As the month of September draws to a close, once again it is my great pleasure to provide you with some updates of various events and developments that have taken place at World Sailing over the past month.
September has been a very busy month for World Sailing, and for a multitude of reasons. Firstly,the past month has also been a very important one for World Sailing off the water, with a World Sailing Board meeting and the first Sustainability Commission taking place. Exciting announcements were also made from the IOC regarding future Olympic Games, while nominations have been announced for the 2017 Rolex Sailor of the Year.
On the water, September has been another great month for showcasing our sport, across all formats. Once again, we have seen many spectacular events take place, with exceptional organisation and thrilling racing, and I would like to congratulate all competitors and thank all volunteers, spectators, sponsors, partners and broadcasters for their invaluable ongoing contribution to our sport's development.
Feedback from World Sailing Board meeting
As mentioned in last month's newsletter, September featured an important Board meeting at World Sailing, held in Madrid, Spain. Many important issues were discussed during this meeting. Notably, the board took notice of the impacts of major developments and changes in our sport and, in light of this, the need to look at our safety standards and establish a reporting system that ensures incidents are reported to World Sailing and shared with the sailing community. We also had a constructive discussion regarding receiving applications from continental associations, and we agreed that these applications should be backed by the MNAs behind the association before applying. The board also agreed to a new organisational structure of the Technical organisation under the leadership of the newly-appointed Technical Director Carlos de Beltran Gutierrez. The Board minutes will be made available on the World Sailing website.
First Sustainability Commission meeting
The end of August saw the first meeting of World Sailing's Sustainability Commission in London. Many of you will know that World Sailing's sustainability strategy was released at last year's Annual Conference, and the work of the Commission is an integral part of our sustainable development as we move into the future. An important result of the meeting was the decision to create a 'Sustainability Agenda 2030', where a number of key objectives have been set for the organisation, varying from water quality standards to technical standards. These ideas will be presented to the World Sailing Council at our Annual Conference in 2017.
Congratulations to Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028
I would also like to use this opportunity to pass on my congratulations to the cities of Paris and Los Angeles for their success in being announced the hosts of the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympic Games. Both Games should offer a tremendous spectacle for all involved, and I congratulate the IOC on reaching such an agreement with two very worthy hosts. From sailing's point of view, these Games offer the sport a great opportunity to develop and establish ourselves in two very different cities in two continents. In Lima, it was also announced that the 28 Olympic sports from Tokyo will be part of the Olympics in Paris. Now, our focus must be on developing sailing to ensure we are in a great place when these two events come around.
Rolex Sailor of the Year nominees
I am very pleased to have seen World Sailing and Rolex announce such a strong, diverse line-up of nominee for the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2017. The nominees have come from the America's Cup, Vendee Globe, Windsurfing, Offshore and Olympic Class racing, and so provide an excellent representation of the breadth that our sport offers. On the female side, we have Marit Bouwmeester (NED), Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA), Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU) and Tara Pacheco (ESP). On the male side, the nominees are Glenn Ashby (AUS), Peter Burling (NZL), Thomas Coville (FRA), and Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA). The winners will be announced on 7th November at the World Sailing Awards Ceremony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Another fantastic month of sailing
With so many events over the past month, it has been another reminder of all that our sport has to offer. As in previous months, I would like to extend my sincere thanks and congratulations to all of our sailors, event organisers, sponsors and volunteers, for such a strong contribution to our sport.
I would especially like to congratulate our winners from the past month. Early in the month, Denmark's Jena Hansen and Katja Iversen and Britain's Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell battled through an intense final day in Porto to win their first ever women's FX skiff and the men's 49er respectively.
Soon after, Nacra17 World Championships were held in La Grande-Motte, France, with Great Britain's Ben Saxton and Katie Dabson coming out on top after a very close finish. In Balatonföldvár, Hungary, the Finn Gold Cup closed in great fashion – sincere congratulations to Max Salminen, of Sweden, for securing his first Finn World title.
At the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship title was decided, with Germany's Dieter Schön and the crew of Momo taking the honours in Porto Cervo, Italy.
Congratulations too to Marit Bouwmeester of the Netherlands and Marcin Rudawski of Poland for their respective wins at the Laser Radial World Championships in Medemblik, Nethlerlands. Pavlos Kontindes, also produced a strong performance to claim the Laser Standard Men's World Championships in Split, Croatia. The RS:X Windsurfing World Championships also took place Enoshima, Japan (the venue for sailing at the 2020 Olympic Games), with Peina Chen and Bing Ye, both of China, winning in close finishes.
Congratulations too to the GAC Pindar team (GBR) for taking the M32 Series Scandinavia Title for the second consecutive year in Stockholm, Sweden, and also the eight different race winners of the 11 teams competing in Lake Michigan, for the inaugural North America Championship in the same category.
Meanwhile, Germany's Florian Gruber saw off strong competition to win the inaugural International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) TT:R World Championship slalom title in Pingtan, China, while the Roemmers family's Azzurra, which represents the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, became the new champions of the 52 Super Series, following a close battle on the last day in Menorca. Finally, a big congratulations to the British winning teams in B2 and B3 and also the American winners of the B1 category at the 2017 Blind Sailing World Championship held in Sheboygan, USA.
With so many events ongoing or upcoming, I am looking forward to seeing some great sailing action continue and once again thank all of our sailors, event organisers, sponsors and volunteers for making this year such a fantastic one for the fans of our sport.