With discussion ranging from Evaluation Trials to Athletes Commission, Yngling Weight Limit to Standard Class Rules, Flags on Sails to Continental Associations, discussion at the first quarter ISAF Executive Committee meeting certainly reflected the sport
The opening day of the ISAF Executive Committee meeting, on 7 February 2003, was hosted by the Mayor of Cadiz, who has been instrumental in hosting the 2003 ISAF World Sailing Championship.
ISAF Executive Committee, left to right: David Kellett (AUS), Ken Ryan (IRL), Goran Petersson (SWE), George Andreadis (GRE), HM King Constantine, Paul Henderson (CAN), ISAF Secretary General Arve Sundheim, ISAF Treasurer Brian Southcott (GBR), Nucci Novi Ceppelllini (ITA), James Schoonmaker (USA), Fernando Bolin (ESP)
Future Olympic Programme
- This first quarter ISAF Executive Committee Meeting addressed a variety of issues on the sport. Amongst one of the first agenda items discussed was the proposal in August 2002 to reduce the sports and events for future Olympiads, as put forward by the IOC appointed Olympic Programme Commission. Sailing was threatened with a reduction in events, with the keelboat pinpointed. Since that date ISAF has been lobbying the IOC to secure at the least, that if there is a reduction in the number of medals ISAF retains its autonomy to select the Olympic sailing event which will be eliminated, and at the other end that sailing retain the status quo with 11 events. A final decision is expected from the IOC Executive Board during 2003. However, with additional pressure from the other sports who were targeted by the Olympic Programme Commission's proposals, it is hoped that whatever the IOC's decision, there will be no change for sailing until after Beijing 2008.
2003 ISAF World Sailing Championship
- On Sunday 9 February 2003, the meeting concluded with a tour of the three venues for the inaugural 2003 ISAF World Sailing Championship, Cadiz, an event set to become the ISAF World Cup of Sailing. The site visits started with Rota, the most northern of the three venues, which will play host to the men's and women's 470 classes. No stranger to the 470, Rota hosted the 1992 470 World Championships and 1997 470 Master Worlds. Next stop was Puerto Sherry, the main venue, situated between Rota and Elcano. Puerto Sherry, will host the main Championship infrastructure, hotel and media centres. A massive venue with easy access by road and superb facilities, Puerto Sherry is already being used by many nations as their training base. The launching ramps provide more than enough access to the water, with superb preparation areas adjacent. All classes, except the 470 and Laser, will race from Puerto Sherry. The third venue, Elcano, the southern most venue which is situated adjacent to the main bridge into Cadiz, will host the Lasers, and is a purpose built training centre with excellent facilities. Currently in the yard at Elcano is the 1992 Spanish Challenge America's Cup yacht.
Viewing the sites, Paul Henderson commented: "The venues and infrastructure for the ISAF World Sailing Championships are fantastic. The 2003 ISAF World Sailing Championship is the first time all the Olympic Classes have held their World Championships at the same time as an Olympic Qualifier, and with the world's best sailors in Cadiz, the Championship will generate huge focus and media attention and promotion for our sport. Mundo Vela and Cadiz are doing a great job. ISAF is confident of a superb Championship."
What do the sailors think? Speaking to some of the sailors on site at the time of the visit, including the Spanish 49er duo and reigning World Champions, Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez, the ISAF President clearly got the thumbs up. Whilst the pair have already qualified Spain for a slot in Athens, they will be seeking to defend their World Championship title and secure their selection to represent Spain in Athens.
In conclusion, the ISAF President commented: "It is ISAF's firm opinion that the Cadiz Worlds will be to as high a standard as ever seen at an Olympic Class World Championships. ISAF is very excited about the inaugural holding of this quadrennial event. See you all in September."
Link to 2003 ISAF World Sailing Championship Website
The ISAF Executive Committee has four meetings a year, one within each quarter. The opening meeting of the year is usually held in February and focuses on financial issues and those held-over or deferred from the previous November Conference. The Mid-Year Meeting is held together with the Council and Events Committee, and will this year take place from 21-25 May 2003 in Oslo, Norway. The September meeting focuses on the preparations and issues to be addressed at the ISAF Annual Conference and in principle is always held at the ISAF Secretariat in Southampton. The final meeting of the year is held during the ISAF November Conference. For this first meeting of 2003, with almost fifty agenda items, the Executive Committee faced a wide variety of discussions over their three-day meeting.
- One of the first issues on the table were additional requests for financial support to further various projects. Approval of funding was given to the work of the Measurement Committee to develop the In-house Certification of Equipment (which will allow sailors to buy equipment certified and ready for racing), Standard Class Rules and Guide to Measurement. Looking more at the cruising side of the sport, the ongoing essential work undertaken by the International Regulations Commission ensuring sailing's representation at government level in respect of legislation effecting the sport continues to be supported. It should be noted that legislation by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Standards Organisation (ISO) regarding maritime safety and environment protection, whilst may as a primary intention regulate larger ships and motorboats, equally affect recreational users. Recent issues on which ISAF has lobbied for the sport include anti-pollution, navigation and radar standards, water ballast and search and rescue.
Following on from the successful Athlete Participation Programme run at the 2002 ISAF World Sailing Games, ISAF is reviewing its funding programme to provide support to developing sailing nations attending ISAF Events, and a proposal will be considered at the 2003 ISAF Mid-Year Meeting.
Responding to the request by some of the smaller sailing nations to reconsider the subscription categories, the Executive Committee undertook a first review to align the category groups and reduce the subscriptions and a proposal will be put to the 2003 Mid-Year meeting, which if accepted, would come into effect most likely from January 2005. With increased revenue from the Olympic Games and prudent management of ISAF's finances, the reliance on income drawn from MNA subscriptions has decreased compared to say ten years ago, when the Olympic revenue was 10% of what it is today.
