Dear Yacht Racing Industry Professionals and Sailing Fans,

We are pleased to share the latest news regarding the upcoming Yacht Racing Forum in Lorient, Brittany (October 22-23).

The conference is taking shape and promises to be great! New partners and exhibitors are joining on a regular basis and a fair number of delegates have already seized the Early Bird discount opportunity to register. Dont’t waste any time: the offer is valid for the top 80 registrants.

The conference programme and speakers list will be renewed, with a focus on « the future of sailing » : Youth sailing, new classes and events, computerized systems, digital sailing, new materials, designs and technologies.

The evolution of the sport and technology generate interesting questions. Here are some discussion angles (some of them slightly provocative!) to trigger your minds and help us all wait until October 22.

Happy reading!

The Yacht Racing Forum organizing team



Will foiling affect the sport of sailing ?

© Red Bull
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Foiling is fashionable and at the heart of many passionate sailors’s conversations. Foils are with no doubt a great innovation, but let’s take some distance and ask ourselves: who really wants to sail and race at 25 knots + ? How many sailors are really concerned ? Is it good for the development of our sport?

Twenty years ago, windsurfing was a truly popular sport that helped thousands of people discover the word « regatta » and learn the basics of sailing and racing.

Then something went wrong: the sports’ marketing experts focused on tall blond and muscular windsurfers riding big waves in Hawaii; the sport suddenly became totally disconnected from its popular roots and almost disappeared.

Let’s not forget grass-roots sailing, amateur yacht racing and the pleasure of cruising at 6 knots! At this year’s Forum, we will surely discuss the future of foiling and showcase the latest technical developments. But we will also put a strong emphasis on youth sailing, new sailing classes and events for kids.


What’s the link between sustainability and gender equity ?

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The Yacht Racing Forum started promoting sustainable development in 2011. At the time, many delegates were asking us what this subject had to do with sailing and yacht racing… Today, everybody recognizes the importance of protecting our oceans and our lakes. Sustainability has become a strategic topic for World Sailing, whilst many new organisations such as Sailors for the Sea, 11th Hour Racing or Race for Water focus on the protection of the seas.

We’ve also been discussing the place of women in our sport since the first edition of the Forum, in 2008. There’s obviously still a lot to do to promote female participation, although some prominent events such as the Volvo Ocean Race and the Olympic Games show the way.

This year in Lorient, instead of organizing specific sessions dedicated to sustainable development or gender equity, we want these subjects to be present wherever relevant. We hope to include more women amongst our speakers: please spread the word! And we believe that sustainability must be – implicitly or very concretely – at the heart of every presentation and debate.


Will computers and robots replace crew members (well, replace us!) ?

©Emirates Team New Zealand
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In a very short time, automatic pilots will steer better than helmsmen (they often already do…); robots will react quicker and better than trimmers (even cyclists!); weather models coupled with live satellite coverage of the world and the latest apps will be much more reliable than the best tacticians.

What will be left for us, passionate sailors, amateurs as well as professionals? What will be the interest of our favorite sport? What will be the role of the crews?

These are changes that we – classes, events, sailing journalists, World Sailing etc. – need to anticipate and regulate. Otherwise races will be sailed by robots and we will be left on the yacht club terrasse with a cocktail…


Great conference topics

© Sander van der Borch
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The Yacht Racing Forum is the place where this debate – and much more – takes places. This year’s conference will focus on the following subjects:

  • The future of Sailing
  • Design & Technology
  • Marketing & Media
  • Event and teams Management
  • Top of the Sport


Draft Programme
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Monday October 22:

Design & Technology Symposium (all day)
The Future of Sailing (morning)
Regatta and Teams Management (Afternoon)
Evening Reception at the Cité de la Voile Eric Tabarly
Mirabaud Sailing Video Award prize giving

Tuesday October 23:

Marketing & Media (morning)
Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image prize giving (afternoon)
Top of the Sport (afternoon)

Wednesday October 24 (optional):

Guided Tour of the leading companies, industries and actors involved in yacht racing (all day)

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Registrations & Early Bird Discount

Registrations are open. Our Early Bird Discount is valid for the top 80 registrants. Don’t waste any time and save € 100 !