Ed Russo is the new president of the International Sailing League Association (ISLA). The 58-year-old American living in Paris takes on the challenge to lead the government body of international league sailing and the transformation of league sailing to the next level.
“It’s a great opportunity to create a sailing organization that has a lot of similarities to other sports to build up a professional structure for this unique format. The most interesting part is that league sailing is easily understood by people who are not sailors including sponsors and media. It has the potential to transform the sport of sailing sustainably,” explains Russo five years after league sailing was established and two years after ISLA’s foundation.
Living in France for 17 years now working for different French companies, Russo feels at home in one-design sailing after having sailed in different classes like SB20 or the Etchells 22 for decades. As a permanent member of the executive board of the French Sailing Federation (since 2017) and class president of the SB20 class (since 2011) working voluntarily for ISLA is no unknown territory for the former New York based entrepreneur/consultant.
The three main topics Russo prioritizes within the next year are:
- Development of the sailing league concept around the world: For the next couple of years, ISLA wants to expand globally, first by getting the European nations with league sailing up to 25 to 35 countries and then by opening up the concept in other continents such as Australia, America and Asia. The “magic formula” shall spread across the world to aim for continuity in development.
- Revision of Rule Book and Call Book: The existing documents for how to operate a National Sailing League (NSL) will be revised, so that all NSL are operating on the same format, the same rules and the same event management. During this phase of growth, it is important that ISLA be strict to guarantee consistency in all countries.
- Optimize communication between NSL countries and share best practices: The communication among the countries should be more clearly regarding sharing experiences and information about league sailing. With more than hundreds of sailing clubs and thousands of sailors ISLA wants to encourage all parties to share as much as possible with each other to help new leagues to establish and existing ones to grow.
Ed Russo follows as president after Peter Wolsing from Denmark who takes the position of treasurer of ISLA. Italy’s Roberto de Felice remains vice president. The three person board is fully supported by the ISLA General Secretary, Nynne Ammundsen.
For further information about ISLA, please visit: www.isla-org.com