ISAF to rethink Eligibility Code

New rule could limit introduction of people to the sport world-wide

Monday January 15th 2001, Author: Andy Rice, Location: United Kingdom
The International Sailing Federation is having a rethink over its new Eligibility Code, which came into effect on 1 January 2001. The Code says that all competitors taking part in a race must be paid-up members of their national authority.

ISAF has agreed to address this issue, following a barrage of complaints from sailors around the world, who have pointed out that they can no longer ask their non-sailing friends along for a race unless they first agree to pay a membership fee to the relevant sailing authority.

As one observer commented on the American discussion page, Scuttlebutt: "Essentially, what it means is that no new crew, outside of people who come out of YC junior programs, would ever exist." He went on to say: "This stupid rule will eliminate the idea of introducing rookies to the sport."

ISAF president Paul Henderson was clearly a little ruffled when he sent this response to the critics on Scuttlebutt: "The sea lawyers are interpreting the rule in a way not intended. Event organizers at all levels should check their liability insurance because in most policies it does not cover non-members. In the UK they have solved the problem for several years by stating that in entering, all crew are members for the duration of the event. Competitive sport administration is not as simple as the critics appear to observe."

So according to Henderson, the RYA has already got the problem covered, so there may be no issue in UK waters. Nevertheless, madforsailing is awaiting an official response from the RYA. Meanwhile, ISAF is believed to be convening its own emergency meeting to resolve the issue for the whole of the sailing world. This was the Federation’s official response to the matter:


The ISAF Eligibility Code was approved by the ISAF Council in November 2000, and introduced with effect from 1 January 2001.

There has been comment received in respect of this Code, and particularly the requirement for all competitors in an event using the Racing Rules of Sailing to be a member of either a Member National Authority or one of its affiliated organisations.

It should be noted that RRS Appendix K1(b), which applied until 31 December 2000, did require such membership for all events specified under RRS Appendix K2.1.

It is anticipated that rather than hindering participation in sailing, such a membership requirement will further support our sport by providing a system by which competitors become MNA or club members.

However, ISAF will consider the comments received and decide whether an interpretation or clarification of the ISAF Eligibility Code is required.

It should be noted that any queries from individuals in respect of matters affecting the Racing Rules of Sailing or the ISAF Regulations should be directed to the individual's Member National Authority.

To view the ISAF Eligibility Code, go to the official web site.

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