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Marcus Spillane, Ireland's candidate for one of seven new vice president roles in World Sailing has been successful in his election bid it was announced today at World Sailing’s Virtual General Assembly.

Quanhai Li (CHN) has been elected as World Sailing President.  In a closely contested election Li will lead the organisation for the next four years.

At the same election, Ireland's Spillane was elected to serve as one of seven World Sailing Vice- Presidents.

Li was originally elected a vice- president in 2012 and is a former Secretary-General of the Chinese Yachting Association.  He played a large role in the planning and execution of the sailing event at the 2008 Olympics and has been an International Judge.

Spillane, originally from Cork but now USA-based, becomes the first Irish Vice-President since Dubliner Ken Ryan who held the role from 1998-2004.

Spillane, a chartered accountant, is the Treasurer of the Olympic Steering Group of the Irish Sailing Association.

Spillane sailed Mirrors and Laser 2s as a junior sailor before graduating to the 49er. More recently he has competed offshore in various events.  Administratively he has served as International class president of the Laser 2, 49er and Nacra 17 classes.  He has been Ireland's nominee to the World Sailing Council since 2016.

Spillane was sixth of the seven successful candidates. The new eight-person Board (President and 7 VPs) has a five to three male to female gender balance, with four Europeans and one each from Asia, Australia, South Africa and North America. 

Four Presidential candidates were up for election in the first round and no candidate received more than 50% of votes. A second round of voting was required between the top two candidates. Kim Andersen (DEN) and Li advanced to the second round.

Quanhai Li (CHN) has been elected as World Sailing PresidentQuanhai Li (CHN) has been elected as World Sailing President

In the second round of voting, 128 Member National Authorities, in good standing with World Sailing, sent verified votes to the Independent Scrutineer. Receiving 68 votes, Quanhai Li was elected as World Sailing President. Andersen received 60 votes.

World Sailing Member National Authorities, in good standing with World Sailing, were eligible to vote and when casting their ballot, they were required to vote for at least two male and two female candidates for Vice President.

Li upstaged the incumbent, Kim Andersen (DEN) in a run off-vote following the elimination of two of the four candidates.  The transfers proved crucial, as Li gained 29 of the 36 available votes to win by 68 votes to 60.  It is believed that holding the conference virtually, allowing for many more than normal MNAs to vote, favoured Li whose campaign addressed those MNAs who traditionally did not attend AGMs.  The electorate of 128, easily exceeded the previous record of the 106 delegates who attended (in person) the 2012 election in Dun Laoghaire.

The election process for Vice-Presidential candidates concluded on 16 October with no run-off voting process required. MNAs were invited to vote for seven Vice-Presidents, of which at least two votes for male and two votes for female candidates were required.

Joining World Sailing President Quanhai Li on the Board of Directors will be:

  • Tomasz Chamera (POL)
  • Sarah Kenny (AUS)
  • Philip Baum (RSA)
  • Yann Rocherieux (FRA)
  • Duriye Özlem Akdurak (TUR)
  • Marcus Spillane (IRL)
  • Cory Sertl (USA)

There is a serious work programme ahead.  In addition to the problems caused by the pandemic, World Sailing's finances are precarious and new CEO David Graham confirmed a hiring and salary freeze until stability has been achieved.

While the conference was run successfully on-line, it was understood that the combination of time zone differences, the lack of face-to-face meetings on the fringes and the technical lapses in internet connections will result in a hybrid of physically present and virtual meetings in future. 

David Graham, World Sailing CEO, commented, “I warmly welcome Mr Quanhai Li as President of World Sailing; it is a great advantage having already served for eight years on the Board. Our new President is joined by a very strong set of Vice-Presidents who have a wealth of experience as former Council and Committee members. The future of World Sailing is in very capable hands and I look forward to working with our new Board. World Sailing’s elected Board work incredibly hard and I take this opportunity to thank the outgoing members for their huge efforts over their term.”

