World Sailing has elected to postpone the next edition of its Sailing World Championships by a year, stating the decision will result in The Hague becoming the “capital of competitive sailing”.
The Dutch city was selected to host the 2022 World Championships in May 2018, defeating a rival bid from Auckland, New Zealand.
However, the event will now be moved to August 10-20, 2023, following a joint decision made by World Sailing, the Royal Netherlands Watersport Association, the municipality of The Hague and Dutch sports marketing agency TIG Sports.
In addition to the new dates for the Sailing World Championships, the Youth Sailing World Championships, that was due to be held in The Hague in July 2021, has also been rescheduled for 2022.
World Sailing said the move to rearrange the two events comes as a result of the global challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the rearrangement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to 2021. However, with the Ocean Race also set to visit The Hague for its 2021-22 edition, World Sailing believes the postponement will allow the city to position itself as a hub for the sport.
Kim Andersen, World Sailing president, said: “World Sailing, the municipality of The Hague, the Royal Netherlands Watersport Association and TIG Sports have an ambitious vision for the events that put the sailors, spectators and world-leading organisation at the heart of the project.
“The postponement of Tokyo 2020 has meant sailors and our MNAs [member national associations] have had to reorganise their priorities for 2021. Moving the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships to a new venue towards the end of the year will ensure maximum effort is put in to delivering a successful event.
“The 2022 Youth Worlds will be the first touch point for the Dutch population and will provide the organisers with key opportunities to test operations ahead of the 2023 World Championships.
“The 2023 Sailing World Championships is the primary qualification event for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Allowing our teams and sailors more time to prepare following Tokyo 2020 in 2021, will ensure the best sailing talent is displaying to a global audience.”
The Sailing World Championships represent the principal qualification event for the Olympic sailing competition. Cadiz, Spain hosted the inaugural World Championships in 2003 before Cascais, Portugal built on its success to welcome 1,350 sailors and 900 boats from 76 nations in 2007.
Perth, Australia hosted the third Worlds in December 2011, before the event moved back to Spain in 2014 and to the city of Santander. The 2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships, held at the Aarhus International Sailing Centre in Denmark, was the most recent event and saw 40 per cent of Tokyo 2020 Olympic places awarded.
World Sailing is currently seeking a venue to host the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships in December next year.