Olympics: Can 40,000 sailors all be wrong and 17 World Sailing Event Committee members be right?
[CORRECTION: The original version of this article mistakenly stated that the planned audio livestream (announced by WS on Saturday) of the Council Meetings on Monday and Tuesday had been called off by the Council. Daniel Smith (GBR), World Sailing's diligent Communications and Digital Manager, emailed this (Monday) morning to remind your Ed. that, in fact, the livestream had been called off by the WS Board of Directors – the eleven-person subset of the Council that includes the President and Vice-Presidents, not by the Council. Regardless, and as we stated below, no reason was given why the livestream was announced then called off. Cost cannot be a factor, even if that has been suggested by some as the reason; feeding the conference audio system into a smart phone livestreaming to World Sailing's Facebook page costs virtually nothing. As I said in Saturday's editorial, you can't make this stuff up. –TFE]
LONDON (#1011) – As the World Sailing Council is about to sit down for their Mid-Year meeting over the next two days (Monday and Tuesday) in London at the, go figure, Chelsea Football Club, yet another senior-serious sailing journalist has lowered the boom on the World Sailing leadership, or the apparent lack thereof.
Richard Gladwell, the New Zealand editor of Sail-World.com, has written a MUST READ piece for anyone concerned about the future of the Olympic Sailing events and classes; indeed, for anyone concerned about the top-down manner in which World Sailing leadership is governing the sport.
Here is a if not the key excerpt from Richard's article that he headlined, "Losing the Olympic Dressing Room"....
World Sailing has changed from a body which used to be run from a bottom-up basis - where sailors and clubs could test ideas and boats and then push these through the various layers to eventually get international sanction or adoption from the World body. The development of umpiring is a good example, along with the development of classes like the Laser and all of the other international status classes. Now World Sailing is a top-down body, prescribing the shape of the sport and being prepared to evoke radical change - which in the current situation involves a change out of 50% of the Olympic fleet in a single stroke. In cricket and other sports, this level of detachment between coaches/management and the players is referred to as "losing the dressing-room". Over the past couple of weeks, World Sailing has shown that it has clearly lost the dressing room of Olympic Sailing and probably the grass-roots of the sport it claims to represent. The only two outcomes are that you either attract a new group of sailors who subscribe to the current organisation's practices, or you replace the current management with people who are more attuned to wishes of the sport.
As most of our Sailing Illustrated's Dear Readers and Viewers will know, your Ed. fully agrees with Mr Gladwell's observations and assertions – and then some.
Adding to the confusion and controversy surrounding these Mid-Year meetings, on Saturday World Sailing's media department announced that the WS Council meetings would be live-streamed to Facebook (audio only, but every little bit helps) on Monday and Tuesday. However, on Sunday, your Ed. and other members of the Sailing media received another email from WS saying that the livestream had been called off by the Board of Directors with no reason given. However, we were told that the there will be a recording of the meetings made available Tuesday evening after adjournment, but that "The Council members will not be saying their name before each time they speak." Hmmm.
Read Mr Gladwell's full article on Sail-World.com here.
In the meantime, the WS Council can recoup the sad situation they now find themselves in by simply adopting the sensible submission of the Fireball Class that calls for making no change to the Olympic Sailing classes for the 2024 Games. It's submission M68, and we reprise it here. It is a "TFE Recommends" if ever there was one....