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Posts Tagged ‘world sailing’

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The resignation of respected measurer Carlos De Beltran last week after just a year as World Sailing’s Technical and Offshore Director was a little suspicious.  Yesterday,  an even higher-ranking critter jumped off what many now see as a full-on sinking ship. We’re talking about the resignation of Chief Commercial Officer Hugh Chambers– the second-in-command at W.S. and the guy responsible for all sponsor development and sales for sailing’s international governing body.

Was Chambers asked to leave because his team’s total sponsorship take was a fraction of the decidedly optimistic WS’s 2017 Budget?  After all, the recent ‘reforecast’ showed the organization lost millions more than budgeted for 2017 with 2018 looking like another ‘adjustment’ might be on the way.  Or, like Beltran, did Chambers see the writing on the wall and decide to get out before things get really ugly?

While many question what, exactly, World Sailing is doing to actually govern the sport besides supporting the Olympics, it’s clear that whatever they’re doing, costs have spiraled completely out of control and the burn rate is far beyond sustainable.

The Corporate HQ move from Southhampton to ritzy London cost a small fortune, pays 4 times more than the previous lease, and commits to more than GBP 3,300,000 (US$4.3M) in lease commitments.  Salaries and travel have risen massively as a percentage of the budget, and there is literally no escape plan.

Without a major change to the governance of World Sailing and the administration of the sport, in a few years time there will be no World Sailing.  The non-sailor CEOs and marketing types will be gone, and as usual the volunteers will have to pick up the pieces and start over.

We will have more on this developing situation – and we haven’t even gotten into the anti-trust stuff yet – and we plan to send those interested in a World Sailing corporate document dump to Dropbox as soon as we can.

 

September 6th, 2018 by admin

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Fallout continues after World Sailing’s 2024 Olympic event selection shitshow the other day, which saw the members of the sport’s governing body ignoring the last few years of progress (and once again, its own Events Committee) on their way to choosing a 2024 Olympic Events slate that in most ways preserves the status quo and completely ignores the IOC’s mandates – despite claiming it follows them.

You can talk here about the Romanian submission which was eventually selected, but without understanding the politics behind these types of votes, you won’t really get it.

The most important thing to understand about the submission is that it is mostly an attempt to change the definition of ‘mixed’ in order to sneak extra events past the IOC and allow the Finn to stay in the Games.  It’s also got at least one monster error about women and body weight. Neither problem stopped Submission M22-18 from winning, so let’s take a look.

The way things are for Tokyo, Olympic Sailing has 10 events: 5 men’s events (Laser, 420, 49er, Finn, RS:X), 4 women’s events (Radial, 420, FX, RS:X) and 1 truly ‘mixed’ event (Nacra 17) where men and women compete together.

Under Submission M22, Olympic Sailing would still see 10 events, with men ((Laser, 49er, new Windsurfer), and women (Radial, FX, new Windsurf) each getting 3.  The mixed Nacra would still be a co-ed crew as would the new mixed 470 class, but what about those final two ‘mixed team’ events?

First is ‘mixed kiteboarding’, which is really just men and women’s separate kiteboarding with combined scores.  It’s not like running or swimming ‘team’ relay events we’re used to, where athletes already competing in other events race in these.  The new proposed classes are entirely new events with riders who won’t be competing otherwise, so while World Sailing and the IKA spent millions to ensure that kiting was fast-tracked to the Olympics under the World Sailing umbrella, it’s  only worthy of a single ‘team’ event.  Like the multihull, a second-class citizen.

Finally, let’s look at the ‘Mixed One-Person Dinghy’ event proposal, which goes through some tortured logic on its way to accomplishing the real goal for the entire submission: To keep the Finn in the Olympics.  There’s one reason the Star was so hard to kick out of the Olympics: Lots of the rich old yachties who run the sport sail them and love them.  And if you think lots of privileged old guys sail the Star, wait til you see how many sail the Finn!

Anyway, working with some well-known Euro rabble-rousers, the Romanians started with ‘keep the Finn’ and then backed their way through the rest of the slate to come up with the only gender-neutral solution for their orphan Heavyweight Dinghy: Ditch the 470 and come up with a women’s Finn that will combine points with the men, and call it a “Mixed Event”.  The Romanians even picked the ideal woman’s size for crew of the new dinghy to be “around 70kg” (155 lbs) or about the same size as many of the top Radial, Nacra, and FX crews and many of the boardsailors.

