Sailing Champions league Q&A’s

About the National Sailing Leagues

a) What is the basic concept of sailing in the league format?

The idea is simple and basically well known, since the mode is closely related to the league formats in other sports. Club competition, club against club, standardised ‘field’ or course, league ranking, league qualification, promotion and relegation, spectator friendly, team sport.

b) What are the success factors of a sailing league?

In the focus of all activities are the sailing clubs! As a host, as a participant, as an ambassador for the public. But the most important effect that we’ve seen is the movement within the clubs. The sailors identify with their club, they are proud to have the honour to represent their club in the National Sailing League. Young and old, men and women, sailors from various classes are sailing together as a team for their club and fight for the reputation.

In addition: A simple set of rules, short races, six to eight boats, professional public relations and social media activities, a firm organisation on the water and ashore. But also the constant communication of the organisers with the clubs and its sailors is crucial.

c) Which clubs are eligible to start?

In general, all clubs are eligible to start that have an official status of their national sailing association. If a league is established for the first time and even a 1st and 2nd division exist (see Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway), a qualification for the starting allowance makes sense. But to do this, there have to be teams facing relegation and newcomers, who have to prove themselves in the qualification. In Germany for example, there are more than 60 clubs each year trying to get one of the sought-after starting permits for the 2nd league. Next to the directly promoted or relegated teams, the promotion and relegation between the 1st and 2nd league can also be managed in a relegation regatta.

d) What is a relegation regatta and how does it work in the sailing league?

The relegation regatta only exists, if there is a 1st and a 2nd league. Just like in football, there are teams automatically filling relegation spots (e.g. the last three clubs of the 1st league) and teams, who are directly promoted (e.g. the first three clubs of the 2nd league). Then for example, the ranks 4 to 6 of the 2nd league as well as the ranks 13 to 15 of the 1st league will compete against each other in the relegation regatta to fight for one of the three spots in the 1st league. The teams on ranks 1 to 3 of the relegation regatta will then be in the 1st league in the following season, the teams on ranks 4 to 6 will be in the 2nd league.

e) How many people are required for a national league organization?

Ideally between three to four persons: A project manager, a person for the onshore organization, a person for the offshore organization as well as a person for PR and social media. Plus the numerous volunteers, that are needed for a sailing regatta by default: Race committee, jury (umpire), buoy tender, starting vessel, etc.

f) How many events does a league have?

Between three and seven events per year. Each event normally consists of three racing days. The idea is to manage 45 races in total (three races per flight, each race with six boats, which means, that each club has sailed once after one flight). With 18 clubs this means a maximum of 15 races per event per club.

g) How much is the starting fee at the national leagues?

An average of 200 to 400 Euro per league event (three days) per club. Defined by each country itself.

h) Which format will be sailed?

Fleet Race. Up-and-down sailing with a windward mark and a leeward gate. The duration of each race is between twelve and fifteen minutes maximum.

i) Which boat class is normally selected?

The ideal league boat fulfills the following criteria: One-design, simple to sail by three to five crew members, easy to transport with a trailer, gennaker or spinnaker. In most countries, the J/70 has established itself, a boat, that is not just sailed in the leagues, but also became a new one-design boat class. But a Melges 24, Melges 20, Delphia 24 or similar boats would be also suitable for the league sport.

j) Six to eight boats and 18 clubs in the league? How does it work on the water?

A race is sailed with six boats, which means, that six clubs are in the race. Six further club teams are sitting on a rib and will be brought to their boats right after the first group crossed the finish line, because the second starting signal will be just three minutes later. The remaining six club teams are waiting ashore. The rotation of the teams continues like this. The pairings (club against club encounters) of the single races are rotating according to a fixed pattern. The goal: The same number of races (45 in total during three days, 15 races per club and league weekend), the best possible distribution of encounters (club against club).

k) Who provides the boats?

The boats are ideally provided centrally by the league organisation. Advantage: Similar boats, similar condition, similar trim settings, uniform appearance and more simple for the participating sailing clubs. Another possibility for the league organisation is to make a sponsoring agreement with a national retailer: The retailer could not get a better “test drive experience” for the sailors. You can ask J-Boats Germany…

l) In how many countries has a sailing league already been established?

Meanwhile twelve countries did launch a National Sailing League. In 2016 we are expecting at least five to six further countries to join.

m) How successful are the leagues in the different countries?

The league gains wide support in all countries. From the sailors, the clubs, the media and the associations. Never before did a sailing format achieve that much.

n) How many clubs have joined the league sailing sport meanwhile?

If you sum up the clubs in all countries, there are already 300 clubs sailing against each other with the league format. Usually between 18 and 80 clubs per country.

o) How are the leagues organised in the countries?

Very differently. In some countries, the clubs did join forces to form a national league association. In other countries, the league format was pushed much forward by single clubs ­– many times supported by a professional agency. But many times, the national sailing association was the driving force – like in Denmark, Sweden, Austria or now in France. The result will most probably be a triangular relationship in most countries: national sailing association à league association à agency/marketer.

p) Is there some "start-up aid" for founding a league?

Yes, there is! “Konzeptwerft” offers support for the league markets. Background information, presentations, check lists onshore/offshore, Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions as well as a kick-off workshop are supposed to make the start easier. Why invent everything again or find out yourself, if proven concepts can be reproduced?!

q) Is there a rule book as an orientation for a league?

