World Yacht Racing Forum 2009 Announces Speaker Line-Up. #WYRF

For better or worse, depending on where you sit, sport is now business. Big business. All sports are having to come to terms with the realities of the economics and business models of sports – whether it be professional events or grass-roots development.

Most would agree that the business of yacht racing is confused and fragmented. Even at the top level, many teams are not run as a business with gaps in revenue filled by wealthy owners out of their own pocket. It seems that anyone can announce a new series or a new event or a new class – irrespective of the impact it might have on the sport as a whole.

The only way that the sport of sailing will compete for share of media, sponsorship dollars and talent is to come together and talk through some of the issues facing the sport, and to that end the World Yacht Racing Forum is a must for anyone who is in the business of yacht racing.

The first forum, held in Monaco in 2009 attracted over  300 delegates from 37 countries, the second edition of the Forum returns to Monaco this 9-10th December, 2009. The topics promise to address some of the most pressing issues facing the sport – with sessions for debate including:

  • Yachting Sponsorship – can Sailing deliver real value for money?
  • Leveraging a Sponsorship Deal – How do we maximise the investment?
  • Can Yacht Racing deliver economic returns for host cities and ports?
  • Tapping into new Media audiences – The Future of Sailing on the Web and Television
  • How can event costs be trimmed for today’s economic climate?
  • Governing the Sport – What Can Sailing Learn from other Sports?
  • What space is there for Multihull Racing in the international calendar?
  • Americas Cup: How do the Challengers see the future of their event?

Over 60 speakers will address these issues, not just from the sailing world, but from Formula 1, Tennis and other sports that arguably do it much better than sailing does it.

This year’s World Yacht Racing Forum promises an outstanding line up of sailing personalities and top speakers including Conference Chairman Peter Gilmour (AUS) and keynote addresses by Tom Whidden, CEO of North Sails, and two time Vendee Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux. Other confirmed and invited speakers include;

  • Mark Turner CEO, OC Group
  • Nick Fry Chief Executive, Brawn GP
  • Nathalie Quéré Head of Global Sponsorship, BT Global Services
  • Michael Rasmussen Chief Marketing Officer, VELUX
  • Daniel Miles Group Head Marketing, Puma AG
  • Jerome Pels Secretary General, ISAF (International Sailing Federation)
  • Vincenzo Onorato CEO, Mascalzoni Latino
  • Jamie Singer Partner, Onside Law
  • Bruno Troublé Founder, Louis Vuitton Cup
  • José Antonio Muñoz Manager, Deporte Andaluz
  • Knut Frostad CEO, Volvo Ocean Race
  • Scott Macleod Senior Vice President- New Business, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour
  • Ignacia Triay Director, Audi MedCup
  • Julien Benoist Head of Sponsorship, Foncia
  • Richard Moore CEO, Capitalise
  • Richard Brisius CEO, Atlant Racing
  • Maria Moynihan Lee Festival Director, City of Galway
  • Daniel Calero Manager, Puerto Calero – Canaries
  • Ulrich Lacher Managing Director, IFM Sports
  • Henrik Sund Managing Director, Grow AB
  • Stéphane Kandler CEO, K Challenge
  • Ian Taylor CEO, Virtual Eye
  • Richard Simmonds Managing Director, Sunset & Vine
  • Marijn Harinck Founder, United Games
  • Jean-Dominique Lauwerins CEO, Be Tomorrow
  • Michel Desjoyeaux Multi Vendee Globe Winner
  • Josh Hall CEO, Portimao Global Race
  • Dominique Wavre President, IMOCA
  • Riccardo Simoneschi CEO, B Plan Marketing
  • Paul Cayard Professional Sailor
  • Stephan Kandler CEO, K Challenge
  • Sotoris Buseas CEO, Greek Challenge

This year, a new event has also been added to the schedule – the Yacht Racing Design and Technology Symposium – which will run parallel to the Forum in an adjoining conference room ( The Symposium will include presentations and panel discussions from experts in the field of yacht racing design and technology including the latest developments in performance hull and composite design, hydrodynamics, coatings, rigging, sail making and much more. Owners of racing yachts from a select number of classes are being invited to the Symposium free of charge. A total of 14 panel sessions and presentations are scheduled across both conferences, plus two evening functions for all participants.

Both conferences will share an exclusive exhibition and networking lounge with over 30 stands allowing delegates to meet and network with new contacts and industry colleagues. Participants will also have the opportunity to visit the exhibition area of the adjoining Motorsport Business Forum at the Grimaldi Forum on the same dates, plus an invitation to the exclusive ‘Track & Ocean’ cocktail reception jointly hosted on 9th December at the Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel.

Although only in its second year, the World Yacht Racing Forum has already found its place firmly on the yachting calendar as Event Director James Pleasance explains;

“What last year’s Forum proved is that the sailing industry absolutely needs an event like this. By industry professionals coming together and sharing strategies and best practices, it helps raise the quality and value of the sport globally, as well as addressing some of the sports key issues. It is also an excellent place to network and make new contacts. Monaco is very accessible in December, it really is a must-attend event for anyone in the business of sailing and yacht racing.”

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