President of World Sailing

Pushing Pedal to the Metal

It is at the World Sailing Annual Conference when, every four years, elections are held which define the leadership for the sport’s international authority. Scuttlebutt correspondent Rob Kothe reports on the newly elected Board of Directors…

In 2012 Carlo Croce, the President of the Italian Sailing Federation, was elected as President of World Sailing (then ISAF). But after four years punctuated with a range of managerial and PR disasters, Croce was defeated at the 2016 World Sailing General Assembly meeting in Barcelona on Sunday, November 13.

Prior to the election on Friday, Croce had taken advantage of his incumbency to address the council in a long speech to ‘use his words’ to ‘to try remove the pebbles from his shoes’, but to no avail.

In Sunday’s three-way ballot, former President Paul Henderson was eliminated in the first round and in the second-round Denmark’s Kim Andersen, the Chairman of the Equipment committee, won over Croce.

In the Vice Presidential battle, four of the seven-person Board stood for re-election. Chris Atkins (GBR), the face of some of the worst event PR disasters, was eliminated, while there was a renewed vote of confidence in Gary Jobson (USA), W Scott Perry (URU), and Quanhai Li (CHN). New faces on the board are Jan Dawson (NZL), Anna Sanchez (ESP), Nadine Stegenwalner (GER), and Torben Grael (BRA).

The new President, already back in Copenhagen, shared with me his thoughts:

“Our new World Sailing Board representation is reasonably broad and that is pleasing.

“The Asia Pacific is covered and obviously Europe and the Americas but not Africa. That is a very important area for us to develop and I had hoped we’d have Africa represented on the board but that is politics and you cannot always manage that.

“Now we have a great deal of work to do. Andy Hunt, the CEO of World Sailing, is coming to Copenhagen this week and we will get our heads around World Sailing and each other and how we can best operate together.

“We are going to engage with the whole World Sailing team to make sure we are running at speed and we are using these our most valuable resources in the right way.

“Then as soon as possible, the Board will get down to the very important decisions that we have to make regarding the Olympic classes.” – Read on