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8 June 2004, 05:29 pm
Overview Report
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Council Consider theWindsurfing Equipmentproposal © ISAF

2004 ISAF Mid-Year Meeting
San Diego Yacht Club

The 2004 ISAF Mid-Year Meetings concluded on Sunday 6 June 2004, hosted by the San Diego Yacht Club, San Diego, USA. Meetings of the ISAF Executive Committee, Events Committee and Council were held over the four days.
Numerous items were discussed, with the following providing an overview of some of the key issues:

2007 ISAF World Sailing Championship - With the first round of evaluation complete on the seven cities bidding to host the 2007 ISAF World Sailing Championships, the ISAF Executive Committee will now undertake the next step of evaluation having shortlisted four European venues. ISAF was impressed with the technical content of all initial seven bids which were excellent.

Having shortlisted to four, ISAF will now undertake a more detailed evaluation, to ensure that [to quote the ISAF President] "ISAF hits a home run" with the venue for the 2007 ISAF World Sailing Championships.

In early July 2004, Cadiz - Spain, Cascais - Portugal, Kiel - Germany and Medemblik - Netherlands will be invited for a further evaluation.

The ISAF Executive Committee will make a final decision on the venue during the 2004 Olympic Sailing Competition, Athens, Greece.

Looking ahead, the ISAF Executive Committee will propose that the ISAF World Sailing Championship be held every two years.

2008 Olympic Sailing Competition

Olympic Windsurfing Evaluation Event - The ISAF Council received a presentation on the Olympic Windsurfing Evaluation Event, held in Torbole, Italy to identify suitable equipment for use at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Based on the feedback and evaluation in Torbole, the Evaluation Panel concluded that the current longboards do not reflect the latest trends in windsurfing and do not excite the sailors, warning that if longboards remain as the Olympic equipment then windsurfing racing will continue to decline. Similarly, the Formula boards are not suitable for racing in the range of wind strengths required for an Olympic sailing event.

The Evaluation Panel had considered key criteria for windsurfing and wanted to re-establish the Olympic windsurfing competition as a pinnacle event, using equipment that does not hold back the evolution of windsurfing, but be state of the art, able to race in all conditions, have media/visual appeal, global availability and be inexpensive, to enable the windsurfing events to be part of all developing sailing nations' Olympic campaigns.

The Evaluation Panel presentation and recommendation focused on the new breed of "Hybrid" board - which has the light wind performance of long boards, combined with the planning capabilities of formula boards. The ISAF Council was advised that "Hybrid" boards excite the sailors and meet the needs of Olympic windsurfing, although at the present time there is not a suitable board. The Evaluation Panel concept was for production boards, built to an outline rule within specified minimum/maximum hull length, hull width, hull weight, tail fin length and centreboard specifications, as follows:

Hull length: 2650 - 3100mm
Hull width: 790 - 1000mm
Hull weight minimum: 12kg without foils and straps (but including mast track)
Foil length (maximum): Tail fin: 650mm; pivoting centreboard (optional): 850mm

The Evaluation Team proposed this box rule, with development for two years, before identifying the specific design in 2006 which would be used for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition. However, the Events Committee and Council were uncomfortable with this proposal to delay the specification of the equipment beyond November 2004.

Therefore, in order to propose a specific one-design at the 2004 November Conference, ISAF will be working with manufacturers to conduct a further Evaluation Event in September 2004 and identify a board that could be used at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Concluding, the Evaluation Panel recommended that ISAF must never allow a board to be used at the Olympic Sailing Competition which is behind windsurfing as sailed around the world and that ISAF must continue to guide, encourage and improve the sport of windsurfing.

After unanimous support was given by the ISAF Council to the presentation, ISAF President Paul Henderson commented: "Hopefully in September [2004], the industry will meet ISAF's challenge, but ISAF has to be ready if it does not. This is a clear message from ISAF that we want windsurfing, but the industry has to act."

For the final report from the Olympic Windsurfing Evaluation event Click Here.

Equipment - Having determined the events for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition in November 2003, the Events Committee chaired by Bjorn UNGER (SWE) considered the equipment which has been put forward on the slate for consideration. The Events Committee had the option to reduce the slate and present a shortlist of equipment to Council for consideration in November 2004. However, the route preferred by the Events Committee was to present a specific Olympic Event and Equipment evaluation sheet which they will use to make their recommendation on the equipment for the 2008 Olympics when they reconvene in November 2004.

