Weekend Roundup: ISAF, Attrition, and more

The stories that follow are written by their respective authors, and distributed via Sailing Scuttlebutt [article]

Praise be to Mother Teresa for saving the ISAF from itself

by Andy Rice – SailJuice.com [article]

It all came down to one vote. In a tense face-off around the ISAF Council table, the 37 members voted 19:18 in favour of keeping skiffs on the Olympic sailing roster, at the expense of the keelboats.

The seven vice-presidents of ISAF Executive Committee had agreed to block vote in favour of the keelboats. But I’ve been told that Teresa Lara, the Venezuelan VP, broke ranks with her colleagues and voted in line with the recommendations of the Events Committee, ie the skiffs.

If this is the case, then praise be to Teresa Lara for having the political courage to go with her own convictions, and not be swayed by the last-minute ‘volte face’ of her VP colleagues.

It’s sad to see the keelboat not represented at the 2016 Games (although with some more enlightened thinking there could have been room for everyone – more of that another time). However, the past four years – the fallout from the multihull’s exclusion, the subsequent formation of the Olympic Commission, the proposal tabled at last November’s ISAF meeting – have all been about a forging a new direction for Olympic sailing. Keelboats – or more specifically the Star – were struggling to justify their place in that new vision.

So, while today’s announcement offers plenty of reasons to be cheerful, we also know that the leadership of ISAF have learned absolutely nothing from the debacle of Cascais 2007. The past four years of hard work by the sub-committees of ISAF came perilously close to being unravelled by three crazy days in St Petersburg.

If the top table of ISAF had succeeded in pushing through their regressive agenda, they would have been looking at a re-run of the kind of vitriol and abuse that they suffered at the hands of the multihull enthusiasts after Cascais. At least they have been spared that fate, thanks to Teresa Lara’s intervention.

However, their 11th-hour decision to try to de-rail the process of modernising the Olympic regatta has left most observers absolutely baffled, and wondering just how much more out of touch with modern thinking an ISAF Executive Committee could be. The vice presidents depart St Petersburg with their credibility damaged, with any hopes of succeeding Goran Petersson as the president considerably diminished.

As the treasurer, David Kellett was present in St Petersburg but not permitted to vote. Perhaps the Australian was thanking his lucky stars he didn’t have to embroil himself directly in the political fighting. That said, I heard he spoke eloquently and strengthened his position as the frontrunner to take over the top job when Petersson leaves. Kellett is generally thought to be a safe pair of hands, but let’s hope he doesn’t confuse that term with the idea that a president can sit on his hands and not participate in the debate. After today’s high drama, perhaps Teresa Lara has shown that she has the strength of character for the presidency.

ISAF has suffered from a lack of strong leadership these past years, and it’s up to the next president to put that right. At least with today’s decision, there is a mandate for continued progress and modernisation of the Olympic sailing format. Today was a good result, yet there is so much more that can be done.

The ten events selected by the ISAF Council for the 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition are:
Men’s Board or Kiteboard – evaluation 
Women’s Board or Kiteboard – evaluation 
Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser 
Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial 
Men’s 2nd One Person Dinghy – Finn 
Men’s Skiff – 49er 
Women’s Skiff – Evaluation
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Mixed Two Person Multihull – Evaluation

America’s Cup Challengers Cut to 14

by Richard Gladwell – Sail-World [article]

34th America’s Cup Regatta Director Iain Murray told Sail-World this morning that one of the teams that had lodged a Notice of Challenge with the Defender, Golden Gate Yacht Club had been declined.

When the entries were announced at the closing date at the end of March 2011, there were ten named teams, five teams who had asked their details be kept confidential, and two of those were listed as being subject to vetting by the Defender, Golden Gate Yacht Club.

The fifteen teams listed included Oracle Racing, the America’s Cup Defender.

While Murray would not reveal the name or details of the team, it must be assumed that it did not comply with the requirements of the Protocol for the 34th America’s Cup in some way.

Iain Murray, AC34 Regatta Director –  Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo

Later in the interview, Murray responded that he expected that there could be a late entry made, but would not say if it was on the Challenger or Defender side of the entry list.

Last Saturday, 30 April marked the date required under the Protocol for the posting of the first Performance Bond for an amount of USD200,000 which could be either by bank deposit or a documentary form payable on demand.

Murray confirmed that not all teams had met the deadline, but would not disclose if more than just one had missed or who the teams were.

He did say that the matter would now be passed to the International Jury to investigate and possibly hold a Hearing. It may well be that the teams had in fact complied with the required with the requirements of the Protocol, but due to Bank Holidays etc in various parts of the world the required instruments had not been fully processed.

Sail-World was told earlier in the week that in the past there had been substantial delays in processing payments, and that a slide of several days was not unusual if the payment was made close to the due date. It may well be that the issue has its roots in bank administration issues, and that there is nothing untoward.

However the matter is now for the International Jury to determine, and if an omission has occurred, then that is a matter for them to determine and penalise, if required.

A second Performance Bond of USD800,000 is required to be lodged by 31 December 2011. 

Stories compiled by Racing Winds Crew

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