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A festival of sailing at the City by the Sea

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A festival of sailing at the City by the Sea

The Hague is hosting the Allianz Sailing World Championships from 10-20 August

5 min read 7 Aug Download text

In August, 1400 of the world’s best sailors will gather in The Hague for the Allianz Sailing World  Championships. They will compete in all ten Olympic sailing events and four Para Sailing events, with the Championships doubling as a qualification event for the Olympic Games in Paris next year. The regatta will be held in The Hague - Netherlands’ famous ‘City by the Sea’ - and it promises to be fascinating for a number of reasons. For the first time, elite Para Sailing races will be held during the Championships. The City will welcome many new countries via the Emerging Nations Program, while new sustainability protocols have been laid out to ensure that this is event is in keeping with the city’s Sustainable Developments Goals.  

Sailing needs to be accessible for everybody
It has been a tough period for Para Sailing, after it lost its Paralympic status in 2016, but the sport is now back on the up, with four-time British Paralympian Hannah Stodel recruited as the new Para World Sailing Manager. The decision to include Para Sailing in the Allianz Sailing World Championships is a big step forwards and demonstrates World Sailing’s commitment to supporting the sport through this period of uncertainty.  There will be four dedicated Para Sailing events at The Hague 2023 with athletes in the men’s and women’s Hansa 303, men’s 2.4mR and RS Venture Connect classes all competing for world titles. It is a significant boost for the sport as it looks to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games as a target for reinstatement into the Paralympic fold.  For World Sailing, The Hague 2023 is a chance to showcase new accessibility, inclusion and diversity protocols, with the Championships bringing great opportunities for Para sailors, coaches and officials. Tournament director Dorian van Rijsselberghe, a former Olympian himself, says that the event is about bringing together everybody within the sport, and creating a new, inclusive sailing community.  

‘There is definitely a feeling that these Championships present a wonderful opportunity to connect sailors, fans, media, sponsors, and many other stakeholders from all over the world. This is the first time we have been able to organize a World Championship in all ten Olympic disciplines in the Netherlands at the same time. And with the inclusion of four world class Para Sailing events as well, it promises to be a fantastic celebration of sailing in a beautiful setting.’ Tournament director Dorian van Rijsselberghe


Emerging Nations Program

Another feature of this new drive towards accessibility is the Emerging Nations Program (ENP), which was started in 2015 by the Sailing World Championships. The ENP is designed to provide opportunities for those countries that do not yet have an established presence on the global sailing scene. 44 Athletes from 27 Nations will participate in the ENP at the Championships this summer, and they will receive guidance and tools to further develop the sport in their countries.

“We are organising a clinic for these sailors in the week prior to the Youth Sailing World Championships. We go out on the water for five days and give them technical training as part of World Sailing’s ‘Learn to Race’ program which we, and many other countries, already use in our own Olympic programs.”

Christoffel van Hees, ENP spokesperson on behalf of the Watersportverbond for ENP sailors and their coaches

A green regatta beside the North Sea 

The Hague is one of the few cities in Northern Europe that can truly claim to be a ‘City by the Sea’, with beautiful beaches stretching along 11 kilometres of coastline and a proud sailing heritage. The Hague can also claim to be one of the greenest cities in Europe. Its 885 hectares of parkland create a pleasingly leafy urban environment, while the city is a proud SDG City committed to realizing the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.  

And that commitment is shared by World Sailing. The sport’s governing body has laid on its own Sustainability Agenda 2030 looking to drive substantial change within the sport which can contribute actively to global sustainability.

The organizers of this year’s Allianz World Sailing Championships have devised a boldly ambitious plan to keep the event’s carbon footprint as low as possible. The Championships will integrate with The Hague’s existing infrastructure, using local buildings, caterers, and waste providers. Officials and supporters will have access to 350 bikes, while international teams will work together to minimize transport movements.  

This plan is greatly boosted by the fact that the city is located right on the water, meaning competitors, officials, and fans will have much less distance to travel. The Municipality of The Hague sees this event as a fantastic opportunity to showcase its potential as a host city for elite international sport. 

“The Hague is very proud that the World Sailing Championships are being held here, and the fact that the Para Sailing and ENP elements are included means we can welcome many sailors that would otherwise not have been able to participate. But the most important factor of all is that these Championships are an opportunity to bring the sport of sailing to a new generation - with young people in our city learning to sail and also learning valuable lessons in sustainability. Hosting a regatta on this scale is a perfect expansion that fully matches the inclusive ambitions of our city.” 

Hilbert Bredemeijer, The Hague Deputy Mayor

'Get Ready for the Best' podcast

In 'Get Ready For The Best' you hear the inspiring stories of the best sailors, top athletes from other disciplines and organizers building up to the Allianz Sailing World Championships. Sailors from 86 countries show their pace and talent and where the stakes are high. In four episodes Dutch sports journalist Chris Wobben talks with his guests about the beauty of facing the elements, handling the pressure and dealing with other challenges that the sports comes across like accessibility and sustainability. In the fourth and last episode Chris Wobben invites one of the greatest Dutch sailors ever: Marit Bouwmeester and alderman of sports of The Hague Hilbert Bredemeijer. They introduce host city The Hague in The Netherlands as a playground of the upcoming Sailing World Championships. What does organizing such an event bring to a place and how do they try to make sailing and surfing more accessible for everyone?
Dutch sailors in action
Dutch sailors competing for the Sailing World Championships

Many activities will take place during 'Festival at Sea'

Many activities will take place during the Allianz Sailing World Championships. For more information

The full race schedule

For the full race schedule please go to

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