The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) is the world governing body for the sport of competitive sailing and is responsible for administration of the Olympic Sailing Regatta, the sailing events held as part of the Summer Olympics.
From its inception in Paris in October 1907, the governing body for the sport of sailing was known as the International Yacht Racing Union. On 5 August 1996, the IYRU changed its name to the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).
The International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU) evolved from the need for racing sailors to have a uniform set of rules and measurement standards. Since then IYRU/ISAF has developed a system of rules and measurement that are used world-wide in all sailing events.
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has a community – its members – the 116 national sailing authorities around the world, who in turn link into their own national and regional networks. ISAF has the ability to communicate with the global sailing world – and to enable the sailing world to communicate with each other – to disseminate and share information.
The objects and aims for which the International Sailing Federation, as the controlling authority of the sport of sailing in all its forms throughout the world, is established are:
(a) to act as and carry out the functions and duties of such authority;
(b) to promote the sport of sailing in all its branches regardless of race, religion, gender or political affiliation;
(c) to establish, supervise, interpret and amend the rules regulating sailboat racing and to adjudicate disputes and take any appropriate disciplinary action (including the imposition of appropriate penalties);
(d) to act as the supervising organisation for the sport of sailing, to grant and withdraw international or recognised status to or from classes of boats and to prescribe the relevant rules and measurement procedures;
(e) to act as the organising authority of the Olympic Sailing Regatta;
(f) to control, organise, conduct, license or sanction other championships, sailing events or activities;
(g) to examine, study, investigate, consider and report on all matters affecting the sport of sailing and any persons interested therein or associated therewith and to collect, analyse and distribute information, statistics, opinions and reports thereon;
(h) to represent and protect the interests of any member of the Federation;
(i) to convene, arrange, organise and hold regattas, races and competitions of all sorts, to create and stimulate interest in and publicise the sport of sailing, to convene, arrange, organise and hold exhibitions, shows, displays, meetings, seminars, conferences and discussions, and to provide prizes, bursaries, grants and awards for competitors and others;
(j) to provide administrative services of any sort whatsoever for any association, union, society, club, committee, body or person interested in or associated with sailing in any of its forms.