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Hark, is that the Sound of Jackhammers?


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 17 Mar 2016

Hark, is that the Sound of Jackhammers?

ISAF Sailing World Cup Abu Dhabi  © Sailing Energy
When the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) announced in December 2015, at the Yacht Racing Forum a name change to World Sailing, we said more than coat of paint was needed and we looked forward to the sound of jackhammers within the organisation.
ISAF President Carlo Croce at the ISAF Annual Conference  ISAF ©

As we said back then the 2012 elected ISAF Executive under Carlo Croce had not been covering itself with decision making glory and decisive action. The very bumpy year for Croce's team has continued, with Abu Dhabi withdrawing from hosting this year's 2016 Sailing World Cup Final after the World Sailing Executive Committee awarded the World Sailing Annual Conference to Europe rather than to Abu Dhabi.

A decision on where the 2016 World Sailing conference will be staged is expected to come later in the next two weeks.

But as sure as night follows day, every quadrennium, there will be grumbles from all sides, with many non-European MNA's unhappy that the conference location has been for a long time in Europe, as it will be again in 2016. For the record, these were the locations of these key conferences, Dublin Ireland 2012, Madrid Spain 2008, Copenhagen Denmark 2004, Edinburgh UK 2000, Brighton UK 1996.

Once again there will be allegations that smaller European countries are subsidised to attend, while from Europe will come the countervailing allegation that some African and Asian countries are subsidised to attend by some of the richer countries in Asia.

2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres  © Richard Langdon

While a long term strategic World Sailing Cup review is underway, the need for a replacement venue for the 2016 Abu Dhabi final is expected within days. Given the public statements that there needed to be less World Cup events and that they needed to run Year on Year, it's not hard to join the dots on a logical non-European venue.

But back to the reconstruction work, the first of the jackhammers, is the draft Governance Reform package that Andy Hunt has begun circulating for comment and discussion ahead of the midyear conference.

Some key points from the draft proposal:

The Chief Executive Officer is proposed to become a full voting member of the Executive Committee as would the Chairman of the Athletes' Commission.

From 2017 onwards, Annual Conferences would alternate between Europe and other continents and the location of Annual Conference will be decided via an AGM vote of shortlisted venues.

The non-discrimination clauses in the Constitution would be updated.

Ahead a new set of builders, to be called the World Sailing Board of Directors to be appointed after the November council vote and then we will see if the serious demolition and building work continues.

Meanwhile will we need a quote on 200,000 sets of protective glasses and ear muffs? Or not?

Rob Kothe and

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