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14 November 2003, 09:51 pm
Olympic Events, Women's Representation and IRC
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ISAF Annual Conference 2003

These were just a handful of the issues discussed at today's meeting of the ISAF Council, the final decision making body of ISAF, in Barcelona, Spain.
Yesterday's opening meeting of the ISAF Council focused on financial issues and progress reports from various areas of the sport, but it was today that the Council got down to the matter of debating the 400 plus submissions that are on the table.

In the week preceding the Council Meeting, the ISAF Committees debate the submissions relevant to their terms of reference, and make recommendations to Council, who having considered the recommendations make a final decision.

Today's session opened with the presentation of the ISAF Silver Medal to Steven SCHRIER (GBR) and posthumously to Alexander SOBOLEV (RUS) in recognition of their voluntary contribution to the sport.

It was then onto the business of the meeting.

Subscription Fees
Moving onto Submission 001-03, the proposal to decrease the annual subscriptions due to ISAF from the national governing bodies for sailing, known as Member National Authorities, was considered. With an increase in other sources of revenue, ISAF is not as reliant on subscription fees, and the Executive Committee had proposed a phased decrease of fees. Approved by Council, from 1 January 2004 all countries in Subscription Category 1, whom are mainly the developing sailing nations, will now only be charged an annual fee of £50. Those countries in Subscription Categories 2 and 3, will enjoy a 50% reduction in their fees. It was also agreed to reduce the fees due from ISAF Classes. The fees for the countries in categories 4, 5 and 6 will be reviewed at the 2004 Mid-Year Meeting.

In May 2003, responding to the requests of sailors, Council agreed that sailors should be able to appeal issues of class eligibility to ISAF, and ultimately to the Court of Arbitration of Sport. Today, Council approved changes to the ISAF Regulations and Articles to implement this decision.

This sits hand in hand with the ability for sailors to appeal cases of ISAF Eligibility, firstly to ISAF and ultimately to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Women's Representation
Council then moved onto the submission by the ISAF President, Paul Henderson, to increase women's representation within the Executive Committee. A leading supporter of women's involvement across all areas of the sport, Paul's submission proposed that there be a minimum of two women on the ISAF Executive Committee, up from the current one. With a clear majority, Council voted in favour and from November 2004 ISAF will welcome at least two female Vice-Presidents. Having tackled the need for increased representation within the Executive Committee, Council then moved onto Paul's submission to increase the female representation amongst their own ranks by 100%. Of the 39 Council Members, there are currently four women, but having again achieved the support of Council, Paul has ensured that from November 2004, there will be at least eight women.

ISAF Committees
In the interests of streamlining the committee structure of ISAF, Council considered the proposal to make the Match Racing Committee a sub-committee of the Events Committee. However, reflecting the importance of match racing and the need for a specialised Committee, Council emphatically determined that the Match Racing Committee should retain its status.

The proposal to streamline the boat and technical committees of ISAF into one Technical Committee, which would provide more timely and cohesive decision making along with an expanded technical resource from the ISAF Secretariat, was deferred for further consideration.

It is usual practice that the classes selected as the equipment for the Olympic Games meet as one group with representatives from ISAF to discuss the numerous issues surrounding their involvement in the Olympic arena, but today the status of that group was formalised with the creation of an Olympic Classes Commission. Whilst the terms of reference are yet to be finalised, as a Commission they will report directly to the ISAF Executive Committee thus ensuring a clear communication and decision making route.

Another Commission, the International Regulations Commission was given a new addition to its terms of reference, with the responsibility to monitor and act on issues effecting the environment. This was more of a housekeeping issue, as the Commission already undertakes this role, and as an example of environment related work has undertaken an enormous amount of research and lobbying on issues surrounding water ballast.

Continental Associations
Moving into a new area, Council formally ratified their decision of May 2003 to recognise Continental Associations. Whilst Continental Sailing Associations have existed for many years, they have not previously enjoyed any recognition from ISAF. Terms of Reference have now been put in place and, on application, ISAF will recognise Continental Associations who comply with specific criteria, including objectives of:

(i) the promotion of the sport of sailing in its area of influence
(ii) the co-ordination, together with local member national authorities of the competition calendars to avoid clash of dates of competitions
(iii) the establishment of the basis for development and promotion of classes, which are popular in its territorial area, though not recognized by ISAF
(iv) the promotion of race officials' education and the encouragement of exchanges of race officials between countries in its area
(v) the co-ordination of competition activities with the continental associations and the National Olympic Committees in its area to promote the sport of sailing

Having received an update from the Competition Manager for the 2004 Olympic Regatta yesterday, today the Council looked ahead to the 2008 Olympic Regatta in Quingdao, China.

With a two-step process in determining the events and equipment (classes) that will be used at the 2008 Olympic Games, this afternoon Council determined the following events that will be contested. Next year Council will decide the equipment to be used.

- Men's windsurfing
- Women's windsurfing
- Men's single-handed dinghy
- Open single-handed dinghy
- Women's single-handed dinghy
- Men's double-handed dinghy
- Open double-handed dinghy
- Women's double-handed dinghy
- Men's keelboat
- Women's keelboat
- Open Multihull

The characteristics that will be used as guidelines to assess the suitability of equipment for the men's, women's and open dinghy events at the 2008 Olympic Regatta were determined as follows:

Men's and Women's Dinghy Events
Universally available equipment
Sailed worldwide
Suitable for average physique
Technically simple, or out-of-the-box

Open Dinghy Events
Innovative: design; technology; format of racing; courses
Added media appeal
"Buzz" for young and established sailor
Fast and athletic
Having determined the events and reviewed possible characteristics of the equipment, the Chairman of the Events Committee highlighted the importance of also focusing on the competition format for 2008.

There had been some questioning as to whether ISAF should determine the inclusion of the two windsurfing events this November, when as yet there is no suitable equipment identified. However, as noted by the Events Committee, it was felt important to give windsurfing a platform for the future, and it is now up to the windsurfing classes and industry to demonstrate that appropriate equipment is available. Following on from the Presentation Event in Cadiz, Spain, ISAF will hold formal Equipment Trials in March 2004 in Torbole, Italy, at the same venue where the 1996 Trials were held from which the 49er was selected for Olympic competition.

Whatever the equipment (class) that is selected for the windsurfing events, ISAF will undertake the administration for the first few years to support the class and ensure it can respond to the demands of Olympic selection.

Following the lead of the women, and responding to the requests from the Star sailors, it was agreed that for the 2004 Olympic Regatta the Star Class will adopt the weight limit measurement procedure as already implemented for the Yngling Class.

Tomorrow, Council will consider Submission 061-03 proposing that the Yngling weight limit measurement procedure be applied to the Yngling fleet at ISAF Grade 1 and 2 events, with event organisers of Grade 3 events encouraged to apply the weight limit measurement procedure.

Rating Systems
Today the IRC became recognised by ISAF under the recently created International Rating System designation. It was this time last year that the ISAF Council approved the regulations giving the framework for accepting and giving status to a rating system, and endorsement of the submission to approve IRC put forward by the Royal Yachting Association marked a major step for ISAF.

Council noted the creation of a new Grand Prix rule to be published in September 2004, which will support the development of fast, exciting and seaworthy boats.

ISAF confirmed its approval of the change of name to Offshore Racing Congress for the previously known ORC.

A working party will continue to review the administration of offshore racing and make proposals on the future structure of offshore racing within the Federation at the 2004 Mid-Year Meeting.

The Offshore Committee's recommendations to approve various changes to the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations were approved.

The Council meeting will continue tomorrow, concluding in the afternoon.

ISAF Secretariat
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