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16 May 2002, 09:34 am
Controversy and Cheating - My Response to Yours
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The President Responds to Your Feedback on Disrespect of the RRS

I am very pleased that the article on Rule 42 and weight jackets has caused so much debate.
The positive is that two Sydney Medal winners Mark Reynolds (USA) in the Star Class and Luca Devotti (ITA) in the Finn Class have stepped forward and clearly stated that one of the reasons they won was that the ISAF Jury was very militant in Sydney and the Olympic Games was therefore played according to the rules.

The problem is at the other regattas which are used for qualification or selection.

Observations to some of the responses must be made:
Always when one points out specifically the excesses happening in one class the class devotees jump into defend it as they consider it a personal offence rather than a warning bell to clean it up and their class does have a problem.

A journalist observed that ISAF should have clearer rules and therefore the sailors would adhere to them. Could someone tell me one sport that has rules and no referees?

What would happen in soccer or ice hockey or even cricket or croquet if at the top level they expected the competitors to adhere to the rules with no on the field of play referees?

Always Golf is brought up as the `simon pure' example to follow. Nonsense!!!

The rule Book of Golf is as large and as complicated as Sailing.

The PGA has thirty referees who go to each major tournament and do nothing put check that the course is fair and the players play by the rules. Recently players were penalized or expelled for slow play, too many clubs, taking 3 seconds too long for their ball to drop in the cup and on and on.

The referees set what is a hazard and what is not and where the golfer can drop their ball and do they play fairly.

None of this is left up to the judgement of the golfer because too much is at stake.

The classic ruling was that Roberto De Vincenza lost the US Open because he filled in his card wrongly giving himself one more stroke than he really had. Did not matter he filled it in wrongly and was disqualified.
In Sailing the coaches and sailors would demand redress and the Jury would most likely give in.

Golf is clean because the rules are strictly enforced by referees on the course.

The Optimist Class is pointed out as one of the great problems and the solution is to educate the kids. That is not the problem. Who is going to educate the coaches and most of all the parents who pay the coaches not to teach the kids to cheat? If the rules were strictly enforced by fair and competent judges the Optimists would be sailed honestly.

The Wilkes have done a great job building the class but they must now address and enforce "Fair Sailing."

If I have given Sailing a wake-up call that our sport is no longer Corinthian in focus and has stepped into the world of "Win at all cost" mentality then "Good on Ya Mate".

Is it too late? I hope not under my watch!

Respectfully,
Paul Henderson
ISAF President
Paul Henderson
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