|Stelmar, © Global Challenge|
With just over four weeks to go until the Awards Presentation on 9 November, ISAF and Rolex announced the sailors shortlisted for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, with fifteen crews striving for the ultimate global sailing accolade.
The ISAF Classification Panel held its annual meeting at the ISAF Secretariat with a focus on streamlining the application and re-application process for sailors. New Classification registrations had totalled more than 6,000 in the preceeding 12 months.
One of the many events in 2004 using the ISAF Sailor Classification system was the inaugural Swan 45 Gold Cup, which was claimed by Stefano POLTI'S (ITA) Mintaka which won the prestigious Gold Cup designed by Asprey, the one-design classes first 'Champion'.
|Dragon 75th Anniversary
© Event Media
The unique Dragon 75th Anniversary got underway in St Tropez, France with the anniversary race hosting 267 boats lined up on a starting line that was 2.51 kilometres long. The event attracted luminaries from the sailing world including Russell COUTTS ,Jacques ROGGE, HRH The Princess Royal, HM King Juan Carlos of Spain, HRH Crown Prince Fredrik of Denmark and ISAF's President of Honour King Constantine. Coutts went on to claim the Champion of Champions race, but it was Swedish sailor Tom LOFSTEDT from the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, sailing Maria, with Martin ALSEN and Martin LARSSON, who won overall the Dragon 75th Anniversary Regatta in St Tropez.
The RYA announced awards presented to outstanding individuals, and a few weeks later Yachting New Zealand announced its finalists for the YNZ Yachting Excellence Awards, whilst US Sailing was seeking nominations for its US Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award.
Keeping up his form from the Dragons, Russell Coutts went onto win his seventh ISAF Grade 1 Bermuda Gold Cup, defeating ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominee Ed BAIRD (USA).
As the countdown to the ISAF November Conference unwound, retiring ISAF President Paul HENDERSON gave his thoughts on the future Olympic Classes and format, timed to inject some further thought for the forhcoming equipment selection decision.
The 36th annual Barcolana Cup in Italy attracted 1,960 entries, but it was the Aussie super maxi Alfa Romeo with owner Neville CRICHTON at the helm which took line honours for the second year in succession. This was a bit of a warm-up for the 25th Rolex Middle Sea Race, which got underway on 23 October with a record entry. Snakes and ladders, parking lots, electrical storms and a successful man overboard recovery were the talk on the dock at Malta's Manoel Island Marina at the conclusion of the event, but despite taking line honours Alfa Romeo could not add another quiver to the bow, with the handicap win going to the Greeks on their Farr 52 Optimum 3.
Early October and ISAF hosted an International Judges Instructors Seminar at the ISAF Secretariat in Southampton, which provided the opportunity for the sharing of best practice, experiences and ongoing training. Staying on the Race Officials scene, and a few weeks later Doha hosted a Race Management Clinic, but it was the RYA's hosting of an International Judges Seminar, 8-10 October, which set a record as the most 'international' IJ Seminar ever, with 25 delegates from 14 nations.
|B&Q © Team Ellen|
Meanwhile, getting ready for her round-the-world record attempt, Ellen MACARTHUR's B&Q was having a refit in Lorient, France - before she set off on 28 November.
The 6th International Sailing Summit was held over 5-6 October 2004, Annapolis, USA, attracting the sailing industry and wider sailing fraternity together to share experiences and explore ways of developing sailing internationally. ISAF's Connect to Sailing programme was presented and welcomed with much support. Continuing the theme, ISAF announced the holding of two Connect to Sailing Seminars during the ISAF November Conference, with a focus on 'Reaching Children in Education To Increase Participation'.
As part of its work, the ISAF Review Board heard a case and announced an appeal decision for an Argentinean sailor.
Showing that sailing really does attract all ages, sailing salt John WALKER, aged 81 and arguably the oldest regular ocean racing yachtsman in Australia, if not the world, notched up his second major offshore victory this year when he skippered his 34-footer Impeccable to an IMS handicap victory in the Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race.
