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Displaying items by tag: World Sailing

The first episode of The World Sailing Show, a brand new monthly view of the racing world is available above.

From non-stop around the world racers, to the intensity of Olympic campaigns, from seasoned professionals, to grass roots weekend warriors, The World Sailing Show will get into the latest action afloat.

In this first show we find out how the world's biggest trimaran, Spindrift 2, took three world records but narrowly missed out on the record they really wanted.

We also visit the Sailing World Cup in Melbourne to report on five sibling teams and catch up with the latest in the Paralympic classes.

We head to Malaysia to find out how Olympic aspirations are a family affair, while also taking a glimpse into the future from a different angle as we visit the Youth World Championships.

And we meet the new head of World Sailing, Andy Hunt, to find out what makes him tick.

Published in World Sailing
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The former CEO of World Sailing says he was fired for pushing to get rid of polluted Guanabara Bay as the sailing venue of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, according to an Associated Press report this morning.

Peter Sowrey tried to change the venue, or at least have a "B plan" but says "I was told to gag myself on the subject."

Sowrey proposed moving the event to Buzios, a coastal resort about 160 kilometres (100 miles) from Rio that has been host to large sailing events. Of course, it's too late now for that change.

"The board felt I was way too aggressive," Sowrey said. "They basically voted me out. I didn't resign. The board finally told me to leave."

Sowrey said looking at Guanabara Bay on "fact-based, data-driven models we would never consider sailing in that quality of water."

The Associated Press has much more on the story here

Published in World Sailing

The International Sailing Federation now World Sailing has appointed Andy Hunt, former CEO of the British Olympic Association and a non-executive Director of the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games as its new Chief Executive Officer. It is the second CEO appointment within a year following the departure of Peter Sowrey after only six months in the job. Hunt joins the world sailing body in the middle of a participation storm over the staging of its youth world championships in Malaysia this month. 

Hunt (52) has most recently been Chairman & Managing Partner of Progressive Media Group, an International Media & Business Information group of companies, as well as serving as a non-executive Director of England Hockey & Gloucester Rugby. Hunt has had a highly successful career across both sport and business over the past 30 years.

World Sailing President Carlo Croce said, "I am delighted that we have found an outstanding candidate to fill the role of CEO. Andy combines exceptional business leadership credentials, with an excellent track record in sports administration, a deep understanding of the Olympic & Paralympic movement, strong relationships with the IOC and ASOIF and enjoys a lifelong passion for Sailing. Andy will work closely with me and the Executive Board to continue to deliver on our vision and strategy for World Sailing."

Published in World Sailing
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#WorldSailing - World Sailing has announced plans to take the sport to a mass audience in 2016 at the London Boat Show.

Live broadcasts from three Sailing World Cup events will be bolstered by a new television series produced in conjunction with Sunset+Vine titled World Sailing.

The 26-minute monthly programme will deliver international news and highlights from medal races at World Cup regattas in Miami, Hyères and Weymouth and Portland, which will also be broadcast online around the world.

Rio 2016 is set to be the biggest Olympic sailing competition ever, and many of the potential medallists will be on show at the World Cup regattas in the build-up.

More than 10 major global broadcasters have pledged to bring live Olympic class sailing to their audience and "generate national heroes", according to the former ISAF.

Fans around the world will also be able to tune into the World Sailing TV YouTube channel.

And over 20 broadcasters worldwide have been confirmed for the highlights programme, which begins this month with an editorial focus on the build-up to the Olympics as well as coverage, personality features, background stories and news from the cutting edge of the sport.

Before that, World Sailing has today (Friday 8 January) relaunched its website at sailing.org providing a cleaner presentation that's intended to be easier to navigate.

"In order to take sailing forward in 2016, a pivotal year for sailing with the Olympic Games on the horizon, a new approach and fresh ideas with the fan experience at the heart was required for the governing body's website,” said World Sailing's chief marketing officer Malcolm Page.

"Social media is key for us to communicate directly with our audience across multiple platforms. With engaging content, increased interaction and regular video content on sailing.org we will be able to keep our worldwide audience continuously up to date in our evolving sport.”

The relaunch of sailing.org comes in the wake of the world governing body's rebranding from the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) to World Sailing last month, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in World Sailing
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#ISAF - Can sailing's world governing body be trusted to put athletes' safety first?

That's the concern coming from many corners of the sailing community after it emerged that the ISAF, recently rebranded as World Sailing, was aware of Malaysia's exclusion of Israeli sailors from the recent Youth Worlds from the outset, via a damning report from Sail World.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, World Sailing blamed "delays in communication" by both Israeli and Malaysian officials over the situation that saw Israel's youth team – which included two world champion windsurfers, one of them a defending Youth Worlds RS:X Boys champ – withdraw from the competition on 24 December.

Israel says it acted after failing to receive the necessary visas from Malaysian authorities, with whom it has no diplomatic ties, with just days to go before the competition began.

The accusation comes in the wake of "conditions" under which they were allegedly granted entry to Malaysia, with reports that the team's detachment of bodyguards had been refused clearance on security grounds.

Israeli sports teams compete internationally under armed protection since the terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics in 1972 in which 11 athletes were taken hostage and killed.

The situation took on a different dimension when Malaysia's Minister of Youth and Sport was reported as saying that the exclusion of Israeli sailors was in fact a political move.

As Richard Gladwell writes for Sail World, delays in issuing visas appear to be a regular tactic against Israeli athletes on the world stage, just weeks after a Laser Radial sailor missed valuable practice days when his visa for November's ISAF Worlds in Oman arrived late.

