Event organisers and class associations worldwide are facing huge challenges of not only deciding whether to run events this year because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also deciding how best to reschedule them to a later date if they cannot go ahead as planned. For OKDIA, what has evolved is a pragmatic approach that tries to find a balance between realism and hope.
With many OK Dinghy events this year already cancelled, including the European Championship, in Lundeborg, Denmark, and the World Championship, in Marstrand, Sweden, it soon became obvious that the no-brainer solution was just to reset and start again in 2021. However even this plan was filled with pitfalls.
OKDIA was quite early in taking the long-term view that any international event in 2020 would prove to be challenging, if not impossible, and even if possible, would probably not be acceptable. Even though restrictions are being lifted in some of its member countries, it feels the chances of all of them being fully open this year is highly unlikely, so any event would be compromised.
With steady growth in the class over the past few years, and a highly popular and attractive event programme planned over the next few years, it was a very tough call to make.
A key and early decision was taken to cancel the 2020 World Championship in Marstrand when it became clear that competitors from New Zealand and Australia would be unable to ship boats to the event. To be fair to all sailors, cancellation was the preferred option over a postponement or finding a new venue later in the year. The 2020 European Championship, scheduled to take place in Lundeborg, Denmark, in May was cancelled before that. And then the inaugural Euro League was cancelled just a few weeks after being announced.
That is not to say that all events will get cancelled. The class still hopes that some national and regional events in the European autumn can take place, with many hopes focussed on the Autumn Trophy in Bandol. While trying to remain realistic, OKDIA is considering assigning the European Championship to that event, but only if conditions at the time are acceptable for holding major a championship.
However, OKDIA is today announcing the following changes to its World Championship schedule, after conversations with all its events organisers. In essence the schedule has been reset by one year.
2021 World Championship – Arco, Lake Garda, Italy
This will be moved to early July as the existing dates clash with the rescheduled Olympic Games.
2022 World Championship – Marstrand, Sweden
The 2020 World Championship venue moves two years and will now host in 2022. Dates have not been arranged yet and will remain provisional until there is more certainty.
2023 World Championship – Lyme Regis, UK
Likewise the 2022 venue moves forward one year to 2023. New dates will be announced as soon as possible.
2024 World Championship – Royal Queensland YS, Australia
The 2024 World Championship will most likely be held in January-February 2024.
Furthermore, OKDIA will not be accepting proposals for any world championship from 2025 onwards until such time as there is some certainty on this existing event schedule. However, bids are welcome for European Championships.
OKDIA would like to note the helpful cooperation and flexibility of all its event organisers. To move one event is not easy, but to move and get agreement on four world championships perfectly epitomises the class spirit. So thanks to everyone who made the process so straightforward.