Sunday, May 18, 2008

ISAF Sailor Code

Athlete endorsements is common in advertising, but not that common in sailing magazines. One of the reasons may have to do with the ISAF sailor classification code:

The ISAF Sailor Classification Code exists as a service to provide Events and Classes with an international system of classification for sailors. While Events and Classes are not under any obligation to use a classification system, many do (such as the J/105, Melges 32, Farr 40, etc), and the ISAF Code is the only system that can be used. In simple terms, the Code is broken into three groups: Group 1 are the amateurs, Group 3 are the pros, and Group 2 is like an AA meeting for those trying to become Group 1 again. When the code is used, it is typically used as a means to minimize the influence of Group 3 sailors, either by limiting their numbers or responsibilities onboard.

But did you know that a Group 1 sailor could easily lose his amateur status by something as simple as advocating the sails he or she uses? It is not unusual for the top sailors in a class to get a discount on their sails, but they better be careful in how that discount gets explained, as a Group 3 sailor is, among other things, someone who “has been paid for allowing his or her name or likeness to be used in connection with his or her sailing performance, sail racing results or sailing reputation, for the advertising or promotion of any product or service…” The definition of paid is critical, which the rule considers “…the acceptance by a sailor of … any financial benefit … or compensation in any form …”

Alastair Fox, Events Manager for ISAF, explains further, “Simply getting a discount for sails or any other equipment is not an influence on a sailor’s classification. What IS a Group 3 activity is being paid for having your name used for promotion or advertising. Pay would include receiving a discount. So a Group 1 sailor should not be wary of getting a discount, only of having his name used for publicity and being paid for it - not just by way of discounts but ‘in kind’ or for money. Most such sailors in our experience are already Group 3 anyway for other reasons. Getting a discount in return for advertising on the boat, if the class allows it, is also perfectly acceptable.”

So the message should be, adds Fox, “That if you want to be a Group 1 sailor, go on getting discounts if you can but don’t get involved in advertising or promotion of your name or success in return.” For additional information on the ISAF Sailor Classification Code:

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At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ISAF rating system is a complete failure. The system is consistently abused (especially in classes such as the Farr 40 and Swan 45) and has outgrown itself as many who should be classified as a 3 find ways to reduce their rating to a 2.

Change the system! It doesn't work!

At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a total joke and must be changed. Just look at the 2007Melges 24 Worlds and who won the Corinthian award.

At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Willii Gohl said...

Hi you anonyme guys,
to say "its a joke", "it does not work" is one thing, to say what should be changed is the better thing!
Did you really go throug the code and the FAQs? After having done this, you can say what should be changed and what is wrong. This is the way to get better results, and this is the seamanlike way. In germany we say "put some butter to the fish"! You guys failed to do so!
Best regards, Willii Gohl, IJ,GER


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