The Chairman of the Athletes' Commission will join the Board of Directors as a permanent voting member. In addition, the World Sailing Presidents of Honour, His Majesty King Harald V of Norway and His Majesty King Constantine are entitled to attend and participate in Board of Directors meetings, but they do not hold a vote.

The newly appointed Board of Directors will serve a four-year term up until the 2024 General Assembly.

World Sailing's 2020 Election of Officers was overseen by an Election Committee, chaired by Philip Cotton and supported by Melanie Willmore and David Kellett. KPMG (UK) LLP were appointed as the Independent Scrutineer and accepted and validated the votes on behalf of World Sailing.

Published in World Sailing

Marcus Spillane, Ireland's candidate for Vice President of World Sailing, will have to wait another couple of weeks to find out if he has been successful in his bid for office in the world governing body of the sport even though the votes are cast and the Election Committee has declared a result has been obtained and no further rounds of voting are necessary.

It is expected the results will be notified to the General Assembly during its meeting on Sunday 1 November.

As Afloat reported previously, US-based Spillane, a chartered accountant, is the Treasurer of the Olympic Steering Group of the Irish Sailing Association. He is also the president of the Nacra class and, in that capacity, announced today that the Olympic skiffs and the Olympic Cats will be hosted by The Sultanate of Oman for its 2021 World Championships. 

World Sailing Presidential Election

127 Member National Authorities submitted a verified vote to the Independent Scrutineer by the deadline on Friday 16 October. The ballot papers were sent to the Election Committee by secure means on Friday evening with all identifying information removed.

The members of the Election Committee have now counted and verified the votes and agree the results.

No discrepancies or irregularities in the votes have been reported by the Independent Scrutineer or by the members of the Committee.

As required by Regulation 4.2, a candidate for President must obtain more than 50% of the votes in order to be elected. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the votes, then a runoff vote must be held between the top two candidates.

No candidate has received more than 50% of the votes. A second round of voting will therefore be required.

The second round will be between:

ANDERSEN, Kim (DEN)
QUANHAI, Li (CHN)

Voting packs will be sent to MNA Officers on the morning of Tuesday 20 October 2020. Voting will open when the packs are distributed and will close at 1500hrs UTC on Friday 23 October 2020.

The number of votes received by each candidate will be published following the declaration of the results at the General Assembly.

Published in World Sailing

Voting in the 2020 election of World Sailing’s officers begins today, Friday 9 October, with the distribution of voting packs to the governing body’s member national authorities.

The first round of balloting closes a week from now, on Friday 16 October, at 3pm UTC (4pm IST) and the voting procedures can be found HERE.

World Sailing has appointed KPMG as the independent scrutineer to accept and validate votes on its behalf.

Denmark’s Ken Andersen, Quanhai Li of China, Uruguay’s Scott Perry and Gerardo Seeliger of Spain are the four candidates in the running for World Sailing’s top post this year.

In the event that none of the four receives more than 50% of the votes in the first round, two further rounds are scheduled for 20-23 October and 26-29 October to conduct run-off votes.

The results will be announced during World Sailing’s General Assembly scheduled for Sunday 1 November.

Meanwhile, if there is a tie between any vice-presidential candidates, a run-off vote will be held from 1-4 November.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, USA-based Marcus Spillane is Ireland’s candidate for the position of World Sailing vice president.

Life-long sailor Spillane is treasurer of Irish Sailing’s Olympic Steering Group as well as president of the International 49er and Nacra 17 classes.

In other news, World Sailing issued a statement accusing a member of its Ethics Commission of “interfering” in the upcoming presidential election.

The organisation said the actions of Ng Ser Miang, an IOC member from Singapore, “are deemed unacceptable and condemned by World Sailing”.

It added: “For an individual to misuse their position in order to intervene in the election and politics of an autonomous international federation goes against all good governance practices.”

World Sailing’s statement did not specify the alleged infractions, but Inside the Games reports that the former sailor is accused of canvassing against the election of incumbent Andersen and current vice president Perry.

