YoungDS

Race Committee: How to Improve the sailors experience

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In the UK and Ireland, there has been a strong push in recent years to move towards a more professional style of race management from the base up. This means local beer can races and junior regattas are now being run by dedicated and trained race officials (ROs), many of whom are also running national and international level events. I myself are trained to a regional/national level for mark laying and a local level for safety but in both cases, I have worked running teams for national-level events. Do you guys think this is the way sailing should move or should club racing remain ran by volunteers? 

(Clarification - Very few ROs are actually paid, most do get expenses variable or fixed but no one ever makes a profit)

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If you have active big fleets that is great.
We usually have more volunteers than boats out on the water, except for our Wednesday summer evening racing.

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My experience is that a RO with common sense will still do better than one with all the training in the world. Sometimes those who regard themselves as 'professionals' acquire a degree or arrogance that makes them blind to sailors' needs; especially at club or club regatta events. The perfect can be more than the enemy of the good; it can drive you crazy while you wait around for it.

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10 hours ago, YoungDS said:

 Do you guys think this is the way sailing should move or should club racing remain ran by volunteers? 

You are conflating "volunteer" with "untrained".

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We have no paid staff at my club (except for the cleaner after each racing day). However the club runs courses for the members to learn the roles of Time keeper, OOD/AOD, and Rescue boat Driver /crew..  I see no reason to change this..

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'it can drive you crazy while you wait around for it'

this

Most participants want snappy turnarounds, but many modern race officers will get locked into chasing 5 degree shifts all afternoon, cause that's how they do it at the olympics.

When I started, your turn mark laying was going upwind for a bit then throwing it overboard before watching the racing.  Now some puffed out self important Principle Race Officer wants me to read a stack of paperwork a week before the event, buy my own gps/compass/batteries/radio/anemometer etc, turn up for a briefing 4 hours before the competitors launch, hit the water 3 hours before, and move two marks every 10 minuets, with a 5m accuracy, then stay out until the last sailor has changed and gone home.  And now nobody wants to go mark laying? go figure.  I move 100 ton anchors for a living, RYA international standard mark laying is harder, and less fun.

Bring back amateurism, if everyone takes a turn in the barrel, most will hold back their complaints when it goes wrong, and it will go wrong, however much paperwork is produced.  Keep the processes easy enough that anyone can do it.  Keep the professionalisation of racing only for the self perpetuating five ring circus, just don't let it infect real life, or we're all screwed.  If we need to be qualified to set a racing mark, or provide safety cover,  for even national level events, the system is broken.  The whole RYA race management system was a vanity project in the run up to 2012, and now needs to quietly die, while there is still a sport to administer.  Keep racing fun, for the competitors AND volunteers, so most competitors volunteer, and most volunteers compete.

 

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32 minutes ago, maxstaylock said:

'

Most participants want snappy turnarounds, but many modern race officers will get locked into chasing 5 degree shifts all afternoon, cause that's how they do it at the olympics.

 

Exactly what I had in mind; more so when you're out for several races in a row.

Just start them; don't re-lay the course for a 10 or even a 15 degree wind shift. So the starboard tacks will be a bit longer than the port ones. Big deal!

It drives me and every other competitor I know absolutely crazy as you fluff about in 20 knot winds trying to stay upright and not rag your jib out while a sufficiently good course for the next race is turned into the RO's idea of a 'perfect' one.

I sail skiffs and they can't be held still in those conditions. While you're waiting, you end up constantly working slowly up course and then have to turn away through the power zone and race back into the starting area, turning back through the power zone to start the process all over again, time after time after time. Every maneuver a disaster waiting to happen. Agh!

Even when I sailed yachts at some multiple race regattas, it was a pain; just as much in light winds. A breeze would spring up, they spend an hour getting the perfect course as it flipped through 15 to 20 degrees and then would fade before they got the start. We could have done a nice little race in that time! Boring.

If you're not racing for sheep stations, just trim up and start line and fire the gun. And frankly, even most so called National Titles aren't really sheep stations these days.

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IDK about the difference between professional and amateur committees, but I've seen some pretty crappy ones in both categories. My suggestion to organizers is to organize your way to success. At the end of the day, it's your event and they all have to listen to you!

With that being said, things I hate at a regatta that race management could do to improve the sailing experience...
*These opinions are largely based on invitational events I have vowed to never return to, and are generally not referring to Wednesday night beer can races.

  1. We came to race period. I have seen so many events focused around the social events, to the point where racing is canceled for the day so that they can get us all off the water in time for the party. I don't know about the rest of you, but I rarely need extra drinking time. Worry not, I will compensate! If it's not blowing and it's not gonna blow, get us off the water. If there is enough breeze to race, let us race FFS.
  2. If you need a skipper's meeting, you didn't write the sailing instructions correctly. STOP IT! A skippers meeting is just an opportunity for race committee to say something that contradicts the SI's resulting in a protest. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE for the love of everything holy take your time in writing the Sailing Instructions.
  3. Use unbiased and trained protest committees that actually know how to write a proper decision. There is a particular club in our area (that I will not call out by name) that is notorious in there reputation for all protests involving a club member vs. a non-member going in favor of the member. But I have also witnessed countless protests where the decision was just flat out wrong. Had the protest committee thought about how they were going to write the decision in a proper format it would had lead to a different decision.
    1. facts found
    2. specific applicable rules
    3. decision
    4. course of action
  4. This last one is the grand daddy. ACTUALLY listen to the competitors. They will tell you (sometimes rather bluntly) what you can do to improve the experience.

