With its dynamic mix of technical presentations and networking the Yacht Racing Forum is now firmly established as a 'must attend' winter event for anyone involved in the business of sailing and yacht racing

The Forum was launched 10 years ago in Monaco by the Informa Group; the event has since been taken over by Bernard Schopfer and his Geneva-based agency MaxComm, who organise the event with passion, determination and a longterm vision.

Main picture: The return on sponsorship is always a big topic at the Yacht Racing Forum; one less well discussed aspect is the ‘secured value’ – ie the value of not winning. While not questioning Franck Cammas’s ultimate goal of winning the America’s Cup, this time Groupama will have priced their spend very carefully to ensure good value even if – as indeed happened – Cammas left the stage early. With one-tenth of the budget of other teams Groupama easily won the ROI battle

Today the Forum is in good shape and attracts a growing number of the sports’ leading personalities and brands. The reasons for this success? ‘We are here for the entire sport, from kiteboarding to superyachts, and the industry that supports the sailors involved. The chance to engage in dialogue here is very important to us’, says Andy Hunt, World Sailing CE.

The delicate alchemy between the relevance of the conferences, the quality of the networking, the level of the speakers and the business achieved is at the heart of a successful Forum. This year’s conference will emphasise the sports’ leading events: America’s Cup, Vendée Globe, Volvo Ocean Race and Class Ultime (what a year for our sport, by the way!). But the event will also focus on mainstream yacht racing, club management and the most popular sailing classes, with conferences focusing on sponsorship, media exposure, sustainability and much more.

‘Sometimes we have to remind each other that there is a big, broad base out there that we always have to stay mindful of,’ says sailing legend Ken Read, president of North Sails. ‘This event is about listening to ideas, meeting your peers, networking, sharing ideas that you’ve had and absorbing new ideas you haven’t…’

Typically the Risk Management and Safety module on day two will put the spotlight on an often forgotten aspect of the sport that can potentially impact any yacht club, class, event organiser and team. Leading industry experts will explain what can be done to reduce the risks from an organisational point of view, while the way in which the latest technology contributes to safety in sailing will be explained and showcased.

This year’s hot issues will also include event management, virtual sailing, sponsorship, sailing on TV, the place of women in the sport and much more.

The sport of sailing wouldn’t exist without great imagery, and both yacht racing photographers and filmmakers will be celebrated during the Forum through the Mirabaud Sailing Video Award and Yacht Racing Image awards.

Run in parallel with the Business and Marketing conferences, the Design and Technology Symposium will be focusing on the latest innovations, materials and designs, data analysis and innovations in sail design and construction. Over the past few years the symposium has steadily gained momentum and now attracts over 100 delegates, including experts from the America’s Cup, leading builders and materials specialists, engineers and designers, plus software and hardware suppliers.

As usual in Aarhus several networking functions are also planned, including evening drinks and a gala reception provided by North Sails on the Monday night at Aarhus City Hall.

Yacht Racing Forum 2017 – the story so far
18 partners including: North Sails, Volvo Ocean Race, World Sailing, World Match Racing Tour, Clipper Ventures, Spinlock, Gurit, Georacing, Mirabaud, Zhik, OC Sport, plus 15-20 media partners. 40 speakers including:

  • Thierry Bouvard, sponsorship manager, Banque Populaire
  • Kim Andersen, CEO, World Sailing
  • Sarah Allan, lawyer, Bentleys, Stokes & Lowles
  • Ian Walker, Director of Racing, Royal Yachting Association
  • Yann Penfornis, CEO, Multiplast Carboman
  • Nick Moloney, sailor and businessman
  • Tony Bishop, founder of Bart’s Bash
  • Ben Remocker, manager, 49er Class Association and International Nacra 17 Association
  • Hasso Hoffmeister, senior engineer; Special & Light Craft, IWV and EC, DNVGL
  • Phil Jenkins, multiple awardwinning social media professional
  • James Hall, marketing & sales manager, Spinlock
  • Gary Jobson, vice-president, World Sailing
  • David Raison, SEAir, sailor and naval architect

Click here for more information on the Yacht Racing Forum »


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