From 26 October to 3 November, Bermuda will welcome 418 delegates from 68 nations for World Sailing’s 2019 Annual Conference.
The Conference is the annual meeting point for the world governing body of the sport where delegates review and discuss World Sailing’s strategy. Key decisions that influence the future of the sport and impact professional and recreational sailors will be made throughout the week.
Delegates attending the 2019 Annual Conference include sailors with experience in multiple disciplines of the sport, event organisers, Member National Authorities (MNAs), Class Associations, boat manufacturers and committee members.
The decisions made impact the very top of the sport all the way down to the grassroots and four Commissions, ten Sub-Committees and ten Committees will discuss numerous topics throughout the week.
In advance of the Conference, World Sailing received 189 submissions that propose change to World Sailing's regulations, policies and rules. Committees, MNAs, Class Associations and the Board of Directors were all eligible to propose the submissions in advance.
The expert Committees will discuss the submissions and put forward their recommendations and opinions to World Sailing's Council – the main decision making body of World Sailing.
Submissions, agendas, supporting papers and further information on the conference is available here – https://www.sailing.org/meetings/2019-conference.php.
From 1-2 November, World Sailing’s Council will meet to either approve, reject or defer the recommendations and proposals from the Committees and these will be ratified at the Annual General Meeting on 3 November.
Major talking points at the 2019 Annual Conference include a proposal to reform the governance of World Sailing, the selection of the Paris 2024 Windsurfer Equipment, the release of a new Para World Sailing strategy, the 2021 – 2028 Events Strategy and numerous forums and events.
Further insight is available below:
Proposal to Reform the Governance of World Sailing
The proposal, “Refreshing the Foundations for Our Future” was published in May 2019. Since then World Sailing's Board of Directors and Governance Commission have received extensive feedback via an online survey, correspondence and discussions.
In response to the feedback, several changes were made and a Revised Proposal was published on 20 September and is available to download here – https://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/WSGovernanceReformSummarySep2019A4ENGV5-.pdf.
The Governance Reform will be a major talking point at the 2019 Annual Conference and World Sailing’s Member National Authorities will vote on the Revised Proposal at the Annual General Meeting on 3 November 2019.
Paris 2024 Men’s and Women’s Windsurf Equipment
From 29 September to 3 October, World Sailing held sea trials to test the five pieces of equipment for the Paris 2024 Men’s and Women’s Windsurfer.
World Sailing received seven applications from class associations and manufacturers wishing to participate in the sea trials and the Paris 2024 Windsurfer Evaluation Working Party shortlisted the RS:X, Glide, iFoil, Formula Foil and Windfoil 1. All of the equipment was analysed against the criteria outlined in the invitation to tender ahead of shortlisting.
Following the sea trials, the Paris 2024 Windsurfer Evaluation Working Party published a full report – available here – to give full insight into the process. Their recommendation to World Sailing’s Equipment Committee was to select the Starboard iFoil as the equipment for Paris 2024.
The Equipment Committee will review the recommendation at the Annual Conference in Bermuda and then make their own recommendation to World Sailing's Council who will make a decision on the equipment that will be adopted.
Two open forums will be spark debate and conversation in Bermuda and these will be streamed on World Sailing’s YouTube Channel – www.youtube.com/worldsailingtv.
On Monday 28 October, Forum 1, Sail Insight powered by SAP: Self-Service App for Global Sailing Community followed by – Gender Balance: A Case for Change will be held.
Delegates and followers will gain exclusive insight into the Sail Insight app powered by SAP which will bring the power of SAP technology to sailors, coaches and race organizers, providing affordable access to real-time tracking, live leader boards and post-race data analysis.
The forum will then turn to gender diversity, where a deep-dive into the findings of the World Sailing Trust’s global strategic review on women in sailing will be presented. With leading specialists in the fields of events, coaching and equipment, trends and findings of the study will be showcased and will be followed by a discussion around the case for change.
Forum 2, Sustainability – but what, how, when?, will be held from 09:00 to 11:00 on Tuesday 29 October. MNAs and manufacturers who are embracing sustainability will present case studies, delegates will take a first look at the new educational resources developed with The Ocean Race and challenges will be discussed alongside different approaches to secure funding for sustainability programmes.
World Sailing Awards
The World Sailing Awards will be held on Tuesday 29 October at the Southampton Fairmont Hotel. The ceremony celebrates outstanding achievements and exceptional contributions to the sport.
The Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards – the ultimate recognition of excellence – will be the highlight of the evening with three female and five male nominees on the shortlist. Find out more on the nominees and how to vote here – https://www.sailing.org/news/89419.php#.XbGt4yV7kmI.
Alongside the Rolex World Sailor of the Year, the evening will see the awarding of the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award, Hempel Team of the Year, Goslings Boat of the Year, Beppe Croce Trophy, President’s Development Award and eSailing World Championship Trophy.
eSailing World Championship Final
The top eight eSailors will battle it out to be crowned the 2019 eSailing World Champion at the Championship Final on Tuesday 29 October. The second edition of the eSailing World Championship comes following an extensive series that began in January. Held from 14:00 – 14:30 local time on 29 October, the final will be live streamed across World Sailing’s YouTube and Facebook.
The top eight finalists will complete six preliminary races, in different boats and locations. A seventh race will be held in the live show, held in the Olympic skiff, the 49er, where San Francisco will be the virtual host.
Following this, the top six competitors will advance to the double-points final which will be held in F50 boats in Sydney. Whoever comes out on top across the series will be crowned the 2019 Champion.
Alongside the honour of becoming the second eSailing World Champion, the winner will receive a $10,000 USD cheque, provided by Virtual Regatta.
How to Follow
Daily news reports will be available on World Sailing's website, World Sailing's Twitter and Facebook account will cover the event with regular news and updates and daily videos, providing insight into the discussions, will also be available here – www.youtube.com/worldsailingtv.
By Daniel Smith – World Sailing