The criteria provides a clear synopsis for the specific events, with the following generic equipment guidelines for all events:

- Commonality between men's and women's equipment is beneficial when it is also appropriate
- Suitable for racing in wind strengths from light (5 knots) to strong (25 knots)
- Not unnecessarily expensive
- Relatively easily transportable for type of equipment
- Simple to ensure equipment is fair and conforms to rules, low equipment measurement costs at regattas
- Suitability to be supplied equipment is an advantage
- Spectator and media friendly - all events should be suitable for TV and newspaper coverage

With additional equipment guidelines for men's and women's events, to reward on-the-water sailing skills more than off-the-water technical development, there is support for the "out of the box" equipment for what could be considered the "modern" events, whilst retaining the technical challenges offered by some of the more "traditional" equipment.

Moving forwards to November 2004, when the final decision on the Olympic equipment will be made, the slate remains as:

2008 Olympic Event Equipment (Classes) Submitted for 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition (detailed in alphabetical order) Current Olympic Equipment - as being used in 2004
Men's windsurfing `Hybrid' Board, Mistral - plus all equipment participating at Olympic Equipment Evaluation Event, being Boards & Less Canada Society, Boards & More - Mistral One Design, Boards & More - Olympic Design, Boards & More - Mistral Prodigy, Flying Fish - Exocet, Gaastra Sails, Neil Pryde Formula, PD Project, Starboard - Z Class Mistral One-Design
Women's windsurfing `Hybrid' Board, Mistral - plus all equipment participating at Olympic Equipment Evaluation Event, being Boards & Less Canada Society, Boards & More - Mistral One Design, Boards & More - Olympic Design, Boards & More - Mistral Prodigy, Flying Fish - Exocet, Gaastra Sails, Neil Pryde Formula, PD Project, Starboard - Z Class Mistral One-Design
Men's single-handed dinghy Finn, Laser Finn
Open single-handed dinghy Finn, Laser Laser
Women's single-handed dinghy Byte, Europe, Flash, Laser Radial, Zoom Europe
Men's double-handed dinghy 49er, 470, Snipe 470
Open double-handed dinghy 49er, 49er
Women's double-handed dinghy 49er, 470, Snipe 470
Men's keelboat Soling, Star, Yngling Star
Women's keelboat Soling, Yngling Yngling
Open Multihull Hobie 16', Tornado Tornado

It should be noted that the Mexican Sailing Federation proposed the Hobie 16 for the Multihull Open event. However the Hobie 16 Class Association does not feel it appropriate to compete against the Tornado and therefore has not signed the Olympic Contract, and thus will not be eligible for consideration.

2004 Olympic Sailing Competition

Coach Boat Rules - Continuing the desire to minimise any external influences on the sailors' performance at the Olympic Sailing Competition, the ISAF Events Committee considered the equipment which will be permitted to be carried onboard the Coach Boats, supporting sailors. The overriding principle is that coach boats shall be prohibited from carrying any electronic devices, with the exception of:

- A public VHF radio. Accredited coaches or support personnel shall only be allowed to use VHF radio for an emergency and for immediate rescue operations;
- Any device for time keeping only;
- Hand-held devices for wind measurement;
- (electronic) compasses
- photo camera(s);
- video camera(s);
- tape/digital voice recorder(s);
- electronic stabilized binoculars;
- any electronic equipment strictly related to the safe operation of the boat and engine.

Whilst the above sets out the intent, the specific detail will be included in the 2004 Olympic Sailing Competition Sailing Instructions.

Wild Cards - The 2004 Olympic Qualification System does not support an automatic quota of "Wild Cards" or "Invitational Places" out of the 400 athlete slots. However, ISAF does operate a process of reallocation of Olympic slots, when countries who have qualified do not take up the slots for which they have qualified. This is usually because the athletes have not reached the national qualification criteria set by the Member National Authority or National Olympic Committee. In these cases, ISAF issues "wild cards". In March 2004, ISAF effectively issued the first wild cards by allocating an additional qualification slot to each of the double-handed dinghy women, double-handed dinghy open, multihull open, keelboat women and keelboat men events. Now into the next stage, ISAF will allocate approximately a further six qualification slots, which will go as a priority to the single-handed events where a country has no other entry at the Olympic Sailing Competition.

Technical Committee Structure - The Chairman of the Technical Structure working party, Dick BATT (GBR) presented a proposal to streamline the ISAF Technical Committee structure, delegate Class Rules approval and strengthen the ISAF Secretariat Technical Staff.

The existing Committees will be re-structured to three Committees, being:
Equipment Committee (formerly Sailing)
Equipment Control Committee (formerly Measurement)
Class Rules Committee (formerly Centreboard, Keelboat, Multihull, Windsurfing, Offshore Classes)

Speaking to the proposal, the Working Party Committee Chairman commented; "In respect of the administration of Class Rule changes, the time taken by Council to review work by staff and expert committees, indicated that the responsibility for class rule changes/approvals should be delegated to an ISAF Secretariat led process to enable the whole process of class rule changes/approvals to be dislocated from November Conference and put into the year on year work of staff. This will enable the job to be completed in a thorough and efficient fashion and provide an improved service to sailors."