One problem: In many countries, the pool of woman of that size just ain’t big, and that leaves only two spots in all of Olympic Sailing for smaller women: Helm on a new mixed 470 team, or helm of a Nacra with a big male crew.

The excellent PR team behind the Finn Class rushed to correct the Romanian fuckup, writing this morning that the 70 KG number will be changed, and that the “Equipment Committee will define the criteria to decide the equipment in November 2018, with the intention to have a one-person women’s boat to suit a different physique.”  Translation: The Finn FX or whatever will be for little thangs: a lightweight boat for lightweight women.  Our guess is the ideal weight will be targeted at somewhere from 50-55 KG, square in the typical 470 skipper’s sweet spot.

If this is what really happens, we obviously don’t mind it.  Men get the Finn so that neanderthals still have some chance to get some metal, and the spinners get some hobbit-sized Finn cousin that swamps if you get aboard after eating a big sandwich.  Just think of the visuals, or look at this shot of an ideal Finn body and a gorgeous potential SlimFinn racer for a great example.

As for the overall proposal, we think it is a mistake to walk away from the ‘offshore’ event proposal, which, aside from kiteboarding aerials (if it ever happens and if it is even remotely related to sailing) is probably sailing’s only real chance to go mainstream at the Olympics and teach the world sailing in a way they can understand.

But at least all the 470 chicks will have somewhere to go play.  We will most certainly be watching.

Don’t understand the title? Science class for you.

 

 

 

May 15th, 2018 by admin

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Clean Report

In a decision that will sound alarm bells across dozens of international sport governing bodies, the European Commission yesterday ruled that the International Skating Union’s rules preventing skaters from competing in ‘unauthorized’ events are illegal and must be abolished within 90 days.  What does this have to do with sailing?  If you really don’t know, here’s our last big story on this case, and the short version is this:

World Sailing’s Eligibility Rules allow the body to revoke a sailor’s eligibility to compete if they compete in a ‘prohibited event’, which is basically any major competition that doesn’t pay World Sailing or seek its approval.  In other words, if you use the word “World Championship” in your fun regatta, World Sailing may ban every sailor in the event from racing in other competitions.  It’s not theoretical, either – the IKA has been using this bullying tool in their battle with the IFKO, enlisting World Sailing CEO Andy Hunt to write threatening letters to those daring to compete in their own event, and back when we organized the tongue-in-cheek World Sportboat World Championship of the World, ISAF actually sent a letter to one of the hosting organizations and threatened them with all sorts of penalties.

With World Sailing’s rules very similar to the ISA regs that were thrown out by the EC, Those days are over now, and World Sailing will now know that it’s on notice.  So call your random event “Worlds” without worries now, and if you get a letter from Andy Hunt, submit it to the European Commission’s confidential Whistleblower Tool and watch the sparks fly.  And now that there is a Commission directive, you can go for damages.

 

December 9th, 2017 by admin

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The talented former pro rider and Founder/president of the International Federation of Kitesports Organizations talks to Alan Block about the years long struggle between his organization and a group of companies, people, and organizations – including World Sailing – for the governance, ownership, and future of kiteboarding at all levels.  Diogo Paes Fernandes has a very interesting story to tell about the biggest sporting organizations in the game, and we were fascinated to hear it.  if you are interested in board sports, the sports’ governance, and the dirty meat inside the shiny Olympic fruit, this one’s for you.  Direct downloads here, and please subscribe to the SA Podcast here (iTunes) or here (Android).

Show Notes:

