Fulfilling the Charter Boat Requirement

Published on November 30th, 2015

Hosting world championships is made complicated by class and ISAF requirements, which then gets compounded by the desire to accommodate interested participants. For those traveling from overseas, arranging charter boats is an unfathomable task that gets added to the hosting list.

Carol Cronin, who competed at the 2015 Snipe Worlds in Italy, describes what was an epic display of effort to fulfill this need.

Over the past several years, there has been a lot of discussion about how to provide good charter boats for international championships—and how to get them returned in equally good shape. It’s a tough challenge, and an important one to solve if we want to encourage as many people as possible to attend distant events.

The 2015 Worlds in Talamone set a new high standard for charter boat quality and repair work. From September 7-27, Snipe builder DB Marine had three people always on site—and at critical times like measurement and practice days, there were four or five.

Before the regatta, they rigged charter boats (and then if necessary re-rigged them to a sailor’s specific needs). During the event, they made 85 boat repairs, both on their own charter boats and on other boats in the fleet. And they did it all with a smile and “yes we can” attitude.

After the regatta was over, when most sailors went home or headed off on holiday, they drove two vans and three trailers back to Trieste…eight times. That’s an eight hour, 600 km drive each way. Before and after the Championships – over 15,000 km driven.

And service like this can’t start the day before the regatta. For six months before the event, they answered emails and sent photos of charter boats to the sailors. Their goal was to make sure every sailor was happy with the provided equipment, no matter where a team finished in the regatta.

Here’s the equipment* that was provided:
-16 out of 36 boats for the Junior Worlds
-22 of the 83 boats for the Open Worlds
-50 masts (including charter boats and spares)
* Equipment was new and/or competitive

The bar has been set very high by this group, and I don’t know how any other company could match such excellent service. Which makes me wonder: how do we best provide charter boats in the future?

For international championships, we need a dedicated fiberglass repair team, and preferably a rigging team, in order to make the boats right and keep them racing. While some of this can be billed to each competitor on demand (you break it, you bought it), there’s no way to reimburse a group for hanging around the boat park for 20 days, watching other people sail. That takes a fierce dedication to the class.

Other regattas have done a great job with charter boats in the past, and each country finds its own way to create a supportive regatta atmosphere. But this effort may have raised the bar to a level I’m not sure anyone else could match.

Source: Snipe Today


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