Sunday 28 May, saw the close of the 2003 ISAF Mid-Year Meetings in Oslo, Norway, with discussions ranging from developing the future of the sport to the related topic of the future Olympic events.
Hosted by the Norwegian Sailing Federation, meetings of the Executive Committee and Events Committee, preceded the two-day Council Meeting, with Council being the final decision making body of ISAF.
There follows an overview of the key decisions made and issues debated:
Connect to Sailing
An initiative from the sailing industry, which was taken forward by the International Sailing Summit, was formally presented for ISAF's seal of approval.
The project, "Connect to Sailing", focuses on bringing the key partners in the sport together, with the overall mission to promote the sport of sailing, encourage new participants to the sport and retain existing participants.
Working to the following six point vision, ISAF and the key partners in the sport - including MNA's, Sailing Summit and Industry, ICOMIA, IFBSO, sailing schools, media and other groups - will address the issues facing the sport together and initiate MNA led task forces in individual countries:
- Establish a small, focussed, group of ISAF staff and outside experts to give strategic direction to the project.
- Create a worldwide network of MNA led Task Forces to drive the initiative forward.
- Work in partnership with the marine industry to develop and support the project programmes.
- Engage with established providers in the education, holiday, sailing school, club and all other relevant active provider sectors to increase their customer base.
- Share best practise developed by all participating groups, using a combination of workshops, seminars, written manuals, websites and mentoring.
- Ensure that there is full visibility and communication between all active partners in the project.
The proposal received tremendous and unanimous support and the Steering Group will now work with the partners to develop the next step in the proposal for consideration by ISAF in November 2003.
ISAF will be informing all MNA's of full details of this project.
ISAF Council Meeting
ISAF unanimously supported the adoption of the World Anti-Doping Code, which was approved by WADA and the IOC at the World Anti-Doping Conference in Copenhagen in March 2003, which will become effective on 1 January 2004.
2004 Olympic Regatta
In November 2002 and February 2003, ISAF approved that only boards manufactured after 1 January 2003 to the new specification shall be permitted at the 2004 Olympic Regatta and remaining Olympic qualification regattas. However, in a change to the previous decisions and reflecting the wishes of the sailors, it has now been decided that any class legal equipment may be used for the forthcoming Qualification Regattas, although the previous decision remains for the 2004 Olympic Regatta.
Flags on Sails
Supporting the desire to promote sailing to spectators and the media, ISAF has continued to work on the application of flags on sails, which will be required on mainsails and spinnakers for boats at the 2004 Olympic Regatta.
Whilst, flags on the spinnakers of the 470 and Yngling can easily be printed on the sailcloth, further research had been undertaken on the best method of application for the 49er and Tornado.
In respect of the 49er, it was confirmed that each qualified MNA will be required to purchase a gennaker with the national flag on it from the ISAF approved supplier. Due to the siliconised-sailcloth these national flags will be applied to the gennaker using the cut-in method.
2008 Olympic Regatta
Windsurfing Evaluation Event
A passionate speech by the Chairman of the Sailing Committee, Cliff Norbury (GBR), assisted in encouraging Council to open up the Evaluation Event for the windsurfing equipment for the 2008 Olympic Regatta.
Sunday's decision of the ISAF Council overturned the previous criteria, which anticipated that the selection of a one-design board would be the recommendation from the 2004 Evaluation Event. It is hoped that the indication that an open formula rule could be the 2008 Olympic Class might enable all of the major companies in windsurfing industry to rise to the challenge of securing a future for windsurfing at the Olympics.
Feedback received to date from the industry indicates that manufacturers do not favour one-design equipment, but would prefer a board designed to a box rule which can be built to series production funboard standards, which amongst other requirements, would ensure equipment availability worldwide.
Reflecting feedback received from the windsurfing industry, ISAF will also welcome and consider proposals on a change to the existing competition format seen at the Olympics. Some quarters favour a multi-format regatta, with slalom, course and long-distance racing, whilst others appear happy to retain the existing format.
Some discussion around the table raised concern that in November 2003, ISAF is due to finalise the Olympic events, with the specific equipment for the 2008 Olympic Regatta being finalized in November 2004, but that by November 2003 the Evaluation Event will not have taken place, and therefore windsurfing will be considered as an event prior to it being clear that suitable equipment is available.
