On Thursday 3 November, the world of sailing will gather in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the 2011 ISAF Annual Conference.
ISAF Committee, Sub-committee and Commission members will travel from around the globe to San Juan where they will be joined by ISAF Member National Authorities, sailors, event organisers, class associations, boat manufacturers and many more. Those in attendance will discuss, debate, make recommendations and decisions on the issues and policies that will take sailing forward into 2012.
This year the events for the 2013-2016 ISAF Sailing World Cup will be announced as well as key discussions on a wide range of other matters including piracy, sailing rankings, racing rules and events.
However, the ISAF Annual Conference is more than just meetings as it offers a chance to share ideas and stories and discuss the future of sailing.
On Sunday 6 November, ISAF are hosting the Training and Development Seminar which will include a keynote speech from double Olympic Gold Medallist Iain Percy and the presentation of the ISAF Presidents Development Award. Later on in the day the Women's Forum will take place and will include a talk from Oman Sail who recently launched a Women's Sailing Programme.
The MNA Forum on Tuesday 8 November will provide MNAs with an opportunity to build networks with ISAF staff, race officials, other MNAs, class associations and boat manufacturers.
The conference will also offer a chance to celebrate sailing stories of success at the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards. The 2011 nominees feature some of the year's best sailors with Dee Caffari (GBR), Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU), Alexandra Rickham (GBR) and Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) making up the Female Nominees. And Ben Ainslie (GBR), Lorenzo Bressani (ITA), Rob Douglas (USA), Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez (ESP) and Nathan Outteridge (AUS) are the Male Nominees. All will be vying for the coveted and prestigious award.
Over 200 submissions have been sent to ISAF proposing changes to existing policies or regulations, as well as looking to introduce new ones. MNAs, class associations, Committee Chairmen, the Executive Committee and the ISAF President can all make Submissions which are then assigned to one or more Committees for reviewing depending on the subject at hand.
During the first week of the Conference, all Submissions are discussed at a series of Committee meetings ranging from Audit to Windsurfing. Committees consider Submissions relevant to their area of expertise and pass their recommendations to the ISAF Council. At their meetings, Committees also consider other areas relevant to them, such as venue selection for future ISAF events and reports on recent events through to Race Official appointments.
At the end of the Conference, the ISAF Council hold their meeting over three days chaired by President, Göran Petersson. It is at this meeting that Council make the final decisions on all submissions. Along with the President, the Council is made up of seven Vice-Presidents, two Officers of Honour (non-voting), the Treasurer (non-voting), twenty-eight appointed members (representing each of the regional groups of sailing nations), and representatives of the Oceanic and Offshore Committee, ISAF Classes Committee, Athletes' Commission (non-voting) and Women's Forum. This ensures that the views of sailing worldwide are taken in to consideration in the decision making process. After reviewing and taking in to consideration all the Committee recommendations Council will decide whether each Submission is accepted, rejected or deferred for further consideration. It is then the job of the ISAF Executive Committee to put the decisions into practice working with the ISAF Secretariat team.
To find out more about the ISAF Annual Conference and to view papers and submissions click here