Copenhagen. Image copyright Pryor Communications.
by Matthew Pryor
As it prepares to host the ISAF mid-year meeting in Copenhagen from Thursday May 9-12, Denmark is considering bidding to stage the 2018 ISAF Sailing World Championships.
“In the light of the many sailing event activities in Denmark, it is only natural to go for the sailing event of them all - the ISAF Sailing World Championship,” said Lars Lundov, CEO of Sport Event Denmark, the national sport event organiser that has - together with the national sailing federation, the clubs and host cities – supported and been awarded many international sailing events. “We look forward to examining the specifics of the bid condition for 2018.”
The jewel in Denmark’s sailing calendar this year is the 49er, and first ever 49er FX, European Championships in Aarhus from June 29 to July 7. It is the latest in a long list of events that have seen Denmark become a sailing destination. Aarhus, which would be the host city for the 2018 bid, will also host the 29er World Championships from July 26 to August 2, whilst Middelfart hosts international match racing with the Nations Cup from August 6-10.
“We have been preparing for the last 3 or 4 years - actually we’ve been preparing for this event since 1999, when we made the first (world championships) bid,” said Thomas Capitani, the executive director of Sailing Aarhus. “We’ve never been more ready to host the biggest Olympic class sailing event in the world. We have been improving our skills on all different levels. Our race committee is more international and skilled because we have hosted multiple international events every year for the last ten years. The technical side of it should be no problem.”
The presence of ISAF in Copenhagen this week further underlines Denmark’s leading role on the world sailing stage. Amendments to ISAF Regulations are the main topics with two relating to ISAF events and the Olympic Sailing Competition Qualification System.
But most crucially sailing needs to protect its position in the Olympics and Denmark has been at the forefront of making it more understandable and popular with a wider audience.
“We have been working continuously with our media set-up, making sailing more popular and easy to understand online but also making it more popular for onsite spectators,” said Capitani. “This year we are hosting the 49er Europeans simultaneously with a Tall Ships race event. There will be more than a hundred Tall Ships at the start in Aarhus, so we expect to have half a million people at the venue at the same time as the finals of the 49er European Championships.”