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6 November 2004, 10:50 am
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ISAF Annual Conference

From 4-15 November, the 2004 Annual Conference will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark. By the end of the week long event there will be a new President to succeed the 10-year reign of current President Paul HENDERSON.
Before that, the meeting is a week long schedule, during which the committees and sub-committees of ISAF will meet to discuss 349 submissions and numerous additional papers which have been submitted by ISAF Member National Authorities (MNA), International Class Associations, the ISAF Executive Committee, Committee Chairmen and the ISAF President.

Over 500 delegates representing 80 nations, including Committee members, MNA and Class representatives, observers and media representatives will be present for the week long event.

The most debate is certain to focus on the election of the new President and Vice-Presidents, together with the selection of the equipment (classes) to used by athletes in the eleven events at the 2008 Olympic Games.

In respect of the Olympic equipment, submissions for a number of current International and Olympic Classes, as well as development classes have been received from all over the world. The ISAF Events Committee will give their recommendation on the equipment to the ISAF Council, but it is the meetings of the ISAF Council on 12 and 13 November, what will finally decide the equipment to be used in four years' time.

Following the Council mid-year meetings in June 2004, ISAF reduced the choice of equipment which can be considered for selection for the 2008 Olympic Games, to the following list:

1. Multihull Open: Hobie 16 or Tornado
2. Keelboat Women: Soling or Yngling
3. Keelboat Men: Soling, Star or Yngling
4. Double-handed Dinghy Open: 49er or Snipe
5. Double-handed Dinghy Women: 470 or 49er or Snipe
6. Double-handed Dinghy Men: 470 or 49er [whichever loses vote 4], Snipe
7. Single-handed Dinghy Men: Finn or Laser [whichever is not selected is the only option in vote 8]
8. Single-handed Dinghy Open: Finn or Laser
9. Single-handed Dinghy Women: Byte or Europe or Flash or Laser Radial or Zoom8
10. Windsurfer Men: Hybrid, Mistral, Mistral Derivative or Outcome of Windsurfing Equipment Evaluation Trials
11. Windsurfer Women: Hybrid, Mistral, Mistral Derivative or outcome windsurfing equipment evaluation trials

A full list of the submissions regarding selection of equipment are available via the meetings section of the website.

In respect of the selection of the windsurfing equipment, over the past 18 months, ISAF has held a series of evaluation trials to identify the equipment for the 2008 Olympic Games, which will also revitalize windsurfing. The ISAF Evaluation Team has already presented their equipment recommendation to the ISAF Council, along with a proposed new competition format to include fleet racing and slalom. The equipment proposed is the Neil Pryde RS-X, using:
- 2 sails, with maximum areas of 9.5m and 8.5m (men) and 8.5m and 8.0m (women),
- 2 fins, one maximum depth 65cm and the other shorter for slalom racing.
Two sail areas have been specified to allow for slalom racing and for racing from 5-30 knots.

Yesterday, the Evaluation Team's recommendation received the unanimous support of the ISAF Executive Committee.

Whilst the selection of equipment for the Olympic Sailing Competition will be the subject of considerable debate, there are a number of other proposals addressing Olympic issues, such as competition format, athlete quotas and the qualification system.

Submission 048-04 proposes the introduction of a women's keelboat match racing event, to replace the existing women's keelboat fleet racing. This is further followed up by submission 049-04 from the Dutch to introduce match racing at the Olympics as an "evening" event, 1800-2000 hours, enabling athletes competing in other events to also participate in the match racing. It is proposed that the reintroduction of the ISAF Nations Cup will be used to qualify athletes to the Olympics.

Many submissions propose changes to the Olympic Qualification system, ranging from allocating a percentage of continental athlete quotas, increasing the athlete quotas for certain events which are participated in by developing sailing nations, and to propose that no more than one Olympic Qualifying event, in each discipline, may be held in each continent during an Olympic quadrennial.

The Events Committee is the body charged to consider the competition format to be used at the Olympic Sailing Competition. A variety of submissions are on their agenda, including deferred Submission 040-03 which proposes that whilst fleet racing remain the race format, that across four of the events at the 2008 Olympics, ISAF introduce a knockout qualification from which the six finalists will be drawn.

In order to experiment with the Olympic competition format in 2005, Submission 047-04 proposes that during 2005, ISAF Grade 1 event organizers, and use new courses, point scoring systems and formats, with ISAF to take a final decision in November 2005.

