— Published 20 January 2021

Nicolas Hénard calls for mobilisation

Time is running out for ocean racing. Less than 5 months before the final decision of the IOC Executive Board on the sailing program for the 2024 Paris Games, the President of the French Sailing Federation (FFV), Nicolas Hénard, calls for mobilisation in favour of the offshore racing. He recently wrote a letter to all the national member federations of World Sailing. The French leader said he was “worried about the IOC’s decision if we are not able to support World Sailing’s decision and speak with one voice to defend the interests of sailing”. According to the courseaularge.com site, the initial feedback is positive, particularly from the United States. Cory Sertl, president of the American Sailing Federation and vice-president of World Sailing, says he shares the same “enthusiasm for ocean racing and the concerns” of Nicolas Hénard. She said she wanted to write to the American members of the IOC, and explained that she had met Anita Defrantz, the vice-president of the Olympic body on several occasions. “I took her out on the water to Long Beach to attend Olympic practice”, said Cory Sertl. As a reminder, the IOC Executive Board validated last December 9 of the 10 series proposed by World Sailing for the Paris 2024 Games. But it postponed its decision to the end of May 2021 for offshore racing, a mixed doubles event, contested on a keelboat and over 3 days. She asked for more details, particularly on the costs, protection and safety of the discipline. The final decision is expected on May 31. Within the IOC, opposition to ocean racing is led by Singaporean Ng Ser Miang, former vice president of World Sailing.