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Following the Mid-Year Meeting of the World Sailing Council, the World Sailing Board has met to consider the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in response to guidance for International Federations from the International Olympic Committee.

All Council Members attending the Mid-Year Meeting as elected representatives of World Sailing’s Member National Authorities were given the opportunity to offer their region’s view. Although there was no formal vote, there was very clear majority support for maintaining World Sailing’s current position in relation to the return to international competition for athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus.

After considering all views expressed in the meeting by World Sailing Council Members, the Board has agreed on the following:

The Board continues to support the IOC’s guidance and the Fundamental Principles of Olympism in the Olympic Charter; and equally, the key principles of non-discrimination of athletes, and the separation of sport and politics highlighted by both the IOC Executive Board and ASOIF Council. The Board recognises that the Fundamental Principles of Olympism inform the IOC’s recommendation to allow the return of Russian and Belarusian competitors as individual neutral athletes.

Given the timing of the return is a matter for the International Federations, the Board’s decision remains consistent: April 2024 is the targeted opportunity for sailors with a Russian or Belarusian passport to return to international competition as neutrals.

With regards to Olympic qualification, the Semaine Olympique Française (SOF), is an event at this time and presents opportunities for sailors with a Russian or Belarusian passport to compete as individual neutrals in qualifying for Paris 2024.

World Sailing says it remains 'wholly committed to supporting Ukraine’s sailing community through what continues to be an unimaginably difficult time'.

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World Sailing has issued a statement welcoming the new guidance from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board, recommending the Conditions of Participation for individual athletes and support personnel with a Russian or Belarusian passport in international sports competitions organised by International Federations and international sports events organisers.

The World Sailing Board convened this week to consider the new guidance, which places any decision at the sole discretion of International Federations. The Board supports the Fundamental Principles of Olympism in the Olympic Charter and recognises that the principles guide the IOC’s recommendation to allow the return of Russian and Belarusian competitors as independent neutral athletes.

Noting that the IOC Executive Board have not yet considered the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Olympic Games at Paris 2024, the Board's current view is that in regard to Olympic qualification events, the Semaine Olympique Française (SOF) in April 2024 represents the targeted opportunity for any potential readmission to Olympic qualification events. SOF is a major regatta in the Paris 2024 qualifying process, more details of which can be found here.

Given the broad diversity of sailing and given the strong views held by World Sailing’s Member National Authorities, the Board’s position is that the wider decision on the return to international sailing events will be made in consultation with the World Sailing Council at the Mid-Year Meeting, to be held on 18th of May, 2023. Following the Council meeting, the Board intend to make a decision, subject to World Sailing’s policies and regulations.

World Sailing remains wholly committed to supporting Ukraine’s sailing community through what continues to be an unimaginably difficult time.

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World Sailing has announced that the host venue of the 2023 Youth Sailing World Championships will be the coastal resort town of Armação dos Búzios in Brazil, while the 2024 edition is being planned for Italy’s Lake Garda.

The 2023 Youth Sailing Worlds will take place from 8-16 December within Rasa Beach Bay, from Praia Rasa in the west of the bay to Praia dos Ossos at the eastern end.

World Sailing president Quanhai Li said: “As we look ahead to the 52nd and 53rd editions of the Youth Sailing World Championships, we are extremely proud to share one of World Sailing’s most important events with two locations steeped in sailing history.

“The commitment of both organising committees, national sailing federations and local partners to the sailors, sailing, and World Sailing’s vision for sustainability, equality and inclusion are great foundations for truly memorable events over the next two years.“”

David Graham, World Sailing’s chief executive added: “The Youth World Championships are always a highlight of the sailing calendar and I’m delighted the youth worlds committee have selected two impressive locations. We look forward to ensuring the respective organising committees deliver successful events.”

‘This event opens the door to our future goal of hosting a World Sailing Championship here in Brazil’

Known as a popular vacation destination, Búzios is located 137km east of Rio de Janeiro and boasts 23 beaches within a calm, natural horseshoe bay with ideal sailing conditions courtesy of annual trade winds from northeast to east and between 10-18 knots.

The race village will be located at several sites in Búzios including the planned community of Aretê Buzios, which is capable of providing on-site facilities for sailors, coaches, equipment and visitors, and the Iate Clube Armação de Búzios (ICAB), venue of the 2009 edition.

The Organising Committee will be led by Marco Aurelio de Sá Ribeiro, president of the Brazilian Sailing Federation, and comprise leading sailors with support from the Brazilian Navy.