Amidst speculation on the number of entries in the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006, and hot on the heels of the Brasil 1 announcement, it was confirmed that the design and build of another boat was underway at Green Marine in Lymington,GBR, bringing the the total number of boats entered in the Volvo Ocean Race to six with at least four other teams close to completion as the race nears the year to go mark.
The beginning of November saw the countdown to the Vendée Globe and the ISAF November Conference. The Vendée got underway on 7 November with the 20 competitors in the fifth edition of the Vendée Globe heading off from Les Sables d'Olonne, on the Atlantic coast of France, under grey skies with a considerably lighter than forecast 8 knot north-westerly. By 1 December Bonduelle had streaked into the lead, ahead of PRB, and a month later the fleet was setting a record time to Cape Horn and set to pass the turning mark after 57 days of racing.
|Sofia Bekatorou and Emilia Tsoulfa, Female Winners
of The ISAF Rolex World Sailor Of The Year Award
© Paul Gillham/Getty
Robert Scheidt (BRA) Male Winner
In Copenhagen, Denmark ISAF an Rolex announced the winners of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards on 9 November. Honoured by the sailing world, and claiming the accolade ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, were gold medallists Robert Scheidt (BRA) and Sofia Bektorou and Emilia Tsoulfa (GRE) who won the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards who each received an ISAF Rolex Trophy and Rolex timepiece. Image (left):
Going into the ISAF November Conference, the big issues were the selection of the equipment for the 2008 Olympic Regatta and the election of the President and Vice-Presidents for the next four-year term. On 12 November, a packed meeting room at the Marriott hotel in Copenhagen, played host to the ISAF Council as they voted on the equipment to be used in the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta in Qingdao.
Eight of the eleven classes were set to remain as used earlier in the year in Athens, and the ISAF Council approved a motion to select the eight non-contentious classes:
1. Multihull Open: Tornado
2. Keelboat Women: Yngling
3. Keelboat Men: Star
4. Double-handed Dinghy Open: 49er
5. Double-handed Dinghy Women: 470
6. Double-handed Dinghy Men: 470
7. Single-handed Dinghy Open: Finn
8. Single-handed Dinghy Men: Laser
Discussion then moved towards the windsurfing event, for which two options were brought to the table: The Mistral One-design and the Neil Pryde RS:X. After debate that revolved around the clarification to MNA's that ISAF would have a high level of control over the pricing and level of availability of the board, as well as reassurance over the class contract, which will be negotiated by the Executive Committee and the board manufacturers, Council voted 26:12 in favour of the Neil Pryde RS:X board. The crunch for the equipment to be selected for the single-handed dinghy women event was between the Europe and the Laser Radial, with the Result - 24:12 in favour of the Laser Radial, with two abstentions.
|ISAF Presidents of Honour, His Majesty King Harald V of
Norway and His Majesty King Constantine present Paul
HENDERSON (CAN) with the ISAF painting. © ISAF
© Per Heergaard
More than 500 delegates representing more than 80 nations were in Copenhagen, Denmark. Add to these the many observers - representing the sailors, coaches and media - and the debates in the meeting rooms and the halls were intense. Numerous international sailors joined ISAF in Copenhagen, with their recognition of the role of the ISAF volunteers summarised by Olympic Gold medallist Kevin BURNHAM (USA) who was attending his first ISAF Conference, and when asked what he thought, commented 'I had no idea there were so many volunteers at this high level doing such fantastic work for sailing. I am really impressed.' Sentiments also echoed by Paul CAYARD. Over the nine days of meetings, there were some crucial steps taken for the sport of sailing.
Early December saw the first YES (Young Enabled Sailors) Conference - entitled YES Europe and held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands by the International Foundation for Disabled Sailing. Attracting 115 delegates from 33 nations, the Conference focused on attracting and supporting youth who are disabled into the sport of sailing.
A new sailing partnership came together at the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta in the shape of Olympic sailors Sebastien GODEFROID (BEL) and Carolijn BROUWER (NED) - along with victory. Where will this pair be heading.
