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13 November 2008, 09:10 pm
Council Meeting Begins On Day Eight Of ISAF Annual Conference
The ISAF Council
The ISAF Council at their meeting in Madrid today

ISAF Annual Conference 2008
Madrid, Spain

The ISAF Council held the first of three days of meetings in Madrid today as the key decisions begin at the ISAF Annual Conference.
The ISAF Council is the final decision-making body of ISAF, composed of members representing the Member National Authorities (MNAs) of the International Sailing Federation, along with the ISAF Executive Committee and one representative from each of the ISAF Classes, Offshore sailing and Women's sailing.

Over three days of meetings, the Council will decided on the issues debated at this year's ISAF Annual Conference, with the main decisions on Submissions and the 2012 Olympic sailing equipment scheduled for tomorrow. Today, the first day of the Council meeting included the President's Report, the Presentation of ISAF Awards and reports from the various Commissions and Committees of ISAF.

ISAF President Göran PETERSSON (SWE) welcomed the Council members, reminding them of their obligation, not just to represent their national groups, but to consider issues from a global perspective, "I'm sure you'll all exercise your votes in accordance with the best interests of the sport worldwide, even if sometimes that means national interests take second place," said the President.

The President's Report to Council reviewed the highlights from the past 12 months, both within the ISAF family and the sailing world at large. Amongst the topics addressed, the President gave an update on the events debate surrounding the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, looked forwarded to the ISAF Sailing World Cup and highlighted the new The Racing Rules of Sailing, The Equipment Rules of Sailing and the ISAF Learn to Sail Training Programme and the many hours of work that went into their production. For more on these topics read excerpts from the President's Report here.

Following his report the President made the presentation of ISAF Gold and Silver medals. He then presented the ISAF President Development Award to Helen-Mary WILKES (IRL) and Robert WILKES (IRL) for their years of dedicated service to junior sailing as, respectively, the President and Secretary of the International Optimist Dinghy Class.

The President also paid tribute to two members of the ISAF Secretariat who will be leaving ISAF after over 30 years of combined service: Arve SUNDHEIM, who retired as ISAF Secretary General at the start of this year; and Luissa SMITH, who is moving on from her post as the Head of the Training and Development department.

Before the chairman of the ISAF Committees gave reports on their yearly activities, the ISAF President highlighted the role played by the ISAF Commissions.

Alan GREEN gave a report from the International Regulations Commission, one of the Commissions of ISAF that puts in an incredible amount of work for the good of the sport behind the scenes. The Commission is highly active at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), ensuring the sport of sailing is well represented, "One of our core activities is to prevent unnecessary legislation. Once regulations are in place it's extremely difficult to get them change so we always try and promote guidelines in the place of legislation. Preservation of sailing freedoms today with help us greatly in the long term," explained GREEN.

Vice-President Fiona BARRON (GBR) reported on the activities of the Medical, Training and Athletes' Commission. As part of her report she highlighted some significant achievements including the success of the anti-doping programmes at the America's Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race, and the launch of the ISAF Learn to Sailing Programme.

Along with the reports from the Committee chairman, the Council also heard from ISAF's affiliate members, which include the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) and the International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS).

Thierry SCHMITTER (NED) gave a very enthusiastic report on the continued growth of disabled sailing, "Athleticism and professionalism have continued to increase and technological developments have increased possibilities. Over the past few years we have seen great improvements in the accessibilities of venues making athletes much more independent in their activities," SCHMITTER reported. He also pointed to the Paralympic Games as a key factor in a large increase in participation in Asia.

Today's meeting ended with Council receiving reports on this year's ISAF events and the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition. Vice-President David KELLETT, one of the Technical Delegates for the 2008 Games, gave a very positive report on the racing in Qingdao. He acknowledged there were key areas that ISAF must work to improve in the future, particularly in terms of media facilities, broadcasting and presentational issues, but also pointed to some areas of real success, including the new Medal Race format and the breakwater spectator area.

He also stressed the great co-operation of the hosts, the fantastic performance from the team of Race Officials, and the promising future for the sport in China. "With over 100 very well trained race officials and a venue to be proud of, we've been able to leave a huge legacy in China," he reported.

When the Council resume for the second day of their meeting tomorrow, the Olympic Games of 2012 are set to be the focus, with the selection of equipment for London 2012 along with the consideration of Submissions made to this year's Conference the next items on the Agenda.

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