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Kiteboards Out / Windsurfing Back In

After three days of meetings held in Dun Laoghaire, the ISAF Annual Conference drew to a close on Saturday as the final decisions affecting the sport moving forward were made.

23 submissions relating to the events and equipment for Rio 2016 were received by ISAF in advance of the Conference. In accordance with the ISAF Regulations, before the detail of any of these particular submissions could be discussed, Council were required to vote on a motion to re-open the debate on the subject. The Regulations specify that 75% of members must agree to the motion.

The submissions were presented as six proposals and Council asked to vote on them in terms of the specific changes they proposed. The first proposal grouped. 26 Council members voted in favour and 12 were against.
Proposal 2, which featured Submission 063-12, related to Men’s Kiteboarding, Women’s Kiteboarding and 2nd One Person Dinghy – Finn. 14 Council members voted in favour and 23 were against and 1 abstained.
With 38 possible votes, the 75% requirement was not achieved on either proposal so the events and equipment as approved in May 2012 remain for Rio 2016.

However, at the ISAF General Assembly part of the business for the 106 Member National Authorities (MNAs) who were present was to review any regulations made or amended in any substantive way by Council since the last Ordinary Meeting which was in November 2011.

ISAF had been notified of three amendments proposed by MNAs which concerned the first two lines of Regulation 23.1.4 (Men’s and Women’s Kiteboarding).
As defined in the Articles of ISAF, decisions at the General Assembly shall be taken by a simple majority of votes of those present and entitled to vote. There were 114 possible voters, including the ISAF President and Vice-Presidents.

After a lengthy debate the MNAs approved the first proposal which reinstated Men’s and Women’s Boards – RS:X.

ISAF Regulation 23.1.4 now reads:
Men’s Board – RS:X?Women’s Board – RS:X?Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser, Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial, Men’s 2nd One Person Dinghy – Finn, Men’s Skiff – 49er, Women’s Skiff – 49erFX, Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470, Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470, Mixed Two Person Multihull – Nacra 17

The move to re-open failed by just two votes to reach the required threshold, but got support from 26 of the 38 voting delegates, at the Council Meeting on Thursday.

From there it was likely that if the Council vote was repeated at the Annual General Meeting (held only once every four years), it was obvious that the Windsurfers had done their homework and would carry the day – provided politics did not come into play and delegates at the AGM (where each country physically present is allowed a single vote, instead of just the  regions in the Council Meeting) had stayed true to the voting direction from the Council meeting – which was that although 75% were not in favour of re-visiting, the clear majority was for a re-instatement of Windsurfing.

Given that scenario, the fate of Kiteboarding in a simple vote was inevitable, and the  decision of the ISAF Council at its Mid-Year Meeting was finally overturned by a vote of 51 to 40 in favour of the Windsurfer.

Mens and Womens One Person Dinghy and the Mens and Womens Skiff have also been confirmed as Events for the 2020 Olympics, along with the respective classes, the Laser, Laser Radial, 49er and 49erFX

Extract Note: “At its mid-year meeting in Stresa, Italy, the council took the opportunity to correct a previous blunder, restoring a catamaran class for 2016, plumping for the Nacra 17. It has also thrown out the women’s match racing event and replaced it with a women’s high performance skiff event, choosing the 49erFX.

“These announcements mark a new era for sailing,” said ISAF president Göran Petersson, whose second four-year term ends in November (2012), when he will join the International Olympic Committee. “Kiteboarding has proven to us that it is ready to be included in the list of ISAF events and is a fantastic addition to the sailing programme for the 2016 games.”  The representative from the Irish Sailing Association made an impassioned speech favouring the inclusion of the kiteboarders and one can only wonder why the Irish representative took such a strong stance on the matter when Ireland has never been represented at the Olympic regatta in the windsurfing discipline although they were included on the Olympic squad in 1988.”

While the decision announced at Dun Laoghaire 2012 must have been hugely disappointing for the Kiteboarding fraternity, they have been very gracious in their acceptance while still vowing to fight on.

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