Fresh from his victory at the ISAF Grade 1 Nippon Cup, ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominee Ed BAIRD (USA) was signed up to the Alinghi America's Cup defence.
Yachting Australia recognised its sailing heroes, and for the third time straight Tornado sailors Darren BUNDOCK and John FORBES picked up the Male Sailor of the Year Award.
On the speed sailing front, windsurfer Finn MAYNARD (IVB) set a new outright speed record in excess of 46 knots on his production board, knocking Yellow Pages from a position held for many years.
|Iker Martinez (ESP).
More Volvo Ocean Race news in November with Mike 'Moose' Sanderson' chosing his crew for his ABN AMRO entry. Meanwhile Iker MARTINEZ (ESP) gold medal winning helm in the 49er joined the Telefonica team for an different challenge to winning Gold medals.
Ellen MacArthur was suddenly 'code green' at the end of November and got off the blocks on 28 November setting a blistering pace to give a new record to the Cape of Good Hope. Two weeks later and Ellen set a new personal best 24-hour run of 484.5 miles [previous best 481 miles] and continue to build on her two and a half day advantage over Francis JOYON (FRA).
Going into December, and a new event in the United Arab Emirates was announced with the launch of the Maktoum Sailing Trophy, an series of events destined to take its place alongside the world's leading offshore races.
With the festive season approaching the Bahamas Sailing Association gave their youths sailors an early Christmas present of 19 new Optimists to develop their national training programme.
The final ISAF Grade 1 event of 2004 was the Sydney International Regatta, which finished with the 196 boat fleet sailing in a south-easterly breeze which reached 20 knots on Sydney Harbour. Sailors from Great Britain, USA, Singapore, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Finland, Malaysia, Czech Republic and Australia took part.
As Christmas drew nearer the majority of the Sydney Hobart fleet were limbering up at the Rolex Trophy series on Sydney Harbour. 26 December 2004 saw defending line honours champion Skandia take an early lead, after the 60th anniversary edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race got away to a perfect start under a clear sky. A complete contract to the conditions the fleet were to face a day later. Harsh weather took a fearsome toll on the fleet, and after leaping on to a life raft with the rest of his crew, skipper Grant WHARINGTON was mounting a rescue operation for his super maxi yacht Skandia.
|The winning crew on Aera.
© Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex
The 90-foot super maxi Nicorette took Line Honours to give owner/skipper Ludde INGVALL his second victory in four years, in an elapsed time of about 2 days 16 hours 00 minutes 44 seconds, more than 21 hours outside Nokia's record of 1 day 19 hours 48 minutes 02 seconds set in 1999. The finish was in marked contrast to the galeforce winds that Nicorette and the other boats in the now decimated fleet have experienced over the past 24 hours. Handicap honours went to Aera, who became the third British boat to win the coveted handicap trophy.
The Palamos Christmas Race got underway in Spain, with the Spanish taking the lead after the first day's racing.
A late announcement from Tracy EDWARDS as she confirmed that Steve FOSSETT's Cheyenne will enter the Oryx Quest 2005 under the command of American David SCULLY, bringing the total number of boats competing for the Oryx Quest Trophy to four.
From 1 January 2005 the revised ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing 2005-2008, the ISAF Equipment Rules of Sailing 2005-2008 and the Prohibited Medications come into effect worldwide.
Announcements for the America's Cup as well, with three new challenges bringing the total to eight. December started with announcements of two new teams revealed, but not the identity of the teams - data which is formally still awaited by the sailing world. A more open announcement a few weeks later, with Spain's 'El Reto' becoming the eighth challenger, marking Spain's fourth ever challenge for the Cup.
Closing the year, the newly elected ISAF President, Göran Petersson, closed his year with an in depth interview giving his thoughts on the sport.
The end of 2004 saw the number of sailors registered to ISAF Sailor exceed the 28,000 threshold.
A devastating close to the year with the tsunamis in Asia wreaking devastation across communities, with thousands of lives lost and ruined. ISAF expressed its deepest condolences. All our thoughts remain with the individuals, families and communities suffering from the disaster.
Image: Paul and Mary Henderson © ISAF