Aarhus Sailing Week – the test event for the SWC2018 – is successfully completed, and now it is time to look forward towards the SWC2018, while the experience and memories of the event are still fresh.

‘The event went very well, but there are a lot of things to evaluate and develop”, Klaus Natorp, Director of the SWC2018 tells us, along with Per Hjerrild, who is the Sailing Event Manager, i.e. responsible for the sporting aspects.

Both are satisfied with the test event, as well as a bit worn down on the last day of Aarhus Sailing Week. The purpose of the test event has been to test the sporting aspect on the waters and give the many volunteers on land a greater insight into the task of the SWC2018. ‘Our track team have for example been able to practice the same tracks that will be sailed at the SWC2018. It has given all volunteers, track leaders and World Sailing some insight into how things will be working “live” in Aarhus next year’, Klaus Natorp tells us.

‘We used the spring to assemble the track teams and give them an opportunity to train together. The test event has given us the occasion to test out the many procedures the volunteers have been practicing all through the winter on dry-land courses with DS. The volunteers on track teams are already skilled regatta attendees who have participated in many races with their sailing clubs, but it is an exciting and very educational experience to prepare for the SWC2018’, Per Hjerrild tells us.

For the sailing aspect, Klaus Natorp adds: ‘I have the expression that all the track teams have stepped up and delivered. My impression is that the World Sailing representatives are satisfied. Of course there are things that need adjusting, but that is the whole point of having a test event.’

Is the SWC2018 demanding too much from their many volunteers?

‘There is no doubt that the volunteers are going to be working hard at Aarhus Ø the summer of 2018. Together we will create a great event, something we have been dreaming of for many years. Remember, it is the sailing clubs of Aarhus who have been fighting to get the SWC2018 to Aarhus. Now there’s less than a year until the dream comes true,’ Klaus Natorp tells us. He continues:

‘It is a national event where Dansk Sejlunion (The Danish Sailing Association) have assisted in drawing the sailing clubs outside of Aarhus into the SWC2018 community. Our hope is that the volunteers want to be a part of the public activities, and not just drive home when their shift is over. They’ll have their own watering holes where a sense of community and talk of sailing can ensue.’

Per adds: ‘It is the ability to see beyond themselves that make sure the volunteers from the different sailing clubs work so well together. We must help each other, on the tracks as well. We should all understand our responsibility and all teams should work as one large collective team.’

Until now, the test event has been a goal we all have worked hard to reach. Now that the test event is over the next, very serious, goal is the SWC2018 in exactly a year. That is why we should all be aware that a change of gear will commence next year, where 1500 athletes and 800 volunteers will participate. Everything will be a lot larger next year, when the SWC2018 will also include a maritime public festival at Aarhus Ø with 400.000 visitors.

‘I have been very glad to see the community that have developed here at the test event in Egå. The majority of the volunteers that helped at the test event have already signed up for 2018’ a happy Klaus Natorp tells us. He has no intention to hide that the volunteers are the essential glue for such an event – without volunteers, it is simply not possible. That is why it is important that the evaluation of such an event covers all aspects and why Erhvervsakademiet Aarhus (Business Academy Aarhus) have helped complete a thorough evaluation of the volunteers’ experiences with their tasks during Aarhus Sailing Week.

On top of organizing the volunteers and the sailing setup on the waters, the event organization have learned a lot about the processes of the week.

‘There is still an immense amount of work we need to put into communications. Both considering the soft elements of the event and all the practical stuff. It is important to prepare and define the task that each individual has to do, and to have a clear chain of command when questions arise,’ Klaus Natorp tells us. He adds the importance of a cheerful atmosphere and points out that he is very satisfied with the atmosphere between volunteers and sailors during the test event. ‘We’re definitely bringing that to Aarhus Ø,’ he concludes.

Even though a year seems so far away, times goes by quickly. That is why celebrating the volunteers is a very important task after the test event. They were there to help throughout the week, and they have helped maintain and develop relations with the (new) volunteers, so that they will want to join us again during the SWC2018.