My first regatta in 2013 was run perfectly – Part 1

Published on July 8th, 2013

By Glenn McCarthy
ISAF and US Sailing created certification programs for Race Management. These documents and training modules are modeled to design racing and train Race Management personnel so that they can run races at the 300 person, once every four year regatta called the Olympic Games. They want all Race Management worldwide to run races identically. It provides a bigger pool of race officials to draw from to run the Olympic Games.

One of the critical pieces in the manual is that they have placed the responsibility on Race Management to assure that each race is “Fair.” No racer should get an advantage especially on the first beat, w here a “large” wind shift has occurred, the manual and training programs require the Race Management to use either the postponement or abandon processes to avoid an “unfair race.” Also, if the race course has patchy wind, where one side might have more pressure and the other side less, favoring those who went to the pressure side, again they require the use of the postponement or abandon processes to avoid an “unfair” race.

The manual stresses that Luck is to be eliminated at all costs. Lord knows that no event in the Olympics should ever be decided by Luck. It would make a mockery of the Olympics and cause an International uproar in t he Press. Racing must be decided by Skill and Strength alone.

What happened on my first outing of the season? On Saturday the wind came up twice for an hour and fifteen minutes each time and was somewhat flat the rest of the time. Just enough to get two races in for the day. However, the wind was fanning back and forth about 60 degrees, and it was oscillating from 3 to 6 miles an hour. The Race Management, seeking perfection, flipped to the Race Management Manual that identifies that conditions like this do not provide fairness and kept the Postponement Flag up the first time the wind filled in.

The second time the wind filled in, they were managing to keep moving the start and windward marks back and forth seeking perfection in squaring the course, the wind died as they had used up one hour and fifteen minutes of wind. They let us start with the wind going flat and the wind had gone left 40 degrees and they flipped to the manual which instructs them to abandon, which they did, after 15 minutes of racing.

The fleet headed for the hoist and after the first few were out of the water, the wind filled in again (the race course is no more than 15 minutes in light air from the hoist).

The definition of what constitutes a race today has become: Between 6 and 22 miles per hour of wind, phasing back and forth no more than 8 degrees, and the wind speed is generally constant over the entire course. Only those who excel in these confined conditions shall be declared winners.

I’d like to report to ISAF and US Sailing and the IOC that the performance of the Race Management was stunningly perfect – flawless. Your manuals and training has found its way all the way to 20 boats on a tiny lake which none of the competitors have any ambition to go to the Olympics, and forced them to live under the Olympic Ideal.

Footnote – Intentionally I didn’t identify the event, it is a repeat of many other events sailed in the past 20 years. I hold no anger or hostilities nor will say anything negative about this event. In fact I give kudos to the event. It is an awesome event. I’ve gone there for 40 years and will be back there next year. It’s a great facility, the food and drink plentiful, and it is one gorgeous inland lake. I cannot thank the volunteers enough, they do an incredible job and I include the Race Committee in this Thank You. They did exactly as they were trained and certified to do, when it comes to accountability, they performed flawlessly. I really, really mean this from the bottom of my heart.

Source (Page 11-12):

Click here for Part 2.

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