There have been some comments recently made that the ISAF Classification Code treats those who work within the marine industry the same as those who are paid professionally to sail.
Antony Matusch, Chairman of the ISAF Classification Panel, responds:
"The ISAF Sailors' Classification Code was introduced two years ago to provide a worldwide system which event organisers and classes can use to tackle just the issues raised by Josh Summers (" see extract below). Nearly 5,000 sailors are already classified. The Code is available to all classes and event organisers - free.
Contrary to what some may think, the Code does not automatically make sailors who work in the industry Group 3 - many, in fact, have been rated Group 1 or 2. Classification is based on a sailor's financial involvement in boat racing, and/or the use in their work of knowledge or skill capable of improving the performance of a boat in a race, not specifically on racing success or prowess. To help sailors the panel plans to issue Guidance Notes and FAQ's shortly.
No moral or ethical judgements are attached to these classifications - ISAF does not discriminate between 'amateurs' and 'professionals'. It is up to classes and organisers to determine whether and how they use restrictions and if so whether they apply just to Group 3 or Group 2 sailors as well. Ford Cork Week, for example, excluded Group 3's except in one class.
The Code is developed and managed by a panel of very experienced sailors, drawn from all over the world and representing Group 1, 2 and 3 sailors. This panel is also available to help and advise how to get the best out of the Code."
" From Josh Summers (Regarding the ISAF's attempts to balance professional sailors in our sport): Hopefully, Paul Henderson will not go down the path of US Sailing. The category classification used by US Sailing has insured the exclusion of the bulk of people who actually work in the industry from sailing in all classes that have stipulations on the number of professionals allowed on board. The fact is there are a couple of hundred sailors who, as professionals, win or lose a race. These people are paid thousands of dollars a day and are veritable celebrities. We all know who they are. US Sailing has chosen to group Russell Coutts with a guy who installs deck hardware at a boat builder.