DOBBS DAVIS takes a sneak preview of the World Yacht Racing Forum 2014
The sport of racing sailboats encompasses numerous elements, from the commercial to the Corinthian, from inshore combat to offshore adventures, from the fast and furious to the deliberate and tactical. Sustaining a sport so rich in diversity are creative and energetic individuals who share the same passion the sailors have in seeing the game grow and evolve with emerging developments in advanced boat design, innovative race formats, applications in high technology and new media paradigms.
Now in its seventh year, the World Yacht Racing Forum is the only international sailing conference designed to attract these individuals who have significant influence on the sport in all its genres to come together to share their ideas. The event format combines short presentations made by key leaders in their fields, followed by moderated round-table discussions where all delegates can have their voices heard among peers to discuss the issues facing the sport and to share best practice.
Another important feature of the WYRF is the numerous breaks made between sessions where the ideas expressed get a chance to take root in face-to-face networking and future business opportunities.
No other conference can offer these features where ideas can transform into action so quickly.
This year’s edition, held over 10-11 December at Barcelona’s Hesperia Tower Hotel, will have a Grow the Sport theme, where subjects debated will all touch on this topic of growth and sustainability for the whole sport, not just those handful of elite events that are always in the headlines. These subjects include the growth potential for yacht racing in new and emerging markets, the importance of good class management, the varied and evolving role media can play, what sponsors expect at non-elite regattas, how to engage and broaden a spectator fan base, the fast-changing world of shorthanded offshore racing, and much more.
And with a new America’s Cup cycle underway, we will examine its influence on the theme of growth and diversity in the game.
During the first day of the WYRF the technical sessions of the Yacht Racing Design and Technology Symposium will be held concurrently, with such topics as the influence and importance R&D has on modern design, an update on the most recent technical elements to the VO65s now flying around the planet, what the latest design features are in the growing superyacht fleet, what we may (or may not) see in the new designs for AC35, and a discussion on what new boats will look like in 2035: will they be affordable, carbon-neutral and yet still offer high performance?
YRDTS delegates will then join the forum’s last session of roundtable discussions on a variety of topics that can affect the future of the sport and how it’s played. Following this will be the WYRF drinks reception hosted by the FNOB.
Delegates to the WYRF and YRDTS will also have an opportunity to vote for their favourite yachting photographs in the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image competition. Two prizes will be awarded: the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image, chosen by an international jury, and the Public Award, decided by the number of popular votes on the website and the participants at the WYRF. More details are found at www.yachtracingimage.com.
Just as in years past, this event will once again have a worldclass speaker line-up of leaders in industry, governance, event organisation, the media and the sailors themselves to address these and other important topics. This is the only opportunity to have in one place the most influential people in the sport.
The World Yacht Racing Forum 2014 will take place ahead of the start of the Barcelona World Race, with the support of event partner Fundació Navegació Oceànica Barcelona (FNOB). It will therefore be a perfect opportunity to visit the boats involved in this race, and to meet its sailors.
Barcelona is an easy-to-reach and cost-effective venue, the capital and largest city of Catalonia and Spain's second-largest city. Join us in Barcelona to play your part in helping shape the future of yacht racing… register now!
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