The Official
Website of the
Sailing Federation
1 April 2003, 10:12 pm
Universal Code Comes Into Effect 1 April 2003
No ALT tag specified

ISAF Classification Code

The ISAF Classification Code, developed and refined by ISAF over the last four years as a free service, universal and international method of defining professional and amateur sailors comes into force today.
From 1 April onwards, any international event or class that wishes to define the status of its sailors, or limit the numbers of professionals, can use the ISAF classification code to define the limits. The Code classifies sailors into three groups depending on their financial involvement in the sport of sailboat racing. It is not based on an individuals' racing talent, successes, or prowess.

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. Further information

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.

Last year, the classification code was used with great success at Ford Cork Week and events using the ISAF Classification Code in 2003 include Ford Cork Week, Swan Europeans and Admirals Cup, in particular in the IMS600 class whose rules state that fifty percent of the declared crew must be group one sailors.

So far, over 5300 sailors are classified under the ISAF Classfication Code, which is available via ISAF Sailor at, a figure which is likely to rise extensively over the coming months. In order to make the classification process clearer to applicants, a document of frequently asked questions has been produced and is available at Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

All queries regarding the isaf classification code should be directed to

ISAF Secretariat
Share this page
World Sailing TV
Latest News
News Archive
© 2015 Copyright ISAF/ISAF UK Ltd. All Rights Reserved Privacy & Cookies delivered by Sotic powered by OpenText WSM