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11 November 2008, 10:22 pm
Olympic Equipment And Strategy On Day Six Of ISAF Annual Conference
The ISAF Equipment Committee meeting in Madrid
The ISAF Equipment Committee meeting focussed on the Olympic Games equipment selection

ISAF Annual Conference 2008
Madrid, Spain

The Olympic Games were firmly back in the spotlight on day six of the ISAF Annual Conference, with the Equipment Committee and Women's Sailing Committee voting on their recommendations for the equipment at the 2012 Games.
Amongst the interested observers in the Equipment Committee meeting were several sailors who had starred at the recent Beijing Olympic Games including Beijing gold medallists Elise RECHICHI and Tessa PARKINSON (AUS), Olympic silver medallist Darren BUNDOCK (AUS) and ISAF Athletes' Commission members Ben BARGER (USA) and Will HOWDEN (GBR). In addition, Sofia BEKATOROU (GRE), another two-time Olympic medallist, is a member of the Equipment Committee.

Find out more on the Olympic votes below…

The Women's Sailing Committee meeting was also significant as it will be the final meeting of that Committee which is being disbanded at the end of this Conference. After 30 years, during which women's representation has grown significantly, particularly at the Olympic level and within the governance of the sport, the Committee has made a significant impact in promoting gender equalisation in the sport. The Women's Forum will continue to provide a specific arena for promoting women's issues within ISAF.

ISAF President Göran PETERSSON (SWE) attended the meeting to pay tribute to the work of the Committee, "During the lifecycle of this Committee we have seen many goals achieved and a huge growth in women's sailing. Congratulations to you and to this Committee for all you have achieved in promoting and advancing women's sailing, both at the Olympic Games and at the grassroots levels," said the President.

Also meeting on Tuesday were the Racing Rules Committee. During their meeting the Committee received a presentation on the new edition of The Racing Rules of Sailing (more at There was also lengthy discussion on Submission 065-07, about class rules containing championship rules in ISAF and National classes. The Submission was approved in principal last year, but the Council acknowledged its complexity and therefore appointed a Working Party to further develop the proposal.

Bill ABBOTT, chair of the Working Part, presented the updated Submission to both the Racing Rules Committee and the Equipment Committee. In the Equipment Committee meeting he explained the aim was to make a clear distinction between Class Rules, and what he called Event Regulations. He acknowledged the complexity of the issue and all of the different parties it affects. "There are many stakeholders in this: the classes, race officials, race organizers. There are a lot of different people involved in change. We need to have the mandate to go forward with this," said ABBOTT. He stressed he felt the Submission was now at a stage where it could now be moved to the next level, "We're there and we're ready to go into the implementation process."

Committee member Georg TALLBERG (FIN), supported the Submission, saying it was an important step in helping to provide more clarity in the sport, "It's very important that we know what are rules and what are not rules," he said. This view was echoed around the table and the Committee's recommendation was to support the Working Party in their implementation of the Submission.

Along with the vote on the 2012 Olympic equipment, the Equipment Committee sent considerable time discussing future Olympic Games. Athletes' Commission member Will HOWDEN highlighted the view of the Commission, saying Olympic campaigns now work over an eight-year and not a four-year cycle.

The Committee discussed Submission 082-08, calling for revised role for the Olympic Advisory Commission. Phil JONES (AUS), representing Yachting Australia, the author of the Submission, explained, "We feel there is a need for ISAF to more actively manage our involvement in the Olympic Games." The Committee agreed with this view point and strongly recommended their approval of the Submission.

The diversity of the ISAF family was demonstrated by three adjacent Agenda items on the Equipment Committee. Applications for ISAF International Status were considered from three classes which truly reflect the scope of the sailing world: the International Kiteboarding Association, the International Open Bic Association and the International Maxi Class Association. The Equipment Committee recommended approval of the Kiteboarding and Open Bic applications and welcomed the Maxi Class application, although noted some work would be needed on the Class Rules before it could be approved.

At the Oceanic Sub-Committee meeting, there was broad support for Submission 125-08, which will create a new Oceanic and Offshore Committee (in place of the Oceanic Sub-Committee and Offshore Committee) for 2009-12. In addition, the Committee were keen to see the proposed Oceanic Panel expanded to include event organizers and oceanic yacht racing classes as well as Committee members.