07:54 Why Spanish people can’t understand Portuguese but Portuguese can understand Spanish
09:34 How Diego began his kiteboarding career, what he’s done
12:29 How to raise a kiting rock star – or at least a kid who loves what you do
15:04 Is the current state of kiting – tech and the sport’s maturity – a good time for a young rider to get into the sport?
16:29 Has the more modern gear and design made kiting safer? How did you deal with your kid’s safety when learning?
19:29 What was it like in the early days of pro riding? What was competitive kiting like before the IKA was born? When was it born?
22:38 How did IKA convince kite organizations to join them and World Sailing?
23:42 Was it improper for IKA to declare itself the governing body of kiting? Why?
24:04 Who is the mystery character that has been pushing kite boarding towards sailing and the olympics?
25:06 What is an International Federation anyway? How does it validly and responsibly represent its sport?
27:39 Is kiteboarding sailing? What do riders think?
29:04 What happened to windsurfing under ISAF/World Sailing stewardship?
30:44 Is World Sailing somehow sabotaging windsurfing to get kites in the Olympics?
31:44 Why doesn’t Diogo and IFKO work within World Sailing to accomplish the goals of the riding community?
33:24 Who are all the organizations now claiming to control kiting and how have they gone about pursuing those claims?
37:09 Who has jurisdiction over the IOC and its affiliated organizations?
38:39 Would kiting be better off under the IFKO or World Sailing? Why?
42:24 False documents, national sports ministers, and accreditation. How does it work (or not work)?
43:44 What laws does Diogo think have been broken in this case?
46:24 Why does sailing wants kiting in the Olympics so badly?
49:54 Why does Olympic sailing have such poor fan base
54:24 Speed skating, the EU commission for sport, and monopolies. What’s up?
55:09 How does Diogo intend to move forward to regain control of kiting?
57:59 What is the Global Kitesports Association, and what do they do?
62:61 what are IKA/GKA doing to advance kiteboarding interests?
68:44 Are there any official inquiries into the whole IKA vs. IFKO saga or anyone officially questioning IKA’s right to ‘exclusively govern’ kiteboarding?
70:54 What organizations does the IFKO represent?
75:44 How did the IKA move into and gather the support of the national kiting bodies?
81:04 Javier Perez Dolset, Spanish jails, and the ownership of kiteboarding.
87:04 Virgin Kite World Tour and Sir Richard Branson’s love affair with kiting. What kind of money is in kiting competitions?
88:34 Has Diogo or the IFKO reached out to Richard Branson?
89:54 Does Diogo  really believe World Sailing is corrupt?
90:54 If Diogo could set the sport up in his own dream scenario, what would it look like in ten years?
96:09 How can riders or others support what you’re trying to achieve for kiteboarding?

September 25th, 2017 by admin

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Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 9.45.32 AMIn an interesting bit of offshore racing news dropped today, ORC announced that the first-ever Offshore Racing World Championship will take place in the Netherlands in 2018 under a joint IRC/ORC scheme.  It’s a fascinating conclusion (subject to change, of course) to a conflict that nearly came to blows at World Sailing’s Annual Conference in Barcelona late last year.  Our own reporter watched Stan Honey scold the IRC and ORC representatives and send them off without their supper to work out their issues, and it seems they’ve reached that agreement to try to mend offshore wounds and bring handicap ocean racers together.

We all know the sport has been in trouble for a long time, and with a few noteable exceptions, handicap racing is struggling harder than any other sector to stem its losses, which result as much from unhappiness with handicap rules and complicated, competing ratings systems.  That’s why we applaud the ORC and IRC brass for putting aside their self-interest and doing right by the sport for once. Now, if the boatbuilders and classes would just follow their lead, we might start getting somewhere!

Here’s the Worlds site, and here’s the ORC release. Max Ranchi photo of the last ORC Worlds.

 

February 9th, 2017 by admin

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Clean Report

My first long trip since becoming a father was an eye-opening one for me in many ways.  I learned that it takes about 15 days before family Facetime chats fall off and the missing really begins.  I learned that Sailing Anarchy can be a force for positive change.  I learned that driving non-stop from Barcelona to Amsterdam alone costs a fortune in tolls, fuel, and misery.  But mostly, I enjoyed being back in the thick of it for three extremely important events for the sport I love.  I’d like to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make the trip possible, and I encourage you to check out informative pieces I did with each of the four sponsors during the trip:

Musto’s head of marketing and the Figaro sailor who reps them in France chatted with me about their new offerings and just how much of the Vendee fleet wears HPX in this video from METS.

Torqeedo Marketing Director Georg Roben gave some candid answers about the company and products that have netted two of the prestigious “Most Innovative Product” awards in the past five years at the METS show in this video.

As usual, Doyle Sails NZ owner Mike Sanderson was funny and interesting in this live chat about the Hugo Boss sails, superyacht sail technology, and the future of the Volvo Ocean Race, while Bruce Schwab explained what Ocean Planet Energy’s slick battery, regulator, and charging solutions do for ocean racers in this interview. 

