"It seems as though it was not so long since I closed the Council meeting in St Petersburg, but so much has happened during this time in the world of sailing.
In June I was in Kiel and experienced first hand how well the concept of the ISAF World Cup is progressing, but it made me realise that we still need to work on this concept. It is clear that the management of the calendar of events should be an important priority of ISAF. Due to the Test Event and the Olympic Games next year, the level of entries in the different ISAF World Cup Events varied greatly and this is clearly an issue for the Events Committee to look at.
The IOC session in July was held in Durban, South Africa. There are a few themes I would like to report on:
The fight against illegal betting and illegal behaviour by athletes and the "athlete's entourage":
You now come across these words frequently - Jacques Rogge uses them all the time. It refers to everyone involved with the athletes; from the family to the doctors, to the Coaches, mechanics and so on.
"Olympic solidarity is growing":
The IOC revenues are growing through the TV rights and the Commercial Partners Programme. A great deal is spent on the development side of the sport. ISAF, or more importantly ISAF Members, are benefitting from this.
Athletes Career Programme:
The IOC are very keen for International Federations to look after their athletes even if their career in the sport has finished. Sailing has some good opportunities here - boat building, sales, maintenance and in the super yacht industries.
The IOC is going to monitor compliance with the IOC Ethics Code throughout the entire Olympic family including International Federations and National Olympic Committees. In the review of the Sports Programme a list of topics are being addressed and Good Governance will definitely be on the list. We must be able to get a tick in the box on this subject and you will be asked to take some steps in this direction during this meeting.
Regarding the Games itself:
In his speech the Olympic Games Director, Gilbert Felli, gave a clear message to sports:
His first notable comment was that we must keep the cost and complexity of the Games under control. The Games must be sustainable and have a legacy.
Secondly he said that although the Games are in excellent health, the gap between success and failure is small. The Games must be relevant in competition with other events and forms of entertainment.
Remaining the prime event in young people's minds requires forward thinking, market intelligence and regular investments. I think we need to apply these words directly to the Olympic Sailing Competition. Specifically how do we present the sport and how do we keep our Olympic programme relevant.
A slide on the Winter Olympics presented by Gilbert Felli said fast-pace, challenging, environment and open to change and innovation. Despite the traditions and history behind our sport, these words exactly describe the America's Cup. You will hear more about this later. I was invited to the first AC-45 event in Cascais and it is really interesting to see how the America's Cup is pushing boundaries to make the sport a truly spectator sport. I am very happy we have with us here today, Andy Hindley, the AC Regatta Director and Head of America's Cup Race Management, who will tell us more. It is a fantastic opportunity to be able to learn about ideas that we have been talking about for years being taken forward in an extreme way. America's Cup is fast boats, new formats, technologies, stadium sailing, you will hear all about it. The relationship between the America's Cup and ISAF is excellent and our Officials are fully involved. We have perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn and take tested ideas from proven concepts in order to move our entire sport forward.
It was clearly visible, that we are moving in the right direction at the Test Event in Weymouth. The concept of stadium sailing was further tested for the Olympic Games sailing finals - the medal race - and the results are so far encouraging. We still need to fine tune the format a little, but tickets have sold out, so we better put on a good show next August. LOCOG representatives will present their progress report to the Council on Friday, but it all seems to be going very well. On the screen you can see some pictures from the finished Olympic satellite village for our sailor's. It has been built right next to the venue and this is a great improvement from the cruise ship option, that was talked about, when London were bidding for the Games. Furthermore this presents a great legacy for the community after the Games.
We are currently in the third year of the four year term of the Council and the Committees. In September the Executive Committee reviewed the progress made on the four year strategic plan, that we are working to and I am happy to report that we are on track with, of course, still much to be done. A summary report was attached to the minutes of the September Executive Committee.
After these meetings all attention will be focussed on the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships. I am looking forward to the Opening Ceremony, which will be held on 2 December and the competition that will follow. Coming from North Europe it will be great watching sailing at the highest level in the summer whilst knowing it will be cold at home!
Lastly I would like to mention, that we had a very eventful summer of ISAF events; the ISAF Youth Sailing Championship held in Zadar, Croatia in July, the ISAF Team Racing Worlds in Schull, Ireland and the ISAF Nations Cup final in Sheboygan in the United States.
As usual in the four year cycle of ISAF, we have a lot of Racing Rules Submissions this year, and, if we manage to decide on all of these Submissions the Racing Rules Committee will be able to finalise the 2013 book well in time for study and translation!
I would also like to take this opportunity of congratulating Ralph Roberts on being awarded the Olympic Order from the IOC.
I would like to conclude my report to Council and invite Antony Matusch to come forward.
Antony, I would like you to accept the ISAF Silver Medal in recognition of the significant contribution you have made to ISAF as Chairman of the ISAF Sailor Classification Commission. Sailor Classification was your concept, sold to the then President Paul Henderson as something that would just run itself! I know this hasn't quite worked out like this but as with any good idea Sailor Classification has developed and grown. I hope you feel proud to hand over the reins to the new Chairman.