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31 October 2005, 09:27 am
Conference Preview - Part One
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ISAF Annual Conference 2005

The ISAF Annual Conference in Singapore from 3-13 November brings together figures from across the sailing world for eleven days of discussions, debates and decisions aimed at ensuring the healthy future of our sport. For Göran PETERSSON (SWE) it will be his first ISAF Annual Conference as President with the hot topic set to be the format for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.
Every year ISAF gathers it's representatives from all over the world to it's key decision making process, the ISAF Annual Conference. Over 500 delegates from 70-80 nations are expected in Singapore, with eleven days of meetings scheduled to cover every aspect of sailing.

After the Presidential elections at the end of last year's successful Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, Göran PETERSSON will preside as ISAF President at the Annual Conference for the first time, and a host of new Vice-Presidents and ISAF Council members will be adding their considerable experience and skill to the debating table.

How The Conference Works

The ISAF Annual Conference brings together all the ISAF Committees and the ISAF Council, which is the final decision making body of ISAF. The Conference in Singapore concludes with three days of Council meetings which will ultimately aim to set the course for sailing's future.

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ISAF President Göran
PETERSSON (SWE) will chair
his first ISAF Annual Conference
since he was elected last year
In the eight days preceding the Council meetings the Committees, Sub-committees and Commissions will debate and discuss Submissions made to change existing policies or introduce new ones, along with debating many other items on their respective Agendas. Based on these discussions they will then make recommendations to the Council, who are chaired by Göran PETERSSON and, as stated before, are the ultimate decision making body of ISAF. For a more detailed account of the workings of the ISAF Annual Conference CLICK HERE.

Also In Singapore

As well as the ISAF Annual Conference, several other important meetings will be taking place in Singapore. The International Foundation for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) will be hosting the YES Asia Conference from the 4-7 October, whilst the International Sailing Schools Association (ISSA) will be bringing together prominent local and international experts in sailing education for their Teaching Sailing Worldwide conference on 5 November. From 2-8 November the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) will also be holding their Annual Meeting meeting in Singapore.

However for the vast majority of the sailing world, it is the workings, discussion and decisions of the ISAF Annual Conference which grab the attention.

Celebrating The Past And Looking To The Future

A major feature of this year's Conference will be the presentation of the ISAF Strategic Plan to the ISAF Council and ISAF Committees. Evolved from input by the ISAF Committees and discussions at the 2005 ISAF Mid-Year Meeting of Council in Stockholm, Sweden, the Strategic Plan is the first step in a co-ordinated programme to uphold the vision of ISAF and create a framework for action. The ISAF Classes Committee will be first to view the presentation which will outline ISAF's aims and objectives in the coming years and their approach to achieving them.

With the ISAF Centenary in 2007, this year's Conference will also give delegates from ISAF MNAs and Classes the opportunity to get right up to speed with the planned celebrations. An ISAF Centenary Information Desk will give details of some of the activities lined up for 2007, including the Sail The World weekend on 1-2 September 2007. For more on the ISAF Centenary CLICK HERE.

Olympic Sailing Competitions

For the vast majority of observers, the issues of greatest interest in Singapore will be the proposed changes to the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition Format in submissions 025 and 047 through to 055. The ISAF Classes Committee will be the first to discuss these proposals on Saturday 5 November, before the Women's Sailing Committee on Tuesday 8 November, with the Events Committee discussing the submissions on Wednesday 9 November before making their recommendations to the ISAF Council, which meets on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10-12 November.

The other major Olympic issue to be debated is the equipment for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition taking place in Weymouth, Great Britain. Under ISAF Regulation 16.1.1(d) up to 40% of the equipment for the Olympic Events may be pre-selected at the November meeting seven years in advance of the Olympics subject to certain conditions. Eight of the current eleven Olympic classes have been put forward for pre-selection, as proposed in submissions 057 through to 073. Meanwhile submission 076 proposes that match racing should re-enter the Olympics in 2012.

What's Happening And When

The meetings in Singapore start this Thursday 3 November, with the bulk of meetings taking place next week in the lead up to the ISAF Council meetings on 10-12 November. Here follows an overview of the Conference schedule (for the full ISAF Annual Conference schedule with times and locations CLICK HERE) looking at some of the major issues set for discussion.

The Conference kicks off on Thursday 3 November with the ISAF Executive Committee chaired by ISAF President Göran PETERSSON. On Friday the three ISAF Commissions, the Olympic Classes Commission, the Medical Commission and the International Regulations Commission hold their meetings in the morning, with the Executive Committee again meeting in the afternoon.

