The ISAF vote to toss the multihull out of the 2012 Olympic Games brought the voting processes of sailing’s peak body into sharp focus for many sailors for the first time.
Some six thousand sailors signed a petition asking for a decision reversal, which subsequently followed, but there has been a large degree of unhappiness at grass roots level.
There will be an election for a new ISAF President at the annual conference in Dublin Ireland in November 2012.
Australia’s David Kellett, the highly regarded 38 Sydney Hobart race veteran, who for 14 years has been on the ISAF executive - ten years as a Vice President and four as ISAF treasurer - was the first person to formally advise the Member National Authority (MNA) of his intention to stand for the ISAF President at the end of 2011 and has been communocating with MNA's making his position clear on a range of issues.
Last week we interviewed David Kellett at length.
He explained. ‘Our last two ISAF Presidents’, Paul Henderson and Goran Peterssen, have brought us a long way. There are many challenges in front of us that must be addressed with firm leadership but must be in consultation with our MNA's, Classes and Continental Associations.
‘I think the key issues that are facing ISAF in the next four years are the leadership, the governance, the service to our constituents, our MNAs and continental associations, and the development of the sport. They are the four issues that have to be addressed.
‘The decision making process within ISAF at times leaves much to be desired and has at times caused angst and animosity. There have been some unfortunate decisions in the last few years and I believe we need to change our approach to the decision making processes.
‘My leadership style is to encourage more consultation and transparency and informed decision making.
‘I try and ensure decision making groups consider both sides (of a decision) to see which one is best and that the process be open and transparent and that everybody has input so all understand exactly what they are doing and hence make good decisions for our sport.
‘I understand there are reasons that are a little cloudy then I think that is something that we will need to do and its really up to the Executive and to a lesser extent the staff, if there asked to, to say ‘hang on guys if you do that you are going to open up this can of worms. Is that really what you want to do?’
‘I am a very open person. You always know where I stand and I am happy to be convinced I am on the wrong track and change. I am not a ‘dyed in the wool, this is exactly how it will be’ and I will die defending that. If it is a better system or a better solution I am very happy to go along with it.
‘But at the same time if some leadership is needed, if you are at a crossroads and you need to make a decision which way you are going, then I will certainly consider all the arguments and put my position forward and say this is where I think we should go.
‘In governance, there has to be better ways of doing some of the things within ISAF. We have to make it more cost effective, we certainly need to fine tune meetings so they are not just talk fests and we have to speed decision making.
‘There is a general feeling through all the MNAs that now is the time to do this and for the service to the sport we have to.
‘We are there to serve our Member National Authorities. We are not there to run them - we are there to help. What we have to do to get that message across and work with them.
‘The Continental Associations are very important to any organisation and they can do a lot of work for ISAF that needs to be covered in their area. The grass roots area, they are the people who can deliver that result.
‘In the development arena, I think we have got to look at where we are going. We have to stay in the Olympics and it would be untenable to think that sailing would not be an Olympic sport.
‘We are a financially secure sport but we do need that Olympic funding to be able to continue to level of administration we are currently managing. This issue must be addressed, as does the reliance of the sport on Olympic monies; we must develop more independence while maintaining our excellent, close working relationship with the IOC.
‘We have to make sure that our sport is relevant to the modern day and we have already made some changes. Some are good and some of them not so good and we have to fine tune that area.
‘We have to keep developing the sport, making it exciting for young sailors and expanding the number of nations for whom sailing is an important sport and to do that we have to make sure we are making sailing relevant to the sailors of today.
'I think most sailors are pretty intelligent people. If you talk these things through you can see where it will benefit the sport. When you are sitting at the council table you should be thinking about the benefit to the sport, not your own personal agenda or your own MNA’s role.
‘We need to give more information earlier and talk about it more widely beforehand in a balanced way, so that when the MNA is instructing their delegate there has been discussion and everyone has thought through the ramifications.
‘By the 2012 elections I will have been a part of ISAF for 21 years and feel I am uniquely qualified to fulfil the role of President of the International Sailing Federation.
‘There are various submissions to be dealt with in November which could lead to a different ISAF structure and Election procedure, so I shall hold any policy statements until such time as the process is clear.’
David B. Kellett AM - Sailing and Administration Profile
David Kellett competed from a young age around Sydney Harbour. Concentrated on keel boat racing from 1965 and competed in his first Sydney Hobart race in 1968. He is still an active sailor.
Has sailed to Hobart 38 times, 21 times as skipper of maxi yachts Gretel, Vengeance, Sovereign, Condor, Maxi Ragamuffin, Matador and Sydney, taking Line Honours on several occasions and skippering the first Australian yacht to win the Line Honours/Handicap double with Sovereign in 1987.
On an International level, Kellett has competed in the America's Cup in 1970, 1977 and was the Syndicate Project Manager for Iain Murray’s 1992 Spirit of Australia America's Cup Challenge. In Offshore, he has competed at Cowes, Bermuda and Hawaii several times and skippered Sovereign to win the Maxi World Championship rounds in the U.S.A during 1989. He has also been Team Captain/Manager for two NSW Southern Cross Cups and the Australian team in the1990 Kenwood Cup, a team consisting of over 100 sailors.
He is 63 years of age, married with two children and lives in Sydney, Australia. He has been in the construction and property industry all his working life and has run his Project Management Consulting business for the past twenty two years, working on many major projects ranging up to A$80 million.
