As part of an ambitious plan, World Sailing will partner with the Volvo Ocean Race, owned by Volvo Group and Volvo Car Group, to develop the next generation of offshore sailors. "World Sailing is delighted to partner with Volvo as they have been fully committed to developing sailing worldwide for many years," commented World Sailing President Kim Andersen.
"They are an ambitious, forward thinking partner who match World Sailing's vision and mission for the entire sport. They will be a crucial partner for World Sailing, working with us across all of our titled events, sustainability programmes and will have exclusivity in the automotive sector.
"It is vital that World Sailing continue to aid growth across all aspects of the sport and our partnership with the Volvo Ocean Race allows us to be closely aligned with one of sports major events."
The partnership is a signal of the Volvo Ocean Race's commitment to the sport and future of offshore sailing.
The next stage of that process will be to set-out a clear pathway for offshore sailors from across the globe. This will include the creation of Volvo Ocean Race Academies, designed to provide a stepping stone for young offshore sailors.
World Sailing has also proposed an offshore showcase event to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Volvo Ocean Race have pledged their full support for the bid.
"We see the Volvo Ocean Race at the apex of the offshore sailing pyramid," said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner.
"The partnership with World Sailing is important for us to show a long-term commitment to the sport and, equally, World Sailing's support and understanding of the Volvo Ocean Race does," Turner said.
"But we need to create some steps underneath it like the Volvo Ocean Race Academies and ultimately a closer link to any Olympic offshore showcase event if approved by the IOC. If and when that goes through, the Volvo Ocean Race will be uniquely positioned to provide a path towards the Olympic Games, with a qualification or test event potentially taking place at one of our stopovers."
Volvo have a long running commitment to sailing and previously worked with the world governing body of the sport, acting as title sponsor of the Youth Sailing World Championships from 1999 to 2010.
By Daniel Smith - www.sailing.org