November 8 - The 2013 International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Annual Conference is due to start tomorrow at the Al Bandar Hotel in Muscat and will see some of the main issues within the sailing world discussed and debated, as well as the awarding of the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards.
The gathering, due to run until November 16, will be attended by members of the ISAF Committee, Sub-committee and Commission as well as national federations, class associations, sailors, event organisers and boat manufacturers.
More than 130 submissions have been made regarding various issues, including changes to existing policies and rules and regulations along with the introduction of new ones.
Key among these discussions are expected to be the future of the ISAF Sailing World Cup and the Rio 2016 competition format and qualification.
Of the ten sailing events taking place at Rio 2016, two will be making their Games' debuts as women's 49er FX and a new two-person mixed multihull competition will be staged for the first time, replacing the men's Star class and the Elliot 6m women's match racing event, which only made its debut at London 2012.
Also high on the agenda will be the 2014-2015 offshore special regulations, which are due to be finalised whilst discussions on changes for the 2017-2020 racing and equipment rules of sailing will get underway.
All submissions and topics will be discussed at Committee, Sub-committee and Commission meetings starting tomorrow, and any recommendations will be approved, rejected or deferred by the final decision making body, the ISAF Council which are due to meet on November 15 and 16.
On Wednesday (November 13), federations will have the opportunity to share ideas and build networks at a special forum attended by the sport's stakeholders.
Another highlight of the Conference in the Omani capital will be the World Sailor of the Year Awards which will see 11 sailors in contention for the male and female awards.
There are five sailors up for the male award, Australians Matt Belcher and Paul Larsen, France's François Gabart of France, America's Johnny Heineken and Britain's Ian Williams.
London 2012 champion Belcher continued his impressive form on the water by adding the World Championship and European titles in the 470 class, while compatriot Larsen broke the 500 metre speed record three times in Walvis Bay, Namibia, earlier this year achieving a speed of 65.45 knots to break the record set by American Rob Douglas in 2010.
Kiteboarder Heineken has established himself as the man to beat and showed his dominance at the 2012 International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Course Racing World Championships in Cagliari where he retained his world crown.
Gabart became the first sailor to win the Vendée Globe race and the International Monohull Open Classes Association (IMOCA) World Championship in the same year, setting a new Vendée record for the 27,512.07 mile course.
New Zealand pair Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie join Americans Deneen Demourkas and Erika Heineken as well as Oman's Raiya Al Habsi for the female award.
Aleh and Powrie followed up their London 2012 gold with silver at the Open European Championships before taking the 470 World Championship crown in La Rochelle France, while Demourkas became the first triple Farr 30 world champion with victory at the World Championships in Rhode Island.
Heineken, matched brother Johnny's performance at the 2012 IKA Course Racing World Championships in Cagliari by dominating the event and taking gold, while Raiya Al Habsi created history this year by becoming the first woman from her country to compete in the Rolex Fastnet Race sailing the Omani flagship MOD70 Oman Air-Musandam.
The 2013 nominees have been selected for their performances from September 1 2012 to August 31 2013.
For more information on the 2013 ISAF Annual Conference click here.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected],biz
July 2013: Nominations for ISAF 2013 Sailor of the Year now open
May 2011: Mixed sailing to get Olympic debut at Rio 2016