Balancing Education with Execution

Published on March 10th, 2015

The challenge in the sport of sailing is to seek improvement without the process being prohibitive. This challenge is matched with the desire of our modern society to focus intently on improvement.

What once was a leisurely activity, the sport now requires greater investment. But when the costs of time and money exceed the leisurely benefit, people leave the sport for other activities.

This balancing act plays out as much for competitors as it does for event administrators.

Glenn McCarthy recently commented on the extensive process in place to certify judges. As Glenn states, “Certifying judges in the sport of sailboat racing is a very good thing.” However, his fear is that the process has become so costly that the pool of qualified people cannot be sustained.

Not surprisingly, Glenn’s comments drew some attention. Here is a sampling:

Kelson Elam:
Thank you Glenn McCarthy for saying it loud and clear. As a competitor, judge, PRO, regatta chairman, class president and corporate sponsor, I have witnessed this this bureaucratic nightmare from all angles. By creating a perceived quality and need for a chosen few we have alienated the rest and provided a bad product. After sitting through two days of humiliating and ambiguous test questions to pass the judge certification course, I almost lost my best friend for making him take it as well and considered a therapy group of classmates to deal with the demeaning experience. Didn’t bother to renew and can’t imagine why new people aren’t standing in line for this punishment.

Rich Jepsen, Chair, Training Committee:
I feel that training and certification are important and that this post creates a bit of collateral damage to the concept of professionalism and quality in the ranks of sailors who support the sport, whether PROs, Umpires, Judges or coaches/instructors.

Bob Bowden:

As a past “National Judge”, I declined to “re-certify” this year for all the reasons Glenn mentioned – and a few more. However, I keep my skills and knowledge of the Rules up to date and continue to judge, serve on race committees, and race as often as I can. The ‘downer’ is, I can no longer serve as judge at events that require a ‘Certified’ judge.

From John McCarthy:
I am so disappointed that you chose to print Glenn McCarthy’s rant. The tone of your publication is generally so upbeat and positive that I find the article to be doubly offensive. Surely there is at least something positive about the Judges Program or the many judges serving in it. I am simply overwhelmed that you chose to print such a totally negative and destructive attack on what is essentially a fine group of people who are attempting to do good work on behalf of the racers.

George C Bradley:
Wow! Have you hit the nail on the head with this one. I started to go through the process to become certified, and quickly discovered it was a real waste of my time, which, now being in my 60s, I value more than I once might have.

Several of the comments above are a portion of their complete remark. To read their full comment, and to see all the comments submitted (or post your own comments)… CLICK HERE

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