Judging the success of the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, like anything in sailing, depends on who you are and what your objectives were. For any sailor who qualified for the London 2012 Olympics during the event, then little else matters, for others – metrics like legacy benefit and creating a better television product are important for others.
Certainly, the World Championships for sailing is a complex event – with different equipment, formats, courses and any event organiser that can deliver 630 races over 2 weeks, without any being lost to weather or sharks… is doing a pretty good job. One thousand two hundred sailors from 79 nations have competed and 10 World Championships titles have been claimed.
As well as providing an event that is for sailors, that can make or break a career, Perth 2011 was the next evolution of the Olympic side of the sport becoming more spectator friendly – but keep in mind, the spectator element of Olympic sailing is a relatively new idea – so expecting hundreds of thousands of people to turn up to watch – particularly in the world’s most remote city was perhaps ambitious.
Nevertheless, the Center Course race area of Bathers Bay brought Olympic class sailing closer to the viewing audience than ever before. Thousands of spectators lining the shore and in the grandstand were treated to an amazing spectacle with the “super Sunday” climax presenting four medal races of high drama, action and skill that has been simply been described as “extraordinarily entertaining”.
In his speech at the closing ceremony ISAF President Göran Petersson paid tribute the achievements of the Organising Committee who have demonstrated an extraordinary ability to host world class sailing events. Thanks also went to the Australian Government and Western Australia Government and all the sponsors for their support and investment in Perth 2011.
“The legacy that you have created for Western Australia through this championship will without doubt be appreciated by sailors long into the future. I would like to applaud the State of Western Australia who have invested passion, energy and vision to create an outstanding stage for the Championships.”
“Fremantle is a unique and very special sailing venue and we could not have asked for a warmer welcome from the communities, yacht clubs and local businesses. Thank you all for your generosity and spirit.”
“Without the support of our sponsors and volunteers an event like this would not be possible so on behalf of ISAF and the sailors I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make this Championships a success.”