Enjoy them, and stay tuned for the next big thing.  Got something your company thinks needs some coverage?  Let me know.

A Hazy, Crazy Vendee

A special invitation to be aboard one of just a handful of support RIBs permitted inside the 2016 Vendee Globe starting area gave me a great view to one of the most special single days in all of sailing; a day where our humble sport sees crowds that make the World Cup look small.  As it turned out, the start itself wasn’t even in the top ten most interesting things about V-Day, and my view inside the commentary box four years ago was quite a bit better than being aboard a photo RIB shooting the 2016 start.  It’s a start that barely matters at all for the race itself.

What I didn’t experience four years ago was the single most intense crowd moment our sport has; when each skipper comes ’round the corner, entering the famous LSD Canal to the roar of an estimated 200,000 fans lining the shores.  Fortunately, my spot with the Boss photographer allowed me to be just a few meters away from this action, and the 18-minute video above is my attempt to get you as close as I could to the unique emotional surge unlocked by that final trip through the fairway.

I’ve been asked by many people whether the Vendee and IMOCA will ever really grip the attention of anyone outside of France and the niche yachting community, and I remind people that there’s plenty of precedent for it.  When Mike Plant dominated solo racing (and indeed in the early days of the Open 60) the Vendee was international.  When Ellen was one of the UK’s best-known athletes, the Vendee was international.  And now that Alex Thomson has a real chance to win and with the help of Open Sports Management and the IMOCA Class, the Vendee is pulling in decent international numbers. But it’s all probably not enough to transform the event into a truly world-wide phenomenon, and that’s entirely because of the shortsightedness of the French organizers of the race itself.

You see, the non-French world just doesn’t matter much to the region of Vendee, or to the paymasters behind the communications strategy of the race, and where they do make an effort, it is specifically pointed at a UK audience.  The English portion of the VG web work – mostly translated news stories and voiced videos – are a shadow of the French language content. The live dockout show and start were commentated by a fully English team.  And the live call-in shows and ‘vacations’ are hosted by Andi Robertson, who, through no fault of his own, is basically impossible to understand for anyone South of the Midlands (including the sailors he talks to on the phone).  Even the video distribution is distinctly French and distinctly annoying, with organizers always pushing views towards the awful DailyMotion over Youtube, Facebook, or Vimeo.  We’re confident that the organizers don’t know any better – nor do they seem to care – and unless Thomson wins and sets up a massive cross-channel rivalry, or another Ellen or Mike Plant comes along, things will most likely continue along on their continually growing, largely Francophone path.  Why change now?

The biggest wildcard for the internationalization of the Vendee Globe comes from outside the race, and we hear Mark Turner, the Keith Mills/OSM contingent, and a number of different designers and builders are hard at work to determine the feasibility of the ‘Joint Strike” foiling IMOCA/Volvo Ocean Race 68-foot concept for the 2019 Vendee/2020 VOR.  With OSM getting somewhat lukewarm worldwide buy-in of the Ocean Masters Series concept since its inception, the combined power of OSM, Boss, and the Volvo could really tip the international balance of IMOCA racing.  You won’t have to wait long to find out where that one’s going, and we’re on the edge of our seats along with everyone else who loves ocean racing.

Finally, I want to heartily recommend a trip to West France for anyone who loves sailing, and if you can go during a Vendee start or even one of the finishes, you’ll not be disappointed.  There’s nothing even remotely like it.

world-sailing-certThe Government It Deserves

Joseph deMaistre (no, not Thomas Jefferson) wrote “every nation gets the government it deserves” back in 1811, and little did I know when I scheduled my trip to Barcelona that I’d be struggling more with the ramifications of this quote at home than on the ground at the World Sailing AGM and election.  I watched in shock at 6 AM in a tiny AirBnB apartment as the US Election results rolled in, and there was almost as much discussion of the Donald at the AGM as there was of Carlo Croce, Kim Andersen, and Paul Henderson, with the US attendees trying valiantly to assuage the fears and worries of the rest of the delegates.  More on that below…

As many of you know, Sailing Anarchy led the world in coverage of the avalanche of ISAF’s public problems over the past four years, and we weren’t bashful in laying it all at the feet of the man in charge.  Carlo Croce may not be a bad person and he undoubtedly loves the sport, but as a leader, he was an embodiment of the opaque, conflicted, unaccountable governance that invariably ends in major problems. We don’t need to go into the full list of ISAF’s planning, contracting, and communications fuckups over the past four years again, but when we learned that he had real challengers for his second term, we jumped at the opportunity to help them get the word out to the wider sailing community.  And you know what?  You guys helped send Croce back to Italy in defeat.

