Led by a working party of top international officials, the International Judges Conference, being held this weekend in Southampton, England, will set out to meet a number of objectives to ensure a level playing field.
First and foremost is the need to ensure the playing field is fair. The interpretation, compliance, judging and policing of rule 42 has been inconsistent around the world, and in November 2002 ISAF committed to address the rules, setting up a working party to tackle all of the issues in a cohesive way.
The first step in achieving the level playing field was to ensure that Rule 42, as it currently is, is applied in the same consistent manner across the world. To achieve this ISAF initiated the International Judges Conference being held this weekend.
Saturday, the first day of the Conference will see the almost 60 delegates be educated in a consistent and accurate approach to the policing of Rule 42. In turn the delegates have committed to continue the process of education in their own countries and regions. To support the onwards education, the delegates will be given the materials to communicate with and educate judges, sailors and coaches, in essence a "Rule 42 Package"
, which can be taught in one-day.
Sunday will see the Conference address issues such as jury policies, including observers at hearings, discretionary penalties, initiating protests and redress for OCS.
The second step in addressing Rule 42 will be to identify ways in which the rule can be improved.
Glenn Bourke, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, attended tonight's Opening Reception and commented, "Rule 42 must be policed. As it is today, the sport is being denigrated. The ISAF International Judges Conference is carving the future of the sport. I applaud ISAF and all the Judges and Umpires here."
Speaking at the commencement of the ISAF Judges Conference, Conference Chairman John Doerr (GBR) commented, "This Conference is the first step to a level playing field, to educate ISAF Judges and Umpires in achieving a consistent and accurate approach to policing Rule 42. The second step will be to look at the playing field and decide if it needs to be changed.
We are delighted at the tremendous number of countries here and are looking forward to a productive Conference, which on the one hand will be educational and the other foster progressive discussion"
The ISAF Website will bring you a full report of the International Judges Conference on Monday 24 March 2003.