Dear Race Committee,
Thanks for giving up your free time to run this regatta for us. I appreciate that you are all volunteers, would probably rather be sailing yourself, and that some of you may be relatively new to the sport and have been invited to make up the numbers on the RC boat so you can see what racing is all about.
Having said all that (and I do appreciate you, I really do, and I have been in your shoes many times) could I please offer a few suggestions...
1. If the sailing instructions say that the first warning signal will be at 11am, and the winds are steady, and there has been no postponement on shore, and all the competitors can easily sail to the course by that time... please, please, please be on station at 11am, have the marks in the water, and be ready to start a race. There is nothing more frustrating for us racers than to get up early on a Saturday morning, drive several hours to the regatta site, rig our boats, spend an hour sailing out to the course... and then have to sit around for another hour while you get yourselves organized.
2. You've been watching the America's Cup on TV haven't you? You saw how Peter 'Luigi' Reggio waited each day for the perfect wind, and adjusted the course and start line for every little windshift... and now you want to be just like Luigi?
Please don't. This is not the America's Cup. Luigi only had to run one race a day, and even if he didn't run a race today there was always tomorrow. For us there is no tomorrow. This is a one day regatta. We want as many races as possible. Please don't futz around for 40 minutes moving the course marks for every 5 degree wind shift. We don't care. We just want to go racing. In any case the chances are that the wind will shift some more by the time you position all the marks exactly where you want them, so forget about it. If the line and course are more or less right, then start the sequence and let's race.
3. Have you ever thought that the most important thing about the visual signals you make is that the sailors can see them? So if the fleet is going off upwind after the start and you want to signal a general recall, please don't ask the smallest person on your team to stand on the stern of the RC boat with a general recall flag that's totally obscured from the racers by the cabin on your boat. I know you're getting frustrated when it takes such a long time for all the fleet to come back to the start line after every recall. Have you stopped to wonder why?
4. And while we're talking about how you assign tasks to the members of your team, what were you thinking when you selected the guy to read the sail numbers at the finish line? Has he seen an optician lately? Or did he forget to bring his spectacles?
Here's a clue that he may not be the best man for the job: you find that a significant percentage of the numbers that he called don't match to any of the numbers of the sailors registered for the regatta, and on the other hand you end up with a bunch of sailors who are entered who apparently didn't finish some of the races at random even though you didn't spot anyone leaving the course or ducking out of any race.
5. We like to hear from you. If you are about to do something unusual then do us the courtesy of using that loudhailer that you have on the RC boat. For example if you signalled a two-lap course and then after a couple of recalls and postponements, you change your mind and decide to give us a one-lap course then please, please, please make sure we all know about it.
Don't just ask one of your team to erase surreptitiously the numeral 2 on the course board and expect us all to spot the change. Some of us are not that smart and have other things on our minds like "which end of the line should I start this time" or "will my wonky tiller extension universal hold together for one more race" or "do I have time to have a pee before the next start". We're not all mind readers. Please hail and let us know you've changed the course.
I think that's all for now. Thanks for being on race committee. I appreciate all your efforts. I really do.