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6 March 2003, 11:22 am
ISAF Announces Major Progress In Establishing A Universal Classification Code
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ISAF Classification Code

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) booklet now available; registered users tops 5000 mark; smooth transition agreed with Mumm 30 and Farr 40 classes.
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) is pleased to announce significant progress made in the implementation of a single universal code for the classification of professional and amateur sailors. A new booklet of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is now available on the ISAF web site for use by sailors, class administrators and event organisers in the Sailors Classification Code. This guide should assist sailors who apply for a classification to know how the Classification Review Panel will interpret individual cases where the sailor's profile does not clearly fit the definitions for Group 1, 2, and 3 sailors found in the code.

"Our Review Panel members have worked hard over the last several months to develop these FAQ's based on their collective experience from evaluating dozens of cases of sailors from all over the world," said Antony Matusch, chairman of ISAF Classification. "We've sought to balance consistency,culture, and common sense in these interpretations, and have tried whenever possible to correlate the decisions with those made under earlier codes."

Work on the ISAF Sailors Classification Code started four years ago as a universal system to provide a clear distinction between the 'professional' and 'amateur' sailor. Introduced in its current form in November 2001, it exists solely as a free service to provide events and classes with an international system for classification of sailors. The Code classifies sailors into three Groups: Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3. Group status is based on financial involvement in boat racing (whether direct or indirect) and/or the use in the sailor's work of knowledge or skill capable of improving the performance of a boat in a race. It is not based on racing success, prowess or talent. No moral or ethical judgements are attached to these classifications. ISAF does not discriminate between 'amateurs' and 'professionals'. It is up to classes and regatta organisers to determine whether and how they use these classifications.

"We hope this FAQ booklet promotes awareness and understanding of the ISAF Code and we would strongly encourage sailors and administrators at all levels to familiarise themselves with the contents and in particular the section 'Definitions and Principles' and any section that covers their own activity," said Matusch. "However, we acknowledge no one guide can cover every situation and if users have any doubts concerning the Code we encourage them to seek advice from ISAF." With periodic feedback from class and event organisers, the FAQ booklet will be revised to reflect further decisions and comments received.

Thusfar 5026 sailors from 100 countries have applied on the ISAF web site and received classifications, and it has been used successfully in major international events such as Ford Cork Week and the Swan European Championship.

Moreover, since the recent announcement by US Sailing that its Appendix P - Definitions for Competitor Classification, has now been replaced by the ISAF Code, Matusch expects a significant influx of new applications in the coming months.

"We are indebted to the US Sailing Classification Committee and its chairman Dave Irish as an important pioneer in the effort made towards developing this concept," said Matusch. "In the interest of promoting stability, we are working closely with the classes that currently use US Sailing Appendix P to make their transition to the ISAF Code as smooth as possible. This includes assistance at regattas, providing lists of sailors' classification status, and being attentive to addressing their particular needs or concerns."

The ISAF Classification Code becomes mandatory from 1 April 2003, at international events which distinguish between `professional' and `amateur' sailors. However, to ensure a smooth transition, specifically in respect of sailors competing in the Mumm 30 and Farr 40 classes, where the sailor currently holds an unexpired classification with US Sailing that conflicts with one issued from ISAF, then the US Sailing classification will be used by these classes until the end of 2003. After the end of 2003, the Mumm 30 and Farr 40 Classes have agreed to adopt the ISAF Code in full. For sailors in these classes without a US Sailing classification, for those certifications that expire before the year end or when a sailor's employment circumstances change, an ISAF classification will be required.

Nelson Stephenson, Mumm 30 Class and World Council President, said "The Mumm 30 Class looks forward to working with ISAF Classification providing the services previously provided with excellence by the US Sailing and the RORC Rating Competitor Classification Systems. The transition arrangements recently agreed to with ISAF will allow the Mumm 30 Class to move into the ISAF Classification Code while not allowing individual sailors to gain an advantage as a result of the transition. This arrangement will also allow for any differences in Classification between systems to be fully reviewed and confirmed before becoming effective. This should assure that a level playing field is maintained during the transition period."

Farr 40 Class President, Jim Richardson, stated that the adoption of an International Competitor Classification Code was a positive step for the Farr 40 Class. "The Farr 40 Class has long sought to control costs and maintain a level playing field for our owners by limiting the number of professional sailors in our competitions. Our Class has 130 boats in 14 countries so the implementation of a truly international system is a welcome step. While we are grateful for the work done by US Sailing and its Chairman David Irish in developing a workable classification system, we are highly encouraged that we will have a smooth transition to the ISAF system. We anticipate developing a close working relationship with Antony Matusch and the rest of the ISAF Committee."

Commented ISAF President, Paul Henderson, "I would like to thank those who have worked so hard to develop and implement a universal Classification Code for use by Classes and Events as they wish."


For further information on the ISAF Sailors Classification Code, to access an application, definitions, and the FAQ booklet, visit the ISAF web site at www.sailing.org/isafsailor or contact ISAF at classification@isaf.co.uk
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