2014 ISAF Annual Conference, ISAF President's Report
President Carlo Croce delivered the President's Report to ISAF Council at the
2014 ISAF Annual Conference in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Your Majesty, Members Of
I apologise for reading my
speech but it is necessary for the simultaneous translation service that we
provide. I hate reading. I prefer talking ‘live’ but had to accept. Also I
had to follow this by order from GENERALISSIMO Helen Fry and to her we send a
big kiss from us all.
I am very pleased to see
you here in Palma, the Annual Conference that marks the Mid-Term of the
current Executive’s tenure. We shall be making a full report to you later in
the meeting but I would again like to compliment my fellow Executive Members
on their extraordinary commitment to ISAF. How lucky I am to have them.
We have asked the
Committee Chair to review and update their Goals and Priorities for the
Executive to study at our meeting in February 2015. I know we will see that
much has been achieved in their areas and I am pleased with the progress the
Executive has made so far but we have more to do!
After more than 17 years
with ISAF our CEO, Jerome Pels, has decided to
pursue other professional challenges. Jerome has had the foresight and
leadership to steer ISAF through many challenges and will be missed by the
President, Members of the Executive Committee, his colleagues in the ISAF
Secretariat and greater worldwide sailing community. I am sure you will join
me in wishing Jerome much success with his new professional challenges. He is
a very nice person.
Also I want to thank all
our staff. It has been a demanding period for the ISAF Office. I have
appreciated your support.
As you know one of my main
aims was to secure sponsorship for ISAF and I am happy to say we have made
good progress with potentially two organisations very interested in becoming
an ISAF sponsor. Hopefully very soon we will be able to formally announce at
least one of them.
These negotiations take
time and patience but I hope you agree it has been worthwhile. Our new
partners are both highly reputable organizations and their valuable
sponsorship will enable ISAF to add another dimension in raising the profile
of our sport. Sailing has a wonderful arena and we have been able to show
integrity and credibility now we must ensure we can demonstrate to our new partners
a positive return on their investment. We will need to create an internal
commitment to this organization, and to our existing sponsors, and show we
can offer them a great platform to showcase their brands. We now need to
build up this team.
To me communication is a
priority one now and clear communication needs to be relevant, timely,
accurate and easy to understand and this will be essential for our sponsors,
our members and our sailors. Communication is also an important tool in
achieving productivity and maintaining strong working relationships at all
levels of our organization. We have started to address this problem with the
monthly ‘Update from the ISAF Secretariat’ and Gary has prepared an extensive
paper on our future communications plans. We need to have a communication
system in place that is constantly evolving by using new technology and
information delivery systems. At the mid-point of this term of office the
Executive has a responsibility to improve our communication methods and
infrastructure. As you know and as we have seen after Weymouth the IOC is
most conscious of this issue.
Most of the concerns I
have been hearing about whilst I have been here in Palma come down to poor
communication or misinformation.
I repeat – improvement in
internal and external communications is now my first goal and close connected
to everything I have just said.
The Executive has
withdrawn submission 025-14. The practice and procedures of Sailor
Classification have been thoroughly debated in recent weeks. We are grateful
for the very helpful feedback ISAF has received from many race organizers,
classes and yacht clubs. The Sailor Classification Commission has proposed
several very important improvements to the system that will be implemented
over the next year. We will review these upgrades frequently. The main points
that were worrying us have been overcome therefore it has been very useful
for ISAF to have caused so much interest. We find the final solutions
proposed most satisfying. We have always said that ISAF does not want to be
seen as the Police or the tax office – goal achieved.
I have travelled
extensively representing ISAF this year receiving a warm welcome everywhere.
One area I am determined to improve is our branding at events. I attended a
regatta which only had one small ISAF flag – another with virtually no ISAF
branding at all. This has to change. ISAF needs to have a strong presence at
our events – even at high profile events. Work is underway to create a ‘House
of ISAF’ which will be located in a prominent area in each of our venues and
the Executive are currently reviewing an ISAF Protocol for Branding - I will
report back on developments next year.
As I have previously
mentioned, the success of the World Cup is essential for the sport. Much work
has been done in this area and after your approval of the new concept we will
have our inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup final in Abu Dhabi. This also marks
the first time ISAF has been directly involved in the implementation of an
event and this must be the template for the major ISAF events in the future.
This particular aspect is a major change for us for now we really own and
build an event first hand; this is the product we can sell to sponsors and
the media. You might remember this was our first goal.
The Final will bring the
best sailors to Abu Dhabi and we will have more than 260 athletes which is
quite an achievement for an event that didn’t exist five months ago. This
regatta will introduce new concepts to our game – the 3 minute countdown,
communications via radio to the athletes and Kiteboarding. I would like to
thank our group which has been working on this but also the Adu Dabi Tourism Office and all
their staff. A big thank you also to Aboullah and
his excellency Sheik Khaled
After a bid process for
the two European Sailing World Cup events Weymouth and Hyères were selected. Work has already begun on securing an Asian venue and I am
confident the new vision for the Sailing World Cup will be fulfilled.
To me 2017 is the year
when, if everything works well the Sailing World Cup will be up to what we
We will have reports from
Walter Boddener regarding the test event in Rio and
from Nazli and Quanhai about the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games but I hear that both venues were very
impressive and the events a success.
The 2014 ISAF Sailing
World Championships delivered fleet racing across all Olympic Classes against
the spectacular back drop of the City of Santander. The final numbers of
broadcasters that took live coverage from this event showed a staggering
increase from the previous ISAF World Championships in Perth. We are talking
of 23 broadcasters which according to Gary is a respectable number. On the
water competitors enjoyed a variety of weather conditions that tested both
light and heavy weather and I am certain that this event has left Santander
with a legacy that will be appreciated by sailors long into the future. We
all know there have been a few problems but we have seen how complex this
event has become because of the huge numbers of teams and boats.
The recent sad events
involving the yacht ‘Cheeki Rafiki’
highlight the need for good offshore safety and training and ISAF has been
involved in the investigation and recommendations arising from that incident.
We are all very much aware that a dynamic environment like the sea can make
things go from bad to worse and it is essential to be comprehensively trained
and prepared. In March this year, ISAF Offshore Personal Safety Course
Providers from 14 MNAs came together in the UK for a three day training
workshop to exchange ideas and develop the training and safety courses. The
Guide to Offshore Personal Safety book has also been translated into Chinese
The reorganization of our
structure is slowly evolving and you will see a Submission from the Executive
Committee on a proposal for the role of Affiliate Continental Members within
our organization. A number of other submissions were also received from
multiple MNAs concerning the issue, and we have had constructive discussions
with representatives of the Associations themselves here in Palma. We have
agreed a way forward so a full consultation process can begin with the aim of
making a detailed submission for you to consider at the 2015 Annual
Conference – just as we did for the merger of IFDS and ISAF.
Also and most importantly
I would like to thank His Majesty for his contribution to all our
discussions. We have managed to stop him falling asleep which is a great
result. I do not know if this is due to His Majesty being worried about our
ideas or because he simply got really involved. Thank you very much from all
of us on the Executive Committee.
I would now like to invite
my fellow Executive Members to give you all a brief update on developments
and the work they have been doing in their areas.
To stay up-to-date with the
ISAF Annual Conference, a live blog will be available from Saturday 1
November through to Saturday 8 November here http://www.sailing.org/follow/2014-annual-conference-blog.php
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