By and large most of this comes down to two things. Listening and training. Whether you decide to go the professional management route or not, it's race management's responsibility to ensure fair, fun, and competitive racing. Just like the competitors need to take the time to prepare and train, so does the race management, race committee and protest committee. Otherwise the only one to blame for an unsuccessful event and declining participation is yourself.

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Most people I know who come out for club races and evenings want to spend time racing and not waiting for professional (or those who think they are pros) race officers to set a high level course and then make changes and adjustments with postponements and the like. We just want to race. There was a recent article by Ken Reed in Seahorse which suggested doing away with the postponement flag among other things.

 

 

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5 hours ago, maxstaylock said:

'it can drive you crazy while you wait around for it'

this

Most participants want snappy turnarounds, but many modern race officers will get locked into chasing 5 degree shifts all afternoon, cause that's how they do it at the olympics.

 

 

I deeply sympathise, one of our club members  went on to become the top RYA Rules man and a senior race officer... He comes back for his annual duty and does exactly the above.. We are in land surrounded by trees  influenced by a sea breeze as the temperature goes up.. JUST GET ON WITH IT!!!

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9 hours ago, maxstaylock said:

  If we need to be qualified to....  provide safety cover,  for even national level events, the system is broken.  

As far as safety cover goes, I don't agree. Put 30-40 dinghies onto the open sea in a bit of breeze and shit can turn serious with remarkable rapidity, with capsized boats scattered over several square miles. I know because I've been driving a safety boat when that has happened, twice now. Driving a safety boat is fun 99% of the time but  those of us who do it  should make the effort to learn the skills so we can be of some actual use the other 1%.

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High level PROs will take note of forecasts and observe the conditions on the course for an hour or so, then make a decision to set a course and then immediately go into sequence when the time is right. They stick with their decision unless something really weird happens, they wont fly the AP and make a change for every 5 degree shift. Any changes to the weather mark after the start are done very quickly when all the competitors are on the dw leg and the change is absolutely seamless to them.  I have spent a lot of time mark setting, and i have seen this done very very well and ive seen it done very poorly. It is possible to set a course at a high level without wasting everyone's time, it just takes experience and good decision making. 

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3 hours ago, dogwatch said:

As far as safety cover goes, I don't agree. Put 30-40 dinghies onto the open sea in a bit of breeze and shit can turn serious with remarkable rapidity, with capsized boats scattered over several square miles. I know because I've been driving a safety boat when that has happened, twice now. Driving a safety boat is fun 99% of the time but  those of us who do it  should make the effort to learn the skills so we can be of some actual use the other 1%.

Dog,

Competitors are not required to race.  If they feel the conditions exceed their level of skill they should retire.  No one is out there earning their living at this, much less making any money competing in sailing.  Just because the RC can set a course and some boats can race does not mean you have to go out if you can not handle the conditions.

 

 

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5 hours ago, sailman said:

 If they feel the conditions exceed their level of skill they should retire.  

Firstly, I can think of a number of UK clubs that will send dinghies out to race 30-45 minutes sailing time away from launch. If conditions unexpectedly kick up nasty - and they can - then returning to launch may be far from easy. I mentioned above that I've driven safety boat at a couple of events that turned serious very suddenly. One of those was a well-known regatta attended by sailors from the UK and abroad, in a class in which you need to be an expert sailor to even be able to sail around the course. We still found ourselves rounding up capsized boats over several square miles of sea. Many needed help from safety boats to right themselves.

Secondly, around here at least, if a sailor dies during a club event, there will be a Coroner's Inquest. Club Officers and Race Officers will find themselves standing at the Inquest  and be required to demonstrate how good safety practice was followed.  Is there a national standard  in the sport for training safety boat drivers? Yes there is. So Commodore and Race Officer, did you ensure your safety boat drivers were trained to that standard?  No we did not. You'd be so screwed and rightly so. The Coroner is not going to give a shit about RRS4. We are talking about racing dinghies, not yachts that might be expected to be self-sufficient.

When I sign on to a club duty as a safety boat driver, there's a whole row of boxes I have to tick. Am I qualified as a RIB driver, Safety Boat driver, VHF radio operator, have I attended a First Aid Course in the last 3 years? That's partly to protect competitors but mostly it is to protect the club if the shit hits the fan. 

I'm a UK sailor but from what I can gather, the legal climate isn't so different in the USA. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/racing-storm-story-mobile-bay-sailing-disaster-180963686/

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16 hours ago, dogwatch said:

[A]round here at least, if a sailor dies during a club event, there will be a Coroner's Inquest. Club Officers and Race Officers will find themselves standing at the Inquest  and be required to demonstrate how good safety practice was followed.  Is there a national standard  in the sport for training safety boat drivers? Yes there is. So Commodore and Race Officer, did you ensure your safety boat drivers were trained to that standard?  No we did not. You'd be so screwed and rightly so. The Coroner is not going to give a shit about RRS4.

Oh, FFS. The RYA has been peddling that “what would you say to the Coroner?” line for well over a decade. It is well past time for people like you - who obviously have no knowledge of the purpose of inquests, or the actual powers of Coroners - to stop mindlessly parroting such ‘received wisdom’.

While are many more important things in this life than legal issues, non-lawyers should refrain from dispensing legal advice or inventing non-existent legalities.

16 hours ago, dogwatch said:

We are talking about racing dinghies, not yachts that might be expected to be self-sufficient.

(1) RRS r.4 does not distinguish between dinghies and yachts.The burden always rests with individual skippers, NOT with the Race Committee.

