COMMENTARY: Professional coaching during regattas

Published on February 20th, 2013

Professional sailor and sailmaker Dave Ullman shook the earth over 25 years ago when he said how the sport needed to legislate the pros out of sailboat racing. Dave’s motivation wasn’t to spend more time on the golf course; he had concerns about the impact of professionalism in an amateur sport.

His view today hasn’t changed much. Here is how he feels about professional coaching during regattas…

“I think regatta coaching is an expense that should be limited to only grand prix classes. When a regatta gets inundated with coaches and support boats, the result is a divisive environment of haves and have nots. For all types of racing short of the grand prix level, the emphasis should be on fostering a community atmosphere. I am not even sure there is enough value in event coaching to outweigh the expense. There is huge value in having coaches before a regatta, but once you limit communication during a regatta, the value is greatly diminished. But regardless of its benefit, it does create a perception of an advantage. Especially during the tow in.”

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