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9 November 2005, 04:24 am
World's Best Crowned - Conference Continues
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ISAF Annual Conference 2005

Today the focus at the ISAF Annual Conference in Singapore was firmly on the evening's activities with the 2005 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards being announced and the presented by triple Olympic medallist Alessandra SENSINI. However there was still plenty of goings on in the meeting rooms, with the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition Format again up for debate.
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The second Connect to Sailing Seminar once again got the meetings off to an early start, with Axel GRAEL (BRA) and Geoff THORPE (NZL) presenting two initiatives which have the project's support. The Grael Project is having terrific success in introducing the sailing to underprivileged youngsters in Brazil, and thanks to support from Connect to Sailing will be taking a group of Brazilian youngest on a sailing course in the USA. Meanwhile in New Zealand, Sailing… Have A Go is about to launch a wide-ranging attempt to bring sailing to youngest across the country. Following the presentations GRAEL and THORPE remained for a lively question and answer session with Connect to Sailing project manager Tim COVENTRY (GBR) and the seminar attendees which included ISAF Vice-President Fiona BARRON.

The ISAF Women's Sailing Committee saw plenty of debate revolving around the Olympics, with the equipment and competition formats creating plenty of discussion. Looking at submission 028 on a new top mast for the Laser Radial in Beijing 2008, the Committee were supportive of benefits of the change, but were against recommending the submission to the ISAF Council as it fell in the middle of the current Olympic cycle.

Leader of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings and nominee for this year's ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards Claire LEROY (FRA) was an unsurprising supporter of submission 076 to re-introduce match racing to the Olympics in 2012 and gave an interesting presentation to support her case. There was also plenty of lively debate on the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition Format, whilst discussing submissions 025 and 047 through to 055. The balance of support came out in favour of submission 025, and the debate will now pass on to the ISAF Events Committee, before the ISAF Council make the final decision on the formats at the end of the week.

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Claire LEROY was a interested
observer at the Women's
Sailing Committee
© Jonathon Drake/
Getty Images

Other Committees meeting on Tuesday were the ISAF Audit Committee, ISAF Racing Rules Committee and the ISAF Team Racing Sub-Committee, who received a report on the successful 2005 Grey Goose ISAF Team Racing World Championship.

The ISAF Equipment Committee had plenty to discuss including three applications from Classes for ISAF International status and eight for recognized status including the new Olympic windsurfing equipment the Neil Pryde RS:X. It was felt that not all of the classes met the stringent criteria set to become an ISAF class, and the Committee will report their findings to the Council, who will make the final decision on the applications. Similar to the Women's Sailing Committee, they were in favour of the change of mast for the Laser Radial, but not during this Olympic campaign. Olympic gold medallist and two-time World Sailor of the Year, Sofia BEKATOROU (GRE) also stepped up to add her considerable experience to the discussions.

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World Sailors of the Year Fernando
President Göran PETERSSON
© Jonathon Drake/Getty Images
Following the conclusion of the meetings, attention switched to the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel ballroom and the Awards Presentation and Dinner for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards. Triple windsurfing Olympic medallist Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) swapped her board for the podium to host the evening with great aplomb with HM King Constantine announcing the 2005 winners Fernando ECHAVARRI and Antón PAZ (ESP) and Dame Ellen MACARTHUR (GBR). For more on the Awards CLICK HERE.

For all the news on the ISAF Annual Conference CLICK HERE.

ISAF. Image, Sofia BEKATOROU gets her point across in the Equipment Committee:© Jonathon Drake/Getty Images
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