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5700 sign biggest ever petition in Sailing

by Nick Dewhirst on 8 Mar 2008
Will ISAF send the Multihull down the mine in November and ignore the Sailors’’ petition? © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz

To date more than 5,700 petitioners including ISAF Sailors of the Year and Olympic medallists have signed the IOC petition asking that multihulls be included in the Sailing Regatta for the 2012 Olympics.

This petition is probably the largest ever grass roots expression of concern at the management of our sport.

Goran Petersson, ISAF President,’s statement after that November decision was that the selection of Events demonstrated the modern nature and “the wide range and diversity of sailing”. Excluding a large part of the sport makes this patently untrue.

The multihull class was voted out at a meeting of the ISAF Council in November last year. As organisers of the petition, we have been waiting to see if its Executive Committee would respond by taking the initiative in reconsidering the selection of Olympic Events.

However, now that the minutes of ISAF’s February Executive Meeting have been published, not only does it appear that they have decided not to take the initiative, but it also seems that they may reject submissions to re-open the debate at the current mid year meeting, as not urgent, or at the annual meeting in November, since they see the matter as closed.

This is in spite of a right of appeal specifically and exclusively for this matter in Regulation 16.1.3 (a). The Executive received letters of concern about the selection of Events from several Member National Authorities, but decided these were not urgent, even before receiving formal submissions.

Furthermore in those Minutes it appears that the Executive will nevertheless be asking Council to treat as urgent a matter of retrospectively extending the deadline for Equipment submissions in the Women’s Match Racing Event, even though Regulation 16.1.2 states that no submission for Equipment shall be made after 15th March.

It seems thus the decision-making process is being applied unequally to the disadvantage of one sizeable part of the sailing community, while exceptions are made in favour of another.

We have prepared a detailed Report on the subject to help people understand better how such a widely unpopular decision was made in the first place. ISAF was offered an opportunity to discuss it before publication, but declined. You can download this Report www.asnr29.dsl.pipex.com/ISAF_Events_Report.pdf!click_here

As the initiative has now passed from the Executive to Member National Authorities, and there are deadlines of March 13th for Events and March 15th for Equipment, our MNA, the Royal Yachting Association, has asked us to encourage supporters to lobby their own MNA urgently.

Please email the relevant people at your MNA and your ISAF Councillor with your views. There is a menu of sample submissions attached, so you can cut and paste whatever you find appropriate.

This is how changes are made at ISAF and it is how effective lobbying by supporters of Women’s Match Racing persuaded a record 11 countries to make submissions in their favour, including many of them strong multihull countries and many smaller countries, who are not directly represented on Council. If they can do it, so should we because our research shows that multihulls represent between 10 and 30% of all racing sailboats, depending on what measure is used.

Before the November ISAF meeting the multihull community was unaware what was at stake or what to do to about it. Now that we know, we need to gather whatever submissions we can, however short the notice.

Please contact the people you know in your MNA to make the multihull case in general and ask them specifically to make submissions, especially given the constitutional issues involved. Australia, Denmark, France and the UK have already done so in the last few days.

Please do it urgently.
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