Olympic Games Issues
- Looking towards the Olympics, a number of issues were discussed. Starting with logos and branding, the IOC has now confirmed the manufacturer trademark logo sizes that competitors are allowed to wear on their personal clothing, accessories and equipment during the Games. ISAF has successfully lobbied to achieve some exceptions to the standard IOC regulations for sailing. ISAF will inform MNA's and publish full details on the ISAF website, to ensure manufacturers of equipment are fully aware and have due time, if they so wish, to amend logo sizes to maximise exposure within the IOC rules.
Responding to requests for clarification on the implementation of the Yngling Weight Limit, the ISAF Executive reconfirmed the existing position that ISAF will enforce the weight limit only for the Olympic Test Events, Class Olympic Qualification Regattas and the Olympic Regatta itself. If the Class wishes to adopt the weight limit across other events, then it will be up to the Class to implement a change to the Class Rules. However, this would not restrict an MNA requiring that its sailors comply with a weight limit for certain events. In respect of the weigh-in time, ISAF had originally decided that the weigh-in time for competitors be 0700-0900, based on a scheduled start of racing for 1100. However, with a later scheduled race start time for this year's test event and the Olympic Games itself, an early weigh in can cause difficulties. It was therefore agreed that the weigh-in time for the Yngling sailors will be in the range of minus 5 hours to minus 2 hours prior to the scheduled start time of racing, ie if the race is scheduled to start at 1300, weigh in will be between 0800 to 1100 hours.
The Executive Committee also confirmed that further to the decision taken in November 2002 that the new specification Mistral Boards (those manufactured after 1 January 2003) must be used at the 2004 Olympic Regatta, only the new specification boards must be used at the 2003 ISAF World Sailing Championship.
Looking ahead to the selection of equipment (class of boat) for the 2008 Olympic Regatta, a draft of the Olympic Contract, which all classes who intend to seek Olympic selection will be required to sign, was reviewed. The decision on the events (ie, single-handed dinghy women) to be included on the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta programme will be made in November 2003, with the decision on the equipment due to take place in November 2004. The contract sets out the obligations and responsibilities the class will need to uphold in being selected as Olympic equipment.
The Executive Committee reviewed the initial proposals for country identification by means of sails on flag. It is intended that the country flags on both mainsails and spinnakers will be about 25% larger than those used in Sydney. For the spinnakers, whilst final solutions are being determined for material and the cut-in options on the asymmetric spinnakers, it is proposed that all country flags be shown on a white background, to ensure they are clear and easily identifiable. Further proposals will be put to the 2003 ISAF Mid-Year Meeting.
Effects of High Level Competition on Youth
- Initiated from discussions in November 2002, when the introduction of a minimum age limit for sailors participating in specific levels of events was discussed, the Executive Committee confirmed the members of the working party who will consider the impacts of high-level sport on youth sailors, and a report will be presented in November 2003.
- Reviewing arrangements for the evaluation trials, taking place to assess future multihulls in the Youth Worlds, and Windsurfing trials to identify potential equipment for the Olympic Games, the most suitable timeframe and venues were considered. With a number of potential venues on the table, suggestions were afoot to combine the evaluation trials and hold them in late 2003 or Spring 2004. A final decision is expected in the next two to three months. Information has already been published on the Multihull Trials ( www.sailing.org/technical/multitrials.asp), with further details to be posted shortly.
- Whilst many international sailors are present within the ISAF Committee structure, and certainly attend the various meetings, as yet they have no direct representation and a specific lobby for such was made in November 2002. Council supported the formation of an Athletes Commission could be considered and the Executive Committee has now taken this a step further and charged a working group of sailors, including current ISAF Committee members and top international sailors Michaela Ward (DEN), Cory Sertl (USA) and Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Bill Abbot (CAN), together with the ISAF Secretary General Arve Sundheim, to put forward recommendations on the constitution and role of such a commission for consideration by Council in May 2003. The group will be asked to look at other sports' commission structures and the IOC recommendations on the constitution of an athletes commission. Not only would such a group wish to lobby within the corridors of ISAF and ensure representation, but they would have an important role to play in promoting the sport. Whilst ultimately the sailors will seek a seat on Council, ISAF's final decision making body, such a voting position could not be implemented until November 2004.
Recognition of Continental Organisations
- Another voice for the sport was considered, with the recommendation from the Real Federacion Espanola de Vela (Spanish Sailing Federation) that ISAF consider recognition to continental organisations. Whilst, ISAF is of course aware that there are existing continental sailing organisations, to date no formal recognition exists. While a political role within the sport is not being sought, as this is the responsibility of the Member National Authorities, the co-ordination role continental sailing associations could play in promoting the sport, the scheduling of events, and involvement in regional games would be extremely beneficial. Again, a proposal will be considered by Council in May 2003.
Promotion of Sailing
- The ISAF President has personally taken onboard the mantle to promote the sport as a whole and the role the various partners in our sport - ISAF, Member National Authorities, Classes, boat and equipment manufacturers, commercial sailing schools/holiday companies and others - play to support the ongoing development and participation in sailing. The recent Sailing Summit in Australia concluded the need for ISAF to take the lead and the ISAF President will be coming forward with initial proposals at the forthcoming 2003 ISAF Mid-Year Meetings.
The meeting concluded with thanks to ISAF's host Vice-President Fernando Bolin, Mundo Vela and the city of Cadiz.