It's election time at the Spanish Sailing Federation
Once again, Jaume Soler, one of Spain's most authoritative sailing journalists, informs us in his blog about the latest news concerning the Spanish Sailing Federation (RFEV). As of yesterday, the presidential campaign has officially started.
Why should you care about the presidential elections of the Spanish Sailing Federation? Because its outcome might play a significant role in the legal process currently affecting the America's Cup.
The election process is quite long and tedious, taking almost two months, from yesterday until December the 17th, when the final winner will be officially proclaimed. This is due to the elaborate and complicated procedure that exists. In a process similar to the US presidential elections, all eligible voters will first elect an electoral body of approximately 60-70 electors who then in their turn vote for the president of the national federation. Unlike the US system, these electors have no obligations whatsoever to "pledge" themselves to any presidential candidate. They are free to cast their vote for any candidate, regardless of what they might have declared at any time.
Gerardo Pombo, president of the Spanish Sailing Federation, during the presentation of the Trophée Clairefontaine. Valencia, 11 September 2008. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing
In principle all Spanish sailors, card-carrying members of one of the 17 regional federations, that have participated in a national or international regatta sanctioned by the RFEV, are eligible to vote. As a result, one can easily see there is a considerable number of potential voters, according to some estimates they must be around 3,000.
Although no candidate has been officially declared there are two men that have publicly stated their intention to run. The first one is the incumbent Gerardo Pombo and the second one is Manolo Nadal, from the island of Menorca and Commodore of the Club del Mar in Palma. It is important to note that the vice-president and the directorate of the Federation are not elected but will be chosen by the winner of the presidential vote.
If Pombo gets reelected there will obviously be no change in the current state of affairs. On the other hand if Nadal is elected, there might be a significant change. First of all, he has publicly stated that the Federation should have no direct participation in the America's Cup in no way whatsoever. According to him, it is not the Federation's job to form teams or yacht clubs that take part in the world's oldest sports competition. The Federation might provide assistance in the organization of the event in Valencia but it will not compete.
Secondly, Manuel Chirivella, vice-president of the federation and CNEV president, is not what one might call a friend of Nadal's, quite the contrary. As a result, if Nadal is elected he, and the rest of directors, will lose their position in the federation. The CNEV will then be in the awkward situation of not having any relation to the federation. What could that result in? In the meantime, and since it's the Challenger of Record, the CNEV will organize the second edition of its annual regatta, here in Valencia, on November 8 and 9.
Let's hope these elections don't do any more damage to what is supposed to be the most prestigious event in sailing.