Published in World Sailing
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A joint decision by World Sailing, the Royal Netherlands Watersport Association, the municipality of The Hague and TIG Sports has moved the 2022 Sailing World Championships to the summer of 2023.

The next edition of the Sailing World Championships will be held from Thursday 10 to Sunday 20 August 2023 and will turn Scheveningen into the capital of competitive sailing with The Ocean Race also set to take over the Dutch shores.

In addition to the new dates for the Sailing World Championships, the Youth Sailing World Championships, that was due to be held The Hague in July 2021, has also been rescheduled for 2022.

The move to rearrange the Sailing World Championships and Youth Sailing World Championships comes following the global challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rearrangement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to 2021.

On the announcement, Kim Andersen, World Sailing President, said, “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.

“World Sailing, the municipality of The Hague, the Royal Netherlands Watersport Association and TIG Sports have an ambitious vision for the events that put the sailors, spectators and world-leading organisation at the heart of the project.

“The postponement of Tokyo 2020 has meant sailors and our MNAs have had to reorganise their priorities for 2021. Moving the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships to a new venue towards the end of the year will ensure maximum effort is put in to delivering a successful event.

“The 2022 Youth Worlds will be the first touch point for the Dutch population and will provide the organisers with key opportunities to test operations ahead of the 2023 World Championships.

“The 2023 Sailing World Championships is the primary qualification event for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Allowing our teams and sailors more time to prepare following Tokyo 2020 in 2021, will ensure the best sailing talent is displaying to a global audience.

“We look forward to continuing the strong relationship with The Hague and their established partners in delivering two Championships that raise the bar even higher.”

Yann Rocherieux, Chair of World Sailing’s Athletes’ Commission and World Sailing Board Member, said, “The Sailing World Championships is an Olympic class sailor’s key performance indicator on the road to the Olympic Games. It is a spectacle where the best sailors target World Championship glory and an Olympic qualification place. Tokyo 2020’s postponement has meant 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.

“The Hague is a fantastic sailing venue that test the all-round abilities of every sailor. The competition will be wide open at the Youth Sailing World Championships and the Sailing World Championships and I’m excited to see it unfold in 2022 and 2023.”

Alastair Fox, Director of Events at World Sailing commented, “The Sailing World Championships and Youth World Championships are World Sailing’s flagship events and put the leading youth and senior sailors in the international spotlight. Up to 100 nations are expected to participate in the Championships’ and the move to postpone both events by one year will allow sailors, coaches, officials and organisers to prepare properly and deliver an outstanding competition.”

The Hague is the third largest city in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam, with a population of 525,000. The authentic yet modern seaport, and the natural environment of The Hague Beach, will offer the perfect base for both events.

Competition for the world's best Olympic class sailors will be held on the North Sea and will provide a stern test for the athletes. Conditions vary within a short period of time ensuring competitors will encounter a true test on the water with varied wind conditions and challenging tidal patterns.

World Sailing is now seeking a venue to host the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships in December 2021.

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USA-based Marcus Spillane is Ireland's candidate in the forthcoming election for Vice President of World Sailing.

World Sailing’s Election Committee overseeing the 2020 Election of World Sailing’s Officers has announced the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates standing for election this October.

Spillane, a chartered accountant, is the Treasurer of the Olympic Steering Group of the Irish Sailing Association.

He is also International 49er Class President for the last eight years (and CEO for six years before that) is also the International Nacra 17 Class President for the last four years.

The election of the President and seven Vice-Presidents will be conducted via an electronic ballot. World Sailing Member National Authorities, in good standing with World Sailing, are eligible to vote and when casting their ballot, must select at least two male and two female candidates for Vice President.

The results of the ballot will be announced on 1 November 2020 at the General Assembly which will be held as a virtual meeting.

Eligible candidates have been endorsed by at least five World Sailing MNAs with the term of office beginning at the close of the General Assembly, at which the Board of Directors are elected for a period of four years.