According to numerous sources amongst the delegates, the flood of calls, emails, and comments you sent to your National Governing Body and our continual shining of the spotlight of shame on World Sailing’s missteps in Rio and Russia helped to unseat an incumbent ISAF/WS/IYRU President for the first time in history.  Strong public statements from the other candidates (most notably, in our two podcasts with them), a well-organized plan from the Danish challenger, and Croce’s complete unwillingness to engage anyone in public doomed the Italian, and when I hit the road for Amsterdam on the Monday morning, I left confident that World Sailing is headed in the right direction for the next four years, even if America is not.

As an ISAF AGM virgin, I found the conference quite effective compared to similar conferences I’ve attended in other disciplines.  Sure, doing work in big committees as ISAF does is massively inefficient, but that’s how volunteer representative governance works.  Much of the various committees’ time was spent on inane arguments and old men who like to hear themselves talk, but lots of business actually happened; handicap racing, offshore rules, media strategy, match racing, Olympic formats and equipment – all saw well-found presentations and solid progress towards more modern, transparent, and creative approaches to success.

The theme of the conference itself was a different story.  Called “Our Sustainable Future,” it was a fairly brazen attempt to position sailboat racing as the ‘go-to sport’ for major corporations looking for a ‘green’ sports sponsorship partner.  While we at SA believe environmental awareness and conservation to be inextricably tied to sailing, World Sailing’s attempt to do so was clumsy and hypocritical.  Case in point: The final AGM was a busy affair, with hundreds of delegates and staff and hundreds more observers, and the first thing I noticed when stepping into the room was a booklet on every single seat that touted ‘sailors and nature’.  It wasn’t an agenda or anything with important information in it, it was a big pile of trash masquerading as a promotional brochure.  Another chunk of obvious bullshit came from a staff executive’s attempt to justify the only major ‘environmental’ sponsor of the entire World Sailing portfolio – Gazprom – by explaining that even dirty companies need a green sports partner.

Call us crazy, but to us, allying our ‘clean’ sport with the single biggest polluter in the entire world and a company almost inseparable from Vladimir Putin and his international adventurism isn’t the best start to sustainability.  It’s probably better to establish a reputation for environmental awareness and conservation and pick up some sponsors who are actually walking the walk before positioning World Sailing as an image-launderer for every coal, gas, and oil company in the world.  Otherwise, we’re just whores.  You can watch the full Sustainability Forum as recorded live here.

As an American, one of the most shocking exchanges of the week occurred before the delegates voted on the next two years of AGM venues; the 2017 meeting in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and the following year in Sarasota. Florida.  I’ll direct you to the starting point of the actual discussion as filmed live by World Sailing TV here (it goes on for about 20 minutes), and for those of you with short attention spans, consider this: In just a few days, the world went from a place where the USA was safe and prosperous and Mexico a dangerous, drug-ridden cartel state to exactly the opposite: Nearly a third of the delegates chose not to support a meeting in America, while just 6 delegates voted against Mexico.

For all its faults, World Sailing TV did a real service to the world’s sailors by live streaming much of the conference to the world.  Nearly no one watched them, but it’s early days and we think the precedent was well worth it.  You can check out all the WS live streams here.

The Show of Shows

Compared to the first two stops, the Marine Equipment Trade Show was far less important and far more fun.  For one, it’s in Amsterdam, which never sucks.  For another, it’s the single most important show for the sport, and hundreds of friends were there to laugh, drink, and carouse with.  It was an uplifting show as well – the industry is pumping right now, and even if most of the really interesting innovations are targeted squarely at the big dollars super- and megayacht markets, at least there’s money to keep our favorite companies going.  In any event, anyone involved in the business of sailing – even small companies – really should add the METS to their calendar over any other show.  There’s just nowhere in the world where you can connect with more people inside every aspect of sailing than here.

