WSTA – A Much Needed Voice For Pro Sailing?

A big day for sailing today as more news about the proposed Louis Vuitton World Series will be presented at a press conference in Paris later.

Perhaps more interesting than the series is the organisation that has been formed to help organise the event. The World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA) is starting to look like the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) but rather than be limited to one part of the sport, the WSTA is set to be made up of all the major teams from the last America’s Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race and Audi MedCupTP52 circuit.

It can only be a good thing for professional sailing. The top of the sport, outside of the Olympics, has suffered from a lack of cohesiveness with event organisers competing for limited dates in the calendar, media and sponsorship dollars.

With ISAF so reliant on the IOC for funding, the world body focusses a huge amount of its time and resources on Olympic classes and has relatively little control over professional Grand Prix events other than to provide umpires.

The WSTA could become a real force for the promotion of commercial interests in the business of professional yacht racing. Rather than compete with ISAF, the new organisation could be an extremely powerful lobby group.

ISAF Secretary General Jerome Pels said in The Telegraph (UK) that the WSTA posed no threat.

“We do not believe there is any intention by WSTA to work outside the system. They know the framework and are keen to strengthen it rather than weaken it.”

The press conference to launch the Louis Vuitton World Series and explain the WSTA will be held around 2pm…Valencia will attempt to stream the event live..