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5 November 2006, 06:00 pm
A Word With The Chair - Ross ROBSON
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ISAF Annual Conference 2006
Helsinki, Finland

Today in Helsinki, Finland, the ISAF Youth and Development Committee took centre stage on day four of the ISAF Annual Conference. Following the conclusion of the meeting caught up with the Committee Chairman Ross ROBSON (RSA).
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Out of all the Committees of ISAF, the ISAF Classes Committee has a good claim to be the most diverse. It is certainly the largest, with the chairman joined by six other members along with representatives from all of ISAF's 87 Classes.

'The basic principle is to give the Classes input into the work of ISAF and also for ISAF work to have another channel to flow out,' explained MARTIN. 'We're unique in ISAF in so far that the class appoint their own representatives to the Committee, so we get the right people representing the class, as opposed to other Committees, which are set up for technical expertise and where people are elected for expertise in their various areas.

A Different Approach

With such a large number of members, the ISAF Classes Committee has a slightly different approach to many of the other Committees within ISAF and covers a very large range of issues.

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'It's a mixture of a forum and a debating room,' explained MARTIN. 'Another of the key things we do is put input into all the other Committees and all the Submissions, which is again, also unique in ISAF.'

To most people in sailing, the name Jeff MARTIN is synonymous with the Laser class, where he is the Executive Secretary and has served the class for 32 years. However, this is by no means the limit to his sailing experience. Sailing since he was 13, MARTIN has competed in keelboats, offshore, quarter ton boats as well as Lasers. During the 1970s he sailed Tornados, winning the European Championship but just missing out on the British spot for the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games. Certainly no disgrace, as the British team of Reginald WHITE and John OSBORN went on to win the gold medal.

The Hot Topics

The Olympic Classes Sub-Committee met before the Classes Committee got underway, and directly addressed some of the major topics of this year's conference. 'The hot subjects there were the development of the World Cup series,' revealed MARTIN. 'Which there are a number of Submissions about, and which is an ongoing project. Also finding out more information on the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships and consideration whether there would be any revision to the Olympic Format, in particular the Medal Race format at the 2008 Olympics.'

Returning to the Classes Committee, MARTIN also pointed to Submission 015 on Class Advertising, which he described as, 'welcome news for the classes. Of course, all these things have to go forward to Council, but that received welcome support from the Classes.'

The 87 ISAF Classes range from the Optimist dinghy for sailors under 16 years of age, up to the 60 foot multihulls. The ISAF Classes Committee encompasses this diversity and reflects it in its workings to form a key part of the ISAF Democracy.

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ISAF. Image, Ross ROBSON chairs the meeting of the ISAF Youth and Development Committee:© ISAF
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