(2) Who are you to define what “we” are talking about? The OP certainly didn’t say anything about dinghies.

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16 hours ago, dogwatch said:

So Commodore and Race Officer, did you ensure your safety boat drivers were trained to that standard?  No we did not. You'd be so screwed and rightly so.

Yeah if your stupid fucking club didn't ensure that safety boat drivers were trained, sure.  That's why you have rules and policies, and why they are enforced.  Don't want to follow rules? Sell the club.

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2 hours ago, MR.CLEAN said:

Yeah if your stupid fucking club didn't ensure that safety boat drivers were trained, sure.  That's why you have rules and policies, and why they are enforced.  Don't want to follow rules? Sell the club.

No. Just give it to the insurance company.

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On 3/3/2020 at 1:25 PM, dogwatch said:

As far as safety cover goes, I don't agree. Put 30-40 dinghies onto the open sea in a bit of breeze and shit can turn serious with remarkable rapidity, with capsized boats scattered over several square miles. I know because I've been driving a safety boat when that has happened, twice now. Driving a safety boat is fun 99% of the time but  those of us who do it  should make the effort to learn the skills so we can be of some actual use the other 1%.

This is where it gets complicated. I’ve got thousands of hours on the water running running mark set boats, which by default involves rescue boat detail. I’ve been through every screwy situation from having to help right turtled boats when the sailors were hypothermic, to having to go play chicken with a giant powerboat that had his radio off and was barreling towards the fleet on autopilot. Always got everyone home safe. But...  I refuse to waste my time getting some silly certification. I learned more in one week working for Luigi then any stupid coarse. Now there’s a few people I’m willing to work for, and things go seem less. We’re always on the same page (mostly), and things like course changes are available within a moments notice. But I have no certification. I’d probably stop volunteering if I was told I had to take time off to go learn how to do what I already know how to do. 

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15 hours ago, Monkey said:

This is where it gets complicated. I’ve got thousands of hours on the water running running mark set boats, which by default involves rescue boat detail. I’ve been through every screwy situation from having to help right turtled boats when the sailors were hypothermic, to having to go play chicken with a giant powerboat that had his radio off and was barreling towards the fleet on autopilot. Always got everyone home safe. But...  I refuse to waste my time getting some silly certification. I learned more in one week working for Luigi then any stupid coarse. Now there’s a few people I’m willing to work for, and things go seem less. We’re always on the same page (mostly), and things like course changes are available within a moments notice. But I have no certification. I’d probably stop volunteering if I was told I had to take time off to go learn how to do what I already know how to do. 

our club has a training race management program,  we serve a free lunch,  there's no certificate, but since we are volunteer driven , we want everyone to know how to operate a powerboat, safely

when we ask you to do something, (in a mark boat) you'll understand why..

a lot of us have been volunteering for years and if you don't get new blood up and going, you're going to get called again and again..  i'd rather go racing..

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On ‎3‎/‎3‎/‎2020 at 10:48 PM, dogwatch said:

Firstly, I can think of a number of UK clubs that will send dinghies out to race 30-45 minutes sailing time away from launch. If conditions unexpectedly kick up nasty - and they can - then returning to launch may be far from easy. I mentioned above that I've driven safety boat at a couple of events that turned serious very suddenly. One of those was a well-known regatta attended by sailors from the UK and abroad, in a class in which you need to be an expert sailor to even be able to sail around the course. We still found ourselves rounding up capsized boats over several square miles of sea. Many needed help from safety boats to right themselves.

Secondly, around here at least, if a sailor dies during a club event, there will be a Coroner's Inquest. Club Officers and Race Officers will find themselves standing at the Inquest  and be required to demonstrate how good safety practice was followed.  Is there a national standard  in the sport for training safety boat drivers? Yes there is. So Commodore and Race Officer, did you ensure your safety boat drivers were trained to that standard?  No we did not. You'd be so screwed and rightly so. The Coroner is not going to give a shit about RRS4. We are talking about racing dinghies, not yachts that might be expected to be self-sufficient.

When I sign on to a club duty as a safety boat driver, there's a whole row of boxes I have to tick. Am I qualified as a RIB driver, Safety Boat driver, VHF radio operator, have I attended a First Aid Course in the last 3 years? That's partly to protect competitors but mostly it is to protect the club if the shit hits the fan. 

I'm a UK sailor but from what I can gather, the legal climate isn't so different in the USA. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/racing-storm-story-mobile-bay-sailing-disaster-180963686/

Most Clubs that I know of require some level of training to operate their boats.  Instructors also have additional training.  I find your attitude to be dismissive of an individuals responsibility to their crew and their yacht.  When you go out on the water you are responsible for your safety and if you are the skipper you are responsible for everyone on board.  Look at a forecast, be prepared.  If a Race Committee goes out and there are storm warnings, they are making a decision that they believe they will be able to run a race(s).  Depending on the location, type of boats racing and skill level of the individual crews; some boats should consider staying ashore.  After the fact they can speak with the organizing authority about conditions and decision making in postponing for bad weather.

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"Crew and their yacht". I wasn't talking about yachts. The comment that kicked off this discussion within the thread suggested that drivers of safety boats need not be trained.  Safety boats relate to dinghies and similar small craft. Yacht races don't have safety boats, yachts are assumed to be self-sufficient.  Yacht races may have mark layers, that is not the same activity, nor is  it the same skill-set as driving a safety boat. I have not argued that mark-layers have to be qualified. Unless you are setting gates,  mark layers can be directed by radio from the committee boat and anyone with seamanship skills who can drive a RIB and knows how a race course is meant to be set up can set marks, at least with enough accuracy for club level.

