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Yachting New Zealand issues media statement on Board Sailing debate

by Jodie Bakewell-White on 1 Nov 2012
Kiteboard Course Racing Worlds 2012 Alberto Foresti/Canon

On Wednesday afternoon, Yachting New Zealand issued a media statement on its position with the expected re-opening of the decision made at the May Meeting of the International Sailing Federation. The statement makes a claim, which would seem to be at variance with ISAF Constitution in regard to the voting and speaking obligations of ISAF Councillors.

The ISAF Annual Conference being held on first -11th November in Ireland will hold special interest for supporters of windsurfing and kite boarding, with the ISAF Council to decide whether the decision on Kite-Board Racing’s inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games is to be re-visited.

The ISAF Council is the decision making body of ISAF and is made up of representatives elected by 12 groups of countries, known as Areas. Each country in the Area has one vote in determining matters before Council.

Area L, the South West Pacific, consists of New Zealand, Australia and seven Pacific nations and has two representatives on the Council. These delegates are required by the Constitution to represent the majority views of the countries in Area L at the Council, not those of the individual countries within Area L.

Despite Yachting New Zealand’s position on the debate, strong support of kite-boarding from the other countries in Area L means that the majority view from Area L is in support of not reopening the May decision to introduce Kite boarding into the Olympic Games.

Yachting New Zealand President Jan Dawson explains the situation; 'Unfortunately at the ISAF Council it is not New Zealand’s 'personal vote' but the vote of all the countries of Area L South West Pacific. The Councillors must represent what the majority of the countries want and Area L includes nine nations. We have to respect the democratic process.'

Australia and the majority of the Pacific Island nations support the decision for kite-board racing to be introduced and as a result the two Area L representatives on the ISAF Council will vote to not re-open the equipment slate decision.

Yachting New Zealand remains in support of Wind Surfing as an Olympic sport for 2016 and this is reflected in a Yachting New Zealand submission to ISAF on the matter made in July.

Chief Executive David Abercrombie outlines Yachting New Zealand’s July submission; 'Yachting New Zealand feels that wind surfing should be there in Rio and the basis that Kite boarding needs more rigorous testing before it is included in the Olympic Games and a good way to do this would be to introduce it as an event at ISAF World Cup Regattas.'

'Yachting New Zealand will continue to support windsurfing development programmes as windsurfing is still a pathway and an event at the ISAF Youth Worlds and the IOC Youth Olympics.'

Sail-World: How Councillors vote is set out in the http://www.sailing.org/documents/regulations/isafconstitution/index.php!ISAF_Constitution, Clause 39 which says: 39. Members of the Council shall be persons who are active in Yachting. Members of the Council shall be responsible for placing before the Council the views of the Member National Authorities by whom they were nominated or elected but in the exercise of their votes they shall have regard to the interest of the sport of yachting throughout the world as a whole.

The final phrase makes it clear that Councillors in fact are required vote in the best interests of the sport worldwide, whether or not that is consistent with the views of one or more, or the majority of countries in their region. They are also required, as the body of the clause states to place before Council the views of the countries in their region, even though these may be in conflict.

About the ISAF Annual Conference

From 1-11 November 2012 the world of sailing will gather in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland for the 2012 ISAF Annual Conference.

ISAF Committee, Sub-committee and Commission members will travel from around the globe to Dun Laoghaire where they will be joined by ISAF Member National Authorities (MNAs), Class Associations, sailors, event organisers, boat manufacturers and many more. Those in attendance will discuss, debate, make recommendations and decisions on the issues and policies that will take sailing forward into 2013.

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