In recent weeks, it has been very encouraging to see that sailing activities are picking up worldwide. Since we started learning about the severeness of COVID-19, our messages about health & safety concerns as well as developing guidelines have gained considerable momentum.
What we can see now is that sport is widely recognised as an essential factor in fighting and recovering from the pandemic, which still persists in many countries. Sport is an integral part of our lives and the public have been longing for the return of recreational and professional activities. Thankfully, we can see that sport can be organised safely, even under the ongoing restrictions.
Looking forward, this should give all of us confidence in our preparations for future events, and I would like to thank all the people who have brought us this far by working tirelessly to bring sailing back. But we have to continue to act in a responsible way when it comes to planning and scheduling our sports events.
While there are many more events being prepared, in advance of these, I would like to thank all of you for your continued cooperation in our shared endeavour to give hope and confidence to the sailing world in getting back to the “new” normal.
Planning future continental and worldwide events
We are continuing to learn about how to conduct events during the pandemic, and we are seeing events such as cross-border championships and regional and continental championships being organised according to strict health and safety procedures.
Last month, the historic Kiel Week was held, after its initial postponement from the summer. In addition, several Championships also took place, including the EUROSAF Mixed Offshore European Championship and the Formula Kite Mixed Team Relay European Championships just to mention a few. And at the beginning of this month, the European Championships for the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 classes were held in Austria.
The coming month will bring some major events in the sport, like the Vendée Globe, which starts in November, and the Sydney Hobart race at the end of 2020. The New Year will then begin with the America’s Cup, followed by SailGP kicking off in April 2021. We are looking ahead with a positive outlook.
Sailing World Championships and Youth Sailing World Championships
As the Tokyo Olympic Games are planned to be held in 2021, this will unfortunately mean that the upcoming Sailing World Championships and the Youth Sailing World Championships will both be postponed by a year.
The Youth Sailing World Championships, due to be held The Hague in July 2021, have been rescheduled for 2022, and the Sailing World Championships, which were set to be held in the same place in 2022, will instead go ahead in August 2023. However, this will turn Scheveningen into the capital of competitive sailing, with The Ocean Race also set to take over the Dutch shores.
The Youth Sailing World Championships and the Sailing World Championships are two of the most important sailing events an athlete can aspire to participate in. The Sailing World Championships in particular are a spectacle where the best sailors target World Championship glory and an Olympic qualification place. Tokyo 2020’s postponement has meant that sailors have had to reset and adjust their campaigns. By hosting the Sailing World Championships in 2023, the sailors will have a longer period to focus on the event when Tokyo 2020 concludes next summer.
Updates regarding the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Planning for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is progressing well. Working with the IOC, we are looking at the whole venue adopting a series of measures to make the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games fit for a post-corona world. In response to the postponement of this year’s Games due to the current health pandemic, over 50 measures have been designed to maximise cost savings and increase efficiencies in delivering the Games.
The Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission Chair John Coates said, “Built from the principles outlined by the joint IOC and Tokyo 2020 Steering Committee, these optimisations and simplifications mark an important step towards delivering a safe and successful Games in 2021. We owe it to the public to enact these measures during these challenging times, that’s why we’ve left no stone unturned and will continue to look for further opportunities over the coming months. The unique task of reorganising an Olympic Games has called for the Olympic Movement to be stronger together – this milestone illustrates our collective commitment. The ‘Tokyo Model’ will not only deliver a Games fit for a post-corona world, it will become a blueprint that will benefit future Organising Committees for many years to come.”
The World Sailing Events Team and Technical Delegates are working with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee to secure the sailing venue and ensure that we deliver a safe and successful sailing event in Enoshima.
World Sailing proud to launch women’s sailing festival “Steering the Course”
At the start of October, we proudly launched the Women’s Sailing Festival, Steering the Course.
Supported by the IOC Development Fund, Steering the Course is a sailing festival focused on women and girls. It aims to introduce women and girls across the globe to the sport of sailing, as well as encourage alternative pathways for those already within the sport, such as coaching or officiating.
Following the launch of the World Sailing Trust’s Women in Sailing Strategic Review, there is much more we can do to grow participation and support female sailors.
Steering the Course will be held worldwide in 2021 and will be held over a 10-day period across two separate events. One event will be held in the Northern Hemisphere and the other in the Southern Hemisphere – the festival will bring together sailing communities from all backgrounds, with events taking place in multiple countries at the same time.
From dinghies to keelboats and windsurfing to kiteboarding, all disciplines are welcome to be part of the festival. World Sailing Member National Authorities are invited to sign up to Steering the Course and then engage their sailing clubs and centres to take part.
World Sailing will provide support to each MNA with various resources, which include session plans, electronic resources such as designs for banners and t-shirts, and social media promotion and support throughout the festival. Read more about this great initiative here.
World Sailing’s virtual Annual Conference
World Sailing’s virtual Annual Meeting is coming up this month, including the Election of World Sailing’s Board of Directors. It’s so encouraging to see so many candidates taking an interest in contributing to our sport. Sailing has so much to offer, but in order for us to continue delivering good work for our MNAs, we need engaged leadership with fresh and new ideas so that we get the best outcome for the future of sailing.
Personally, I am looking forward to seeing you all there virtually and I am looking forward to hosting another successful Annual Conference. Should any of our MNAs have any questions regarding the elections or the virtual set up of our conference, please make sure you reach out to . Best of luck to all the candidates!