Olympic Equipment

The ISAF Council decided the 10 events for the Olympic Sailing Competition last year and will decide the equipment for those events this year during their meeting on Friday 14 November (see the ISAF Regulations for full details of the procedure

As part of the decision-making process of the Conference, several of the specialist Committees will vote on the issue and then pass their recommendation from that vote to help inform the final decision of the ISAF Council. The Match Racing Committee looked specifically at the equipment for the women's match racing event on Sunday, but today the Women's Sailing Committee addressed the four women's sailing events, whilst the Equipment Committee considered all 10 events.

Both Committees used the voting procedure proposed for the ISAF Council when they cast the decisive vote in their meeting on Friday. The procedure was agreed upon by the ISAF Council at the ISAF Mid-Year Meeting in May 2008 and is outlined below.

The list of possible equipment is based upon Submissions received in accordance with the ISAF Regulations. This list was based on the list made by the ISAF Council during the May Mid-Year meetings, the with proviso that the Council also noted selection of equipment for dinghy events for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition will not be open to multihulls.

For the full equipment list and voting procedure view the Council minutes (view the Meeting minutes here).

Men's Windsurfer
Formula One Design

Women's Windsurfer
Formula One Design

Women's One Person Dinghy
Byte CII
Laser Radial

Men's One Person Dinghy
International Moth
Musto Performance Skiff

Men's One Person Dinghy (Heavy)
Musto Performance Skiff

Women's Two Person Dinghy
29er XX

Men's Two Person Dinghy

Men's Two Person Dinghy (High Performance)

Women's Keelboat Match Racing
Elliott 6m (Modified)
Laser SB3 (Match)
Ultimate 20

Men's Keelboat

The voting procedure is outlined below:

1. In a ballot where one vote is to be cast and more than one option is available, if an option receives more than 50% of valid votes cast (excluding abstentions), it is elected. Failing this, a run-off ballot is held between the two options with most votes.

2. If Equipment has been chosen for an Event within a Gender Group, it is not eligible to be chosen for another Event within the same Gender Group.

Ballot 1: Women's Windsurfing
Ballot 2: Men's Windsurfing
Ballot 3: Women's 1 Person Dinghy
Ballot 4: Men's 1 Person Dinghy
Ballot 5: Men's 1 Person Dinghy (heavyweight)
Ballot 6: Women's 2 Person Dinghy
Ballot 7: Men's 2 Person Dinghy
Ballot 8: Men's 2 Person Dinghy (high performance)
Ballot 9: Women's Keelboat Match
Ballot 10: Men's Keelboat

3. In the event of a tie that is necessary to break:

(a) When all options are tied, the President will have the casting vote.
(b) In all other cases, there will be a run-off vote between the tied options.

Whilst the two Committees followed the same voting procedure, they approached the debate with a perspective based upon their own expertise and their Terms of Reference (view each Committees Terms of Reference at The Women's Committee concentrated just on the women's events and a key focus for them was the impact of the equipment on the growth of sailing around the world. The Equipment Committee voted on all ten events.

The Women's Sailing Committee voted in favour of the following equipment:

Ballot 1: Women's Windsurfing - RS:X
Ballot 3: Women's 1 Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Ballot 6: Women's 2 Person Dinghy - 29er XX
Ballot 9: Women's Keelboat Match - Elliott 6m

The Equipment Committee voted in favour of the following equipment:

Ballot 1: Women's Windsurfing - RS:X
Ballot 2: Men's Windsurfing - RS:X
Ballot 3: Women's 1 Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Ballot 4: Men's 1 Person Dinghy - Laser
Ballot 5: Men's 1 Person Dinghy (heavyweight) - Finn
Ballot 6: Women's 2 Person Dinghy - 29er XX
Ballot 7: Men's 2 Person Dinghy - 470
Ballot 8: Men's 2 Person Dinghy (high performance) - 49er
Ballot 9: Women's Keelboat Match - Elliott 6m
Ballot 10: Men's Keelboat - Star

Both Committees followed an incremental approach to Ballot 9, to selection the equipment for the Women's Keelboat Match event. They voted on whether or the equipment should be chosen now, or the choice delayed, with both Committees opting for the former. In the end, both Committees ended up voting in line with the recommendations made in Submission 095-08, supported by the Match Racing Committee earlier in the week.

The recommendations from the Women's and Equipment Committees will now be considered by the Events Committee before they vote on the equipment in their meeting today. All three Committees will also pass their recommendation onto the ISAF Council who will make the decision on the Olympic equipment on their meeting on Friday 14 November.

The Audit Committee and Team Racing Sub-Committee also held their meetings in Madrid on Tuesday. On Wednesday the focus will be on the Events Committee and the Offshore Committee.

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