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This Article Last Updated: Oct 14th, 2010 - 15:13:49
The ISAF 2006 annual conference was held in November in Singapore. The Star Class continues to be held in very high regard. I took over 35 copies of the new Starlights fall issue; they went like hotcakes and it was very well received. The meeting overall was fairly calm, with only a couple of hot issues.
You may have heard about the proposed changes in Olympic sailing format. This format issue attracted the most attention, both at the meetings and in the hallways. The issue has been driven by the need to make the Sailing Olympics more attractive to TV. Jacque Rogge, IOC President, has stated that all Olympic sports will become attractive to TV, or they will cease to be Olympic. After discussion of various formats, some quite radical, a compromise plan was voted in by the ISAF council, as proposed by President Peterssen. Major elements are summarized below:
· Fleet racing will continue for 10 races (15 for 49ers), with 1 discard.
· After 10 races, the fleet will be cut to 10 boats, or perhaps those with medal opportunities.
· This reduced fleet will sail one final race, non discardable, which will count double. (1st gets 2 points, 2nd 4 points, etc.)
· The race will have on the water judging, so results will be final at the finish (except for redress, which will be done ASAP)
· Ties will be broken by position in the last race
· If the 11th race is not completed, medals will be given based on 10 races
· Medal ceremonies will follow immediately after last race
· The final race will be sailed for live TV, possibly near the shore on a shorter course
Several issues still remain – how to treat OCS, DNF, and redress. The major change is to require competitors to count the last race and sail a smaller fleet.
It is possible that this format may be implemented at some non Star Class organized grade 1 events over the next 2 years. Miami Olympic Classes regatta intends to consider use of the new format.
All Star Class events will continue to be sailed under Star class rules, with the exception of the ISAF combined worlds once every 4 years.
The Olympic classes commission (which I am on) and the events committee (Hal Haenel is on) accepted the format, but argued for the last race to be equally weighted with the first 10; but the double weighting plan prevailed in a vote of the ISAF Council.
Several other issues of interest included:
1. There were several proposals to lock in Olympic classes for 2012. All were defeated. There is uncertainty over whether sailing will have 10 or 11 medals, and tests are planned for new centerboard and keel boats. We will have to monitor this closely, and respond appropriately over the next 2 years.
2. There is great support for a “World Cup” or Grand Prix circuit. This concept has a working party developing the concept. Most likely scenario is that the non Star - sponsored Grade 1 events and possibly some new events would be included. The big question will be whether the various classes’ World Championships will be worked into the concept.
The impact of the Olympic format change on the Star class should not be too significant, since we will continue to run our own events according to Class rules. Mark Reynolds wrote an excellent commentary in Scuttlebutt, pointing out the special aspects of our sport and some implications of the Olympic format. For complete article go to http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/news/05/mr_olyscoring.
By approaching the issues in a constructive manner, rather than with inflammatory rhetoric, the Star Class can continue to provide leadership in the sailing world, and can remain a class for the elite sailors and the weekend warriors.
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