Mar 8, 2016

French A-Class Association vs French Sailing Fed. Q&A with Thierry Boisbouvier , AFCCA President

Photos: Stephanie Billarant, Charles Marion & Denis Lucci --- The French A-Class Association (AFCCA) is going to a shameful process generated by the French Sailing Fed (FFV) as described by AFCCA President Thierry Boisbouvie on his petition :
"The French Sailing Federation FFV has decided to impose its point of view in France on the International ‘A’ Class Catamaran that has been raced at regattas for 30 years in France without any major problems.
The FFV wants to separate the class into 2 types (classic and open/foiling) and prohibit starts of over 20 boats for the open/foiling class.
This decision was taken in spite of the FFV’s stated duty to be compliant within the class rules, by its international commitments to World Sailing (ISAF) and it’s continuing to allow start lines of frequently over 100 boats without major incidents."

- Additional letters from IACA to FFV available at .-
- Below our comments read his interview made earlier today.

I really don´t get how is possible for a local sailing Fed to interfere with an ISAF/WS  recognized International Class like IACA (Int A-Cat Assoc) to the point to modify how they should run their regattas , which numbers of boats or even which boats are acceptable to participate. It's like a kind of joke?

If an A-Class complies with current IACA  rules, that's it. End of the Story, it doesn´t matter if it foils or goes submarine mode.

We are so used to see these close minded people without any grasp of what is going on the water, some of them do not even sail, managing the destiny of actual sailors, they were the same genius that put the Tornado out of the Olympics, those guys will go down in history as great "Visionaries & Pioneers".... 2016 and the Americas Cup & even the World Match Racing Tour is being held in Cats.

Every degree of management , from a local Class, to Sailing Fed to Continental all the way towards ISAF/WS should have active sailors in key management positions.

If the French hardcore floaters, want to float alone, they should follow the good and honest steps of the Italian AClassic Association, who instead of destroying a 40yrs old Class they just created a new one and along the FFV they should leave A-Cat sailors enjoy together these great transition times, as we all saw live at Punta Ala with more than 160 boats sailing together beyond any performance diff.
In any case either of them should stay away on how A-Cat sailors must run their Class.

I think IACA should stand its ground with ISAF leaving the FFV no room to discussion regarding when or how a rule complying A-Cat should/could participate in any ISAF sanctioned regatta. This is not negotiable in my view.

To get a clear understanding of what is going on in France, I contacted Thierry Boisbouvier, A-Class French President:
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CSN: The AFFCA decided to have an additional split or double rankings (not fleets) which we all think is the way to go for current transition times. How come an internal decision which only affects paperwork and not the actual racing happening in the water reached the FFV? or How this conflict with the FFV started?

Thierry Boisbouvier:  We voted last year to implement a double ranking for foilers & floaters. But, among us, some wanted a separated ranking. They were in minority though.

I think this minority talked to the Fédération Française de Voile  which imposed in January with no consultation to us (A-Class French Assoc) a French Nats Championship reserved only for "Classic A-Cats".  Any other legal A-Cat were no admitted. Even the "Hardcore Classics" guys  were surprised on this move.

I refused to sign the document and the conflict grew up. A-Class is just one of the Multihull conflicts the FFV has, they are used to act in such way. F18, HC16, and other Classes suffered their diktats. France is a super centralized country where politicians doesn't listen anymore to the basis,  or decide which ones to hear, in this case the "A-Classic" supporters/lobbyists.

- How come the FFV can decide what or how many boats can participate or determine how many fleets to start or get any decisive action against an International Class? It seems the FFV is going to far on their decisions?
TB: FFV shouldn't decide such things in a democratic country. But, FFV says it is for security reasons and ISAF delegates security to each Nation. With this simply delegation, FFV is the Master and can decide in their view critical decisive actions as we are seeing now against the French A-Class Assoc.

It seems that FFV wants to reserve Foiling to professional events and is afraid of amateur going for it. They are afraid to go in court in case of accident between foiling and non foiling boats.
In our Constitution, we have an amendment call: principe de précaution that scared any organisers. ( 'precautionary principle' is to say that if someone want to do something and he thinks this to be dangerous to each other or for nature, his duty is not to do it.)

- When the FFV issued this new regulation ?
TB: In September 2015, they advised to separate foiling and non foiling boats, but it was not an obligation. In January, the FFV went with the convention to exclude foiling A-Cats from the National Championship.
In February we had the letter from FFV - Churet  (see below) and the reply from Andrew.
Right now, we waiting for Churet reply.

- I don´t get how the FFV can force the AFFCA to comply on the arbitrary 20-25 fleet split on the water and other recommendations. AFFCA cannot ask a mediation or to ISAF , or for ISAF to validate FFV new regulations?
Everything is new. We ask the mediation of IACA. We are waiting for the result. Then, we go to ISAF, but I have no direct contact.

- If FFV regulations against the AFCCA stands firm, which are the alternatives for the AFFCA to continue to organize regattas under 1 fleet on the water?
None, unless 5 years of court fighting. It is the death of foiling A Class.

(Editor: Of the official A-Class Association in France, there are no 'foiling As' as recognized by any rules, an A-Cat complies or not with current IACA rules, and that's it)

- Which are next steps the AFCCA and IACA will follow to oppose to the FFV meddling?
We are expecting the issue of the end week meeting. Then, we will see how to continue.

- Any additional comment you want add? 
Yes please,  let's all sign this petition at

Letter from FFV below.