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10 November 2008, 09:22 pm
Spotlight On Race Officials And Regional Games On Day Five At ISAF Annual Conference
The ISAF Race Officials Committee meeting
The ISAF Race Officials Committee held their meeting in Madrid on Monday

ISAF Annual Conference 2008
Madrid, Spain

Following on from Sunday when the debate centred around Olympic equipment, Monday provided an opportunity for some of the less high-profile issues to take the spotlight in Madrid at the ISAF Annual Conference.
Meetings for the Constitution, Regional Games and Race Officials Committee all profiled some of the hardest-working areas within ISAF, but those which often do gain the exposure they deserve.

The Race Officials Committee is responsible for policy areas relating to the 650-plus ISAF International Race Officials around the world and also ensuring the integrity of the application and renewal process for International Race Official status. The Committee has four Sub-Committees, which represent each of the disciplines of Race Official: Judges, Measurers, Race Management and Umpires.

During the meeting, the Committee received a report from Patrick BERGMANS, Chairman of the Technology Working Party with an update on tracking systems that could be used at regattas. The potential of the technology was demonstrated with live tracking from the 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship (you can view replays of all the races here). The Committee were firmly in support of further development of tracking software and enthusiastic about its potential use as an aid for Race Officials.

The final two hours of the meeting were dedicated to reviewing the applications for appointment and renewal of ISAF International Race Official status. A full list of renewals and first appointments will be published on the ISAF Race Officials microsite www.sailing.org/raceofficials.

The Offshore Special Regulations Sub-Committee is tasked with maintaining the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations. Amongst the observers in their meeting yesterday was Stan HONEY (USA), world renowned for his expertise as a sailor, navigator and electrical engineer, particularly in his role as navigator onboard ABN AMRO ONE, winner of the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race. HONEY is also a member of the Oceanic Sub-Committee and therefore in Madrid preparing for his meeting tomorrow. As discussion centred in on fire extinguishers and lifeboats he was able to provide some colourful illustrations of the issues being discussed based upon his experiences during the Volvo race and also the recent attempt to break the monohull transatlantic record onboard Virgin Money. A full review of the updates to the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations (find out more at www.sailing.org/specialregs) will be published following the ISAF Annual Conference.

Also holding the first of their two meetings on Monday was the ISAF Constitution Committee. The Committee play a crucial role in the ISAF decision-making process; it is their job to ensure all the wording in Submissions affecting the ISAF Constitution and Regulations is consistent, clear and does not conflict with existing regulations. The members of the Constitution Committee represent some of the most respected law firms around the world in their day jobs, but like all ISAF Committee members are volunteers who give up their own time in the service of ISAF and the sport. Whilst they may not cover the policy issues which tend to dominate the headlines from the Conference, the Committee's work is fundamental to the good governance of the sport.

Another Committee whose work is largely behind the scenes is the ISAF Regional Games Committee. The sport's involvement within Regional Games and the size and number of sailing events has increased significantly over the past ten years, providing the equipment, facilities and incentive for growth in many nations where sailing is still a sport in the early stages of development.

The Committee received reports on recent Regional Games including the 2007 South East Asian Games held in Pattaya, Thailand and the Jeux des lles COJI and Asian Beach Games held during 2008. Looking ahead the Committee also heard reports on the preparations upcoming Games including the 2009 Mediterranean Games in Italy, the 2010 Asian Games in China and the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico. A key issue that the Committee also discussed was ensuring the quality of Race Management at Regional Games and how this can be achieved.

Also meeting were the Equipment Control Sub-Committees ahead of the Equipment Committee meeting on Tuesday. Other Committee meetings in Madrid on Tuesday included the Women's Sailing Committee and the Racing Rules Committee.

ISAF Meetings microsite - www.sailing.org/meetings

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