision-making process in deciding all of the sporting events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The number of athletes competing at Tokyo 2020 will be capped at approximately 10,500 athletes with 310 medals available.

International Federations will submit their proposed events, formats and quotas by the end of February. From there, the Sports Programme Commission will make their recommendations to the IOC Board who will make the final decision.

Para World Sailing

Para World Sailing Committee Chairman Betsy Alison presented the Committee's decision on the equipment that will be adopted for Paralympic sailing as the sport aims for reinstatement into the Paralympic Games.

The Para World Sailing Committee completed its equipment evaluation and proposed the 2.4 Norlin OD (Keelboat), Hansa 303 (Dinghy) and WETA (Trimaran). World Sailing will know enter class contractual discussions with the classes.


World Sailing's Council worked through submissions and recommendations made from the expert Committees and Sub-committees.

Council approved the introduction of a Sustainability Commission in line with the release of World Sailing's Strategy earlier on in the week.

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(The meeting of World Sailing Council)

The Sustainability Commission will be a consultative body of global experts to advise World Sailing on the development of its sustainability vision, strategy and practical implementation within the sport, in support of World Sailing's new position of leadership in the sustainable sport movement.

The 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 will have multiple races on the final day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The 49er, 49erFX, Men's and Women's Skiffs will do Theatre Style Racing over a short windward leeward course with lane boundaries constricting the racing area. The Nacra 17, the mixed multihull, will conduct modern America's Cup style racing over a short course that will include a reaching start to a windward mark, then leeward – windward – leeward to a reach finish.

World Sailing Council approved the recommendation from the Oceanic and Offshore Committee to introduce a combined rating World Championship. This will see the IRC and ORC work towards a jointly scored World Championship and team World Championship from 2018 onwards and a new combined Offshore World Championship based on existing offshore events.

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(Alec Wilkinson)

Paralympic sailing has been a leading topic of conversation across the week and World Sailing Council voted in favour of the Regional Games Committee including the discipline in their discussions moving forward to further promote growth as the sport aims for Paralympic reinstatement.

The Viper 640 and International One Design were granted World Sailing class status and Council gave the Equipment Committee approval to approve the Nacra 15 and Neil Pryde CR:X at the 2017 Mid-Year Meeting providing the worldwide distribution requirements of regulations are met by that time.

2017 Strategic Priorities

Chief Executive Officer Andy Hunt presented World Sailing's 2017 Strategic Priorities. The priorities include:

1.    Increase investment in training and development for the Paralympic Development Program and Emerging Nations Programme
2.    Define new digital and social media strategy and redevelop website and associated databases
3.    Invest in targeted support of travel and logistics costs for Paralympic sailors to attend the 2017 Para World Sailing Championships and Sailing World Cup Hyeres
4.    Hire a Sustainability Officer to lead the delivery of the strategy and invest in initial projects to achieve ISO 20121 standard
5.    Invest in sports impact studies for World Sailing major events and event technology
6.    Hire an Olympic Manager to be dedicated to the Olympic Games and working with OCOGS in-line with the new requirements for International Federations in Agenda 2020
7.    Strengthen the commercial team and service new commercial partners
8.    Relocate the World Sailing office in July 2017 

Kim Andersen has been elected as World Sailing President at World Sailing's General Assembly as the 2016 Annual Conference drew to a close in Barcelona, Spain.

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(Para World Sailing Forum)

The President and seven Vice-Presidents, two of which must be female, were voted for by World Sailing's full Member National Authorities, all of whom are entitled to be represented at the General Assembly.

Joining the World Sailing President on the Board of Directors will be:

Jan Dawson (NZL)
Torben Grael (BRA)
Gary Jobson (USA)
Quanhai Li (CHN)
W Scott Perry (URU)
Ana Sanchez (ESP)
Nadine Stegenwalner (GER) 

The Chairman of the Athletes' Commission will join the Board of Directors as a permanent voting member. In addition, the World Sailing Presidents of Honour, His Majesty King Harald V of Norway and His Majesty King Constantine are entitled to attend and participate in Board of Directors meetings but they do not hold a vote.

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(Jerry Newman)

The new Board of Directors will serve a four-year term up until the General Assembly in November 2020.

Alongside the Election of Officers, the General Assembly confirmed that the 10 events and equipment used at the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition will be proposed to the International Olympic Committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. World Sailing Council will consider the possibility of requesting an 11th Olympic medal and the type of event.

The venues of the 2017 and 2018 Annual Conference were also decided. Mexico will host delegates in 2017 and Sarasota, Florida, USA in 2018.

The General Assembly marked the end of the 2016 Annual Conference. Across nine days of meetings, more than 1,000 delegates have attended a variety of Forums and Committee meetings to discuss, debate and share best practice to take the sport forward into the new year and beyond. 

By Daniel Smith - World Sailing