This concern will be transmitted to the industry in two ways. Firstly in that making a decision on the events for the 2008 Olympic Regatta in November 2003, ISAF will be demonstrating its commitment to the sport of windsurfing, but in turn that further emphasis and substance will be given to the Presentation Event in Cadiz, September 2003. This will include a clearer structure and reporting process, that will assist ISAF in making decisions regarding the events for the 2008 Olympic Regatta in November 2003. Further a full report from the formal Evaluation Event in Spring 2004, will be made available to the Events Committee in due time for them to consider equipment at their 2004 Mid-Year Meeting, prior to a final recommendation in November 2004.
Future Olympic Events
At the Mid-Year Meeting, the Events Committee is required to consider the possible events for the 2008 Olympic Regatta, with the ISAF Council to make a final decision in November 2003. Noted by Council at this meeting, was the recommendation on events, with formal submissions and discussion to take place in November 2003:
- The current (2004) male/female split (at least 66/34 ratio) should be retained;
- All events should remain Fleet Racing;
- The number of events should be the same:
Windsurfer - 2
Single-handed Dinghy - 3
Double-handed Dinghy - 3
Keelboat - 2
Multihull - 1
It was further recommended to introduce new criteria to differentiate between the two men's single-handed and two men's double-handed dinghies.
Olympic Classes Contract
Prior to being considered for selection as equipment for the Olympic Regatta, classes seeking selection are required to sign an Olympic Classes Contract which sets out various terms and requirements for Olympic status. This is a standard practice implemented by ISAF, and also ensures that all classes are fully informed of the requirements of Olympic Status, whether they be those set by ISAF or the International Olympic Committee. The contract received an overwhelming unanimous support.
Among other issues, the contract requires that in the future there will only be two Olympic qualification regattas per class, rather than the current three. The first Olympic Qualification Regatta leading up to the 2008 Olympic Regatta, will be the 2007 World Cup of Sailing (ISAF World Sailing Championship), along a similar format to the forthcoming World Championship in Cadiz. The second Olympic Qualification Regatta for each class will be the Class World Championship in 2008.
2007 ISAF World Cup of Sailing
Looking towards 2007, ISAF will be seeking bids from candidate cities interesting in hosting this premier event. An Evaluation Panel has been set up to consider the bids in early 2004, and ISAF intends to work to a timeframe of approving the 2007 venue a year from now, at the 2004 ISAF Mid-Year Meetings. The bid criteria is currently being finalised and will be made available to interested parties.
ISAF Council Meeting
2006 ISAF World Sailing Games
Austria is all set to host the fourth ISAF World Sailing Games, which will be given World Championship status for the various events included. Planned to be a mix of Olympic and non-Olympic classes, the Championship will appeal to sailors across the spectrum.
More details will be made available soon.
2003 ISAF November Conference
In view of concerns on the possible effect of SARS and the desire to ensure full attendance by ISAF representatives at the 2003 ISAF November Conference, after discussion with the Singapore Sailing Association, it was agreed to change the venue of the 2003 Conference from Singapore to Barcelona, Spain. The dates remain the same, 6-17 November.
Singapore will remain on the meetings schedule, with the 2005 ISAF November Conference to be held there.
Member National Authorities (MNA's)
In the past, annual subscriptions paid by MNA's were a significant source of income to the Federation. However, with increased income from other revenue sources and the desire to assist and encourage as many countries as possible to become and remain members of ISAF, the current subscription rates will in future be reduced.
Subject to a final Council decision in November 2003, it is likely to be proposed that the subscription categories for all countries will reduce by approximately 50%, with reductions for countries in existing subscription categories 1 and 2 to be implemented in 2004, and reductions for the remaining countries being introduced in 2005.
Athlete Participation Programme
The Executive Committee has pledged ISAF's support to the future of the Athlete Participation Programme, which provides financial subsidies to athletes from developing sailing nations to participate in certain ISAF Events. 2003 will see 13 sailors from 11 countries benefiting from the programme at the 2003 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship, including Cook Islands, Pakistan, Puerto Rico and Samoa which will be participating for the first time.
A longer-term programme will now be together for consideration at the next Executive Committee meeting in September 2003.
