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5 November 2006, 05:00 pm
Boosting Participation
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ISAF Annual Conference 2006
Helsinki, Finland

Participation and the spread of sailing around the world were the main topics on day four of the ISAF Annual Conference in Helsinki, Finland. In a wide ranging debate, the ISAF Youth and Development Committee looked at the challenges facing sailing, whilst both the Windsurfing and the Match Racing Committees were able to reflect on groundbreaking years.
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The Youth and Development Committee Chair Ross ROBSON (RSA) led a debate focusing on the ISAF Strategic Plan's objectives on Participation and Accessibility and Equipment. Key points that came out of the meeting were the desire to create 'start up' information and guidance for new MNAs and to improve the communications between the Committee and the classes and manufacturers. Another key topic was the creation of a simple set of sailing rules for youngsters, an item on the agenda of the Racing Rules Committee.

A Ground Breaking Year In Match Racing

The Match Racing Committee began their meeting by paying tribute to late Committee Member Francois PASCAL (FRA).

Over the past year there have been some major changes in the match racing world, most notably with ISAF partnering the World Tour to create the World Match Racing Tour for the World Championship title and the ISAF Nations Cup re-launched. Reigning World Champion and ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominee Peter GILMOUR (AUS) praised the partnership which has seen 50 competitors take part in the last championship and the World Tour extended to cover Europe, Asia and North and South America.

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The Nations Cup also aims to spread the match racing bug, but focuses more on developing the sport right across the globe. Competitors from 40 nations took part in the 2006 event, which also included match racing clinics for Race Officials at each of the Regional Finals. After the success of this year's event, the Committee decided to bring forward the Regional Finals for the 2009 Nations Cup to follow the Olympic Sailing Competition in 2008.

Auckland, New Zealand and Vigo, Spain were selected as hosts for the, respectively, 2008 and 2009 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championships. Submission 078 on a women's match racing event in the Olympic Games was deferred, with the Committee aiming to produce a submission to that affect next year.

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Four-time World Champion
Peter GILMOUR was in Helsinki
© Guido Cantini

Windsurfers Looks Towards Qingdao

After a massive inaugural RS:X Worlds in Torbole, Italy just a few weeks ago, the main issues in the Windsurfing Committee unsurprisingly centred around the Olympic Games. The Committee supported a slightly amended version of Submission 064, to run a slalom course for the windsurfing Medal Races at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition. The Submission will also be looked at by the Women's Sailing Committee and Events Committee before a final decision is made by the ISAF Council. The Committee did not support Submission 075, recommending that the RS:X should be supplied equipment at the Olympic Games, with Acting Vice-Chairman Phil JONES (AUS) keen not to, 'move away from the principle of the level playing field.'

Also meeting today were the International Measurers Sub-Committee, the Class Rules Sub-Committee, Racing Rules Committee Working Party and the Empirical Handicap Sub-Committee.

Tomorrow the Conference returns to the theme of participation, with the first of two Connect to Sailing seminars focusing on training. One of ISAF's key, but perhaps more unsung, roles is to insure fair play on the water. The Race Officials Committee meet tomorrow to work towards achieving this goal.

Meetings Microsite

The ISAF Meetings microsite - - contains the Agendas, Supporting Papers and Submission from past meetings, 1997 to date. Via the online Minutes Archive you can access all past minutes of ISAF Committee Meetings from 1993 to date.

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

ISAF. Image, The focus of the Conference today was on participation:© Singapore Sailing Federation
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