We are now halfway through the conference. All committee meetings have now concluded, and the list of recommendations being made to the ISAF Council - the final decision making body of ISAF - is growing.
After Tuesday night's hugely successful ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards, emphasis has turned once again to business.
The focus yesterday from the majority of the 400 delegates, committee members, council and executive members was very much on the Events Committee, one of the largest forums within the ISAF framework. Amongst other issues debated, submissions were discussed from the ISAF President regarding ISAF control of Olympic Class Championships, age limits in World Championship events, and eligibility requirements for events.
Much opinion has been voiced recently regarding a number of submissions put forward for discussion both from the ISAF President Paul Henderson and the Executive Committee. In fact, Paul himself addressed this when speaking at the official welcoming hosted by the Cyprus Yachting Association on Sunday evening. Paul noted that his reasoning for the submissions and their wording was to bring relevant issues directly to the forefront of discussion. No one can deny the fact that this was very much achieved!
When a submission is put forward, adoption of it is by no means guaranteed. It is discussed within the relevant committees, with an allocated reporting Committee who report on the issue to Council, and allocated "other" Committees who consider the submission and give their opinions to Council. Both recommendations and opinions are then passed to the ISAF Council, who have the final decision on whether or not to adopt the proposal within the sport.
One of the more controversial submissions, regarding a minimum age limit (Submission 063-02P) was considered by the Youth and Development Committee. It was submitted by the Executive Committee and proposed a minimum age limit of 15 for competitors in a World Championship. After consideration of classes affected by this submission, including most notably the Optimist class, the Youth and Development Committee supported the submission in principle and the reasoning which was to reduce the pressure on young people to compete at top-level events, but changed the minimum age limit to 12 in their recommendation to Council. Other proposals from the Youth and Development Committee included a proposal to have age range events within the ISAF Youth World Sailing Championship, but this was subsequently rejected by the Events Committee, yesterday. However, it will be the Council that finally decide.
On Monday, the Windsurfing Committee covered the selection of equipment for Olympic Regattas beyond 2004, it is to be recommended to council that an evaluation panel consisting of current and past high level windsurfers be formed, together with technical experts and ISAF representatives be responsible for conducting trials, which would take place next year. Alessandra Sensini, is one of the top sailors who is proposed be included on the panel, and was attended the meeting herself.
The Race Officials Committee, who also met on Monday, agreed with the ISAF President's submission regarding the creation of a uniform and consistent application of rule 42 across all classes by submitting that classes must seek ISAF approval before any class specific changes are made to the rule. This is in response to the increasing use of the "Yellow Flag Rule", allowing certain other methods of propulsion above a certain wind speed, and is deemed urgent due to the proximity of the Olympic Games in Athens. ISAF will also be addressing this issue with the holding of an ISAF Judges Conference in March 2003.
Monday also saw the meeting of the Match Racing Committee who have given their backing to the re-launch the ISAF Nations Cup, a match racing event for national teams, with geographical qualification matches, culminating in a finals. This proposal was also endorsed by the Women's Sailing Committee.
The ISAF Regional Games Committee, considered a number of issues, including the proposal by the Spanish Sailing Federation that ISAF recognise Continental Organisations, although this is a proposal which has been rejected by Council at previous meetings. The Committee also considered its approach to encourage greater participation in Regional Games, and specifically women's participation.
Yesterday, the ISAF Constitution Committee, who consider legal issues along with the ISAF Regulations and Constitution, was considering the use of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, to protect athletes and the sport from any cases proceeding immediately to a civil court. Their meeting continues this morning.
The ISAF Executive Committee meet today, prior to Council coming together on Friday and Saturday. We will bring you the latest news of council decisions as and when they happen.