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How to run better races

Published on September 26th, 2019

The Irish publication Afloat has been tackling the topic of race management:

Top Ten Tips
Olympic helmsman Mark Mansfield, who is now a sailing coach, provides some sailor-focused thoughts for Race Officers:
Over the past few years, I have been competing in various sailing events throughout Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA. Very often it is the same issues that repeatedly come up which the sailors are not happy with. Invariably, it is either race course set-up or the conduct of the race management or both.

Race Officers roles are primarily linked to on-the-water race management. They are responsible for laying the course and starting and finishing the races. The most experienced become International Race Officials recognized by World Sailing.

Here in Ireland, we are blessed with having some excellent Race Officers who not only officiate in events in this country but also further afield, all the way up to the Olympic Games. Some others, however, are still learning their trade and this can lead to frustration with the sailors so here are some tips for Race officers from a competitor’s perspective: click here.

Not on My Tip List
Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck rebuts one of Mansfield’s tips:
With all due respect to the esteemed 4-time Irish Olympian, I oppose his advice with regard to adjusting start lines. He states that if a race officer decides to move either the Committee boat or the pin prior to the start, they should allow 5 minutes or so before going into a sequence, as many boats will need to enter the new location into their startline GPS aids like Racegeek or Velocitek pro starts. I say phooey to that, as anything that slows down the running of races is a negative, particularly if it promotes the use of costly tools instead of sailing skill.

The 11th Tip
International Race Judge Gordon Davies has offered an ‘11th tip‘ following the publication of Mark Mansfield’s Top Ten Tips for Race Officers:
Davies, who officiated at the 2019 Flying Fifteen World Championships on Dublin Bay, insists that a protest committee is appointed in advance of an event in order to liaise with the Protest Committee Chair to allow him/her to read the Sailing Instructions in good time. “Too often as a judge, I arrive at an event without having the opportunity to read the SIs and find that some instructions are unworkable, or create opportunities for requests for redress.”

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