After the number of updates I did in Amsterdam there is little need to recap the full show; if you love the sport and innovations, you’ll probably already have watched the videos (all streamed live from the floor of the RAI with one from Holland Composites).  If not, I encourage you to head over to the SA Facebook page and have a look at our overall Best In Show, one of the biggest safety innovations we’ve seen in a while from a brilliant 20-something year old kid, and about a dozen more really interesting product videos from the show floor.

And don’t forget the Sailing Anarchy Podcast.

 

 

December 10th, 2016 by admin

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Clean Report

The MUSTO + Torqeedo “Cleanin’ Up Europe” report moves from sunny Barcelona to grey, misty Amsterdam, but not before a short chat with the newly elected World Sailing President Kim Andersen from Denmark.  Andersen took the top spot in the sport away from an incumbent for the first time in the history of the organization, though considering the litany of missteps from the previous board, it’s not a huge surprise.  The Dane’s mantra has been about transparency, equality, and the growth of sailing – not just the growth of Olympic Sailing and revenue streams.

We’ll have plenty more on the interesting developments that came out of the 2016 World Sailing Conference, and trust us – despite the general, all-talk/no-action nature of conferences, plenty of shit went down and plenty of it was good.  In the meantime, we’ll be using Facebook Live for the next two days to bring you the latest and greatest kit from the METS show in dreary Holland. Keep an eye on the page as interviews and product spotlights pop up in our video feed.

Big congrats to Torqeedo for winning their second DAME award in four years!  And a big thanks to them and MUSTO for presenting all of our Vendee, ISAF World Council, and METS coverage this month.  Also thanks to Ocean Planet Energy and Doyle Sails NZ for their support of our coverage.

 

November 16th, 2016 by admin

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Clean Report

The World Sailing (ISAF) Annual Conference wraps up today, with the all-important Presidential and vice-presidential election scheduled for some time around lunch. We’ll have an article summarizing the conference when it’s all over, and you can watch it all unfold yourself during the General Assembly meeting, streaming above.

For Clean’s final take on the whole thing, watch the Facebook Live chat he did this morning.  Candidate Paul “Pope” Henderson’s final pre-election update is here.  Danish candidate Kim Andersen’s last talk with us is here. 

Incumbent President Carlo Croce doesn’t do communication.

 

November 13th, 2016 by admin

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screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-11-58-45-amClean Report

ISAF World Sailing continues its confusing stance on Olympic classes and events.  For a while, the world was operating under WS’s stated goal of keeping everything the same until 2020; then, it was all about adding kiteboards and foilers and maybe even a 4-boat winner-take-all medal race for all classes.  Now, World Sailing’s Board seems to have backtracked on everything…or have they?  Here’s the statement forwarded by a helpful MNA sitting next to me in the WS Conference…

The President, Carlo Croce, with the support of all Board members, has decided, following his most recent communications with the IOC, that he, as President, shall not propose an alternative Olympic slate to Council in February 2017.  This means that World Sailing would propose the existing 10 Events and Equipment for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Competition.

In addition, World Sailing will continue to pursue the possibility of an 11th Medal in 2020 with the IOC on the basis that the total number of athletes remains at 380.  Furthermore, World Sailing is also exploring the possibility of a showcase sailing event in Tokyo which if agreed would be over and above the existing athlete quota. The Board believes this strategy best protects existing investments and programmes, whilst enabling World Sailing to demonstrate innovation to the IOC.

The Board will continue to support changes in format and fleet sizes to best meet the objectives of the IOC’s Agenda 2020.  These decisions will be made in accordance with normal World Sailing processes.

Regarding gender equity, the IOC has confirmed that gender equity in 2020 may be assessed at a “sport level” (i.e. on the basis of total number of athletes in each sport).  Hence World Sailing can meet IOC’s gender equity requirements in 2020 with appropriate fleet quota changes, within sailing’s current 10 Events and can seek to achieve gender equity at an event level by 2024.

November 10th, 2016 by admin

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CLEAN REPORT

While the world mopes around in a Trumped-up daze, we remind you that there’s another election coming up on Sunday – one you can do something about.  Our 2016 World Sailing Annual Conference coverage ain’t worth a shit if you guys don’t care about the sport’s future.  We’re here to provide you with on-the-ground info so you can engage with the executives in your MNA and advocate that they do what’s good for the sport – not what’s good for them, and while we’ll get into more about what’s actually happening at this conference in a few days, governance is what matters right now.

