Vision for the Future
Olympics and More - Sailing engages people from youth to adulthood and across many diverse disciplines. ISAF must embrace and be relevant to all disciplines of sailing, from Olympic to classic boats, offshore to collegiate sailing, windsurfing to multihull, kite surfing and future evolutions in our sport. As a former Olympian and in my role as Vice-President of the World Olympians Association, I am acutely aware of the responsibility of Olympic Sports Federations and the immense demands in being an Olympic sport. ISAF’s relationship with the International Olympic Committee is vital. Whilst recognizing that Olympic sailing is a key driver and most probably the primary influence on investment in MNA training and development programmes, the percentage activity in Olympic sailing is a small number of sailors. ISAF should ensure effective engagement with the sport beyond the Olympics.
Responsibility and Partnership - ISAF needs to increasingly adopt a philosophy of empowerment and increase its engagement with ISAF Continental Federations. A greater sharing of responsibility with its members, and a voice for individual MNAs within the debating and decision making processes are essential. ISAF must be dynamic to deal with an ever changing world, and be respected across its mandate, not only by those directly involved, including MNAs, athletes, coaches, industry, sailing clubs and classes, but also other International Sports Federations, National Olympic Committees and beyond. ISAF must particularly connect with the growing economies around the world, such as in South America, Africa and Asia, and actively support the growth of sailing in these regions.
Commercial Success - ISAF remains heavily reliant on the income from the Olympic Games, and rightly we must continue to ensure sailing’s status on the Olympic Programme. However, in order to make ISAF commercially viable outside of the Olympic income, there must be increased resource deployed to generate improved revenues via other sources, events and properties ISAF owns and can develop. ISAF needs to establish a viable events structure for Olympic sailing.
Communication and Knowledge Share - ISAF should continue to enhance its communication platforms and knowledge resources to all involved in sailing and remain at the forefront of technology developments. Increased opportunities to share knowledge and information, and minimise duplication of effort, must be developed across many aspects of the sport
Sailing Brand - We need to develop a global brand for sailing which will capture the interest and imagination of young people, through to commercial entities, and best showcase the values of our sport. We live in a world where sports are being challenged to remain attractive to young people, and we need to make sailing exciting and relevant to the next generation, whilst also facilitating sound financial investments by sailors, clubs, MNAs, government organizations and commercial interests.
Athletes – ISAF should develop initiatives and provide services to support aspirant Olympic sailors and those wishing to establish a career in the sport. From media training to the sharing of expertise in finding and delivering to sponsors, from supporting regional training centres to education programmes for coaches; all areas in which we can support future generations. We must listen to the needs of elite athletes and ensure they have regular input to ISAF. These are just a few of the priorities which are close to my heart. With many years’ experience in ISAF and sailing, I am very much aware of the challenges ISAF faces and look forward to the opportunities ahead.