What's more, minutes from ISAF meetings in the lead-up to the 2015 Youth Worlds show that concerns over Israel's participation in Malaysia were raised as soon as Langkawi was selected as the venue back in 2011.

World Sailing, which lost its CEO Peter Sowery last month after just half a year in the top job, is now being lambasted for claiming surprise over an issue that was tabled at a point of concern many years ago – and for sitting on the fence in the subsequent dispute between Israeli and Malaysian officials.

Those complaints from the sailing community are reflected in dismay at the erstwhile ISAF's handling of the serious pollution issues in Guanabara Bay, the sailing venue for this summer's Olympic Games in Rio.

Despite assurances from the sailing body that steps were being taken "to ensure the health and safety of all athletes", there was still a 7% illness rate among competitors at August's test event.

And recent findings by the Associated Press claim that sailors in Rio who ingest just three teaspoons of water from Guanabara Bay's Olympic courses, even some distance offshore, have a 99% chance of contracting a virus.

These issues are leading a growing number to question whether World Sailing is really putting sailors ahead of diplomatic entanglements.

Do you share those concerns? Let us know in the comments below.

Published in World Sailing

Although a record number of 76 nations have registered to sail at the 45th Youth Sailing World Championships in Langkawi, Malaysia but today's opening ceremony looks set to be marred by a dispute over Israeli participation that has hit the international news headlines.

Ireland is represented in the boys 420 dinghy and also in the male and female laser class.

A statement from the Israel Sailing Federation says organisers of the competition in Malaysia conditioned the participation of Israeli athletes at the World Championships for Youth compete without an Israeli flag without symbols associated with the state of Israel on clothing and sailboards and forbid playing the Israeli national anthem on the podium of winning medals in the event, as well as the imposition of confidential communications on Israel's participation in the event.

Gili Amir added, "Malaysian demands are unacceptable and since that we did not get the Visas we decided not to participate. We condemn the anti-athlete conduct of the organizing committee of the competition. We will not accept being humiliated and we look to make a claim against the Malaysian Yachting Authority in coordination with the IOC Israel."

* Statement from ISAF

World Sailing is aware of recent news articles regarding Israel's attendance at the upcoming Youth Sailing World Championships in Langkawi, Malaysia.

World Sailing has been in liaison with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Malaysian Olympic Committee, the Israel Sailing Federation and the Organising Authority of the 2015 Youth Sailing World Championships to grant Israeli sailors and coaches entry into Malaysia for the event.

Israeli sailors were granted entry by the Malaysian Authorities under certain conditions that competitors sailing in Langkawi have to adhere to. World Sailing were informed on 24 December by the Israeli Sailing Federation of their decision not to send representatives in the Boys and Girls windsurfing events in Langkawi.

A total of 425 sailors will compete across the nine fleets at the Youth Worlds with racing scheduled to commence at 10:00 local time on 29 December following tonight's (28 December) Opening Ceremony at Lagenda Park.

The Youth Worlds Continues until 3 January.

Published in Youth Sailing
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The world sailing organisation has changed its name – and about time too!

The initials, ISAF, had to be explained in the English language as – International Sailing Federation.

Having to explain an organisation’s name does it no favours.

The name was not sufficiently descriptive, it was cumbersome, bureaucratic-sounding and a hang-over from the past when sailing was the preserve of too many elite factions.

Changing to ‘World Sailing’ is more correctly descriptive of the sport.

This was announced at the World Yacht Racing Forum in Geneva, where 280 delegates discussed the future of the sport, how to increase the level of public awareness of sailing, increase active participation, ensure sustainability, deal with emerging safety issues such as foiling and how to build the commercial appeal of sailing to increase sponsorship.

One of the particularly interesting discussions, I felt, was about the training of young sailors and how the sport can ensure their continuance in what we like to regard as “a sport for life.”

There is on-going discussion in the sport here about the level of coaching of younger sailors and whether the Irish Sailing Association, the national governing body, puts too much emphasis on the ‘Pathway’ to competitive international sailing and not enough on clubs and domestic competition.

It has been argued that this discourages junior sailors from long-term participation in the sport and is a counterbalance to the concept of sailing as “a sport for life.”

The approach to junior sailing was discussed at the World Yacht Racing Forum where Andrew Hurst, Editor of Seahorse, the international sailing magazine, said that young sailors were being “absurdly over-coached.” As an example, he said: “We have very few Optimist champions who have gone on to win silverware at senior level. We need to inspire youngsters to look at sailing as a sport for life.”

That remark arguably challenges the Optimist fleet, which introduces the youngest participants to the sport. While the training provided to Optimists gives youngsters a good grounding in the sport and builds their confidence, I have been told by several parents of their concern that this can be over-done and can place too much emphasis on competition.

But I have also seen at first-hand – and admired - the commitment of parents to the organisation of events such as the Optimist Spring Training Weeks held at Baltimore in West Cork, where I saw the benefits of good coaching to the young sailors taking part. They seemed to me to gain confidence and ability in boat-handling, but if they are not destined to become potential ‘winners’ will they drop out of sailing in later years?

Interestingly, the winning skipper of the Volvo Ocean Race, Ian Walker, said at the Geneva meeting that in some developed nations “kids are being over-coached to the point where they want to leave the sport in their late teens, never to return.”

This is an issue which needs more analysis and discussion because many clubs are concerned about membership levels right now and into the future. The continued involvement of young people is vital for the future of the sport.

One of the disappointing aspects of the Geneva meeting, in my view, is that there is no sign yet of World Sailing achieving any change of the polluted Rio waters for Olympic racing next year, nor of getting sailing back into the Paralympics. After next year, disabled sailing has been dropped and that to me is an appalling vista for the future of our sport.

Published in Island Nation
Page 5 of 5

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