Racing dinghies are not self-sufficient. Running safe events for dinghies, particularly on the sea, possibly several miles from safety, requires safety boats and safety boat drivers need to know what they are doing. How you are supposed to know what you are doing without training is a bit of a mystery to me. Once you are out there in charge of a safety boat, there is nobody to supervise you or to tell you what to do. It's down to you. You may be what is between someone living and drowning. It doesn't get that serious very often but it happens. I drive safety boats, from club races to world championships, it's how I currently give back to the sport and my club. I do rather wonder how many people commenting here have done the same or experienced having to deal with crew in the water, unable to right their boats, heading from cold towards hypothermia and several miles from shore. Then add foiling boats with sharp and expensive sticky out bits that make the boat difficult to approach in a seaway. Easy, no training needed? You reckon?

By the way, a well-known south coast UK club was recently sued by a competitor over a matter related to safety. RRS 4 did not come to the aid of that club, after taking legal advice they settled out of court. The club hasn't chosen to broadcast that matter to the world so I won't be going into further details.  The idea that a club fires a starting gun and a skipper takes all responsibility and decisions thereafter is a fine and noble concept. It isn't however the world we actually live in.  

This is getting repetitive and that's my final word in this thread.

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6 minutes ago, dogwatch said:

 

Racing dinghies are not self-sufficient. Running safe events for dinghies, particularly on the sea, possibly several miles from safety, requires safety boats and safety boat drivers need to know what they are doing. How you are supposed to know what you are doing without training is a bit of a mystery to me. Once you are out there in charge of a safety boat, there is nobody to supervise you or to tell you what to do. It's down to you. You may be what is between someone living and drowning. It doesn't get that serious very often but it happens. I drive safety boats, from club races to world championships, it's how I currently give back to the sport and my club. I do rather wonder how many people commenting here have done the same or experienced having to deal with crew in the water, unable to right their boats, heading from cold towards hypothermia and several miles from shore. Then add foiling boats with sharp and expensive sticky out bits that make the boat difficult to approach in a seaway. Easy, no training needed? You reckon?

By the way, a well-known south coast UK club was recently sued by a competitor over a matter related to safety. RRS 4 did not come to the aid of that club, after taking legal advice they settled out of court. The club hasn't chosen to broadcast that matter to the world so I won't be going into further details.  The idea that a club fires a starting gun and a skipper takes all responsibility and decisions thereafter is a fine and noble concept. It isn't however the world we actually live in.  

 

I don't know why it is complicated:

If the lawyers for the club or the insurer tell a club that failure to certify safety boat drivers means likely liability for negligence, you either certify them or make sure they are certified by whatever body has jurisdiction.

If the lawyers for the club or the insurer tell you that certification is not the issue, the club should develop a safety boat policy statement and training regimen that proves the club is competently undertaking the minimization of risks to participants.  

If the Members don't like taking the lawyers' advice, that's their choice.  But they shouldn't complain when their dues rocket up after the insurance payments double.

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If someone gets seriously hurt during an event though no fault of the club or  volunteers the club will get sued. 

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7 minutes ago, VWAP said:

If someone gets seriously hurt during an event though no fault of the club or  volunteers the club will get sued. 

Of course, and the insurance company should pick up most of the bill. 

If the club follows the advice of competent professional advisors in its safety implementations, it will either easily win the lawsuit or force an inexpensive settlement, and the dues shouldn't go up much.  

If the club does not follow the advice of its advisors, the insurer loses the suit or settles for a high amount.  The insurer then either cancels the policy or jacks up the rates.  

Again, it's pretty simple.  Those who want to rant and rave about personal responsibility or litigiousness or whatever can keep on tilting at windmills, or guarantee against any judgments with their own personal funds.

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All liabilities and legal stuff aside,

I want the PRO on any course I am racing to do his/her best to set a fair course.  Try to square it up as best as can be done for the conditions of the day.  I like knowing the heading to the weather mark as well.  Shifts happen.  No need to adjust to every one.  Maybe, if persistent, change marks during the break between races, unless the shift is really egregious.  Even then, while a change mark is a courtesy, and does keep the course fair, part of sailboat racing is knowing what the wind is doing.  If a competitor isn't paying attention to his/her compass, that isn't the PRO's problem. 

And lastly, as a PRO, listen to the competitors.  I sailed a Force 5 class NCR back in 2000 on the Chesapeake.  Winds were light all weekend.  We got one race off on Friday afternoon, after one start that was abandoned due to the fact that after an hour I don't think anyone was more than 200yds from the start line.  No racing on Saturday as we were becalmed again.  That one was frustrating because the RO's took us out into the middle of the freakin' bay.  We sailed through nice wind to get there, only to drift around getting sunburned as crap for the next 5 hours.  Sunday was much the same, except there was some wind in the middle of the bay.  2 races that day.  So a 3 race NCR.  Nice.  Better than no sailing, I guess.  But it was frustrating as the competitors were all willing to sail closer to the YC/land, despite the potential for shifty breezes, yet the RC said "nope....we're going out where there won't be influences from land...."  We easily could have gotten in 2 more races for the event had we not been forced out into the middle of a windless Chesapeake.  (anyone else on here sail in that one, 2000 Force 5 Nationals?)

My two cents, for what they're worth.

