Summary from 2016 World Sailing Mid Year Meeting

Class President, Marcus Spillane, has just returned from the World Sailing mid-year conference last week in Switzerland and wants to make you all aware of some items that will potentially impact the 49er Class.

Sailing World Cup 2017
The intention is that the 2017 SWC will be just Hyeres and Weymouth, maybe an event in Japan in October, but not at the Olympic venue plus a ‘Final’ in Melbourne. Miami is no longer a SWC venue. In addition quotas for the SWC are likely to change. Doublehanded Classes will have their quote reduced from 40 to 30 boats, with the laser and radial increasing to 50 boats and the RSX and Finn staying at 40 boats.

It seems like qualifying will be done for all 3 events at once, with 18 spots going to the top 18 from the Rankings and the remaining 12 spots going 2 per continent… which introduces these Continental events. Melbourne, Miami, Palma + Asia + Africa + South America (not sure if it will be Miami) will each get 2 spots per class to get into the world cups for the year.

Proposed events will have registration Sunday, Day 0 Monday, fleet racing Tuesday through Friday, and Finals day on Saturday. That would be for 49er, nacra, and RSX (3 race per day group). For the 2 race per day classes (laser, 470, finn) they would fleet race on Saturday and finish on Sunday.

Events for 2020
The World Sailing Executive has asked World Sailing Council to open up the slate of events/ Equipment for Tokyo 2020. Previously it had been agreed that all 10 events would remain the same to provide some continuity. In a taped interview with Kit McConnell, Event Director at the IOC, he outlined their ‘Vision 2020’ initiative. While not explicit it seems that the IOC want World Sailing to open up the 2020 events for review. There will be an electronic vote in the next few weeks where Council will be asked to open up the Events. It requires 75% to pass. However, even if Council defeats the motion there is no guarantee that the IOC won’t try and impose changes themselves. The IOC decision for 2020 will be made in June 2017 and they will either ratify the proposal made by World Sailing or make a decision of their own.

In parallel with the opening of the slate of events request, World Sailing is requesting existing events/ Classes to consider how they might “evolve” and consider “format” as a way of differentiating the Classes and showcasing our sport in the best light. There is a direct request by World Sailing for the Nacra to become a true foiling Class. The RSX class is looking at new equipment and format, as is the Nacra (AC style racecourse). We have also been asked to look at format. It should be no surprise to hear that “Theatre Style” is back on the agenda. If World Sailing Council votes ‘no’ to opening the 2020 Events then World Sailing is hoping that reforming existing events will be enough to show the IOC that we are complying with their “Vision 2020”.  Additionally there is a strong push from the IOC to get kitesurfing in by 2020 and the challenge is to figure out how to combine that with the current 10 events.

Olympic Qualifying
Olympic qualifying for 2020 is likely to be broadly similar as it was for 2016. However the proposal this time is for approximately 40% of places being allocated at the World Sailing Championships in Aarhus in 2018, 30% of places to the Class World Championships in 2019, and then 1 spot per continent. The same continental events being used for qualification to the Sailing World Cup (see above) will be used for the continental Olympic qualification regattas.

49er Update
As soon as World Sailing completes their schedule for 2017 we will do our best to get the dates of our Worlds and Continentals finalized. It’s not often we are waiting this long to decide, but with the entire calendar open there has been no way to pin anything down yet. We have a number of good prospects for Events in 2017.