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World Sailing has voted overwhelmingly with a 93.85% majority to approve changes to its governance structure, which will enable the federation to be more efficient and increase transparency in line with the requirements of a modern global sporting body.

The vote at the Annual General Meeting at the 2022 World Sailing Annual Conference in Abu Dhabi last week, to pass new constitution and governance proposals, exceeded the 75% required.

World Sailing’s board, council and committees will now begin the process of changing the structure and processes, and establishing the additional elements stipulated in the new constitution. The changes will be fully implemented from the 2024 AGM.

World Sailing president Quanhai Li said: “This is a decision which has united the World Sailing family and marks an important step in our journey. I am very pleased that we have seized this opportunity to modernise the sport’s decision-making. As we have grown, and will continue to grow, we require a structure that is designed with the future in mind.

“I am grateful to the tireless efforts of the board, executive office and board governance sub-committee, chaired by World Sailing vice-president Philip Baum, and to the member national authorities for trusting us to lead the sport into a new era.”
Baum, who is also chair of the board governance sub-committee, added: “The new structure promotes collaboration and supports richness of discussion by bringing more voices into the process at an early stage.

“We now have two years to prepare for integration and deliver the new structure. During this time, we will continue to listen and adapt to the needs of our members and ensure there is the flexibility required to be successful. This decision is a vote of confidence for our growing way of working together and our increasing capacity to collaborate for the benefit of the sport.” 

David Graham, World Sailing’s chief executive officer said: “These changes will enable us to deliver a better service for our members, building on excellent work in the last two years to strengthen trust between World Sailing and our stakeholders inside and outside of the sport. The result of 93.8% speaks volumes.” 

These are the changes, approved by the 2022 World Sailing Annual General Meeting, which will be fully implemented from the 2024 AGM:

  • The general assembly will meet once a year. It is the annual general meeting of the company. As such, it will continue to have the powers set out in the constitution and under Isle of Man law, as amended by the new proposals. 
  • The council will be responsible for relevant decisions arising from the new submissions process and deciding World Sailing policy. It is expected to meet up to four times a year, at a minimum once in person. There will be an emphasis on Council debating and deciding policy to give effect to World Sailing’s strategy. 
  • The board will continue in a non-executive capacity providing oversight and monitoring of World Sailing activities especially that of management. It will continue to comprise nine directors including the president, seven elected directors and the chair of the athletes’ commission. There will be gender equality amongst the elected directors. The president will be elected first (from either gender) and then the seven elected directors will be elected in a manner ensuring gender equality. 
  • The chief executive officer leads the staff and executive management team of World Sailing. The relationship between the CEO and the board is governed by the board charter. The board may delegate its authority to make certain operational/management decisions to the CEO and, through the CEO, to the staff. 
  • Growth and development committee: It is intended that an enhanced Regional Development Committee suitably resourced will focus on the growth of the sport across the globe but especially in emerging nations.
  • A new specialist sailing committee will promote greater co-operation between the sport’s major events (including World Sailing special events) such as the America’s Cup, SailGP, SSL Gold Cup and other forms of top-level sailing. The group will provide expert input into the development of World Sailing’s strategy, particularly with regards to the promotion of the sport, as well as advise Council on non-Olympic top-level events. 
  • Committees and working groups: All existing Committees, Sub-committees and Commissions will be carried over into the new structure, albeit with a change of name and broadening of remit in some cases.
  • A new independent disciplinary tribunal replaces the existing judicial board and ethics commission. Panels of the tribunal will hear, decide and impose sanctions for all breaches of the revised code of ethics, or breaches of any rule or regulation. All the various conduct rules will be consolidated into one code of ethics to set out the standards of conduct required of all World Sailing participants, officials and other representatives. The independent investigations panel will receive complaints directly (including those from whistle blowers), facilitate any resolution by agreement, investigate whether or not there is a breach of the new code of ethics or any other rule and decide whether to charge and prosecute a person before the disciplinary tribunal. 

For information on the background of World Sailing’s governance reform, see the World Sailing website HERE. 

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The World Sailing Awards 2022, celebrating excellence and achievement in sailing, will take place on Tuesday, 25 October 2022, starting from 16.30 UTC.

