International Committee

To All Sailors: ISAF Advertising Code;

Before 1989 Sailing did not allow advertising on Racing Boats.

Initiated by the America's Cup Challengers, ISAF (IYRU) addressed the issue of allowing Sailing to enter the modern World of Sport Marketing where desired by the sailors. Heavy opposition was received then from the United States who basically wanted no advertising but were specifically against any such commercialism outside of the Hulls.

Led by the Kiwis, Aussies and Scandinavians sponsorship was allowed in 1989 as the advocates said it was the only way they could compete against the wealth of countries like the USA, Germany, UK.

Advertising was allowed with many compromises and great predictions of the destruction of traditional Sailing. Deja vu.

After a decade, sponsorship has become common place and the ISAF Regulations needed to be reworked to meet the now needs of the sailors.

ISAF being the World Governing Body for Sailing took on this very difficult task led by the ExecCom for their 130 Member National Authorities (MNA).

It should be known that changes must go through a process which has submissions published 8 weeks before debate in November which if passed come into effect March 1 which is after the Southern Hemisphere season and before the North begins. It takes a minimum of 1 year after full disclosure of an ISAF policy intention.

This procedure effects several Codes:

Advertising, Eligibility, Medical, and Sailors Classification.

It is the Racing Rules that can only be changed every 4 years.

With the constant changes in the Doping Regulations, for example, yearly changes in these Codes are inevitable and this must remain with the ISAF Council and not the Racing Rules Committee.

Fortunately with modern communications tools, all sailors can be totally informed of any ISAF policy proposals and they have been for 5 years now through

As for publishing the Codes in the Racing Rule Book any MNA can publish whatever they want in their edition as information to sailors.

ISAF will publish Codes as appendices in the ISAF Rule Book version.

ISAF made a fundamental policy decision last November which was that:

"The degree of advertising a Boat can sail with should rest with the Sailor!!!".

This was overwhelmingly supported last November including the USSA delegates.

It was on this basic tenet that the New Advertising Code was based.

Many of the policy issues were settled last November and published with a few issues remaining that have now been addressed and the final wording will be put together by the "legal" volunteers to be submitted in Sept. to all 130 MNAs and over 60 ISAF Classes for ratification to come into effect Mar 1 2000.

ExecCom concepts will be put forward in the prescribed way as submissions.

It is very positive to note that many of the ISAF Classes are asking: "Why wait!".

The following are the major points:

Overview: The sailors decide which Category they want to compete in either through their collective class if so organized or through their MNA.


"A" - No advertising. All boats are automatically in this category unless they choose otherwise.

"C" - Advertising Allowed. A Class can choose to restrict this Category.

(Hulls only or 1 per sail if they wish or let it all hang out.).


National Classes: Class decides by vote of sailors. MNA could say they will only accept certain limitations to accept a class as National as they do in many other areas. If a MNA wants to say Hulls Only for National Classes they can do so.

Handicap Racers: Due to confusion over whether these are classes this jurisdiction is left to the MNA of the organizing authority and these MNA's must face this responsibility.

Class boats sailing under a Handicap Rule come under the Rule not the Class Rule.

ISAF Classes: Totally left to the sailors of all ISAF Class to decide to what level they want to allow advertising.

Olympic Classes: Must be complete Cat"C" for Class Events.

Special Events: Complete Cat"C" administered by ISAF. The following are the only ones listed:

Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup, Trans-Oceanic, Around-the-World Races.

Other Prestige Events may apply for this category if approved by ISAF Council. Fee only payable to ISAF for the Boats which sail under this jurisdiction.


ISAF has totally waved all Cat "C" fees payable to ISAF for all but the boats which compete in Special Events as listed. An MNA has the right to charge sailors a fee if they so wish.

(If a sailor gets a levy address the issue to your MNA not ISAF.)

License: MNA's may initiate a license system if they wish and many for years have for any boat carrying any advertising. ISAF will not and never has.

Entry Fees: ISAF has no jurisdiction over what an Event charges the sailor except for ISAF Events.

Club Events: A club on application to their MNA can ask to be an Invitational Club Event and therefore limit advertising but not if it is a designated ISAF Class Event.

ISAF is sure that this system is a major step forward into what is reality in todays commercial World while at the same time protecting those sailors who wish to compete in a traditional Corinthian manner.

The choice is left to the sailors where ISAF thinks it should be.

ISAF trusts that this clears the air with regard to the ISAF policy proposed for the future.


Paul Henderson

President ISAF