Candidates eligible for election at the 2020 General Assembly, in alphabetical order by surname, are:

Presidential Candidates

Kim Andersen (DEN)
Quanhai Li (CHN)
Scott Perry (URU)
Gerardo Seeliger (ESP)

Vice-Presidential Candidates

Duriye Özlem Akdurak (TUR)
Philip Baum (RSA)
Cary Lee Byerley (ANT)
William Canfield (ISV)
Tomasz Chamera (POL)
Jan Dawson (NZL)
Luca Devoti (ITA)
Jørgen Stang Heffermehl (NOR)
Sarah Kenny (AUS)
Yann Rocherieux (FRA)
Cory Sertl (USA)
Malav Shroff (IND)
Riccardo Simoneschi (ITA)
Marcus Spillane (IRL)
Yui Shing Tong (HKG)

Voting Process

The 2020 General Assembly will be held remotely and will be conducted in line with World Sailing’s voting procedures.

The first round of voting will be held from 9-16 October 2020. This will be the main voting period for the Presidential and Vice-Presidential election.

In the event that no Presidential candidate receives more than 50% of the votes in the first round, two further rounds are scheduled for 20-23 October and 26-29 October to conduct run-off votes.

The results of the election will be announced during the General Assembly by the Election Committee on 1 November.

If there is a tie between any Vice-Presidential candidates, a run-off vote will commence on 1 November and conclude on 4 November.

Controlling and regulating the process is World Sailing’s Election Committee chaired by Philip Cotton and ably supported by Melanie Willmore and David Kellett, who have overseen the whole process so far.

In addition, KPMG have been appointed as the Independent Scrutineer.

Published in World Sailing
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World Sailing has announced it will hold its 2020 Annual General Meeting and General Assembly online only due to the global challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Abu Dhabi in the UAE had been scheduled to host World Sailing’s annual conference from 24 October, with the AGM and General Assembly concluding the meeting on 1 November.

However, due to ongoing travel restrictions, World Sailing’s board of directors have now resolved to hold the AGM and General Assembly electronically, in accordance with a written special resolution approved by its member national authorities in June.

In addition, all commission, sub-committee, committee and council meetings that would normally take place during the conference will also be hosted electronically.

Abu Dhabi will instead host the 2021 Annual Conference and AGM from 20-31 October next year

Subject to approval by World Sailing’s council, the main decision-making body of World Sailing, Abu Dhabi will instead host the 2021 Annual Conference and AGM from 20-31 October next year.

World Sailing’s election committee is now accepting nominations for the 2020 election of the World Sailing president and vice-presidents.

The deadline for the close of nominations is Sunday 6 September, eight weeks ahead of the General Assembly. A candidate must have five or more nominations to be put forward for election.

Full information on the election of the board of directors is available in Articles 73-76 of the World Sailing Constitution, with the voting system to elect detailed in Regulation 4 of the World Sailing Regulations.

The Election Committee have also produced election rules that govern the conduct of the election to ensure an atmosphere of mutual respect and equality is shown.

World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, has received confirmation of financial support from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) following constructive dialogue.

The IOC is supporting World Sailing in addressing the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequence on postponing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

In the challenging times experienced as a consequence of COVID-19, World Sailing has engaged with the IOC on how best to address the impact experienced within the sport with detailed and transparent discussions.

“Receiving the support and the encouragement from IOC President Dr. Thomas Bach means a lot for World Sailing,” commented World Sailing President, Kim Andersen. “I am looking forward to continuing the great partnership between the IOC and World Sailing with a focus on our great sport and our sailors.”

The financial support will enable World Sailing to continue plans for developing and promoting sailing worldwide and delivering the highest standards for the Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

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World Sailing has cancelled the 2020 edition of the Youth Sailing World Championships that was scheduled to be held in Salvador, Brazil from 12 – 19 December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its 50-year history, the Youth Worlds regularly attracts the best youth sailors from upwards of 60 nations. World Sailing’s Board of Directors and the Confederação Brasileira de Vela (CBVela) agreed to cancel the event in anticipation of global travel restrictions and to ensure the health and well-being of athletes, coaches, parents, officials and suppliers.

