Elliott 6m recommended for Women's Match Racing

The ISAF Annual Conference is underway, with working parties making their suggestions

Tuesday November 11th 2008, Author: ISAF, Location: United Kingdom
The International Sailing Federation's Annual Conference is in full swing in Madrid, Spain and the debate is already heating up, with the Olympic Sailing Competition a key focus so far.

The ISAF Annual Conference is approaching the halfway stage after four days of meetings already held in Madrid. Hundreds of delegates from around the sailing world have gathered in the Spanish capital to debate and decide upon the key issues in the sailing world.

From 6-16 November, meetings will be held for all 14 ISAF Committees and their Sub-Committees, culminating in three days of meetings for the ISAF Council, the final decision-making body of the International Sailing Federation. This is also the year of the ISAF General Assembly, at which the President and the Vice-Presidents of ISAF for 2009-2012 will be elected and the members of the ISAF Council for 2009-2012 will be ratified (more at www.sailing.org/generalassembly). Adding to the excitement is the build up to the announcement 2008 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards winners, which will be made in Madrid on Tuesday 11 November (more on the nominees at www.sailing.org/worldsailor).

Before the Conference got underway, ISAF President Göran Petersson (SWE), who is standing unopposed for re-election, said he was looking forward to a productive 11 days, "The 2008 ISAF Annual Conference promises to be an interesting time, with the selection of equipment for the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, election of the President and Vice-President for the next four years and the many other issues on the table for debate."

The President took the opportunity to the pay tribute to the work of the ISAF Committee and Council members, "It also marks the time when the Committee memberships come up for re-appointment and ISAF thanks the volunteers from around the world who have contributed to the work of ISAF through the various specialist ISAF Committees. The Conference will most importantly be a key opportunity to bring together representatives from the ISAF Member National Authorities and ISAF Classes, and we are looking forward to hosting several hundred delegates from more than 80 nations in Madrid, Spain," said the President.

Following four days of meetings in Madrid, the hot topics at this year's Conference are already emerging. The ISAF Council will select the equipment for the ten sailing events at the 2012 Olympic Games at this year's Conference and plenty of debate has already surrounded that choice.

The introduction of a Women's Match Racing event for 2012 gave the Match Racing Committee plenty to talk about. After much debate, a lot of it surrounding whether or not the timing of the decision over match racing equipment should be delayed until a later date, the Committee supported a proposal from a Working Party set out in May to look at the issue. That proposal, detailed in Submission 095-08, selects a modified Elliott 6m for the match racing event.

In the ISAF Classes Committee, which represents all of the 90-plus ISAF International and Recognized Classes, there was much debate around the proposal for a new Advertising Code contained in Submission 038-08.

Alberto Predieri (ITA), a member of the Working Party who drafted the new Code, explained its principal aims, "We worked on trying to draft a clearer text," he said. The Code makes provision for Class Advertising, although Predieri explained that the main principal underlying the proposal remained the right of the competitor to choose what advertising they carried, "The most valuable space in on the sails and the sailors should take value from that space. What we wanted to avoid was to dilute the value of this space by forcing the sailors to carry a class sponsor on the sails that may end with a big conflict with their own sponsors," he explained.

In the Youth Worlds Sub-Committee meeting, there was support for Submissions 101-08 and 105-08 to expand the event by adding an additional two-person event to be sailed in the 29er dinghy. Sub-Committee chairman Fiona Kidd stressed the championship must remain on the cutting edge, "Our challenge for the future is to target our events and make sure they are what our competitors want to be sailing in their future."

Other important areas of discussion have included the assessment of bids for future ISAF events. The New York Yacht Club were selected as hosts for the 2010 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship, whilst Dun Laoghaire, Ireland were chosen as host city for the 2012 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship. Both selections are subject to contractual arrangements.

The Conference continues today, with the ISAF Race Officials and Constitution Committee amongst the meetings being held. Committees meeting latter in the week include the Equipment, Women's Sailing Competition, Offshore and Events Committee. The ISAF Council hold three days of meetings from 13-15 November.

All the news from Madrid, meeting papers, schedules and more can be found on the ISAF Meetings microsite at www.sailing.org/meetings.

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