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6 hours ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

our club has a training race management program,  we serve a free lunch,  there's no certificate, but since we are volunteer driven , we want everyone to know how to operate a powerboat, safely

when we ask you to do something, (in a mark boat) you'll understand why..

a lot of us have been volunteering for years and if you don't get new blood up and going, you're going to get called again and again..  i'd rather go racing..

I fully support exactly that!  Training and mentoring is huge. My rambling rant was aimed at clubs thinking it’s a good idea to start requiring official certifications. I learned the ropes by being an anchor puller and moved up from there. Then I got to work with Luigi, which fast forwarded my knowledge immensely. That was worth it’s wait in gold. Now we’ve got two incredibly good PRO’s (who also worked with Luigi) locally that usually handle our international events, and I still learn from them to this day. The nice thing is that we have things down to clockwork. I always make a point of changing roles throughout the event during low stress times with my helper. It’s a great way to teach. And, I’ll be honest, handing the wheel over to a badass boat tends hook people. 

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After many years sailing I've quit dinghy sailing. I'm a club level sailor , or was , dedicated bordering on obsessed. My wife says the other way round. Recent regatta 2 days  3races each day. Over half the time on water (about 6hrs each day )spent while ( Qualified ) RO stuffed around shifting marks for 5 / 10 degree shifting breeze. One race was an hour of indecision and eventually started fleet on a reach as the wind shifted yet again. I'm unqualified to drive  safety boat, (read haven't got certificate) but a lifetime of active sailing and many power boats. However a granddaughter did the course which include a day of lessons ashore but no practical test because it was blowing too hard. But she's now qualified ? How does that work ? And sport generally complains about lack of uptake and lack of interest and wonder why ? As the song goes "another one bites the dust". Some of the posts on here are right on and some right off. You figure it out !

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3 hours ago, dogwatch said:

By the way, a well-known south coast UK club was recently sued by a competitor over a matter related to safety. RRS 4 did not come to the aid of that club, after taking legal advice they settled out of court. The club hasn't chosen to broadcast that matter to the world so I won't be going into further details.

Anecdotal information that some anonymous club (or its insurer) chose to settle some lawsuit is meaningless.

Litigation is both time-consuming and expensive. Defendants often settle (generally for relatively small amounts) for reasons unrelated to the merits of their respective cases. No precedents are established thereby.

With all due respect to VWAP, the question isn’t whether a club or RO may be sued (the easy and correct answer is: “anybody may be sued for anything”). The real question is whether a club or RO may be successfully sued, i.e. through to judgment and appeal - based on its decision to start or continue a race in adverse weather. And the answer, absent unusual circumstances, is generally “no”.

4 hours ago, dogwatch said:

The idea that a club fires a starting gun and a skipper takes all responsibility and decisions thereafter is a fine and noble concept. It isn't however the world we actually live in.  

Rule 4 is neither an “idea” nor a “concept” (fine, noble, or otherwise). It’s a contractual term that is binding on skippers. Anyone who believes otherwise is misinformed.

4 hours ago, dogwatch said:

This is getting repetitive and that's my final word in this thread.

png

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And for the love of god, if it’s just a fun race, be willing to breach the S.I.’s. I had to become the finish boat after breeze puked last year at a race in Port Washington. I stubbornly refused to pick up anchor, and stuck around for anyone willing to gut out the finish. The PRO did exactly what was good for the sport. He laughed and scored everyone. 

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3 hours ago, armchairadmiral said:

After many years sailing I've quit dinghy sailing. I'm a club level sailor , or was , dedicated bordering on obsessed. My wife says the other way round. Recent regatta 2 days  3races each day. Over half the time on water (about 6hrs each day )spent while ( Qualified ) RO stuffed around shifting marks for 5 / 10 degree shifting breeze. One race was an hour of indecision and eventually started fleet on a reach as the wind shifted yet again. I'm unqualified to drive  safety boat, (read haven't got certificate) but a lifetime of active sailing and many power boats. However a granddaughter did the course which include a day of lessons ashore but no practical test because it was blowing too hard. But she's now qualified ? How does that work ? And sport generally complains about lack of uptake and lack of interest and wonder why ? As the song goes "another one bites the dust". Some of the posts on here are right on and some right off. You figure it out !

Who has a class for safety boat drivers? 

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On 3/5/2020 at 10:17 PM, marcus brutus said:

while there's a course listed as "Safety and Rescue Boat Handling", there don't seem to be any actual classes. There's plenty of Safe Powerboat Handling classes.

There is however a book which I ordered

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A. As a competitor, in many cases, I have found all of this PRO stuff to be extremely annoying and counter-productive.

1. In perfectly good racing wind, they postpone. They make excuses it is too light, or too shifty, or they gotta move the marks for the umpteenth time to make the course perfect.  I have stopped going to some events because of this pursuit of perfectionism by PROs.

2. With this advent of certification of PROs, in many cases, it now has become a blood sport to pick apart and critique the work of the PROs, in many cases leading to many cases of redress. This is a vast waste of competitors time, delays the awards, and is a turn off.

My advice: Run the freaking races!  We spent money and time to come to your event, we expected to go racing. We did not expect to sit on the shore because overzealous PROs are trying to outguess God.

B. Looking at the invention of certification of PROs, this has NOT lead to an increase in racing participation.  It is not the panacea.  Good or bad, we go racing, period.  It is facetious to believe this is a benefit for participation. It is not.

C. PROs need to communicate.  Not only get on the airwaves or loudspeaker and tell us what they are thinking and planning.  Do the clock countdown verbally so we all hear it.  Tell us which class is up next.  Stop the old age non-sense to "read the flags."  Be fun in communications, not dry and stogy.