On Saturday 5 November the meetings start in earnest, with all but a very few open to observers. As noted above the Classes Committee will be the first to look at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition format as well as in-house certification, and quick release trapeze harnesses.

Race Officials Continue Vital Role

Three of the four Race Officials sub-committees, the International Judges Sub-Committee, the International Umpires Sub-Committee and the Race Management Sub-Committee all meet during the day on Saturday and will discuss how to continue and improve on their excellent work without which simply put, competitive sailing would be almost impossible. This vital arm of ISAF and the great number of committed volunteers who contribute to it play a vital role in our sport. On the following day, Sunday, the International Measurers Sub-Committee meet before the Race Officials Committee on Monday.

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Alessandra SENSINI will be
one of the famous sailing
names in Singapore
© Clive Mason

Women's Sailing

The ISAF Women's Forum has an early start on Sunday morning and will bring together all of the female representatives on the ISAF Committees. Part of the meeting will include a question and answer session with a 'Women in the Olympics' panel, which will include gold medallists Sofia BEKATOROU (GRE) and Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) as well as ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominee Claire LEROY (FRA), US SAILING President Janet BAXTER and Nina CASTRO (BRA). Later in the week on Tuesday the focus will again be on women as the Women's Sailing Committee meet all day. They will be the second of the Committees to discuss the submissions relating to the Olympic Sailing Competitions before they go on to the Events Committee.

Along with the Women's Forum on Sunday, the ISAF Windsurfing Committee is set for an update on the RS:X and will also come up with a recommendation on a possible slalom format for the Olympics as proposed in submission 054. At the ISAF Match Racing Committee on the same day there is sure to be lively debate on submission 076 to re-introduce match racing to the Olympics in 2012. Match Racing last featured in Sydney five years ago where Jesper BANK led his Danish team to gold. There will also be a progress report on the 2006 ISAF Nations Cup, where the regional finals pit together top match racing teams on a level playing field to battle it out for a spot in the Grand Final in Ireland.

Connect To Sailing

The first of two Connect to Sailing seminars gets Monday off to an early awakening, with the 0800 hours start time designed to allow delegates engaged in meetings elsewhere later in the day to attend and find out more on this developing ISAF initiative. Connect to Sailing has been helping to foster a renewed focus on youth, particularly in developing sailing nations, and the seminar on Monday will look towards the future for Connect to Sailing, to see how the good work already achieved can be expanded upon. Three presentations will highlight key issues within the initiative and also look at progress made to date. The second of the seminars on Tuesday morning will include an indepth look at two of the projects supported so far. For more on the Connect to Sailing Seminars CLICK HERE

Monday And Tuesday

The Constitution Committee meetings will follow on from the first Connect to Sailing seminar on Monday and is another of the largely unknown essentials in the ISAF structure. Also meeting on Monday is the Regional Games Committee, the Oceanic Sub-Committee, the Equipment Control Sub-Committee, the Special Regulations Sub-Committee and the Sail Rankings Sub-Committee.

The Racing Rules Committee on Tuesday will take a look at proposed changes to the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS), although with the Rules renewed every four years, the new period covered will be 2009-2012. The Equipment Committee will be dealing with the three applications for ISAF International Class status and eight for ISAF Recognized status as well as looking at the submissions to pre-select equipment for the 2012 Olympics. Meanwhile the Team Racing Sub-Committee will be reflecting on the success of the 2005 Grey Goose ISAF Team Racing World Championship and looking towards ISAF's first major Championship in India in 2007.

Just who will take home the
ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the
Year Award Trophy?

The World's Best

On Tuesday evening all eyes will then switch from the meeting room to the podium as Italy's triple Olympic medal winning windsurfer Alessandra SENSINI hosts the 2005 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards. Four female and six male nominees will be sitting on the edge of their seats on the evening of Tuesday 8 November with the two winners to be announced during a Gala Dinner and Presentation at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. Sailors who have performed exceptionally in the offshore, Olympic, match racing and speed sailing arenas are all up for nomination, proving the diversity of the sailing world today. For a full preview of the Awards CLICK HERE.

Tomorrow will bring you the second of our Conference previews, looking at the meetings during the rest of the week including the ISAF Events Committee and ISAF Council as well as taking a look at some of the submissions up for discussion in Singapore.

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

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