Concluded yesterday in Southampton, ISAF hosted the first International Judges conference with the primary focus at levelling the playing field with regards to the application and policing of RRS 42.
Over 60 attendees representing 43 ISAF Member National Authorities visited Great Britain for the two days of seminars, with a commitment to educate Judges, Race Officials and sailors within their country on a standard application of RRS 42.
After a welcome speech by ISAF President Paul Henderson and briefing on the weekends activities from Working Party Chairman and International Judge John Doerr, (GBR), who chaired the conference, delegates saw a presentation from Volvo Ocean Race CEO Glenn Bourke (NZL) on the next generation Volvo Ocean Race. Glenn commented. "Rule 42 must be policed. As it is today, the sport is being denigrated. The ISAF Judges Conference is carving the future of the sport."
Emphasis on the Saturday was on the education of every delegate as to a consistent application and interpretation of RRS 42 in it's current form. After months of discussion, research and interpretation by the working party, a standard approach has been devised and will be presented to every delegate as a package that can be delivered to individuals in their own countries as a one day seminar.
Each member of the Working Party presented a section of the rule interpretation, which included the basic interpretations of the rule, class specific relevancies such as the yellow flag rule, and the mechanics of a jury team relevant to the event status and level. Each section included examples and illustrations so as to promote the passing on of information at a national level.
John Doerr commented on the standard application of RRS 42.It is a done deal, non negotiable, the work has been done on it and the aim of Saturday was to enable each and every delegate to return to their own countries with a clear idea on how Rule 42 is to be interpreted, and to educate their National Judges, Officials and sailors as to the standard interpretation, and the implementation of it."
There will be a strict timetable for the implementation of the worldwide standard, and ISAF will be publishing this once the document is finalised.
Sunday was an opportunity for all delegates to voice their
current concerns about the rule and it's interpretation to the ISAF Working Party, followed by suggestions of how to overcome these concerns. This was followed by a two hour session on visions for the future; what people would like to see fixed in the current rule and how it was seen to be evolving.
Sunday afternoon was spent going over necessary jury policies, including issues over redress and redress from OCS scores. The conference closed at 1600 GMT on Sunday evening.
Following the conference, ISAF Vice President Ken Ryan commented."We are delighted not only by the reaction to developing more consistency in the application of RRS 42, and the commitment from delegates to educate, but also the level of constructive discussion on the future of the rule, that came out on Sunday,"
John Doerr went on to say "This conference has proved to be the first step to a universal understanding and application of a vitally important area of our sport, and will lead to a responsible evolution of RRS 42, based on that understanding."