I don't care if they are paid, unpaid, certified, uncertified.  Just get the races started on time, start the following race sequence in less than 5 minutes after the last boat finished the prior race, and get my day finished.  Do not make me wait.

 

 

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13 hours ago, Glenn McCarthy said:

A. As a competitor, in many cases, I have found all of this PRO stuff to be extremely annoying and counter-productive.

1. In perfectly good racing wind, they postpone. They make excuses it is too light, or too shifty, or they gotta move the marks for the umpteenth time to make the course perfect.  I have stopped going to some events because of this pursuit of perfectionism by PROs.

2. With this advent of certification of PROs, in many cases, it now has become a blood sport to pick apart and critique the work of the PROs, in many cases leading to many cases of redress. This is a vast waste of competitors time, delays the awards, and is a turn off.

My advice: Run the freaking races!  We spent money and time to come to your event, we expected to go racing. We did not expect to sit on the shore because overzealous PROs are trying to outguess God.

B. Looking at the invention of certification of PROs, this has NOT lead to an increase in racing participation.  It is not the panacea.  Good or bad, we go racing, period.  It is facetious to believe this is a benefit for participation. It is not.

C. PROs need to communicate.  Not only get on the airwaves or loudspeaker and tell us what they are thinking and planning.  Do the clock countdown verbally so we all hear it.  Tell us which class is up next.  Stop the old age non-sense to "read the flags."  Be fun in communications, not dry and stogy.

I don't care if they are paid, unpaid, certified, uncertified.  Just get the races started on time, start the following race sequence in less than 5 minutes after the last boat finished the prior race, and get my day finished.  Do not make me wait.

As a competitor and occasional RC volunteer, I agree fully with A. Far too many self-important ROs waste everyone’s time as they postpone starts and abandon races, supposedly in the name of fairness. Racers can, or at least should be able to, deal with shifty and/or light wind. Shorten the course if need be, but otherwise just get on with things!

With regard to C: as an occasional RO, I stay off the radio and rely only on the flags and sound signals. I also never make a sound signal to acknowledge a boat’s apparent crossing of the finish line. Whilst I know that racers dislike such conservatism, bitter experience has taught me that efforts to be helpful or “fun” almost invariably lead to redress hearings: which is not how I enjoy spending my time (see your point A.2).

IMO, the bottom line is that both ROs and competitors need to stop treating club and regional-level racing like they are the Olympic Games. 

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I'm surprised that this stuff is still going on with currently accredited RO.

Here are the relevant parts of the WS Race Management Policies which RO should be observing.

These policies apply to WS World level and Olympic events, wind figures given are thus the minimums that should be applied at lower levels.  So, in summary:

  • Do not postpone because conditions are oscillating.
  • Do not postpone for  wind shifts less than 10 degrees during the starting sequence.  At club level, I'd be making this more like 20 degrees.
  • Do not shift a mark for persistent wind shifts less than 15 degrees.  At club level, I'd be making this more like 30 degrees

 

Quote

 

4. Decision to Race

4.1 The race will be started at the scheduled time if the wind conditions and visibility are within the parameters outlined in these policies. Waiting for ‘better’ conditions may be unfair and will be avoided.

4.2 The race management team will not wait for the wind to ‘stabilize’. Competitors can compete in “shifty” conditions.

4.3 The start may be postponed if a major wind shift is expected based on a known pattern or other reliable information (example: sea breeze can be seen in the distance and is expected to fill in). Otherwise, the race management team will start the race. The wind shift may not occur, the course can be corrected, or the shift may occur after the race is completed.

...

10. Postponing A Race During The Starting Procedure

10.1 The race management team will postpone the race during the starting procedure if the mean wind shifts more than 10 degrees or in the event other influences cause boats to bunch at one end of the start line. In rapid oscillations, the race management team will endeavour to lay a starting line based on the mean oscillations expected.

...

14. Abandonment

14.1 On the first half of the first leg, the race management team may abandon in the event of a major, persistent, wind shift (more than 25 degrees). After that, the race management team will let the race continue if it is able to adjust to the changed conditions.

 

15.1 Change in wind direction:

(a) With a persistent wind shift of 10° or less the course will not be changed unless necessary to adjust for current or to provide a square run.

(b) Between 10° and 15° consideration will be given to adjusting the course to the new wind provided that the race management team is confident that the shift is likely to persist.

(c) With a persistent wind shift of more than 15°, the race management team will attempt to change the course to the new wind.

(d) With a persistent wind shift of more than 45°, the race management team will consider its influence on the race. Under these circumstances, the race management team may either change the course or abandon the race.

...

15.2 Changes in length of legs

(a) The race management team will attempt to minimize the number of changes in leg length to achieve target times. In general, changes in length will only be made if it appears that the time for the first finisher will be more than 20% outside the target time.

 

 

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It is really frustrating when the PRO tries to set the line or the leg for the wind at the moment. On the lakes I sail there is usually an oscillation even in a persistent shift (trend). If they keep track of the direction over time they can set to the middle. Also if there is a Mark boat running around wait to set the line until close to the start.  Drop the mark for the average wind direction, bang the gun and start 5 min later in whatever wind you have. Same goes for the windward mark if you have the resources. If the Mark setter is good enough the PRO should let them do the final set during the starting sequence. There is nothing in the rules that says the fleet needs time to go ping the line or the windward mark so their fancy computers can calculate the all the info so they can get a bad start because they were watching the displays rather than the wind, water, marks and other boats.