Nominations for Committees in November 2004 will be based on the new structure. With significant issues to discuss outside of class rules, the existing Windsurfing and Offshore Committees will continue to exist.

Offshore Structure - Council supported the proposal from the Offshore Restructuring Group to revise the Offshore Structure within ISAF. Presented by the group Chairman, Ken ELLIS (GBR) the proposal formalises the involvement of major oceanic event organizers and handicap and rating systems, and provides for specific representation on the ISAF Offshore Committee.

ISAF Members - Azerbaijan was welcomed as a new ISAF Member National Authority, and Lebanon became an ISAF Full Member from an Associate Member.

Olympic Classes Commission - the Executive Committee has adopted the following terms of reference for the Olympic Classes Commission, which shall:
- Liaise with the Olympic Classes
- Exchange information between the Olympic Classes and ISAF
- Maintain a close liaison with Olympic sailors and event organizers
- Promote the welfare and growth of Olympic sailing
- Be convened annually as part of the ISAF Annual Meeting, prior to the Executive Committee Meeting
- Provide for discussion and exchange of ideas on matters of expertise, experience, interests and support between all the Olympic classes
- Liaise with other ISAF Committees to promote sailing in the Olympic classes.

Coaches - Responding to the needs of coaches around the world, ISAF will implement a system of Coaches Registration utilising the ISAF Sailor system.

The registration will be run in conjunction with ISAF Member National Authorities, who will be required to validate coaches. Coach Boat Regulations will also be introduced for specific ISAF Events, and may be used by other events. On registering, coaches will be required to sign-up to a "Code of Effects".

ISAF will provide further support to this important area of the sport, with Coaches Forums planned at ISAF Events.

Advertising - first discussed by Council at the 2003 Annual Conference, approval was given to prohibit advertising of a political nature, and the following wording will be included in the ISAF Advertising Code, Regulation 20.2:

"Advertising of a political nature shall not be displayed at an event by a competitor on a boat, equipment, clothing or other object."

"Quick Release" Trapeze/Hiking Harnesses - With the increasing number of incidents and fatalities involving sailors being trapped in harnesses, in November 2003 ISAF took the decision to legislate on the use of "quick release" harnesses. ISAF will not certify the construction or choose products, but just mandate that sailors use such a system. It is ISAF's responsibility to prevent more fatal accidents happening to sailors. Included in the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing 2005-2008, will be the following wording:

40.2 A trapeze or hiking harness shall have a device capable of quickly releasing the competitor from the boat at all times while in use.

However, recognising that there is not yet global availability of such products, RRS 40.2 will be deferred to take effect on 1 January 2006.

ISAF World Match Race Grading Criteria - ISAF has approved an amendment to the ISAF Match Racing Grading Criteria, which will now enable America's Cup skippers to carry skipper points. Many America's Cup skippers, due to their America's Cup commitments, have been unable to compete in sufficient ISAF Graded Match Racing Events to keep them ranked high enough in the Match Race Rankings to receive invitations to ISAF Graded events on the Match Racing Circuit. The calibre of most America's Cup skippers is equal to that equal to that of many highly ranked skippers, and it is desirable for the ISAF Grade 1 Match Racing events to be able to invite America's Cup skippers to their events. Two skippers per America's Cup syndicate may apply to ISAF for skipper points.

In November 2003, ISAF introduced a ranking holiday, which would enable skippers involved in other campaigns, such as the America's Cup to effectively "hold" their world ranking position, until they returned to the circuit.

These changes will also contribute to the media appeal and promotional opportunities of the Match Racing circuit.

Finance - Staying in the America's Cup arena, the Executive Committee presented a proposal to redistribute some of the income received from the America's Cup. To date, all countries which have a syndicate participating in the America's Cup have received a share of the special event fee paid to ISAF, providing a handful of countries with additional income. Whilst these nations will still receive a specific allocation of income, there will be an expanded distribution, which will specifically benefit some of the developing sailing nations. Approximately US$160,000 per year of the income received will be allocated to the following projects:

- Elite match racing umpires programme
- Training programmes
- ISAF solidarity fund / ISAF athlete participation programme
- 'Connect to Sailing Project'
- World Youth Sailing Trust
- … and any other project as decided by the Executive Committee

Election Committee - Copenhagen, Denmark will play host to the ISAF November Conference in November 2004 and the election for a new Executive Committee. Overseeing the election process is the Election Committee, which chaired by ISAF President of Honour His Majesty King Constantine, will also include ISAF President of Honour His Majesty King Harald of Norway, Pease GLASER (USA) and John TINKER (CAN).

Full details of all the decisions taken will be available in the minutes of the Executive Committee, Events Committee and Council.
ISAF Secretariat
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