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3 November 2007, 10:06 pm
Day Three At ISAF Annual Conference
Jeff MARTIN at the ISAF Classes Committee
Jeff MARTIN at the ISAF Classes Committee

ISAF Annual Conference 2007

The ISAF Annual Conference moved into top gear on a lengthy day three in Estoril, Portugal.
There was barely time for 'um café' before the International Measurers Sub-Committee began their meeting this morning at 07:30, whilst it was a typically late Portuguese dinner for the Women's Forum members after their meeting finished just after 21:00 this evening. In between there was plenty of of time for debate and discussion…

The ISAF Executive Committee completed their third day of meetings, which included the decision on the host city for the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships. Following the meeting ISAF President Göran Petersson announced Perth, Australia as hosts for the 2011 ISAF Worlds. Click here to read the full story.

The ISAF Classes Committee held their meeting today in Estoril. The Committee is one of the largest within ISAF, as it includes a representative of every ISAF Class along with representatives from events, equipment representative, equipment control, class rules, windsurfing and women's sailing. The Committee covers all areas of interest to ISAF Classes, giving them the opportunity to debate and recommend on submissions.

The diversity and number of ISAF Classes presents a significant challenge to the Committee. As chairman Jeff MARTIN explained, finding items of common interest and areas for development is one of the principle aims of the Committee. "We've got 80 different classes to deal with, ranging from Optimists through to offshore classes," he said. "That's a challenge that faces ISAF and one of the aims of the Classes Committee is to develop items of common interest."

An example of an area MARTIN feels the Committee can help develop, is providing best practice examples and support for new class officers. He explained, these are principally volunteer positions, often staffed by people new to sports administration, and in this area the diversity and experience existing within the ISAF structure is a massive advantage and could provide a very valuable resource.

Youth Worlds

The ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship Sub-Committee also held their meeting today. The Youth Worlds is ISAF's longest running event, with Kingston, Canada hosting the 37th edition this year. Numerous past winners have gone on to achieve greatness in the sailing world, including Russell COUTTS (NZL), Robert SCHEIDT (BRA) and Siren SUNDBY (NOR). With the sponsorship of Volvo, the championships have gone from strength to strength and over the past three years have attracted over 200 of the world's top young sailors to compete for the seven Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships titles.

On the Sub-Committee's agenda were reports on the preparations for the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships, being held in Denmark, Brazil and Turkey respectively. The growing popularity and significance of the championship was also in evidence with three bids for the 2011 Youth Worlds; from Cyprus, Croatia and the Czech Republic.

Also meeting today were the four Sub-Committees of the Race Officials Committee, representing each of four areas of officialdom: Race Management, Measurers, Judges and Umpires. The Sub-Committees concentrate on their specific areas and pass on their recommendations to the ISAF Race Officials Committee, which has its meeting on Monday.

Women's Sailing

The Women's Forum, composed of all the female ISAF Committee members, held their meeting tonight. Much of the discussion centred on the events for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, including contributions from Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN), #2 in the women's ISAF World Match Race Rankings, Louise HICKEY (GBR), who attended the Women's High Performance Dinghy Trials earlier this year, and Annie LUSH (GBR), crew in Shirley ROBERTSON's (GBR) Yngling team.

The Forum was also joined by ISAF Presidents past and present. Current President Göran PETERSSON spoke at the beginning of the meeting, pointing to the challenge of achieving greater women's representation, both on the water and in the administration of the sport. Despite the challenges faced, the President emphasized ISAF's support for the continuing development of this area of the sport. "ISAF is committed to achieving gender equity across all ISAF Committees and all ISAF activities. ISAF's commitment to both genders extends throughout the ISAF and is a foundation of the ISAF Strategic Plan," he said.

Peter TALLBERG (FIN), ISAF President from 1969-86, offered his perspective on gender representation. Speaking, he said, as an IOC member rather than a past President, he stressed the importance of sailing continuing to improve its record of women's representation at the Olympic Games. He stressed that sailing should focus on working towards the IOC's stated goal of achieving 50/50 gender representation in Olympic sports - unsurprising a topic that went down well with the members of the forum.

The Women's Sailing Committee will discuss the relevant submissions on the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition on Tuesday and pass their recommendations on to the Events Committee and ISAF Council.

Tomorrow's meetings include the Youth and Development, Windsurfing and Match Racing Committees together with the Connect to Sailing seminar.

Hall of Fame, World Sailor & Conference Links

With 2007 being ISAF's Centenary year, there are also a number of celebratory events alongside the intensive meeting schedule. Highlights are the launch of the ISAF Sailing Hall of Fame, and announcement of the first six inductees, on Monday 5 November, and the presentation of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards on 6 November.

For all the papers (including all 221 submissions), schedule, registration details and the latest news from Estoril just visit the ISAF Meetings microsite www.sailing.org/meetings (or click the Meetings tab at the top of any page on www.sailing.org).

ISAF Meetings - www.sailing.org/meetings
ISAF Sailing Hall of Fame - www.sailing.org/halloffame
ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards - www.sailing.org/worldsailor

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