Every MNA has reps on the ground – for our US readers, both USS Exec. Dir. Jack Gierhardt and Pres. Bruce Burton are here.  If you don’t know how they are going to vote, get in touch with them and find out.  Just two more days to go, and if your representatives haven’t listened to challenger Kim Andersen or Paul Henderson’s podcasts on governance and the future of ISAF, they are not doing their jobs.  Listen yourself, and in case you’ve forgotten just why we are so down on Carlo Croce, here’s a (partial) list of what happened on his watch:

1) Malaysia discriminates against Jewish children at ISAF Youth Worlds (known issue from 2011, nothing done until outrage peaks)/Oman discriminates against Israeli windsurfers/Abu Dhabi discriminates against Israeli sailors

2) Millions spent defending multiple litigation for human rights and employment violations (America’s Cup)

3) Third “Disciplinary Code” in three years (thanks to litigation and arbitration)

4) Third CEO in two years

5) Complete mishandling of Rio disease/filth publicity and media shitstorm

6) First ‘sustainability partner’ named as Gazprom, 3-year blackout on all information regarding millions in sponsorship income (until a week ago)

7) ISAF claims control over kiteboarding and starts war with IFKO (against backdrop of russian mob connection allegations)

8) Sailing World Cup fails to attract audience for four straight years

9) Sailing booted from the Paralympics

10) kiteboarding added to Olympics, then removed from Olympics days later.

11) President’s conflicts of interests (Italian sailing federation president, yacht club president) create appearance of impropriety

Spin Dottore

Both challengers for the World Sailing presidency provided long, honest interviews with us (see links above) about their plans for the future of the governing body of the sport, but current President Carlo Croce didn’t even bother to respond to our request for an interview; in fact, Croce has never answered questions from the media or sat for a press conference other than some bullshit prepared statements read over a video conference call and a few photo opps. The World Sailing President is so terrified of speaking that even after listening to both podcasts, he couldn’t bring himself to do it; instead, he prepared a detailed document to address some of the issues brought up by the other nominees, firing it off to all the MNAs and calling the other two candidates liars while lamenting the “misinformation perpetuated by certain individuals and the media.”

Croce also promises that he sets “the highest standards of transparency and integrity in the way that we operate as an International Federation”, never even recognizing the irony that only now – at the end of his four year term and with his feet to the fire – does he address the Gazprom money and the IKA/IFKO mess that we, and numerous other interested parties – have been asking about for years.  “Highest standards,” indeed.

The document itself is worth reading as a lesson in selective denial, but we note how sneaky some of it is; in response to claims from many parties that World Sailing has had for several years a secret ‘slush fund’ for corporate money in Switzerland, Croce writes that it doesn’t even exist. “The process to establish the Swiss Foundation commenced in April 2016. The Foundation is still not formally established (20/10/16) as it has not yet been approved by the Survey for International Foundations in Switzerland. Until that authorisation is issued the foundation does not yet exist.  So according to Croce, it takes more than half a year to set up a charitable foundation in Switzerland…never mind that we’ve seen an email from W. Scott Perry back in September (one of the directors of ISAF and the guy who made the Gazprom deal) where he wrote “The Swiss Foundation which was established at the behest of Gazprom has 6 directors…none of them are paid in any way.  I am one of those directors.” Integrity, indeed (and for more on this issue, see the Associated Press story here).

So is it a slush fund? Croce says that the “purpose of the Foundation is to raise funds from corporate donors to support the development of sailing” but assures us that “there is no formal relationship and none is planned between WS and the Foundation”.  So who will be on the board of the new Foundation?  Out of 7 directors, 5 are currently vice presidents or presidents of World Sailing.  No formal relationship, indeed.

But at least there’s no sketchy Gazprom control of these slush funds, right?  Nope.  “There is no relationship between the Foundation and Gazprom other than a former Executive of Gazprom (Valery Gulev) is one of the Directors of the Foundation.” Transparency, indeed.

He even tries to address concerns that Gazprom’s connection to World Sailing may harm some of the many relationships between sailing and truly ‘green’ companies with this posed question on Page 7: “What are the Gazprom marketing rights?” One problem: the document contains no answer to this question.  Transparent?  Definitely not.  Competent?

Read the full Croce document here.

 

November 10th, 2016 by admin

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