Yes. There is a “National Sailing League Rule Book”. With the cooperation of different, national league organizations, the most important rules are defined (obligatory rules and optional recommendations), which enable the comparison and standardisation of the leagues. This is especially relevant regarding the qualification for the international SAILING Champions League.

s) Are there possibilities to get support for the marketing?

Yes, there are. Even today, we are trying to convince global partners to invest in the SAILING Champions League as well as in the national league markets. But “Konzeptwerft” can also support on a regional level.

r) How can a country mange the live broadcasting of their league?

With SAP Sailing Analytics, SAP has developed a tool in the last years providing a professional transmission of the league events (GPS tracking, live leaderboard, overall leaderboard, relevant statistics and performance data). We can get you in contact with SAP. More information about the services offered:

About the SAILING Champions League

a) What is the SAILING Champions League?

The competition of the best national sailing clubs on an international level. The best clubs of the world are competing in the SAILING Champions League against each other. In general a well-known system, that we know from other sports.

b) The SAILING Champions League consists of how many events and how is the point scoring system?

There will be two events in 2016. In 2017 probably three events. Two to three events shall take place each year. An event consists of three days. The system will always consist of one to two events, which are the qualification for the final. The crews will be sailing with the “Low Point System” known from the Olympic sailing sport.

c) How is the mode of the single SCL events?

There are two events this year: Act 1 is the qualification and Act 2 the final.

Act 1 will take place in St. Petersburg. The following clubs meet there: Rank two and three of the national leagues, the hosting St. Petersburg Yacht Club as well as wild cards, primarily given to countries, who are in the process of establishing their own league.

Act 2 is the final in Porto Cervo in Sardinia. The national champions (rank one of the national leagues of the season 2015) will match with the SAILING Champions League winner of 2015 (Royal Norwegian Yacht Club), the hosting Yacht Club Costa Smeralda as well as the best 18 clubs from the qualification in St. Petersburg.

d) What are the qualification criteria for the SAILING Champions League?

On an international level: An intact league as well as compliance with the Rule Books. On a national level: the national champion (SCL final) as well as the clubs on rank two and three (SCL qualification).

d) What are the qualification criteria for the SAILING Champions League?

On an international level: An intact league as well as compliance with the Rule Books. On a national level: the national champion (SCL final) as well as the clubs on rank two and three (SCL qualification).

e) How do I get a wild card for the SAILING Champions League?

The wild cards are allocated by the Steering Committee. In general, they are granted in favor of the countries and clubs that are in the process of establishing their own league or planning to do so shortly or countries, that are too small to establish their own league, but nevertheless have well-respected clubs, for example Malta or Monaco.

f) Can a club apply for hosting a SAILING Champions League event?

Yes. 2014 we have been in Copenhagen, 2015 in Porto Cervo and 2016 we will be in St. Petersburg and Porto Cervo. The clubs did come to us and have expressed their interest to host a SCL event. After the SCL final, there will again be an official application process for hosting a SCL event, where each club can apply.

g) Which requirements are obligatory for a club to host a SCL event?

A club must feel able to meet the requirements of a SCL event with 32 clubs and the challenging league format including a tight schedule on the water (see question 1. e)). Ideally the club can access a fleet of eight to nine one-design boats. The club is responsible for the smooth process on the water (race committee, shuttle, umpire, spectator boats, press boats, photographer). The organisation of the onshore events takes place together with the SCL team. The work of the race office including the registration of the clubs is done by the SCL team. The club must have a defined budget for hosting a SCL event including the budget for live broadcasting.

h) Is there a global sponsor or partner of the SAILING Champions League?

Unfortunately, not yet. But we are intensively working on it. This partner shall ideally not just support the SAILING Champions League, but also the national leagues.

i) How much is the starting fee per SAILING Champions League event?

The starting fee per event is 1,000 Euro. If a club does start in the qualification and later on in the final, it has to pay 2,000 Euro in total.

about the “International Sailing League Association”

a) Is there an international league association?

Until now we are working together with a team of elected representatives of the national leagues in the “Steering Committee”. All decisions are made together. Representatives come from Austria, Great Britain, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany.

The foundation of an international league association is in preparation. Members of this association shall be all national league organizations, who are representing the interests of the national leagues accordingly. By signing the membership they agree to comply with the general rules of the national leagues – the Rule Book – and elect their representatives (Steering Committee). The details are currently being defined.

b) Which role does the International Sailing League Association take over?

Definition of the rules and standards for the SAILING Champions League, the sporting development of the SAILING Champions League and the national leagues, representation of the international league sports, representation of interests towards the national and international league associations.

c) How do the national leagues become members of the International Sailing League Association?

The “International Sailing League Association” is expected to become an association according to Swiss association law located in Switzerland. You can become a member via a membership application, which we will send out soon. Why in Switzerland: The Swiss association law is the less complex and the administration of memberships is easier.

d) How much is the membership fee?

This has not been defined yet, but will be decided shortly.

e) Is there a management team in the International Sailing League Association and how is it elected?

Yes. The objective is to elect four to five representatives from the circle of national league representatives in the Steering Committee. Details about the statute and the election will follow.