Vietnam could soon join ISAF

Vietnam could soon be a member of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) making it possible to hold international sailing events along its amazing coastline. Head of ISAF Administration, Helen Fry, said via a recent email that Vietnam’s application would be put before the ISAF council at the mid-year meetings in May.

The SE Asian country’s National Sailing Coach, Julia Shaw, based in Mui Ne, has been the force behind the move since it was first discussed in November 2009. Shaw said she was confident that the membership would go through because the national authority for sailing, Vietnam Canoeing, Rowing and Sailing Federation (VCRSF) that was set up last November submitted the papers to ISAF last December.

Shaw said the Vietnamese authorities carefully considered the move for two years before they agreed to apply. “The Vietnamese authorities have had a chance to meet ISAF to talk directly and understand international requirements and benefits – particularly ISAF paperwork and the set up of the Sailing Federation,” Shaw said.

The ISAF Vice Chair of the Racing Rules Committee, Bernard Bonneau, said he was keen to for Vietnam to become a member. “I really wish the process to be shortly completed and for Vietnam to become ISAF MNA with full rights. I believe that this will allow sailors to take part in official ISAF events and certainly encourage some exchange and cooperation programs with ISAF and other National Authorities.

“This will allow as well Vietnam to bid for some official sailing events, which are good to promote the country, to improve local level in event organization, and certainly encourage more people to join sailing.” Shaw said more Vietnamese people are realizing everyday that it’s possible to sail from Vietnam’s Sail Training Centre in Mui Ne. She said the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has asked her to train students from the National Sports Universities and the provincial professional sports school. Vietnamese sailors including overseas Vietnamese are already making waves competitively around the world, she added. “The intention is promotion of human and environmental health including adaptation to climate change with sea levels rising and an alternative to overfishing.”

An UK expert on the environmental impacts of watersports, Professor Barbara Humberstone, from University of Brighton, said there was little or no research into whether introducing watersports into a developing country would increase environmental awareness, but said she would expect a positive outcome.

“It would need the people introducing the sports/activities to be environmentally aware and active. This would mean perhaps balancing the financial costs with ‘profit’,” Humberstone said. She said there have been marina developments that have not taken care of the environment in developing countries.

By Michael Smith in Mui Ne, The SaigonTimes 16 April, 2012 [english.thesaigontimes.vn/Home/lifestyle/expat-calendar/22931/]

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