The Executive Committee considered the creation of an Athletes Commission, which will give sailors a direct voice into the issues being discussed at the top level of the sport. Supported in principle, it remains for the mandate and method of electing/appointing the athletes to the Athletes Commission to be determined.
A request from the Real Federacion Espanola de Vela (Spain), for ISAF to recognise Continental Associations, deferred in November 2002 for further research, was put on the Council table again this May.
With many different continental, sub-continental and regional sailing organisations, ISAF acknowledges the need to recognise and give remit to these organisations that play an important role in co-ordinating various elements of the sport. Whilst specific details are to be finalised, Council accepted that ISAF may grant affiliate membership to a continental association (of which there shall be one in each continent), whose objectives shall be:
- The promotion of the sport of sailing in each Continental Association's area of influence.
- The co-ordination, together with the local Member National Authority (MNA), of the competition calendars to avoid clash of dates of competitions.
- To establish the basis for the development and promotion of classes, which are popular in its territorial area, though not recognised by the Federation (ISAF).
- The promotion of race officials' education and the encouragement of exchanges of race officials between countries in their area.
- To coordinate competition activities with the continental associations and the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in their area to better promote the sport of sailing.
Reporting directly to the Executive Committee, the International Foundation for Disabled Sailing, received ISAF support to their proposals to include certain disabled sailing rules within the Racing Rules of Sailing, similar to the RRS Appendices for Match Racing, Team Racing and Radio Sailing. IFDS will now prepare proposals for consideration by the Racing Rules Committee in November 2003.
Effect of High-Level Competition on Youth Sailors
In November 2002, the ISAF Council received submissions proposing a minimum age limit for sailors to participate in certain events.
At the time, it was felt that further research should be undertaken prior to ISAF taking a position one way or the other and a working party was appointed. Led by two Vice-Presidents and including representation from youth classes and medical expertise the remit of the working party has been determined as:
- Consider whether there is an impact of high level sports on youth sailors, psychologically and/or physically, and make recommendations,
- Review and note best practice from other sports, as relevant,
- Develop guidelines for those involved with youth competition.
The Events Committee received a presentation on a satellite tracking system, which is currently used across many sports, including football and skiing.
The system, accurate in pinpointing a boat's position in coastal waters to +/-10cm, works by the placement of a GPS/GSM position sensor on the boat, which communicates with a data processing unit and GPS reference station. For sailing, amongst other uses, the system could be used to:
- identify boats that are OCS and can transmit the OCS data both to the Race Committee and the individual boat, so that the boat can restart immediately,
- log mark roundings, and with monitors on the marks it is possible to establish a continuous ranking of boats, distances between boats, which is presented graphically
- track a boats around the course, which in turn can be used for post-race analysis and training purposes
- monitoring of the boats throughout the racing, information which in turn can be relayed to the Race Committee and television
- enable enhanced information
- live internet streaming of information
ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship
Subject to final contractual details, the venues for the forthcoming ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship were confirmed as:
2005 - Pusan, Korea
2006 - Weymouth, Great Britain
Reflecting a desire to apply a strategy to ISAF events and give guidance on the youth classes that will be selected for future events, the Events Committee recommended, which was approved by Council, a list of preferred classes from which in future ISAF shall select equipment, as follows:
Single-handed Dinghy boys - Laser or Laser Radial
Single-handed Dinghy girls - Laser Radial or Byte
Double-handed Dinghy boys - 420 or 29er
Double-handed Dinghy girls - 420 or 29er
Windsurfing boys - Mistral
Windsurfing girls - Mistral
Multihull Open - Hobie 16
A new regulation also now requires that the venue shall be decided by ISAF 4 years before the event, and the equipment 3 years before the event.
In addition, it is anticipated that a submission will be put forward in November proposing a lower age limit for participation in ISAF Events.
ISAF Team Racing World Championship
Subject to final contractual details, the 2005 Championship will be held at the New York Yacht Club, Newport, Rhode Island, USA.
ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy
On Saturday, in Oslo, Norway, ISAF honoured the lifelong contribution to the sport of sailing made by Jan Linge.
The ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy is presented in recognition of outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing.
Jan Linge, who in the sailing world is best known for the design of the Soling and Yngling, was honoured during the 2003 ISAF Mid-Year Meeting. More on the Beppe Croce Trophy presentation