If the wind is really shifty get the marks back in the mark set boat before the race is over ready to set as soon as the last boat finishes. I hate seeing the last boat finish, then after 5 min of conversation, the mark set unties from the RC boat and heads to go move the windward mark. After that is done they come back to reset the start line. that kind of RC management is what bothers sailors. 

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1 hour ago, Monkey said:

Aren’t you the twat who sat on shore and bitched about the Vanguard 15’s?

I, and the vast majority of entrants who realized the dangers of sailing in a heavy air regatta that was both understaffed and lacked functioning support craft, chose to either sit on shore or have lunch and drinks at the club on both days.

You exhibit significant ignorance by failing to realize and acknowledge the undeniable fact that only massive divine intervention saved CCYC from wrongful death lawsuits resulting from the R/C "volunteers" incompetence at the 2019 V15 North Americans.

You can trash talk all you want, but weren't you the goofus whose dog figuratively ate the results in a race that you ran 2 years ago.

Nothing personal, but whenever you post idiotic responses to my posts I will have to publicly shame you. So take a time out.

And thanks for maintaining, storing, and launching fixed marks each spring and fall. 

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On 3/9/2020 at 5:49 PM, Glenn McCarthy said:

A. As a competitor, in many cases, I have found all of this PRO stuff to be extremely annoying and counter-productive.

1. In perfectly good racing wind, they postpone. They make excuses it is too light, or too shifty, or they gotta move the marks for the umpteenth time to make the course perfect.  I have stopped going to some events because of this pursuit of perfectionism by PROs.

2. With this advent of certification of PROs, in many cases, it now has become a blood sport to pick apart and critique the work of the PROs, in many cases leading to many cases of redress. This is a vast waste of competitors time, delays the awards, and is a turn off.

My advice: Run the freaking races!  We spent money and time to come to your event, we expected to go racing. We did not expect to sit on the shore because overzealous PROs are trying to outguess God.

B. Looking at the invention of certification of PROs, this has NOT lead to an increase in racing participation.  It is not the panacea.  Good or bad, we go racing, period.  It is facetious to believe this is a benefit for participation. It is not.

C. PROs need to communicate.  Not only get on the airwaves or loudspeaker and tell us what they are thinking and planning.  Do the clock countdown verbally so we all hear it.  Tell us which class is up next.  Stop the old age non-sense to "read the flags."  Be fun in communications, not dry and stogy.

I don't care if they are paid, unpaid, certified, uncertified.  Just get the races started on time, start the following race sequence in less than 5 minutes after the last boat finished the prior race, and get my day finished.  Do not make me wait.

RACE COMMITTEE "VOLUNTEERS", STOP YOUR DAWDLING IMMEDIATELY ! ! !

 

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All volunteer at our club using preset marks so the courses are not always square and we have our share of shit shows every now and then that we laugh about at the bar later. For our few big events we have a proper PRO especially when out of town boats come in for big events. We want to put our best foot forward in our sailing community. 

Small club, small fleets. It works for us. 

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I had an opportunity to hear Ken Read talk last week regarding how to increase participation in sailing. While some of his points were absolutely fucking stupid, including but not limited to adding more color to the fleets by mandating spinnakers other than white (such as the IC37s in Newport have), or having boats painted instead of white (sure let me pull out my wallet to increase participation), or a whole 30 minute bullet point about the new double handed offshore Olympic campaign pitch (yea not sure how that figures into increasing participation either), the biggest thing I took away was the things I heard from RC and PROs.

First and foremost, the RC is on their high horse and are unwilling to change. It was amazing listening to the RC people at the other table around me.  Some of his points were to alert sailors to postponements before leaving the dock, or have RC look at the weather the night before so people spent less time waiting for racing, rather than being at home or doing other things before or after. RC people just complained how it is so hard to organize and how it wasn't feasible.  Secondly, as they do in Newport, they race in from the ocean course during the last race.  Well, that caused another gripe since there are people that do not sail out of the main finish location, therefore we cannot due it.  He also said have races out to the course rather than a motor. Again, same gripe as the previous sentence.  He also said start races when they may not be perfect conditions or course. As everyone has said above, they were bitching about that too saying people would complain. Granted, I am sure they are right because people do bitch about everything. however, I am sick and tired of seeing RC do absolutely stupid things. It always used to be set the start line of the largest fleet. These days, they are literally starting the first two fleets, and then adjusting the start line causing more wasted time between the fleets. While I don't take for granted RC and the PRO being out there so I can enjoy the sport I want to spend time on, what I cannot stand is all this nonsense. There is a reason no one wants to do RC, because even if they did lend a hand, they would be hamstrung by the old curmudgeons who do not want to change.  The old adage of my way or the highway is certainly plentiful with these committees.  In closing, for the life of me, I cannot figure out these people as they are always the ones telling me how great sailing was in the 80s and how big the parties were. Yet, as they have gotten older, and into the age, they are the ones ruining things. Goes to say this happens outside of sailing as well, but fuck those millennials am I right?

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18 hours ago, marcus brutus said:

C. PROs need to communicate.  Not only get on the airwaves or loudspeaker and tell us what they are thinking and planning.  Do the clock countdown verbally so we all hear it.  Tell us which class is up next.  Stop the old age non-sense to "read the flags."  Be fun in communications, not dry and stogy.

