World Sailing Federation Meets in Sarasota
The Visit Sarasota Sports Commission is hosting the event and our role is an advisor to the Sports Commission on sailing expertise and liaison with US Sailing and Sarasota area sailing organizations. It is principally a meeting, so our role is uncertain. On our behalf, Herb Larabee is reaching out to some of the delegates to visit our club if their schedule allows, but we won’t know the schedule for some time.
This is the first meeting of World Sailing Federation in the United States in its 111- year history. It will be held at the Hyatt Regency from November 4-17, 2018. We are hopeful that we will be able to meet with Gary Jobson, who is Federation’s vice president and known to most of us from his broadcasts, books and racing accomplishments including racing E Scows when he crewed for Buddy Melges at age fifteen. Some of his victories include five America’s Cup crews, Fastnet Race, Annapolis-Newport Race, Maxi Yacht World Champion, Two-time College Sailor of the Year and one design victories in Finns, Lasers, Force 5, and Etchells.
For background, here is a brief history of the Federation. The world sailing governing body was created in Paris in 1907. It was initially called the International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU) before the name was changed to the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) in 1996.
The IYRU evolved from the need for racing sailors to have a uniform set of rules and measurement standards. There was confusion over the different measurement standards that were being used in Europe, North America and Britain which meant yachts from different countries could not compete on equal terms. An International Conference on Yacht Measurement was held in London in 1906 and the ‘Meter Rules’ was developed, such as for 12, 8, 6 and other meter sailboats. At that time the IYRU comprised of the yachting authorities of Austria-Hungary, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland and Belgium, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
In 1929, representatives from the North American Yacht Racing Union actively took part in the discussions to ensure that their rules would be nearly identically. In 1960, a universal code of racing rules was agreed and implemented.
The Federation is officially recognized by the Olympic Committee for managing sailing at the Olympic Games, developing International Racing Rules and Regulations for all sailing competitions and the training of judges, umpires and other administrators, the development of the sport worldwide, as well as representing non-racing sailors. In 1996, it changed its name from Yachting to Sailing.
World Sailing currently consists of 145-member nations who are its principle members, and responsible for the decision-making process that governs the sailing world. There are currently over 100 recognized and Classic Yacht Classes, ranging from the Optimist Dinghy up to the largest, the 60ft Mono-hulls. Most recently, World Sailing recognized the Viper as an international class including its right to hold world championships.