An accomplished administrator with excellent management skills Kellett has devoted a considerable amount of his leisure time to, and has been heavily involved in, all levels of yachting administration from Club to State, to National and International levels and is currently an Executive Board member of the International Sailing Federation, the first time an Australian has been elected to such a high office. Kellett is also a past President of the Yachting Association of NSW and a past Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and is currently a Board Member of Yachting Australia.
His current responsibilities within the Executive of ISAF are for the 2012 London Olympics, the America’s Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race and for Professional sailing.
In the 2002 Queen’s Birthday Honours Kellett was awarded an Order of Australia (AM) for his services to the sailing as a significant contributor to the administration of the sport in Australia and overseas and as a competitor.
‘I have been a passionate sailor all my life, from small boats to maxi ocean racers and I have involvement in 38 Sydney Hobart races and I still actively race a 60' yacht.
‘Service to our sport have been vital to me and I have filled many roles from club to State, National and International levels over the past 35 years including Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, President of Yachting New South Wales and a Board Member of Yachting Australia for over twenty years.
‘Yachting Australia asked me to become the ISAF Councillor for Group L in 1991. I represented the region until elected a Vice President in 1998 after serving four years on the Events Committee and filling other roles leading up to the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
‘During my time on the ISAF Executive I have had many roles and taken responsibility for the America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, Offshore, Race Officials and the Secretariate, as well as Technical Delegate to the 2008 Beijing Olympic and the 2012 London Olympic sailing regattas.
‘In 2008 I completed ten years on the ISAF Executive and was required to retire. The current Executive recommended me to the position of Treasurer, which the Council duly endorsed. This has allowed me to remain on the Executive and given me a thorough and up to date understanding of all areas of our sport including the vital area of finance.’
International Sailing Federation
1992 – 1998 Member of Council (Previously Permanent Committee)
1994 - 1996 Member of 2000 Olympic Working Party
1994 - 1998 Member of Events Committee
1996 - 2000 Member 2000 Olympic Advisory Board
1996 - 2000 President’s liaison to 2000 Olympics
1997 - 1998 Member of Oceanic Committee
1998 – 2008 Vice President
2001 – 2004 Member 2004 Olympic Management Team
2004 – 2008 Member 2008 Olympic Management Team
2006 – 2008 Technical Delegate 2008 Olympic sailing competition
2008 - Current Executive Board Member – Treasurer
2009 – Current Member 2012 Olympic Management Team
2010 – Current Technical Delegate 2012 Olympic sailing competition
Australian Yachting Federation / Yachting Australia.
1986 - 1997 Member of Offshore Committee
1988 - 1996 Member of Council
1988 - 1997 Chairman of Offshore Committee
1990 Manager Kenwood Cup Team
1990 – 1998 Delegate to Offshore Racing Council
1990 - Current I.M.S. & I.R.C. Measurer
1991 - 1998 Chairman of Selectors for International Offshore Teams.
1992 – 1998 Delegate to ISAF
2003 – Current Board Member
2003 – 2011 Chairman of Offshore Committee
Yachting Association of New South Wales.
1980 - 1984 Member of Safety Committee
1984 – 1998 Member of Offshore Committee
1986 - 1996 Chairman of Offshore Committee
1986 – 2003 Member of Council
1987 & 1989 Captain of Southern Cross Cup Team
1989 - 1992 Member of Olympic Funding Committee
1990 – Current Measurer – IMS & IRC
1990 - 2003 Member of Executive
1994 - 2000 Vice President
1994 - 1996 Chairman September Regatta Organising Committee
1996 - 2001 Chairman Sydney Olympic Sailing Alliance
1996 - 2001 Senior IMS Measurer
2000 - 2002 President
2002 – 2003 Board Member
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
Member since 1970
1976 - 1984 Member of Safety Committee
1978 - 1996 Member of Sailing Committee
1982 - 1990 Member of Board of Directors
1983 - 1995 Member Sydney Hobart Vetting Committee
1985 - 1988 Chairman of Sailing Committee
1984 - 1986 Rear Commodore
1986 - 1988 Vice Commodore
1986 - 1988 Member Bicentennial Tall Ships Race Organising Committee
1988 - 1990 Commodore
1989 - 1991 Chairman - Sydney Hobart Event Committee
1989 - 1997 Delegate to Yachting Association of NSW.
1996 - 1998 Chairman Tall Ships Race Organising Committee
2000 - Current Radio Relay Vessel Team Leader – Sydney Hobart Race
2005 - Current Radio Relay Team Leader for Gold Coast & Newcastle Races
2009 Member of Flinders Island Enquiry panel.
2011 Elected to Life Membership.
Offshore Racing Council
1990 – 2004 Member of Council
1993 – 1998 Member of Policy Steering Group.
1998 – 2004 ISAF Representative on Council
Australian Olympic Committee
1999 IOC Technical Observer to the Pre Olympic Regatta
1988 Bicentennial Tall Ships Race, Hobart - Sydney
Sydney - Hobart Race
1989 Australia Day 12 Metre Challenge
Sydney - Hobart Race
1990 Australia Day 12 Metre Challenge
Sydney Hobart Race
1991 Australia Day 12 Metre Challenge
Sydney Hobart Race
Melbourne - Osaka Race, International Jury.
1992 Australia Day 12 Metre Challenge
1993 Ermenegildo Zegna Regatta - Port Douglas, Queensland
1994 Ermenegildo Zegna Regatta - Port Douglas, Queensland
1998 Tall Ships Race, Sydney – Hobart
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