The 90-minute ceremony, hosted by Alec Wilkinson and Shirley Robertson OBE, will be broadcast live on the World Sailing YouTube channel from Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Headlining the awards ceremony will be the Rolex World Sailor of the Year, where a male and female winner, decided by a panel of experts and a public vote, will be announced.

Also being presented will be the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award which celebrates the delivery of high-impact, highly-replicable sustainability initiatives aligned to World Sailing's Sustainability Agenda 2030.

Thousands of votes have already been registered for both awards, and online voting will remain open until 0200 UTC on Tuesday, 25 October.

The World Sailing Awards 2022 will also name a Team of the Year in recognition of the personification of integrity, ambition, resilience and resourcefulness and Boat of the Year in recognition of outstanding boat design, innovative concepts and ground-breaking technological advancements that are changing the face of sailing, pioneering change across the world.

In addition, the Beppe Croce Trophy will be awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing, and the President’s Development Award will be presented to an individual or organisation in honour of their contribution to the growth and development of sailing, either nationally or internationally.

World Sailor of the Year

Nine athletes have been nominated for the Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2022 – including world champions, Olympic medallists and world record holders.

The winners will have their name engraved on the iconic marble and silver trophy depicting the globe, crowned with five silver spinnakers representing the continents, as well as a souvenir they will keep close to them forever.

The 2022 Rolex World Sailor of the Year finalists are:

Female category

  • Hélène Noesmoen (FRA)
  • Odile van Aanholt & Annette Duetz (NED)
  • Caterina Marianna Banti (ITA)

Male category

  • Ruggero Tita (ITA)
  • Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA)
  • Nicolas Goyard (FRA)
  • Bart Lambriex & Floris van der Werken (NED)
Published in World Sailing
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World Sailing President, Quanhai Li, has met with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Thomas Bach and IOC Vice President Ser Miang Ng at the Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland, with World Sailing CEO David Graham.

Li reaffirmed World Sailing’s warm relationship with the IOC and continued strong support ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. President Li and David Graham presented World Sailing’s vision for the sailing event at the Games, taking place in Marseille, focusing on engaging young people, sustainability, gender equity, and the global development of the sport.

President Li said: "We will continue to lead the development of our sport worldwide and, under my presidency, I am determined that World Sailing plays its part in working within the Olympic Movement to address the key challenges and opportunities we face as a family of sports.

"Sustainability is a challenge on which I am proud to say that sailing has taken a leading role through our World Sailing Sustainability Agenda 2030, which was published in 2018. With that challenge comes opportunities to contribute to lasting change – not only in sport but to benefit the environment, our oceans and our communities – and I know that is an ambition which is shared by Mr Bach."

As part of a two-week European visit, the President also met with Paris 2024 Organising Committee President, three-time Olympic slalom canoeing gold medal winner, Tony Estanguet, and committee delegates.

President Li said: "Mr Estanguet and the Paris 2024 Organising Committee have made great progress in difficult circumstances, and I have made clear that World Sailing is wholeheartedly committed to working with them to ensure the success of the XXXIII Olympiad."

President Li also attended the Italian National Youth Championships in Viareggio and went on to visit the Paris 2024 Olympic Venue with World Sailing Vice President Yann Rocherieux, where he discussed plans with prominent representatives from the city.

The President also had the opportunity to meet with Jean-Luc Denechau, president of Fédération Française de Voile, the French sailing federation, and Francesco Ettore, president of Federazione Italiana Vela, the Italian sailing federation.

The trip also included attendance at stage five of SailGP 2022 in Saint-Tropez, France, in support of one of World Sailing’s Special Events, which does so much to further the federation’s ambitions for the sport.

Published in World Sailing
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World Sailing, the global governing body for the sport of sailing, has completed the move to its new headquarters in Hammersmith, Central London.

The new premises in Shortlands were formally opened by World Sailing President, Quanhai Li.

Conveniently located within walking distance of Hammersmith tube station, World Sailing’s new headquarters offer a private, bespoke office environment within a shared, fully-serviced complex and an ongoing cost saving of 70% compared to the previous office space in Paddington.

David Graham, World Sailing CEO, said, "We are very pleased to move into our new headquarters. The new surroundings have been renovated to suit our purpose and will allow us to work together again and implement an efficient blend of remote and hybrid working. We will continue to offer that model for staff as we have seen, like businesses around the world, that it is successful and beneficial to our operations."

