The place to be – Yacht Racing Forum 2015

Visit Yacht Racing Forum 2015

The Yacht Racing Forum 2015 will take place 7-8 December in Geneva, Switzerland. Now under new management, the latest edition will gather together key personalities from within the yacht racing industry worldwide: athletes, event organisers, sponsors, designers and builders, insurance and financial companies, specialised media and much more…

The sailing world is changing fast, and faces new issues that impact its participants as well as anyone involved in the sport’s organisation or funding, directly relating to – among other areas – general safety and the future commercial development of the sport. Indeed, flying boats, rigid sails, new events, venues, partners and sponsors are reshaping the face of the sport while raising many questions that will be debated in Geneva.

The 2015 Yacht Racing Forum is attracting key personalities from outside as well as within the yacht racing industry, as well as others who are involved or just interested in the business of yacht racing.

‘Our goal is to grow this event and to manage it with a longterm vision, in order to give our partners and exhibitors certainty about its relevance and sustainability,’ says event organiser Bernard Schopfer. ‘We have decided to offer very competitive delegate fees this year and affordable exhibitor costs to encourage companies and individuals to engage – representing every level of yacht racing, from local events right on up to the America’s Cup.’

British America’s Cup TV presenter Alec Wilkinson will be the principal moderator while Seahorse’s Dobbs Davis will chair the Design and Technology Symposium. ‘I am excited at being asked to host the Yacht Racing Forum,’ says Wilkinson. ‘There will be plenty of hot topics to discuss and we won’t shy away from the difficult subjects that the sport faces.

Sir Ben Ainslie confirms the importance of the event: ‘It is the only time in the year when we can meet other key stakeholders from the yacht racing industry in a friendly environment, away from the pressure of a competition,’ he says. ‘The organisers of the event, MaxComm, Bernard Schopfer and his team have been involved in top racing events for over a decade and I trust their ability to put in place a great event. I will be very happy to attend again in the future as and when my schedule allows.’

James Gradwell, who has been working in yacht racing conferences since 2008, is also part of the organising team and is determined to take the event to a new level this year. ‘This event is important for anyone involved in yacht racing,’ he says. ‘Designers, builders and engineers from various regions and cultures don’t have many opportunities to meet. The yacht racing world is moving so fast today that it is important to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and business to address the new reality.’

Geneva – a great location
While located in a landlocked country, Geneva punches well above its weight in international racing. Indeed, five Whitbread/Volvo race campaigns were born on the shores of the lake… plus Geneva is the only European venue with a sailing club that has hosted the America’s Cup (in 2007 and 2010).

Top: One area of the sport undergoing some major changes is match racing in general and the World Match Racing Tour in particular. The recent breezy Sopot Cup round of the Tour in Poland (far left) saw the overall win go to Nicolai Sehested’s Danish team ahead of runner-up Ian Williams (GBR) and Karol Jablonski (POL). Now under new ownership, next year’s Tour will see the first use of a multihull with the M32 cats confirmed for the Stena Match Cup 2016.
BelowGood times at a previous Yacht Racing Forum

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Many of the latest technologies applied to raceboats have also been born on the shores of the lake, including the 3Dl and 3Di composite sailmaking processes and the now widely used TPT ‘thin ply technology’ for composite manufacturing.

Last but not least, Geneva plays a significant role in the funding of international racing with support from the successful businesses based in the region: private banks, luxury goods manufacturers, watchmakers, food and beverage suppliers as well as logistics and transport companies.

‘This rich local heritage makes a strong foundation for a successful Yacht Racing Forum in 2015,’ says event manager Bernard Schopfer. ‘The local economic support and longterm involvement in international yacht racing mean that many of the sports’ key players have strong links with Geneva and Switzerland.

‘We are pleased to see that we are on track to achieve our objective of creating a great platform for business for the wide range of people who are now involved in the sport we cherish.’

Geneva is easy to reach, situated at the heart of Europe. The 2015 Forum will take place at the Hotel Intercontinental; a prestigious venue located 300m from the United Nations, UNHCR, ICRC and World Meteorological Organisation… to name just a few neighbouring organisations.

Three conferences in one
The Yacht Racing Forum 2015 will be divided into three distinct conferences on Day One: Business & Marketing, Design & Technology and Risk Management & Safety. The first day will conclude with an evening reception that will provide excellent networking opportunities in a pleasant environment. Day Two will host a plenary session and focus on topics of general interest for sailors, event organisers, yacht clubs, designers and sponsors.

Yacht Racing Risk Management & Safety is a new conference launched this year. It aims to share information, best practice and networking in this vital area of the racing industry. Specifically it will focus on the legal and risk issues around team operations, event organiser liability, construction, sponsor requirements, intellectual property, logistics, surveys and personnel contracts.

The Design & Technology Symposium will once again focus on the latest developments and innovations within yacht racing. This will include a close look at the latest technology from the America’s Cup, safety innovations, foils and flying boats, rigid sails and new materials.

Last but not least, the Business & Marketing Conference will focus on all of the major commercial aspects of the sport: sponsor - ship, event organisation, marketing, communication, venues, yacht clubs… It is a must-attend event for regatta organisers, teams, venues, sponsors, clubs and agencies within the industry.

‘The new concept of the event, with three distinct modules, makes perfect sense and corresponds to the needs of everyone involved in yacht racing,’ says Route du Rhum winner Loïck Peyron. ‘I took part in the 2011 edition and it is an excellent memory for me. It is a great opportunity to meet people involved at all levels and in every area of the sport… ’

The Yacht Racing Forum is the only business-to-business conference that brings together the key players from across the yacht racing industry. The 2015 event will provide the chance to discuss the issues facing the sport and to share best practice. It will facilitate business development through quality networking with decision makers from all areas within the industry.

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