Following the hugely successful ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards last night, at which Robert SCHEIDT (BRA), Sofia BEKATOROU and Emilia TSOULFA (GRE) were crowned at the top of our sport, meetings continued today in the Marriott hotel.
There were wide smiles and a fantastic atmosphere outside the Hotel as some of the world's best sailors took to Copenhagen harbour in a presentation Match Racing event hosted by Rolex.
Switching crews and helms for each race, the first battle was between ISAF President Paul HENDERSON, who had the host of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards Jesper BANK (DEN) calling tactics, against President of the Danish Sailing Federation Peer Bent NIELSEN with America's Cup legend Russell COUTTS (NZL) as his wingman.
The race was won on the startline by Coutts and Nielsen, who had excellent speed at the start against the stationary sight of Bank and Henderson. It was a situation that they never recovered from as the victory went to Nielsen.
Keeping the dedicated and experienced members of the Danish Match Race Centre aboard the matched DS 37's, the second race was held between the 2004 male winner of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award, Robert SCHEIDT (BRA), and one half of the female winners, Sofia BEKATOROU (GRE).
Despite losing the match, Bekatorou was more than happy sailing the custom prepared boats from the Danish Match Race Centre, to such an extent that she will return to the venue for a full day sailing the boat on Friday.
The third race was the battle of the big guns, Coutts vs Bank. America's Cup racing on the confined waters of Copenhagen Harbour within touching distance of spectators on the harbour wall showed what is possible with the sport and the competition was intense.
With superior boatspeed, the local hero showed his old America's Cup rival his transom from the outset and it was a proud local victory when Bank and his top crew took a victory off Coutts.
Inside the hotel it was the turn of the Constitution Committee, the Events Committee and the Offshore Committee to meet before the ISAF Council begin their meeting tomorrow.
Big news of the day in the Events Committee was their recommendation to Council for the equipment to be used in the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition at the Beijing Olympic Games. Deferred submissions M01-04 to M44-04 deal with the shortlist of Olympic equipment and after debate and listening to the positions put forward by the Women's Sailing Committee and the Windsurfing Committee, the Events Committee voted on the options presented to them and put forward recommendations for the selection of the following Equipment:
1. Multihull Open: Tornado
2. Keelboat Women: Yngling
3. Keelboat Men: Star
4. Double-handed Dinghy Open: 49er
5. Double-handed Dinghy Women: 470
6. Double-handed Dinghy Men: 470
7. Single-handed Dinghy Men: Finn
8. Single-handed Dinghy Open: Laser
9. Single-handed Dinghy Women: Laser Radial
10. Windsurfer Men: Neil Pryde RS-X
11. Windsurfer Women: Neil Pryde RS-X
These classes are purely recommendations and the final decision remains with the ISAF Council, and will be made on Friday.
The Constitution Committee also held their second meeting today. Tasked with both the legal matters of the ISAF constitution and the specific wording of regulations implemented by Council decisions, it is a tough schedule to work through.
Discussions at today's Constitution Committee meeting included a wide range of issues, including the administration of Offshore Racing, Race Officials officiating at events who have unpaid fees, appeals to the ISAF Review Board, Court of Arbitration for Sport, and much more. The meeting was fortunately located as it overlooked Copenhagen Harbour and the Rolex match racing event.
With discussions and submissions ranging from International Rating Systems, Offshore Special Regulations and updates from the Grand Prix Rule Working Party, the Offshore Committee met for the majority of the day.
Reports and recommendations were received from the Empirical Handicap Sub-Committee, the Oceanic Sub-committee and Offshore Special Regulations Sub-committee.
One of the many important recommendations that came out of the Offshore Committee was the introduction of a new appendix to the Offshore Special Regulations. Researched and developed by a working party jointly funded by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC), the Appendix deals with the safety aspects of the developing trend in offshore sailing for the application of variable ballast in the form of canting keels, water ballast and the like.
As well as stating the required safety standards for such boats, including Knockdown and Inversion Recovery Factors, the appendix also defines fixed, moveable and variable ballast. It also states that in order to comply with the appendix, systems must be permanently installed with manual control and actuation systems. In addition, it must be possible to lock canting keels on the centerline.
The Committee approved some amendments to the original wording of the Appendix, allowing boats built prior to November 2004 to apply for dispensation from certain sections of the appendix.
Subject to ratification by the ISAF Council on Friday, Appendix K "Moveable and Variable Ballast" will be available on the ISAF website and will be effective from 1 February 2005.
Tomorrow at 1000 hours the ISAF Council begins its first, of two, meetings. In the schedule for tomorrow the Council will consider all business not pertaining to recommendations from Committees who have met earlier in the week. The Council will consider recommendations on Friday. The Council concludes on Saturday prior to the General Assembly and President and Vice-president Elections.