The 2002 ISAF Annual Conference Closed on Saturday after the final session of the ISAF Council. Discussions ranged from minimum age limit to Olympic Qualification, to trials for equipment for the future Olympic windsurfing event to safety issues, reducing World Championships to the reintroduction of the Nations Cup Match Racing event.
Minimum Age Limit
- One of the ISAF Executive Committee's more controversial submissions received a knock by the Events Committee earlier this week when they recommended for Council to reject the proposal to place a minimum age of 15 years for World Championship events. However, they expressed their support for the intent of the submission. In a responsible move by Council this morning though it was resolved that the submission would be withdrawn and a working party of experts formed to analyse and evaluate all research, be it the current position, as well as medical, emotional and logistical research relating to the effect of such high level competition on the younger sailors in the World. They are to report to Council at the 2003 Mid-Year Meetings in May.
- Looking at some of the issues concerning the new Olympic women's keelboat, the Yngling Class, the ISAF Council endorsed the weight measurement procedure as approved by Council in May 2002 and implemented over the summer. The International Yngling Class had proposed a change to the class rule to prohibit carbon in the spinnaker pole and tiller. However, considering that in November 2001, the ISAF Council had supported the continued inclusion of carbon specifically in the spinnaker pole and tiller, Council rejected the Class submission on a proposal from both the Keelboat Committee and Women's Sailing Committee.
ATHOC Executive Director, Spyros Capralos, made an excellent presentation to the Council, reporting on the 2002 Test Event and progress for the 2003 Test Event and 2004 Olympic Regatta. Dimitris Alevizakis was welcomed as the appointed Competition Manager.
Warmly received by the Olympic Classes was the provision of funding by ISAF towards the administrative demands of Olympic Status, with a contribution to each Olympic Class of £5,000 (pounds sterling) by ISAF.
The proposal from the President on the qualification system for the 2003 Sailing World Championships in Cadiz, Spain was supported. This proposes a very open and fair system of allocation of slots, which will automatically give every nation the right to two entries per event, with up to an additional four entries (for a total of 6) per nation per event. The additional entry quota will be based on the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.
The Sailing Committee reported on its objectives to create a dramatic visual effect consistent with fair competition, and it is proposed that the Laser will have flags pre-printed, with flags on the other classes applied by sticker. The 470, Yngling, Tornado and 49er will have flags on the spinnakers, with methods of display still to be determined. Full proposals will be made at the 2003 November Conference.
It was also confirmed that the Laser will be the only supplied equipment at the 2004 Olympic Regatta. The Sailing Committee who has been working on the programme for the Mistral Class to ensure boards meet the "Gold Standard" specification, recommended that only boards manufactured after 1 January 2003 to the specification shall be permitted at the 2004 Olympic Regatta.
- Council endorsed the proposal to introduce a penalty for those sailors who do not comply with RRS 3 - Acceptance of the Rules, which requires that a competitor agrees "not to resort to any court or other tribunal not provided by the rules"
. This is one of the steps being taken to protect the sport and sailors and ensure there is a clear procedure for action. The Constitution Committee, who consider many of the legal issues effecting the sport, has been charged to propose the necessary wording for the 2003 Mid-Year Meeting. This proposal links up with the desire for sailors at certain international events to sign up to use the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Future Olympic Events
- Deferred on a proposal from the Events Committee was the submission to include a mixed gender category as a possible future Olympic Event and this will now be further considered at the 2003 Mid-Year Meeting.
Council supported the proposal from the Windsurfing Committee to hold trials in the late Spring/early Summer of 2003 to evaluate potential future Olympic Windsurfing equipment, with manufacturers of production one-design boards, Formula boards and board prototypes all welcome to participate. A knowledgable body of racers, ex-racers and ISAF representatives has been formed in order to evaluate requirements and conduct trials for the 2008 Olympic Games, including women and male racers, such as Alessandra Sensini, Lee Lai Shan, Nikos Kaklamanakis, Mike Gebhardt, together with windsurfing community representatives and ISAF representatives. They will determine the criteria for selection, alongside the members of the Events Committee Olympic Equipment Working Party.
The Events Committee also put forward their proposal on the procedure to determine the future Olympic events and classes, together with the voting procedure to be followed. The submissions were deferred for further consideration at the 2003 Mid-Year Meeting.
- The proposal to reduce the number of World Championships was deferred, and further review will be given to the classes meeting the existing ISAF criteria for additional World Championships, over and above the automatic one World Championship.
- The proposal noted the suggestion from the Spanish Sailing Federation to introduce safety levels in dinghy sailing, which included such issues such as permanent use of the lifejacket while sailing, personal knife compulsory, positive floatation on masts, safety drills and tests. The Sailing Committee, who has been tasked with looking at safety issues in the sport, will form a working party including representatives from all boat committees.
Several ISAF Classes had requested changes to their class rules effecting the ISAF Advertising Code. However, whilst some of the advertising limitations the classes wished to implement were supported, as they were outside the existing Advertising Code they could not be approved. The Executive Committee will work with the Classes to ensure they comply with the existing Code.
ISAF Classification Code
- It was confirmed that the ISAF Classification Code will become mandatory for all classes using an amateur/professional rule from 1 April 2003. To further address the issue of appeals to the Code, the ISAF Classification Panel will work with the relevant classes to ensure due consultation.
ISAF Anti-Doping Code
- Minor changes were made to the Anti-doping code to clearly set the date by which a penalty should be confirmed to the competitor after determination of a positive "B" sample.
ISAF Match Race Rankings
- Skippers may now apply to ISAF to take an on hold period of between six and twelve months, followed by a recovery period of 18 months. This has come from the principle that when skippers cannot compete in graded events their ranking inevitably drops. When they are able to return to competition, some event organisers will find it difficult to maintain grading criteria if some such skippers who are known to add value to the events are invited. This On Hold period will be controlled by ISAF and any skipper On Hold will be given an On Hold ranking and a normal ranking.
- In one of the final parts of the meeting, the Council voted on the status of four classes. The Zoom 8, a boat built in Finland, Denmark and France and with a principle distribution of owners in eleven countries has been granted Recognised Status, whilst the popular Laser 4.7 was granted International Status. The Formula 18 Catamaran Class and Mistral Junior One Design were both upgraded from Recognised to International Status.
Member National Authority
- ISAF welcomed another country into the ISAF Membership, with the recognition of the Solomon Islands.
- Council supported the re-introduction of the ISAF Nations Cup, which will constitute a series of regional match racing events for national teams, culminating in a final. Whilst sponsorship may be sought, it is intended that the events can be run at low-cost without sponsorship. Hugely successful when previously run back in the mid-90's, there is a projected participation in excess of 60 nations.
Today's Council meeting concluded a hugely successful week, which welcomed over 500 delegates from in excess of 60 countries. The Committees and Council considered a vast array of issues, with the Council's two-day meeting considering in excess of 300 proposals.
ISAF thanks the Cyprus Yachting Association and its staff for superbly hosting the 2002 ISAF November Conference.
Whilst the ISAF Executive Committee will next meet in Spain in February, the ISAF Council and Events Committee will regroup in Oslo, Norway from 22-25 May 2002.
Editor's Note: The process for publishing the decisions from the ISAF Meetings, is that all minutes first have to be approved by the respective Committees prior to publication. This process normally takes one month, with minutes being published on the ISAF Website at http://www.sailing.org/meetings/minutes/