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8 November 2012, 02:59 pm
ISAF Presidents Report - 8 November 2012
ISAF President Göran Petersson
ISAF President Göran Petersson

2012 ISAF Annual Conference
Dun Laoghaire, Ireland

ISAF President Göran Petersson delivered the President's Report earlier to the ISAF Council members during their first day of meetings at the 2012 ISAF Annual Conference in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland.
Read the full transcript of the President's Report below….

"Your Majesty, Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Council.

After 8 years being the ISAF President, I now present my report to you for the last time. It is said you should go on a 'high'. Given that you actually can't really choose the moment of leaving the position of ISAF President I feel that we, as an organisation, have done pretty well this year and the Olympic Games in Weymouth were extremely successful for ISAF.

I think three aspects made these Games stand out from past ones. The first and probably the most important was the success of the ticketed spectator area. More than 60,000 tickets were sold and customer surveys indicated that the people were very happy being there and enjoying the spectator venue. The big screen and expert commentary really made it a great experience. After an initially slow start for the number of non-ticketed visitors, word got out that you could have an enjoyable day out in Weymouth and the numbers of spectators lining the shores grew day by day.

The second important point was that management of the venue and the race was excellent. ISAF Race officials blended in with the local organisers ensuring a smooth running of the event.

Thirdly the TV production meant that there was a very good product for the viewers at home and, as we all know, TV is very important for our position as a sport in the Olympic Games. From my own personal experience of Olympic Family members travelling down from London, they all had a terrific experience. Even those who were not able to come to Weymouth were aware of how successful our Games were from the stories that came back that Weymouth was great.

It will be interesting to see how a good Olympic Games for ISAF will be reflected in the Sports Evaluation Report from the IOC. As you know this is very important as we need to stay in the list of core sports for the Games programme when the IOC makes their decision next year.

There is one achievement in the Games that I like to single out and mention: the island of Cyprus has a new sporting hero - Pavlos Kontides who became the first Cypriot ever to win an Olympic medal after his sterling silver performance in the Laser class.

The Olympic Games was followed by a very well-run Paralympic Sailing Competition. IFDS President Linda Merkle once said to me that the Olympic Sailing Regatta was only a test event for the Paralympics and I think she was probably right. The success of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and in particular the increase in public interest and awareness has really moved the importance of that event to a higher level.

We all should capitalize on this success and closer co-operation between IFDS and ISAF will be needed to try and progress the Paralympic sailing in the same areas where we have made progress in the Olympic Games. I am convinced we should have a ticketed spectator area for the Paralympics in Rio and we must strive to improve the TV production as I feel we are behind other Paralympic sport at the moment.

With the Olympic and Paralympic Games it is easy to forget that it is business as usual for the other parts of Sailing. Just before the Games I witnessed the sailing here in Dublin Bay at the 2012 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship. This Championship seems to grow from strength to strength and this year's edition provided a blue print and example of how to run a successful ISAF Championship! Thank you to the Royal St George Yacht Club, The National Yacht Club and The Royal Irish Yacht Club. Thank you especially to the Irish Sailing Federation and your excellent volunteers for an excellent event. I really enjoyed my time there.

I am sure you all have noticed the new ISAF website; launched just before the Games a fresh face was given to sailing.org and special attention was given to service the ISAF Community with the information they need. Social media now plays a very important role in the communication mix: some stories will receive twice as many hits on our Facebook site as the traditional website. Thanks to our communications team we are able to adapt and advance in the world of new media.

As you all know the first and foremost task of ISAF was and still is producing the Racing Rules of Sailing: I am very proud that the Racing Rules Committee and in particular the Racing Rules Committee Working party was able to deliver the book on time, enabling the sailors to prepare for 2013 and our MNAs to publish the rules in their country, which for many also means having to look after the translations. The App in the iTunes store that we produced proves to be very successful and a thank you to Rolex for sponsoring the Rulebook and especially the Racing Rules App.

The business ahead of us for this Council meeting is dealing with 114 submissions. As usual in this four year cycle we have not got many Racing Rules submissions as we just have finalised the book, but we have an unusual number on one topic; to re-consider decisions taken in May on the Olympic Programme.

A very big responsibility lies on us, the Council members, to deal with the issues put before us which will affect our sport and our sailors. I am looking forward to this challenge, I am looking forward to the debate and I am confident we will find the right solutions to take the sport forward.

However, one thing is clear; there are different views and very different outcomes possible. There will be happiness and disappointment about the decisions. For the sake of the image of our sport and our organisation, we should conduct our meetings properly. After decisions have been made, we must work on their implementation to the best of our ability whilst respecting the decisions made by the Council.

Thank you for your attention and this concludes my report.
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