He added, "The savings we will make following this move can be invested back into the sport for the benefit of sailors worldwide. This is an opportunity to reform the sport, build for the future and achieve our strategic objectives as an organisation without the financial burdens of the past."

World Sailing is made up of 146 Member National Authorities, the national governing bodies for sailing around the world and 119 World Sailing Class Associations.

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The world governing body for the sport of sailing has confirmed there are no organised regattas planned to be held in Russia or Belarus in 2022.

In a statement, World Sailing says it is "very concerned about the situation in Ukraine" and it is "troubled about the safety of our friends in the Ukrainian sailing community".

"Sport can be a force for good, bringing competitors from around the world together, united by the values of equality, inclusion, respect and fairness", the world body says.

World Sailing has joined many international sports organisations calling for an immediate end to all hostilities and a resumption of dialogue for a peaceful resolution in place of military action.

The Executive Board of World Sailing is supporting the relocation of training and education events in Russia.

The statement concludes "We remain in contact with all our Member National Authorities to offer our support at this incredibly difficult time".

Published in World Sailing
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A World Sailing re-think is under consideration to exempt Category 3 offshore races from the new requirement for documented structural inspection.

Changes to the World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations (OSR) came into effect on January 1 2022, and mean an additional requirement for yachts taking part in races of Category 0 to Category 3 but now the new rule is itself set to be changed.

According to Afloat sources, the Special Regulations Subcommittee has heard 'significant concern' from several Member National Authorities regarding the application of the new OSR 3.02.2 keel inspections as being overly onerous for Category 3 racers.

The subcommittee has considered these concerns, deemed them valid, and voted to modify the new requirement for Category 3 racers only.

Offshore Racing is broadly divided into three groups, inshore (Category 3), coastal (Category 2), and offshore (Category 1). 

In an Irish context, ISORAs, D2D and Kinsale's new Inistearaght Race would be exempted if the rule is changed but the situation would remain for June's Category 2 Round Ireland Race

Afloat reported on the changes in December here and the subject of examining keel bolts was taken up by Afloat's Tom MacSweeney in 2019 here

The outcome will be known next week.

Published in World Sailing
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The UK’s Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has launched a new framework of support for yacht racers and owners following a change in World Sailing’s Offshore Special Regulations (OSR).

Since 1 January this year, as previously reported on, yachts competing in OSR category 0 to 3 races must have been inspected by a qualified person within 24 months of the start of the race or after a grounding, whichever is later.

Following numerous enquiries from members and clubs about how best to comply with the new rules, the RYA has launched a dedicated page on its website to allow owners to demonstrate to organising authorities that they are compliant in a manner which is simple and cost-effective to owners, and which can be readily understood by organising authorities.

Although the term ‘qualified person’ has not been defined within the OSR, the RYA says it has worked with its team of coding surveyors to provide access to a professional network who can conduct the inspections to a scope set by the RYA, based on the OSR requirements, at a reasonable cost to owners in the UK.

The new requirements have been brought into place in order to draw owners’ attention to the critical safety aspects of keels following a number of high-profile incidents. Keels have been breaking off yachts for many years, with sometime catastrophic consequences.

The yacht types losing keels and rudders range from cruising to high performance racing yachts and from newly built to old.

This regulation is designed to require a visual inspection every two years. It is designed to capture visual signs (cracks, movement, corrosion, loose keel bolts, loose or irregular rudder bearings) that may indicate a potentially serious problem. It is expected that once noted, the owner would undertake a more detailed investigation or get it repaired.

Subject to satisfactory inspection, the RYA will produce a simple ‘Statement of Compliance’ which can be used by owners to demonstrate to organising authorities that they have complied with the new OSR requirements.

For more information or to find our approved inspectors, see the RYA website or contact [email protected]

Published in Offshore
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World Sailing, the global governing body for the sport of sailing, has released a compilation of highlights from the 2021 season.

The high-octane video features thrills and spills from 12 months of races and competitions on the water, which spanned events including the America’s Cup, Transat Jacques Vabre, SailGP Championship, the Fastnet Race in Irish waters, Vendée Globe, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and sailing regattas all over the world 

Watch the video below:

Published in World Sailing
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Changes to the World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations (OSR) coming into effect on January 1 2022, will mean an additional requirement for yachts taking part in races of Category 0 to Category 3.

