ISAF Annual Conference 2006 World Cup Centre Stage In Helsinki
The 2006 ISAF Annual Conference came to a close in Helsinki, Finland on Sunday 12 November, with a new ISAF World Cup© for the Olympic Classes the major talking point. Eleven days’ of meetings, brought together leading figures from every corner of the sailing world to debate, discuss and ultimately decide on some of the key issues for the future of the sport.
Amongst the 500 plus delegates from over 50 nations were, ISAF President of Honour His Majesty King Constantine, HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, ABN AMRO ONE navigator Stan HONEY (USA), four-time ISAF Match Racing World Champion Peter GILMOUR (AUS), RS:X World Champion and triple Olympic medallist Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) and 2005 Moth World Champion Rohan VEAL (AUS) – not to mention the all-star list who turned out for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards.
ISAF President Göran PETERSSON (SWE) commented, 'This has been a very productive meeting. There is a real momentum in all our decision making and in making defined steps to move the sport forwards. Through all our decisions we must not only look at the best interests of our sport, but we must be aware of our competition – the other sports, other recreational interests for youth and the wider population – we have to be smart and think smart when making decisions on our sport.'
Green Light For World Cup
The big news from Helsinki came on Saturday when the ISAF Council approved a proposal to launch the ISAF World Cup© series for the Olympic Classes. The President had remarked in his opening address to Council, 'ISAF has to respond to the requirements of being an Olympic sport,' and also talked of the importance of ‘maximising the Olympic opportunity’. The launch of the ISAF World Cup is a vital step towards meeting those challenges.
A series of events will combine under the umbrella of the World Cup, with Sail Melbourne, Rolex Miami OCR, Princess Sofia Trophy, Semaine Olympique Française, Holland Regatta and Kiel Week all scheduled as part of the first series, which will start no later than 2008.
ISAF will work with the event organizers throughout 2007 to promote the World Cup, and are also considering including Olympic Class World Championships and a Grand Final event. The Executive Committee will give an updated report to Council at the ISAF Mid-Year Meetings in May next year.
Courses And Classes
The launch of the World Cup will provide the ideal springboard into the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition in Qingdao, China. After Council approved Submission 064 (with some amendments), a new media-friendly course with a slalom finish will be used for the two Olympic windsurfing events in Qingdao.
Looking further ahead to the London 2012 Olympic Games, a working party will be set up to study the choices for the ten sailing events for the 2012 Olympics, which will be selected by the Council in November 2007.
Two new classes were approved for ISAF Recognized status, and the Musto Performance Skiff and the X-35 Keelboat extend the list of ISAF Classes to 89. The RS:X and the RS Feva both successfully applied to upgrade their status from ISAF Recognized to ISAF International Classes.
100 Years Of ISAF
The ISAF Centenary logo was also unveiled at the Conference. Next year the International Sailing Federation marks its 100th anniversary and the logo will be a key feature in promoting a series of events to celebrate the Centenary and encouraging participation in sailing and attracting people out on the water.
The logo and more details on the scheduled events for the celebrations in 2007 will be published on http://www.sailing.org/ in the near future.
A major theme of the Centenary will be getting people out on the water and sailing. The ISAF initiative Connect to Sailing has been working towards this goal for the last three years. Two Connect to Sailing seminars under the title ‘Training - The Golden Key to the Future of Sailing’, brought together some of the most respected figures in the sailing world to share their knowledge with the delegates packed into the meeting rooms.
Race Officials Officials And Disabled Sailing
During the Conference the ISAF Race Officials renewals and new appointments were made for 2006. A new system of performance reporting on Race Officials will also be introduced after Submission 117 was approved (with some amendments).
During the Conference, the International Association for Disabled Sailing (IFDS) also held their AGM. Serge JORGENSEN (USA) and Jan ROMME (NED) were re-elected to the IFDS Executive Committee for a second term, and welcomed for their first terms were Linda MERKLE (USA) and David STALEY (AUS).
The ISAF Council, the final decision making body of ISAF, will next meeting in Paris, France for the ISAF Mid-Year Meetings in May 2007. Athens, Greece will host the 2007 ISAF Annual Conference.