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World Sailing: The electronic equipment used in Sarasota was an 'Audience Response System' for use in classrooms and lecture halls; no wonder the AGM voting was FUBAR

Thursday, December 20, 2018

 

SAN FRANCISCO (#1154) – Of late World Sailing has found themselves in a horrible political and ethical hole of their own making – in particular President Kim Andersen (DEN) and the non-sailing CEO Andy Hunt (GBR), photo above.

 

Now they appear to be digging themselves in even deeper. 

 

Wednesday evening Mr Hunt emailed the agenda and related papers to the Officers and Council Members (who represent regional groups of countries) in preparation for an extraordinary meeting by conference call set for this Friday.

 

The meeting has only one purpose – to confirm the minutes (as already signed by the President) of the controversial Council meeting in Sarasota last month that barely approved a last-minute submission by the President to, effectively, replace the Finn Class with a "mixed-gender keelboat offshore" event for the 2024 Olympics in France.

 

Since that meeting at least four Councilors have alleged in writing, after seeing the draft minutes and recorded votes, that their votes were mis-counted or worse. We broke the original news here on Sailing Illustrated on 2018-12-01 headlined, "Accusations of voting irregularities or worse at the Sarasota AGM."

 

Before and during the AGM, the four Councilors had made it abundantly clear that they were going to vote against the mixed-gender offshore keelboat. After the meeting when the draft minutes and voting record came out, the four were astonished to see that they had been recorded either as in favor or abstaining. They immediately wrote to Mr Hunt stating their objections, and claiming that the electronic voting system had been faulty, or worse.

 

After those claims became public, Richard Gladwell, the esteemed NZL editor of Sail-World.com, obtained and reviewed the livestream video of the meeting and published a damning piece that we covered here, about the obviously dodgy voting equipment. Richard tells me tonight that he is publishing a follow-up piece with further analysis that will only add fuel to the fire that is consuming Mr Andersen and Hunt as they stubbornly stick to their shovels.

 

On 2018-12-07 we broke the news that the South American national authorities had written a strong, to say the least, letter to Messers Andersen and Hunt, stating in bald terms that, "there was some defect, irregularity or external sabotage in the voting" and calling for the vote to be vacated.

 

This evening, after a tip from a keen-eyed Facebook friend who also had access to the meeting papers circulated today, your Ed. used Google to search out the company and it's Turning Point Audience Response System ("ARS") that World Sailing reports was used in Sarasota. 

 

Not a serious voting system, but an "Audience Response System" for use in classrooms or lecture halls! The headline on the Ohio company's website is, "Enhance learning with Turning Point Polling Software." I kid you not. You can see for yourself at the Turning Point website here.

 

Truly unbelievable. Amateur hour at best. Talk about bringing out sport into disrepute – by the leaders of our own International Federation.

 

Enough is enough. It is time for the Member National Authorities and International Classes to put an end to this charade by instructing their delegates to vote on Friday against certifying the Sarasota minutes and the obviously flawed if not corrupt voting that took place. Then have a serious re-think of all this, and vote again at the Midyear Meeting in May. Under IOC rules, there is no rush to make this decision.

 

Accordingly, I have just emailed US Sailing President Cory Sertl (Rochester NY), who also is a member of the World Sailing Council, and Gary Jobson (Annapolis, MD), the former US Sailing President who is a Vice President of World Sailing. Both are great sailors (unlike Mr Hunt) who for decades have given much back to our sport. I am confident they will do the right thing on Friday, and help lead the other nations to do the same....

 

Dear Cory and Gary,

 

This evening I checked out the website of the maker of the electronic equipment used by World Sailing for the voting at the November AGM in Sarasota.

 

https://www.capterra.com/p/172761/TurningPoint/?fbclid=IwAR0DtgSyJdbT3AEQxSNtisQVe9sI0Tayv4v3f6cJp31i4fBbI_R87ugy-pc

 

The name was in the papers sent to the Council today by Mr Hunt. One learns at the website that it is not serious voting equipment at all, but for classroom use for feedback when giving a lecture or powerpoint presentation.

 

The results are by no means guaranteed. Indeed, the company’s End User License Agreement goes to great lengths to show that it is not responsible in any way for the accuracy of the system.

 

To wit, there are only a handful of recent reviews of the software and equipment on their website, none of them glowing. Look at these three in particular, which apparently confirm the terrible experience of the World Sailing delegates:

 

"Clunky and unreliable, but great when it works.”"

 

A great way to poll your audience, when it works." 

 

I especially like the last one —“Sometimes just raising your hand is easier.”

 

 

This would be hilarious if it were not so sad for the sport. After seeing these reviews of that polling system, and all the other evidence that the voting in Sarasota was mucked up or worse, how can anyone in their right minds certify the Sarasota votes? Please let me know on the record how US Sailing will vote on this, and confirm after Friday’s conference call how you did vote.

 

–TFE

 

Then, after they are done rejecting the minutes, they should have a vote of confidence on Mr Hunt. Preferably by a show of hands; but that wouldn't be possible on a conference call. Regardless, his head should roll, just like it did in his former job

 

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