In 2022, Irish fixtures such as June's Round Ireland Race from Wicklow is Category 2 and the inaugural Inishtearaght Race from Kinsale next May is a Category 3 race.

The most significant change is the requirement for an out-of-the water structural inspection by a qualified person to ensure the soundness of the keel and its connection to the hull.

This follows a series of keel failures with, in some cases, loss of life.

The subject of examining keel bolts was taken up by Afloat's Tom MacSweeney in 2019 here

The inspection will involve checking the keel bolts and the internal arrangement as well as examining the external joins for stressing and cracking. Evidence of the inspection must be available to the race organisers.

The full text of the OSR can be downloaded below in a PDF

The OSR also says under (2.01 Categories of Events) Organizing Authorities shall select from one of the following categories and may modify the OSR to suit local conditions

This may allow them to drop the requirement or modify it if they see fit. The view from insiders is that it's not a hugely onerous task if they are being lifted for a scrub before a Cat 2 race.

Others, however, have criticised the new rule calling it unnecessary and yet more regs for offshore skippers to comply with. 

As far as the country's biggest offshore racing body is concerned, ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan told Afloat, "We are treating this as the responsibility of the skipper. We won’t be collecting forms".

The publication of the Notice of Race for both the Round Ireland Race and the Blasket Islands race from Kinsale is expected shortly and Irish offshore crews are waiting to see how the new rule is treated by Irish officials. 

Download the OSR below

Published in Offshore
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World Sailing has awarded the upcoming 2022 Foiling Week Special Event status, ensuring the competition can grow, reach more people, and partner with international and national foiling programmes and pathways to create events within the event.

Foiling Week joins high profile activities with Special Event status such as the America’s Cup, The Ocean Race, SailGP, World Match Racing Tour, PWA World Tour, Star Sailors League and GKA Kite World Tour.

“Foiling Week is not just an event; it is a community and a network that is about action. We don’t only care about the foiling and greater sailing community,” said Luca Rizzotti, founder of Foiling Week.

“We create opportunities, with the goal in mind of being primarily agents of change. The event’s initiatives are well known in the sailing community and reach beyond the sport including partnerships with universities, manufacturers and non-profits in the environmental and social responsibility spaces. We are all connected and we should grow as a community, responsibly together,” added Rizzotti.

Foiling Week is the hub of the world hydrofoiling community and the only World Sailing Special Event that is community-based. It includes a well-attended Forum, where talented and creative individuals share ideas and collaborate to make connections and improve the way the event operates and the class evolves.

Special Event status ensures World Sailing formally recognizes and sanctions the events. It also means that Foiling Week will follow the targets set by the World Sailing's Sustainability Agenda 2030, which includes working with the Magenta Project to promote professional sailing opportunities for women, and the World Sailing Trust which provides funding for a diverse group of initiatives to increase access to sailing and promote sustainable practices in sport and manufacturing.

As part of the Charter, all Special Events have a comprehensive sustainability strategy, and aligned applicable principles as set out in the World Sailing Sustainability Agenda 2030, while committing to working with World Sailing to accelerate the objectives and targets.

David Graham, World Sailing CEO, said “The addition of Foiling Week to our group of Special Events is exciting for the future of sailing. The growth of the event has been phenomenal to witness, going way beyond the racing to galvanize an entire movement. We are pleased to be working hand-in-hand with them to create new avenues for partnership as well as opportunities to further the World Sailing Sustainability Agenda. Foiling Week has already taken great strides in this area and we are looking forward to learning from each other and inspiring a positive change throughout the sailing world.”

Foiling Week’s mantra is ‘connect, cooperate, change’. From the start, the event has been one of firsts. The first women’s and kids foiling trials; the first sustainability initiatives reducing entry fees for car-pooling participants and the elimination of single use plastics at the event site.

The SuMoth Challenge, part of every Foiling Week since its introduction in 2019, was shortlisted for this year’s World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award. A global challenge, it brought students from around the world together to design, manufacture and sail a sustainable Moth.

Having hosted events in Australasia, North America and Europe, Foiling Week has become a scalable, practical presence in sport both physically and online and is moving forward with World Sailing to connect, collaborate and make positive change in sport and beyond.

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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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