Suggestions for Regatta Organizers
Published on October 2nd, 2016
by Noel Field, Jr.
Having served as a US SAILING certified judge since 1978, I have become aware of the shortage of judges for events and would like to make some suggestions to those people organizing regattas.
1. The first and perhaps most important suggestion is to ask for and sign up judges for summer regattas no later than the preceding month of May. I find that during the summer I get requests to be a judge at times when I have already agreed to serve at another regatta.
2. Most regattas have persons who are members, running the races, serving as race officers or on mark boats, and taking care of most administrative matters. However, most of the judges are GUESTS of the host yacht clubs. How often the organizers forget that fact.
It is perhaps the second most important suggestion I can make is for the hosts to remember that the judges are guests and should be treated as such. This suggestion also applies if the host organization is importing race officers from outside the area.
This past weekend I served as chief judge at a regatta with over 250 boats. One person I knew well was imported to serve as a PRO for one of the several fleets. While the club was providing me with all meals and appropriate parking, the club had failed to provide this person with meals including evening meals and breakfasts.
3. Since the judges are guests, they should be provided with the following:
• Food, including either the meals or a stipend to pay for meals.
• Convenient parking, when the competitors may well take up most of the readily available parking spots near the club house.
• Housing, if the event runs over several day, it is appropriate for the host club to have the guests provided with housing preferably with members.
• Perhaps reimbursement for travel expenses.
• Some form of gift. This could be a cap, a T-shirt, or some other item. Often a club is selling T-shirts at the event. When the event is over, if there are still T-shirts unsold, it doesn’t cost the club very much to give away unsold T-shirts to the guests.
4. To keep judges happy, it is very helpful if the organizer provides a bright jury secretary and an assistant for the jury secretary who can be a runner to take items to be posted on the notice board and to the scorers and to help find competitors who are involved in the protests about to be heard or who may be called as witnesses.
5. While judges traditionally have not been paid for their services and do not expect to be paid, I will add that I have a good friend who serves as a referee for lacrosse and field hockey games. As she often receives over $100 for an afternoon’s work as a ref, she gives me a kidding about why I am willing to serve without any pay at all.
Hopefully if judges are well treated by regatta organizers, our numbers will increase without the need for regatta organizers to add to their expenses by paying a fee for judges.