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7 November 2005, 08:15 am
The Old And The New
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ISAF Annual Conference 2005

Today in Singapore there was an interesting contrast of old and new at the ISAF Annual Conference with the Connect to Sailing Seminar embodying ISAF's renewed investment in participation, particularly amongst young sailors. Meanwhile in the other meeting rooms some of ISAF's long established Committees continued quietly to do their vital behind the scenes work.
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The first of two Connect to Sailing Seminars got the day off to an early start with Project Manager Tim COVENTRY describing the birth of the initiative and explaining its overall goal of increasing participation at a grassroots level. Yesterday the ISAF Youth and Development Committee focussed on the issues surrounding the decline participation in sailing, and the gradual increase in the average age of sailors.

The Connect to Sailing project was set up exactly to address this problem and COVENTRY was able to highlight a number of schemes already in place which illustrate the values of the initiative and the progress already made. He highlighted that the Connect to Sailing steering group have identified that 'community sailing programmes' are the solution, but 'there is no one size fits all solution,' he explained. 'It's going to be a succession of small steps.'

One Million New Sailors

The Connect to Sailing seminar then moved on to the project's target, to attract a million new sailors to have come to the sport in ten years time. As a bare figure it may seem an ambitious target, but ISAF then gave a presentation featuring several existing schemes around the world which illustrate the success of small scale operations, alongside the more nationwide initiatives. The Connect to Sailing project team were keen to point out that when they started the Connect to Sailing project they were amazed to find so many small scale operations bringing new sailors to the sport which were operating independently from national programmes, but proving highly successful. Communication he stressed was vital to the success of the project, to be able to share best practice and success stories with each other.

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Izivunguvungu Sailing School
was highlighted by Tim
COVENTRY as a successful
example of the Connect to
Sailing ethic
Connect to Sailing's North American Ambassador Chip JONES was clear that falling participation was a crucial problem that has to be addressed, and pointed out that, 'as every Finn sailor knows there is no perfect equilibrium. Sport is either growing or protracting.' Sailing, he was keen to point out, had a clear ability to get back on the upswing and challenge youth away from other sports. For more on Connect to Sailing go to the project microsite -

Away From The Limelight

The ISAF Constitution Committee was briefly joined by ISAF President Göran PETERSSON (SWE) who was quick to recognize the detailed and sophisticated work done by the Committee, which although never grabs the headlines, is vital to an international organization of the breadth and depth of ISAF.

Ensuring Fair Play

Another Committee which tends to operate away from the limelight is the ISAF Race Officials Committee. Put simply, without race officials, top level competition simply could not take place. Development, training and education of existing and new race officials is an ongoing and essential part of ISAF's agenda. Seminars and clinics taking place across the sailing world seek to communicate best practice and provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and the opportunity to learn from some of the best and most experienced umpires in the respective region.

Today, as well as discussing a host of class rule changes and receiving a report on race officials clinics run in conjunction with Regional Games, there was support for submission 084 to implement a multi discipline 'taster' seminar for retired Olympic sailors. Drawing retired professional sports people into the rules domain is a common goal across many sports, and with these seminars ISAF is trying to take a leading role.

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Where would we be without
© Tomas Turo
On submission 025 proposing a final deciding race at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition with direct on the water officiating, Committee chair John DOERR (GBR) saying, 'We take this very seriously, will look at the proper procedures, training and education… We need to take action to ensure the standard of race officials and quality of direct umpiring on the water.' It was proposed to appoint a team that will stretch across the entire rules and officials spectrum to look at the proposal and how to approach any developments that will arise from it.

There was also enthusiastic support for the move to provide all ISAF Race Officials with a standard uniform.

IFDS Elections

The International Foundation for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) AGM is took place today at the end of the YES Asia Conference at the Changi Village Hotel, Singapore. One of the Agenda Items was the election of two Vice-Presidents to the IFDS Executive Board, with four nominations for the post received.

Carl-Gustaf FRESK (SWE) and John TWOMEY (IRL) were elected to the Executive Board. More information on the new Vice-Presidents can be found by clicking on their names.

For more on the IFDS YES Asia Conference CLICK HERE.

The World's Best

Tomorrow the 2005 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards will honour one male and one female with the presentation of the 2005 Trophy. Triple Olympic medallist Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) is the latest in a long line of famous sailing names to host the Awards, which reflect on the achievements over the past twelve months of six male and four female nominees. For more on the Awards CLICK HERE.

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

ISAF. Image, ISAF President Göran PETERSSON with (left to right) Dina KOWALYSHYN, Alessandra SENSINI and Fiona KIDD:© ISAF
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