World Sailing and CBVela are now discussing the possibility of hosting the Youth Worlds in Brazil at the earliest opportunity.

The 2021 edition of the Youth Worlds will take place in The Hague, The Netherlands in July 2021.

Published in World Sailing

World Sailing has appointed David Graham, a 20-year veteran in the sailing industry, as its new Chief Executive Officer starting 13 July 2020.

Graham’s extensive and impressive career includes functions in sales, events, coaching and sponsorship, including CEO and Managing Director roles.

Graham’s most recent role was at Oman Sail, a national initiative that uses the power of sport to contribute to the development of the Omani people, where he served as CEO from 2009 through to April 2020.

During his tenure, Graham was instrumental in establishing the sport in Oman, growing the national sailing team to one of the leading teams in Asia and developing the nation as a top destination for Class World Championships, America’s Cup World Series and Extreme Sailing Series events. Prior to his tenure at Oman Sail, Graham managed a sailing school before spending over a decade in senior positions in the world’s leading dinghy manufacturers.

His experience as an active sailor is equally as strong. An active sailor his whole life, he grew up as a dinghy sailor and was involved in major big boat series and races onboard both monohulls and multihulls. In addition, he has recently taken up kiteboarding to add to his repertoire of sailing skillsets.

Kim Andersen, President of World Sailing, commented, “As World Sailing looks to the future and the next phase of growth, we are confident that with David’s combined background in management and sailing that he is the right leader to help restructure and provide a strong direction for the operations of our organisation. On behalf of the entire World Sailing family it gives me great pleasure to welcome David to the team.”

World Sailing’s Board of Directors worked with Odgers Berndtson in search of the ideal candidate and reviewed a strong list of international candidates.

Scott Perry, World Sailing Vice President, added, “The board received several high calibre applicants and having reviewed each one carefully we unanimously approved the selection of David Graham. With better clarity over our finances through to 2021, now is the time to build up our future and this includes bringing in a CEO to guide the day to day operations and future negotiations of our organisation.”

On his appointment, Graham commented, “I am really looking forward to my new role with World Sailing. I would like to thank President Kim Andersen and the board for their confidence; I look forward to working with them to develop World Sailing and building a strong organisation together.”

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World Sailing president Kim Andersen has announced the immediate furloughing of almost all World Sailing staff for at least three weeks “to ensure the long-term financial viability” of the organisation.

In addition, higher paid staff are being requested to take a 20% pay cut until the end of the year.

In a statement released yesterday evening (Tuesday 14 April), Andersen confirmed that the board of World Sailing — whose staff are employed through a UK-based company — is taking advantage of financial supports made available by the UK Government to support salary costs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

From today, Wednesday 15 April, until Wednesday 6 May, almost all staff are on “furlough leave” and will not be permitted to engage in any work for World Sailing. Up to 80% of their salaries will be funded by the UK Government, with the difference covered by World Sailing.

“After 6 May, the board will review the position with the senior management team and decide whether furlough leave is extended or whether staff will return to work,” Andersen said.

“I must emphasise to all World Sailing Members, volunteers and stakeholders that it is a legal condition that staff cannot work for World Sailing whilst on furlough leave.

“Therefore, no emails, calls or correspondence will be responded to from the staff and nor should you expect any reply.

“I understand this will be difficult for a number of areas of World Sailing, but we must respect the conditions of this scheme.”

Andersen confirmed that a small number of senior managers will not be on furlough and will be on hand to respond to genuinely urgent matters.

In addition, Andersen said, the World Sailing board “has requested that World Sailing staff earning more than a certain amount take a 20% pay reduction until the end of the year (or earlier if possible)”.

“This requires the individual agreement of the staff and we have been consulting with the staff on the viability of this proposal,” he said.

Anderson added: “Overall, the board continues to have frequent discussions with our partners concerning the impact of the postponement of the Olympic Games in order to ensure our financial health is as stable as possible.”

Over the weekend, Andersen responded to media criticism over reports of financial difficulties within World Sailing arising from the 12-month postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Published in World Sailing
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