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11 November 2005, 08:23 am
Olympic Format Decided
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ISAF Annual Conference 2005

The format for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition has been decided at the ISAF Annual Conference in Singapore. The Olympic Champions will be decided after a final 10-boat race, judged on the water and carrying a weighted double points score. ISAF President Goran Petersson's submission 025, with friendly amendment by Council member Charley COOK (USA), was passed with a massive majority at the second day of meetings of the ISAF Council on Friday.

ISAF most recently held meetings with the the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Olympic Broadcast Services (OBS) and broadcasters, during which they provided some positive guidance and input to ISAF on changes to the format. It was from these discussions that submission 025 was prepared. The submission started its path of debate in Singapore at the Olympic Classes Commission, where it received unanimous support from the representatives of all Olympic classes, who directly represent the sailors. It then moved on through the Classes Committee, Women's Sailing Committee, Windsurfing Committee and Race Officials Committee before being put before the responsible reporting Committee to Council, the Events Committee. Each in turn supported the proposals although of course had queries particularly on how the scoring would be implemented. Throughout the week various groups had been undertaking scoring models to ensure the best solution, and achieve the desired outcome whilst retaining the 'heart and soul' of sailing.

Emphasizing the partnership between ISAF and the IOC, the President commented,'The IOC has not told sailing what to do. It has identified some issues and we have worked together to move forwards.'

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His Majesty King Constantine and
ISAF President Göran PETERSSON

Over the past week it had become increasingly clear that the President's submission had generated strong support, especially with an amendment stretching the application of the discard from races 1-5 to 1-10 and a clear proposal on the scoring. The majority of debate has centred around the issue of weighting. Early in the week the Olympic Classes Commission floated the idea of double points in the medal race. Events Committee member Phil JONES (AUS) had produced some modelling based on the Athens results.

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All the President's men - Göran
Constitution Committee Chair David
LEES and Vice-President David
Weighting again became the central feature of the discussion in Council, with Jeff MARTIN from the Olympic Classes Commission explaining that he was there to support the submission saying, 'We have moved quite a long way.' There were suggestions for one class to be given even greater flexibility, but the discussions eventually came to a head with a friendly amendment from Charley COOK, which changed submission 025 in the ways detailed above. Vice-President David IRISH (USA) made a strong speech in favour of the submission, saying by accepting it, 'The Council is sending a message to the IOC and the world that it is willing to change and face the challenges of the future.'

In summing up the debate before the submission was put to the vote, David IRISH (USA) added, 'Thank you for a fascinating discussion. Whilst sailing has a challenge it also has an opportunity. We have sailors who, while having the greatest experience of their lives, will be putting on a show to help promote the Olympic sailing experience for future generations.'

As the proposed changes to submission 025 were considered a friendly amendment, no additional vote was required, leaving the Council the one vote to decide whether or not to accept or reject to submission 025. The tension mounted as the electronic counter did its work, but the result proved conclusive with 33 votes in favour of the President's submission and just two abstentions and two against. The format for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition and all Olympic Qualification events will be:

1. Regatta Format

  • An 11 race series (a 16 race series for the 49er). A Medal Race will be scheduled on the day designated for each class's medal ceremony, even if the full schedule has not been completed by that day.
  • The top 10 placed boats advance to the Medal Race. All boats advancing will be required to compete in the Medal Race.
  • On the water umpiring will be used in the Medal Race.
  • This format will apply to all test events and the 2008 Olympic Regatta (for all classes).

2. Scoring System

  • There will be one discard for the series score but the Medal Race shall not be discarded.
  • Competitors will carry their series scores (ie total of race scores after discard) through to the Medal Race.
  • Race scores for the Medal Race will be doubled (ie 2 points for first, 4 points for second, and so on) and added to the series score.
  • Any series tie after the Medal Race will be broken in favour of the boat finishing higher in the Medal Race.
  • If the Medal Race is not completed, medals will be awarded based on the series score for all the prior races (in the normal way).

3. Regatta Management

  • ISAF shall have the responsibility for the decisions on whether or not conditions are suitable for racing.

ISAF will work extremely closely with event organizers and the Olympic Classes as the new format is phased in. A programme will also be introduced by the Race Officials Committee to educate and train for on the water umpiring.

Following the vote, the President again gave his thanks to the Olympic Format Working Party remarking that their work in researching the subject over the past two years had given him crucial data when he attended the meetings with OBS and the IOC.

Parallel with the Olympic Format changes, ISAF is working closely with the IOC, OBS and BOCOG to introduce other initiatives for Qingdao, including the introduction of a 'centre course' which will carry the live television broadcast, through which the eleven events will rotate. The 'centre course' will be sited close to shore, offering viewing for spectators on land and water, and the use of fixed on-shore TV production equipment complementing the on-water footage. After the final Medal Race, the momentum for the medal winners will be carried through with the medal ceremony taking place as soon as possible after racing.

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Miss Shan of BOCOG Games
Services presents the facilities
for athletes in their preparations
and travel to Qingdao

Qingdao Presentation

With over 100 submissions viewed today, the Olympic Format was not the only major news to come from Singapore. At the start of the day and exactly 1,000 days before the start of the Beijing 2012 Olympic Games, the Organising Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad - Beijing 2008 (BOCOG) gave a presentation on the preparations for the Olympic Sailing Competition. Five racing areas have been identified, with four to be used in competition at the 2006 Test Event from 18-31 August. An update of the weather analysis was presented and the latest data is available via the ISAF website - CLICK HERE. Meanwhile over seven training clinics have been attended by 550 trainees and four practice regattas have produced 75 trainees.

An Expanding Federation

Four new Member National Authorities (MNA) had their application accepted, meaning Senegal and Vanuatu become full ISAF members and Georgia and Oman Associate Members. The Pan American Sailing Federation was also approved as an Affiliate Member, whilst the Splash and Access 2.3 where accepted as ISAF International Classes and the RS:X, Techno 293, RS Feva, Access 303, Platu 25 and Swan 45 all became ISAF Recognized Classes. Later in the day the ISAF Offshore Team World Championship was confirmed for the Yacht Club Esmeralda in Italy, whilst the International Foundation for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) where granted an additional World Championship, making four in total.

The ISAF World Cup proposal also received near unanimous support, and from 2007 will restructure the current ISAF Olympic Classes circuit, to deliver a global Olympic sailing tour on a par with other sports.

ISAF would like to thank Sanpellegrino for their support of the Conference, with provision of both still and sparkling water ensure delegates were refreshed no matter how heated the debates became. And to Schenker who have been ISAF's logistics and shipping partner.

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

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