Agree in principle. But also need to keep in mind (as I'm sure many PROs do) that everything that the RC does that isn't required by the rules is an opportunity to make an error. What happens when the countdown on the radio is out of sync with the starting signal? Or the radio countdown that normally starts at 10 seconds gets delayed for a particular race and they start counting down from 5 seconds. Or the person on the radio announces the wrong class, different from the class flag that goes up? 

If there's only one signal, the one required by the RRS, there's less opportunity for the RC to screw up.

I think PROs should be focused on 1) making racing as safe as possible, and; 2) making racing as fair as possible. Anything else is bonus.

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On 3/11/2020 at 8:21 PM, TJSoCal said:

[K]eep in mind (as I'm sure many PROs do) that everything that the RC does that isn't required by the rules is an opportunity to make an error. What happens when the countdown on the radio is out of sync with the starting signal? Or the radio countdown that normally starts at 10 seconds gets delayed for a particular race and they start counting down from 5 seconds. Or the person on the radio announces the wrong class, different from the class flag that goes up? 

If there's only one signal, the one required by the RRS, there's less opportunity for the RC to screw up.

^^^ Yep ^^^

As an occasional RO, I am happy enough to volunteer my time out on the water. I am much less pleased to attend redress hearings - which at the club level typically take place on completely different evenings - dealing with complaints about trivial issues; especially when the competitors who requested redress often don’t bother turning up for the hearings.

Much as I would like to extend myself to help racers, I no longer communicate in any way beyond that required by the RRS or safety. Once bit, twice shy.

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I would say follow these tips to keep smiles on sailors faces after a regatta...

1) Simplify the SIs so you don't have various competitors with varying interpretations.   You should be able to be dropped from Mars, read the NOR and SIs and be clear on what rules you need to follow. 

2) Tell us how to win the event we are competing in.  I can't stand competing in an event to learn that the overall trophy is some secret formula the race committee decides on after the race is over.   Or worse yet, learning that the committee didn't think through their formula that can't work and gave the award to a boat that didn't really win.  The goal of many boats when they compete is to win, I have never competed in any other sport where people have no idea how the winner was selected.  This just causes people to think they should have won or tears winners down because the "secret formula" put them at an advantage 

3) Don't cancel racing when it is "to windy".  Many boats and crews thrive in windy conditions.  The concerns that some boats have equipment or crew that are not prepared to compete in wind, should not be a factor for the race committee.  Keep it simple, call it when sustain winds hit 35.  Other than that, if the owner’s responsibility to race his or her boat or not. 

4) Don't send us out when there is no wind and there is no wind in the forecast.  Keep a RC boat out on the course area, put up an AP on land and drop it when there is wind to race

5) Don't send us in when the conditions are great to sail because the band is setting up and the caterer is lighting the sterno cans.   We came to race, please race us.

6) If there was no wind on day one and day two calls for wind, change the time to an earlier time the next day 

7) Don't set the SI and NOR max races to severely limit the number of races a series can sail.  Let you race committee decide how many races to race in a day / event

8) Make protests a positive experience, ensure you have qualified, impartial protest committee members who are not member of the RC.  Ensure the PC notifies the entire fleet through the correct channels when a ruling my impact them.  Allow non-interested parties to listen to protest to learn what it is about and how they are conducted. 

9) Have the proper RC vessels and equipment to run a race in 25 knots of wind, so that no matter what the conditions, you can safely and efficiently run the race

10) Attempt to set square starting lines, if you don't you are just asking for damage, protests etc.

11) Don't charge people to go to a tent party to pick up a trophy in a regatta where they paid an entry fee to participate

12) Don't limit the ability for competitors to market their sponsors.  

13) Don't allow hull cleaning between the start of race one and the finish of the last race.  Keep costs down and minimize logistics.

14) Don't allow towing out to the race course from coach boats, friends, etc.

15) Don't engrave awards with the owner names, just include the boat name so trophies can be given to crew. 

16) If your YC is going to host a regatta, don't charge the racers to keep the boat at your dock or on moorings if they available and please open your club facilities up to visitors who are supporting your club and your event. 

17) Don’t over communicate to competitors over the radio, especially when questions get asked that can be answered by reading the racing rule of sailing, NOR or SIs.

18) Avoid skipper’s meetings that allow for the discussion and questions of rules.  All of the rules and details a competitor needs should be in the NOR and SIs.  If needed, competitors can contact the RC prior to a specific time and amendments can be posted if needed.

19) Don’t combine starts of unlike boats if they are not in the same divisions.

20) When conducting a distance race, ensure that the result include overall results, even for one design boats -just apply the OD rating to allow all racers to see how they did against the entire fleet that raced the race

21) If there are protest on the last day and those protest do not impact the boats that will be awarded a trophy, don’t delay the award ceremony.

22) Require all boats to provide their insurance COI prior to racing

23) For handicapped fleets with various boat designs, please keep the legs to an even number so you are not providing an advantage to certain boat designs.

24) Don’t just base handicap class splits on ratings, you need to look at the boats designs when considering fleet splits. 

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I like the above list, with maybe the exception of #4.   At least here on the great lakes, some of my fondest regatta memories were from days with no wind when the T10 fleet rafted up 15 deep and started the post racing party early.  GOOD TIMES

Of course if you sail dinghies, you are probably are not going to be doing something like that, so I get it.

 

Really, as RC the number one factor in decision making- aside from safety right, always be safe- should be participant enjoyment.  For regattas, competitors spend time and money to attend.  If its an enjoyable experience, the ROI is acceptable.  If it isn't fun, the ROI is not worth it, and people won't show.  

 

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