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28 October 2002, 09:58 am
Age Limit and Other Submissions
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ISAF Annual Conference 2002

There has been considerable input and feedback on a variety of submissions which have been made to the 2002 ISAF November Conference. The ISAF President responds to the comments on Age Limit and other submissions.
"First of all the campaign to plug my E-Mail instead of going through either your MNA or the Classes is a pain, but it is the price one pays for being a volunteer President.

Many issues have been put forward so as to make ISAF and especially the classes realize that not one set of regulations will serve the myriad of needs or obligations the ISAF Classes assume when they become International and get the right to hold a prestigious event designated as a World Championship and that the class is not autonomous as they also have an obligation in some cases to their MNA's.

The naive sailors who say the classes know what is best and should be autonomous have not lived in the world of top International Racing where $$$ govern and the win at all cost mentality prevails as seen in the Olympic Classes and the Opti to say nothing of the America's Cup.

It has become normal procedure for wealthy national classes or MNA's to pay for phoney memberships so as to buy entries into World Championships which the poorer nations cannot afford. Entries in Worlds should be on merit and realistic numbers of sailors in the region.

Also classes give their Worlds to local organizers with little or no ability to govern the structure and chaos has ensued in many events this year. ISAF must demand at least a minimum amount of expertise
and control before these events can be designated World Championships.

No other sport allows local sovereignty over their major events. ISAF is being threatened this year, as the court of last resort, by sailors in the Star Class and the Finn because of Class related decisions which are in dispute.

The high-profile classes especially the Olympic Classes and the Opti hide behind the needs of the others to get their autonomy when they must lose some of that when they become elite.

There are also different needs or obligations for singlehanders as distinct from other ISAF Classes which have a family or club focus. A class which only has one World's a year has different needs than the classes which have been able to manipulate the ISAF regulations to declare over ten World Championships a year.

The recommendation on the issues of Worlds was entered so as to make ISAF address where this has got out of hand and the pressures caused by coaches and MNA's and parents to win at all cost is the order of the day. I do not think it is acceptable that coaches are teaching young Opti sailors to cheat or give them cigarettes to calm a 14 year olds nerves before a race.

ISAF must partner with these classes to ensure Fair Play and Integrity.

Taser and Star are both doublehanders. Their needs or lack thereof are poles apart. Taser and Opti needs are equally as diverse. ISAF must deal with these divergent needs.

The high profile elite classes use the corinthian classes as the common denominator they hide behind to keep their autonomy. They then point the finger at ISAF to bail them out when disaster strikes. I would prefer acting rather than reacting.

There cannot be one rule for all aspects of the broad spectrum of sailing and if I have done nothing else I have got you all to focus on the problems and what hopefully will be constructive solutions which will come out of the ISAF AGM in Cyprus."

Paul Henderson
ISAF President"

Your feedback on the above is welcomed. However, please note that all feedback will be published unless indicated otherwise by the contributor.


Paul Henderson/ISAF Secretariat
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