The ISAF Annual Conference begins in Estoril, Portugal on 1 November with 11 days of intensive discussions, debates and decisions on the key issues in the sailing world.
Representatives from sailing nations around the world will meet in Estoril from the 1-11 November for the 2007 ISAF Annual Conference. Each year the Conference brings together the ISAF Committees and Commissions, as well as other leading figures from the sailing world, in ISAF's principal key decision making process. There are well over 200 submissions to be debated this year, with the hot topic set to be the selection of the ten events for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.
ISAF President Göran PETERSSON (SWE) said: "As always, the ISAF Conference will provide the opportunity for the representatives from the world of sailing to debate the future of the sport, as we work together in partnership to achieve decisions in the best interests of the sport. I am looking forward to welcoming and meeting the representatives from over 50 nations who will gather in Estoril, Portugal."
In ISAF's Centenary year, the Conference provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate 100 years of the International Sailing Federation (previously known as the International Yacht Racing Union). Principal amongst the celebratory events will be the launch of the ISAF Sailing Hall of Fame on 5 November and the presentation of the 2007 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards on 6 November.
The main discussions in Estoril will focus on the 221 Submissions. A Submission is a proposal to either change an existing policy or introduce a new policy in the sport. The Submissions are debated by the relevant ISAF Committee/s, but ultimately it is the ISAF Council who has the final say in the ISAF decision-making process. Throughout the week the different Commissions, Sub-Committees and Committees meet, passing their recommendations up the hierarchical tree, which concludes with the ISAF Council meeting on 8-10 November.
Together with the ISAF Council there are 14 ISAF Committees - some with Sub-Committees, Commissions and/or Working Parties - covering every aspect of the sport, from Race Officials to Regional Games, Windsurfing to Women's Sailing. As well as submissions each Committee has a host of other issues on their Agenda, whether it be appointing Race Officials or approving new ISAF International and Recognized Classes.
Whilst the Conference encompasses the full range of ISAF's activities, it is the Submissions which provide the central focus and each year the debate tends to centre in on one or two hot topics. This year the selection of the events for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition is set to be a pivotal discussion as the sport has to reduce from eleven to ten Olympic medal events, with over 40 different submissions on just this one topic. Other issues sure to provoke plenty of debate will be the ISAF Sailing World Championships, with a submission from the Executive Committee to change this from a quadrennial to a biennial event, the future of the ISAF World Cup, gender representation across all ISAF Committees and the ISAF Council, and a whole raft of submissions on the Racing Rules of Sailing.
Alongside the Committee meetings, ISAF's Connect to Sailing initiative will again be hosting a seminar, this year focusing on the sailing industry. The International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) will also be holding their meetings from 3-4 November. Unique to this year's Centenary Conference, and the perfect remedy to rumbling stomachs in the meeting rooms, will be the launch of the ISAF Ladies Cookbook, on Sunday 4 November.
You can view all of the submissions along with the agendas and supporting papers for the 2007 ISAF Annual Conference online at www.sailing.org/meetings
Connect to Sailing - www.sailing.org/connecttosailing
Disabled Sailing - www.sailing.org/disabled
ISAF Sailing Hall of Fame - www.sailing.org/halloffame
ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards - www.sailing.org/worldsailor