by Gary Anderson
April 1, 2014 (ISN) – The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has expressed its delight at the quality and depth of the bids presented by the four candidates vying to host the 2018 Sailing World Championships.
The Danish city of Aarhus, Busan in South Korea, Gdynia in Poland and The Hague in the Netherlands, are the four cities bidding to stage the Championships in four years’ time.
Officials from all four presented their bids to the ISAF 2018 World Championships Evaluation Panel in Southampton, Great Britain.
Aarhus, Gdynia and The Hague all bid unsuccessfully for this year’s Championships, which were awarded to the Spanish port city of Santander in 2011.
ISAF secretary general Jerome Pels has told insidethegames the Evaluation Panel were impressed by the four candidates’ presentations, adding that lessons had clearly been learned by the three who lost out to Santander three years ago.
“We were delighted to receive that many bids,” said Pels.
“We were extremely impressed with the quality of the bids and the depth of knowledge.
“I think for all of the cities that had bid for the Championships before, it was absolutely clear that each of the candidates went back and brushed up and improved on their weaknesses, which makes it now even harder for us to make the final decision.”
Despite missing the original March 1 deadline to formally register an interest in hosting the fifth edition of the Championships, Busan was allowed to make a bid and if successful, will become the first Asian city to host the Championships.
Aarhus has previously held a number of major international sailing events, including the 2008 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships and the 49er and 49erFX European Championships last year.
In 2010, The Hague hosted the 470 World Championships, while last year the 49er and 49er FX World Youth Championships took place in Gdynia, which is also set to stage this year’s 420 Junior Sailing World Championships.
The Danish bid is centred on the completion of the new Aarhus International Sailing Centre by mid-2016 and its bid claims Aarhus is “the city for sailors”.
“An ISAF Sailing World Championship is about the sailors,” said Lars Lundov, chief executive of Sport Event Denmark.
“We see these great Championships as the perfect opportunity for sailing to grow beyond its boundaries and make our sailing stars household names.
“ISAF shares that vision with us and I think they appreciated our presentation.
“We’ll create a big bang for sailors, our vision for 2018 is to showcase the world’s star sailors, and we’ll let them and the sport shine.
“Aarhus is ready for it – it’s the right place at the right time.”
The Polish bid declares that “All sails lead to Gdynia” and is based on the construction of a new PLN 100 million (£20 million/$33 million/€24 million) marina in the city which will form the centrepiece of the 2018 World Championships.
In addition to spaces for sailing clubs there will be also service areas, a shopping centre, restaurants, an apartment hotel and offices, which will be ready in 2017.
“The construction of a new modern marina, which will serve sailors and the public, is one element in the Polish Yachting Association’s plan and it is supported by the city authorities,” said Wieslaw Kaczmarek, President of the Management Board of the Polish Yachting Association.
Following the presentations, the Evaluation Panel will now prepare its report and recommend the 2018 host city to the ISAF Executive Committee at its mid-year meeting on May 10, when the Committee will either accept the recommendation or ask the Panel to review its decision.
The ISAF World Championships were launched in 2003 when Cadiz in Spain staged the inaugural event, which was followed by Iberian neighbour Cascais, Portugal in 2007.
The 2011 edition was held in Perth, Australia and this year’s event is expected to attract more than 1,400 sailors from more than 80 countries to the north coast of Spain.