The ISAF General Assembly on Saturday 13 November will see the election of the President and Vice-Presidents who are to serve ISAF for the coming four years. There are three candidates for the position of President, and ten candidates for the seven Vice-President positions. Of the ten Vice-President candidates, 6 men and 4 women, are standing for the seven positions. Of these seven positions, two are required to be held by women.

The three Presidential candidates, of whom one will succeed current President, Paul HENDERSON, are as follows:

Fernando BOLIN (ESP)

For further details about the President candidates, please click on their names above. Vice-President candidates are available by clicking here.

The voting system used at the ISAF General Assembly sees a one nation, one vote system in place with each Member National Authority (MNA) entitled to nominate a representative to sit and vote at the General Assembly.

Whilst the submissions regarding the 2008 Olympic Games and the election of the President and Vice-President will have an evident focus during the week, both in the meeting rooms and the corridors, there are numerous other issues being addressed by the 37 ISAF Committees meeting in Copenhagen. These include submissions such as 017-04 from the Russian Yachting Federation which seeks to introduce representation coaches within ISAF, with the establishment of an ISAF Coaches Sub-Committee.

With a desire to strengthen the role of the ISAF Calendar of Events and co-ordinate the global sailing schedule, Submissions 63-04 and 64-04 seek to enable ISAF to give priority on date selection to the ISAF Grade 1 events, World Championships and Continental Championships.

With the 2005-2008 ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing effective worldwide from 1 January 2005, there are already 10 submissions to changes the new RRS. Submissions being considered include changes to RRS 30.3 - Black Flag Rule and RRS 42 - Propulsion. These will be debated by the Racing Rules Committee on 9 November. In accordance with the ISAF Regulations, changes to the ISAF RRS are scheduled for every four years, however any change of clear necessity or importance may be made effective during the four-year period.

Deferred from previous meetings, the Council will consider Submissions 054-03 and 062-02 regarding minimum age limits for youth competition, and the effect of high level sport on youth.

Reasoning that sailing is becoming an ever more expensive sport, Submission 100a-04 addresses reducing the cost of development through changes in the Class Rules or Measurement Regulation for 2008.

The term of appointment of ISAF Committees is a four-year period, with the appointment of Committees for the term 2005-2008 being considered in November 2004. Just under 300 individuals have been nominated from 60 countries. Amongst the nominations are several elite sailors, including three of the Olympic medallists from Athens. Sofia BEKATOROU (GRE) has been nominated to the new Equipment Committee, Dorte JENSEN (DEN) to the Youth and Development Committee and Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) to the Windsurfing Committee. The Committee appointments will be considered in November 2004, for final confirmation by the new Council within 60 days from 13 November 2004.

Alongside the meetings, ISAF is hosting "Connect to Sailing" seminars on Sunday 7 and Monday 8 November with a focus on "Reaching Children in Education to Increase Participation".

In addition to the policy and administrative issues facing the sport, the ISAF Annual Conference is also an opportunity to celebrate a year in the sport. A full programme of event presentations by organizing committees and social events will take place, with the pinnacle award in World Sailing, the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, hosted by Jesper BANK (DEN), taking place on Tuesday 9 November at the fames Circus Building in Copenhagen.

5 female and 10 male nominees have been shortlisted for the respective female and male awards, with the winners to be announced and presented with the World Sailor of the Year Award Trophy and a Rolex timepiece on 9 November. ISAF President of Honour, His Majesty King Constantine will present the female award, and Crown Prince Fredrik of Denmark will present the male award. With more than 500 guests from the world of sailing in attendance the evening is set to be a celebration of the sport. The nominees are:

Adrienne CAHALAN (AUS)
Faustine MERRET (FRA)
Shirley ROBERTSON, Sarah WEBB & Sarah AYTON (GBR)

Torben GRAEL & Marcelo FERREIRA (BRA)
Francis JOYON (FRA)

The morning after the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, Wednesday 10 November, the winners and nominees will join Jesper BANK (DEN), Russell COUTTS (NZL), Paul HENDERSON and other illuminaries to face each other in a match racing event on the waters opposite the conference hotel.

Copenhagen itself has been the capital of Denmark for 600 years and is also the largest city in Scandinavia, but it hasn't let these high-ranking geopolitical facts go to its urban head - the city maintains a refreshingly low-level approach to the modernization of its historic skyline, while its high-spirited denizens party in the streets.

ISAF will bring you daily reports from the meetings of the ISAF Annual Conference. The process for decision making is that the committees of ISAF debate the submissions and make recommendations to the ISAF Council, the final decision making body of ISAF. It is the ISAF Council, who will meet on 11-13 November 2004, which will make the final decision on all submissions.
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