“I think the great legacy is to inspire young Brazilians to sail more and to continue sailing, in addition to keeping the boats in the country, doubling the size of youth sailing in Brazil,” the president said. “Another goal is to consolidate the training centre in Búzios as a reference location for teams from all over the world. This event opens the door to our future goal of hosting a World Sailing Championship here in Brazil.”

The Notice of Race for the 2023 Youth Sailing World Championships will be published in February.

‘It is a huge honour to have the chance to organise the Youth Sailing World Championship for the first time in Italy’

Meanwhile, Alto Lago di Garda is being lined up as the site of the 2024 Youth Sailing World Championships from 13-20 July 2024.

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy and borders the regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige. Blessed with inspiring scenery, clean waters and constant winds — known as Peler and Ora, coming from the north in the morning and the south in the afternoon — it is a great venue for sailing and windsurfing.

In a new concept, it has been agreed subject to contract, that World Sailing will work with several Italian clubs located on the lake, each with a wealth of tournament experience, including Fraglia della Vela Riva, Lega Navale Italiana Riva del Garda, Circolo Vela Arco, Circolo Surf Torbole, Circolo Vela Torbole, Fraglia Vela Malcesine.

Francesco Ettorre, president of the Italian Sailing Federation said: “For me and the entire Italian Sailing Federation, it is a huge honour to have the chance to organise the Youth Sailing World Championship for the first time in Italy. It represents an international recognition for the work carried out so far.

“For this opportunity, I wish to thank first of all, World Sailing president Quanhai Li; Minister for Sport and Youth, Andrea Abodi; the Italian National Olympic Committee and president Giovanni Malagò; and the Sport e Salute’s president Vito Cozzoli. I also want to thank all the clubs who make up the organising committee because it is only thanks to them that it is possible to succeed in bringing such high value events to Italy.”

Published in Youth Sailing

IOC vice-president Ng Ser Miang has rejected accusations of wrongdoing after he was found guilty of interfering in a World Sailing election.

The Singaporean entrepreneur was determined by an independent panel to have had a conflict of interest in the contentious 2020 vote that saw Quanhai Li of China elected as president of sailing’s world governing body by a narrow margin over Denmark’s Kim Andersen.

According to, Ng and Dieter Neupert, a Swiss lawyer who was the acting chairman of the World Sailing Ethics Commission at the time, were both handed an official warning and fined €1,000 each following more than two years of investigations by the panel, which was chaired by lawyer and former Ireland football international Gareth Farrelly.

It was alleged that Ng had emailed a member of the World Sailing Election Commission canvassing against Andersen and another candidate, Uruguay’s Scott Perry, with the suggestion they could damage the federation’s reputation if elected.

Ng was accused of failure to act with utmost integrity, honesty and responsibility, and of acting in a manner that was likely to compromise the impartiality of the ethics commission.

Speaking to The Straits Times, 73-year-old Ng emphatically denied the charges, saying: “World Sailing has no jurisdiction over me after December 2020 [when I resigned from the Ethics Commission]. I have not taken part in any of their proceedings and reject any allegations and sanctions made against me by World Sailing.”

Published in World Sailing

World Sailing said it is “deeply saddened” by the passing of Greece’s King Constantine II.

The last king of Greece was a lifelong and dedicated sailor and his service to World Sailing spanned more than 60 years.

He first became involved with the federation in 1960, the same year he won an Olympic gold in the Dragon class at the Olympic Games in Rome at just 20 years of age.

This gold medal was of huge significance for Greece as it was the first for the country since 1912 in any sport and the only medal for the Greek team at those Games.

Constantine first took a seat on a World Sailing Committee in 1961 when he joined the Class Policy and Organisation Committee (CPOC) and the new Catamaran Technical Committee.

In 1964, the year he acceded to the throne of Greece, he was appointed as vice-president of honour at World Sailing, a position which engaged him directly with the council and executive committee. In 1994 he became president of honour, a role he held until his death.

King Constantine became president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee in 1957, demonstrating his strong commitment to the Olympic Movement. And in 1963 he was elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee where he was actively involved in all aspects of the movement. He was elected an honorary member for life in 1974.

In 2010, King Constantine was awarded the Beppe Croce Trophy by World Sailing in honour of his outstanding voluntary contributions to the sport of sailing.

He is survived by his wife, the former Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark, as well as three sons, two daughters and nine grandchildren.

Sailing’s world governing body added: “Our thoughts are with his family at this time, and we join the rest of the sailing world in mourning his passing while also celebrating his contribution to the sport.”

Published in World Sailing

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)
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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.

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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".

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