Friday, June 29, 2007


A great story from Chris Jordan for our group writing project on Top Race-Committee Screw-ups...

I know we are not going to get a good race, when the Race Officer stands on the front of our committee boat, with his arm outstretched, holding a burgee in order to check the wind direction before setting the pin end of the line.... and then gets the rescue boat to drop the pin end just where the burgee is pointing: i.e. straight into the wind!

Or when, with an 11:00 start scheduled, the Race Officer leaves the club house at 10:45, and still has to: walk to the committee boat (2 mins), remember the keys (1 min)and how to start it, motor out to the start area (5 mins), decide where to anchor (2 mins), anchor by lowering the anchor to the bottom and fastening off the chain at that point (1 min), lift the anchor as its drifting (2 mins), re-anchor with enough chain (2 mins), plan for the pin end (1 min), get the rescue boat to place the pin end (2 mins), and then plns and sets the course (2 mins) and then starts the sequence.... and wonders why the competitors all look fed up.

One of the better decisions was when the Race Officer shortened the race to: the first across the start line! The wind had dropped, and the tide was keeping everyone back, and it took about 45 mins for the first boat to start / finish.

My mate got disqualified for outside assistance: Very strong winds, racing in a dinghy. They were the only ones to stay upright and crossed the finish line after about an hour (and at least 20 minutes ahead of the next boat). Looking at the club-house, there was clearly a shorten course (S) flag flying, along with their class flag (E) and a couple of others. They didn't get a finish hooter. They landed, asked what was going on, and were told there was one more lap to do. They jumped back into their boat and did another lap. They were still in the lead, but didn't get a finish. They were told that as someone had held their boat while they raced ashore, and were disqualified for outside assistance. The flags? Behind the club-house was a small cafe selling teas and cakes, and were advertising this with flags: T E A S.

And the complete lack of sensibility in a Race Officer? My daughter, at the age of 16, was the only person out of a fleet of 25 adults who were all doing the week long regatta to venture out in her race, when it was gusting force 7 at the start. She sailed round the course, capsizing 2 or 3 times, but completing 3 laps very successfully, and got a hooter after 3 laps to indicate she had finished. But the next day she noticed no result had been posted. On enquiring she was told, "we never count races that have only one boat entered". WHY? 25 boats were in the week regatta? She could have been finished at any time before the 3 laps? We have never been back there again.



Boats now: RS-400, RS-Vareo.
Boats past: Cadet, 420, Enterprise, Fireball, Laser.

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