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World Sailing Presidential Election Set for Weekend Upset?

8th November 2016
Speakers at this week's World Sailing Conference in Barcelona (L-R) Jill Savery, Andy Hunt, Anne Cecile Turner, Susie Tomson, Host Alec Wilkinson Speakers at this week's World Sailing Conference in Barcelona (L-R) Jill Savery, Andy Hunt, Anne Cecile Turner, Susie Tomson, Host Alec Wilkinson

In an open letter Rob Kothe, Founder of the network, sets out his views on World Sailing's progress over the past four years and this week's 'other' Presidential election.

Away from the drama, real and imagined which is playing out in the USA, some 900 World Sailing conference registrants are assembled in Barcelona on Spain's north east Med. Coast for the all-important four yearly election, with Presidential and Board Elections at this year's Annual Conference

It is interesting to note that for the last 10 months the host country Spain was without an elected Government, with Mariano Rajoy's conservative party acting in caretaker mode. Interestingly the country has thrived without political decisions, it's the fastest recovering economy in the European Union.

It seemed to many observers that ISAF-World Sailing had a caretaker President during 2012-2016, with Carlo Croce, appearing to be very hands-off style. He and his seven-person executive seeming somewhat disconnected and it is difficult to point to serious progress made across those years.

One of the reasons why World Sailing has appeared like a blancmange over some decades now, has been the submission system which has meant the last two days of annual council has been focused on processing some hundreds and hundreds of MNA requests for changes often moving in opposite directions.

Two years ago, in Palma, Mallorca this scribe saw example after example of as much time being spent on trivial and often quite uninformed Council decision making, as was spent on major decisions which had long term ramifications.

The lack of urgency in finding a replacement for Jerome Pels, followed by five months of Peter Sowrey, who resigned after a rocky time at the 2015 Annual Conference was not a high point for the ISAF leadership group, but then the appointment of Andy Hunt has at least provided some leadership at functional level and the changes made in July may have improved the decision-making processes.

For the last four years, we have continued to hear how World Sailing is poised ready to make a commercial success of the Sailing World Cup and Version Five now ahead of us.

Former President Paul Henderson has been vocal on the matter of the looming crisis with Kite Boarding looking for two Olympic places, at other sailing classes expense while at the same time the International Kite Sports Federation warning World Sailing to stay out of the sport.

So, with many stakeholders unimpressed with the lack of progress over the last four years, Denmark's Kim Andersen has presented a strong bid to replace Carl Croce and could provide a weekend upset. We will look at the possible makeup of the Board later this week.

Interesting times ahead!

Rob Kothe
Founder of the network

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