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Spreading Race Management Knowledge

Published on December 12th, 2018

Annapolis Yacht Club (Annapolis, MD) will christen its soon-to-be completed Sailing Center by conducting a broad-based symposium that will cover all aspects of race management.

US Sailing President Cory Sertl is among several notable keynote speakers already committed to the inaugural AYC Race Officials Symposium, being held the weekend of February 23-24. Annapolis Yacht Club is inviting race officers, judges, and umpires to attend the event, which will target both the novice and expert.

Lead organizer Taran Teague invoked the names of Annapolis Yacht Club’s longest-tenured race committee chairmen in describing why the symposium is so important.

“Our legacy from Gaither Scott, Ron Ward, and Chip Thayer through today is to pass along our passion for sailboat racing and running excellent regattas,” said Teague, a veteran race officer. “We want to not only focus on the basics – equipment management, signaling, setting start and finish lines – but also youth events, communication, and regatta management.”

This is not a standardized course as there are plenty of those throughout the country. Rather, AYC is inviting speakers to present unique short sessions on a diverse set of race officiating topics.

“We anticipate competitors, coaches, and vendors will attend as we continue the trend of open communication and collaboration within our sport,” Teague said. “We will also discuss protest committees, weather information and – most importantly – safety.”

In addition, AYC invites race officials to submit abstracts to be speakers. They are seeking officials and sailors willing to share their knowledge, experience, and innovations on race officiating.

Annapolis Yacht Club is dividing the sessions into the following tracks:
• Innovation in officiating
• Raising the bar – training and improving race administration skills, techniques, and equipment
• Recruiting, training, and retaining new officials
• Connecting with sailors – promoting events through better communications and modern media
• Successes (and lessons learned) from recent events

For each of those tracks, AYC welcomes abstracts for talks targeted at novices to experts, for race committees, judges, umpires, and organizers. Two lengths of sessions will be 30 minutes and 45 minutes.

“What we’re trying to do is make this event fun, interesting, and educational. We want to hit a bunch of different themes that would appeal to both current and prospective race officials,” Annapolis Yacht Club Race Committee Chair Sandy Grosvenor said. “We have purposefully not created a specific agenda in advance. We’re hoping the content will be more driven by folks who want to come and teach. This is a collaborative effort designed to spread knowledge.”

Sertl is a two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year (1995, 2001) and has mounted three Olympic campaigns. The Rochester, New York resident represented the United States in 470 one-design class at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. She is a certified US Sailing instructor, trainer, and coach who has served the organization in a variety of capacities over the years.

Sertl, who competes on the Lightning and J/70 circuits and races in local club regattas along with her husband Mark and two children, was elected as US Sailing president on October 23, 2018.
Renowned television broadcaster Tucker Thompson has also agreed to serve as a keynote speaker for the AYC Race Officials Symposium. Thompson was the official Host of the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda and was one of the TV announcers of the 34th America’s in San Francisco.

A veteran sailing commentator, Thompson has hosted over 1,500 sailing shows on T2PTV and live TV and covered the America’s Cup for worldwide television since the 2007 event in Valencia, Spain. The former Annapolis resident is also a past champion sailor who sailed with the America True challenge during the 2000 America’s Cup in New Zealand.

“Race officials are the backbone of our sport. I spent much of my sailing career enjoying the benefits of talented race committees comprised of volunteers dedicated to improving our experience on the water,” Thompson said. “I’m glad to get an opportunity to give back to those folks. I’ll try to contribute lessons I’ve learned from watching race officials all over the world while covering the America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, World Match Racing Tour, and Sailing Champions League.”

Bruce Nairn and Ashley Love of T2PTV will also deliver a keynote presentation. Nairn is co-founder and current President of Operations for the company. Love serves as Editor in Chief and provides the on-camera talent.

Nairn and Love will present on Sunday morning about the topic of “Connecting with Sailors: Promoting Events through Better Communications and Modern Media Capabilities.” Subtext for this presentation is about engagement.

For certified US Sailing officials, AYC is working with US Sailing to accept attendance at the symposium for “continuing education credits” for subsequent renewal of accreditation.

Cost for attendees will be $75 and include access to all sessions across both days, continental breakfast and lunch both days, and a reception Saturday evening with snacks. The symposium registration fee will be waived for speakers with approved talks.

The inaugural AYC Race Official Symposium will be one of the first events held in the club’s new 10,000-square foot Sailing Center in Eastport. The Sailing Center was designed as a multi-purpose space that contains classrooms for the Junior Program that can be converted into a large event space for regatta parties including the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta.

Annapolis Yacht Club’s Race and Protest Committees will be based on the third floor of the building along with the administration staff while the lower level will be home to the Junior Fleet staff, Dockmasters, and the Regatta Manager/Race Office.

For more information, including registration, click here.

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