Ben Ainslie criticises ISAF’s lack of consistency

Released from the need to be polite about the ISAF handling of the Olympic classes debacle, four time Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie criticised ISAF’s lack of consistency in his keynote speech at the fifth edition of the World Yacht Racing Forum: “How can windsurfers be told to go and buy kitesurfs one day, only to be reinstated two months later. In addition, a Class shouldn’t be selected for just one Olympic cycle; it is wrong. Those are examples that make our sport look weak. The problem lies in the decision process.”

Ainslie opened the sessions with an address during which he spoke with strong and passionate words about Olympic sailing, his next projects and the future of yacht racing in general.

The sport of sailing is changing fast, and debates at the forum focusing on yacht clubs and venues were a good illustration of the evolution the sport is going through. Debates on the use of social media, and the new broadcast technologies used by the America’s Cup also highlighted the changes the sport is going through.

“François Gabart, who leads the Vendée Globe, is only 29 years old and he sends three times more media than all his competitors”, observed Mark Turner, Executive Chairman, OC Sport. “It doesn’t stop him from being competitive. The others will have to learn!”

The fifth edition of the World Yacht Racing Forum closed its doors following two days of presentations, constructive debates and networking sessions. Over 250 delegates and 70 speakers from all over the world attended the different presentations, shared ideas and business cards whilst hearing insights from some of the sport’s major events.