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So what is the World Sailing meeting about?

 
The furore raised by the Actions of World Sailing to revamp the Events and Equipment used for future Olympics opens up a more relevant item . . . The control/management by WS of the top competitive racing classes.

World Sailing (WS) is in a difficult position. It's biggest revenue stream (approximately 65% of its revenue or £11.7 million) is the Olympics, remove sailing from the Olympics and a major reason for its present size and a lot its clout disappears.

It has struggled to run a world sailing series for the present Olympic classes, if sailing is dropped from the Olympics, the World Cup Series becomes a none event, and there would also be a knock-on effect to MNA's such as Britain's RYA, who run big Olympic squads paid for by government money.

It also removes an important sailing career step that many MNAs have built their training pathways around - no more automatic political awards and knighthoods for British medallists.

Thus, we see the rush by WS into other revenue streams with on-line eSailing events, heavily sold to MNAs on the money they can produce with little requirement for physical structure.

It does not solve the Olympic/World Cup Series problem, but it gives WS a possible financial lifeline.

The IOC is not interested in bank-rolling a professional sailing circuit, its job is to produce an Olympic Games, once every four years.

And to cover its huge expense the content must appeal to large corporate sponsors, and that requires maximum TV media coverage (although by 2024 that will most likely be internet streaming coverage).

The IOC, in its deals with other sports, has indicated that it will take on board almost any event or new variant of an existing event that can appeal to the potential sponsor and media audience it requires - the IOC broadcast target is the under 30s.

The 2020 IOC programme includes for the first time, new youth focused and urban based events such as Basketball 3x3 and BMX Freestyle as well as the new sports of Surfing, Sport Climbing and Skateboarding.

Thus, we see the statement by the WS Working Party that:

"The WP does not support submissions which have no Kiteboard event, which combine the Windsurf and Kite event, which leaves the choice of “board” open (i.e. Windsurfer or Kiteboard) or which proposes a kite event for one gender only."

WS ring-fenced only the 49er and 49erFX, the Nacra17 and the Laser and Radial (maybe).

The rest, the Finn, 470 and RS:X are up for grabs with the most likely slate being: a kite event, offshore event and some sort of beach multi-event to replace them.

This would reduce the Olympics already fragile connection with sailing clubs and the general sailing world even further.

These classes are meant to be the pinnacle of dinghy sailing competition for the best dinghy sailiors in the world.

But WS has struggled present any form of realistic commercial competitive circuit and are now intending to destroy even what remains by removing most of the effective classes (equipment) as they chase their Olympic paymaster requirements.

If they agree the slate of events as suggested by their Working Party, the World Cup series will be reduced to the 49er and Nacra17 and possibly the Laser/Radial. The Finn, 470 and RSX will be removed and kite, offshore and multi-events replace them.

The RYA submissions are 1, in M44-18 to retain the RS:X, the women's 470 and the Finn, and replace the men's 470 event with a Mixed Keelboat event.

or in Submission M46-18: retain the RS:X, the women's 470 and the Finn, and replace the men's 470 event with a Mixed Kiteboarding - 2-person team.

World Sailing are to consider the report at their Mid-Year Meeting to be held from 10 May at the Chelsea Football Club in London, this meeting will determine the Events for the 2024 Olympics.

Later the Annual Conference in November will determine the Classes (equipment in IOC speak) to be sailed.

Click here to read World Sailing - Considering the Olympic options

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