Monday, January 14, 2019

I don't want to play

The RYA Continuing Professional Development Meetings at World Sailing HQ over the weekend were really good. Some really interesting background on Americas Cup Umpiring and Judging at World Sailing events. 

As I say interesting, we may be there in 20yrs time, but not particularly relevant to the average Umpire or Judge, and I don't want to play at that level.

At The Sailing World Cup  in Aarhus the Jury Panel had 35 members and they were rota'd to their tasks by a programming secretary, had quality control assessments of their decisions and the ever present threat of having to appear before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. At least there didn't appear to be any death threats made at this event. This is not a game I want to play.

I enjoy being on the water serving the sailors, if it gets difficult I can probably help tow a few boats in. Lower level events tend not to have the rigidly assigned roles of the big events, and I will know what conditions were like when we have a hearing. Mind you, it would be nice if we could avoid having to move marks at Match Racing events. Once ashore you work with a small group of friendly colleagues, some of whom will be on the Race Committee, and you can talk to the sailors and maybe at the end of a hearing give some advice, which you hope will be useful. 

I am careful with advice. Sometimes it is not wanted and I do try to have a colleague with me when I talk to coaches, or young sailors, but that  is the state of the world today. However, there is never the same threat of action which goes with the really major events.

So I will continue to try and improve, storing all decisions and paperwork in the cloud for future reference seemed a really good idea, but I don't want to go any further up the greasy pole.

Link to conference presentations will go here when they are published.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Code of Conduct

The problem with a Code of Conduct is that it has to be interpreted.

At an NSSA Regatta graffitti was being put on team vans.

How could I think that was not a cause for a discplinary hearing or otherwise punishing the miscreants. Well for one thing it was all done with sticky tape - there was no damage. Another thing was that it was quite funny - one bus was done out as a rocket ship.

Sometimes you just have to let young people be young people. Others disagree.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Why do they protest?

Just back from an Optimist and Laser event in the Med.

We were surprised at the number of protests but what surprised me was why there were not more.

The Jury were on the water to apply Appendix P. On the Optimist start line the boats were inevitably gunwale to gunwale,  yet there was not a single protest for the breeches of rule 11. There were rule 10 protests for incidents on the racecourse but the start was just a row of boats in contact with one another (practically)

I don't know what the solution is - as a jury we could start bringing protests, it would probably be as random as our our rule 42 penalties. Would it improve rule observance? Does it matter? The comment I heard was that the boats are so tough there is never any damage. I just don't know.

The rules take second place to the culture within the class. If these were larger wooden boats I would bet there would be a better gap between them on the start line. - or more protests.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Due Process

A schools event where Team Managers found it unreasonable that Umpires do not penalise without a red flag being displayed promptly, got me thinking about due process.

A few months ago we had an incident locally. The organisation dealing with it insisted that they had to follow "due process". This was an important matter that would require all the facts to be present. They, therefore, requested written statements from everyone involved and of course since it was August they had to allow time as people might be on holiday. So it didn't get dealt with at their next meeting.

The people involved being volunteers, the requested statements did not appear, so the matter missed their next meeting. Meanwhile, the person involved in the incident has continued to operate. The landlord was not impressed by this and is now wanting things to be tightened up to the extent that it is probable that a number of activities will no longer be possible.

Another organisation expects volunteers to fill out an application listing your competencies for any post they want to fill. Only problem is that they fail to list the competencies they want - the form is generic and it says that they should list them only they haven't. It may be good process but can you be surprised if candidates cannot be bothered to apply.

Then yet another organisation spends two months producing a "Business Plan" and as soon as it is finalised there is a meeting to discuss changing the charging system as the projected income is too low ind it would be nice to increase it by a matter of several hundred percent.

Sometimes you need to consider whether you "due process" is fit for purpose.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Well, that didn't work

Seems I resolved in June to put more up, and here we are six months later thinking "I must make a New Year Resolution to blog more."

And all the time there were drafts sitting there.

So what got me back here was a couple of youth and school team racing events where there was a lack protests. I know how unreliable young people are, but surely the team managers could empasise the need to have a red flag and explain how to protest. It's not rocket science and every briefing emphasises the need to show the flag clearly. No one ever asks "Why do I need a flag?"

I also try and get youngsters to have pvc insulating tape with them so that they can tape shroud pins. In my old fashioned opinion if they come undone there is no redress and they should have their damage deposit docked if they damage the mast - so it could be expensive as well as costing a race.

The other thing they need is a bailer - it's not difficult to cut up a plastic milk bottle so that you can bail the boat out - the good crews have them - show you are a good crew and carry one.

And how do you expect to start well if you don't have a watch?

I despair - the blog may not help but I feel better for it! 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

New Policy

Maybe I am going to try and post more on this blog, but it will probably mean more concentration on teaching sailing and perhaps less on racing and the rules.

So what has been bugging me lately is the need to teach the little things that you would not expect in order for kids these days to succeed in their sailing. Where to place your feet, (which always was in The Method), how to duck (put your head between your knees) and how they are inter related.

If your feet are not in the correct position there will not be a gap for you to put your head into, you then end up leaning backwards to avoid the boom as it comes towards you and the next thing you know you have fallen out of the boat.

The little things are the basis of success, but some things you cannot control, so does it matter if they push the steering the wrong way and gybe instead of tack. Land drills can help, but at some stage you have to get them sailing and there will be mistakes.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Why do we do it?

This weekend was the fourth this year where the weather has been, shall we say, inclement.

The first weekend it rained constantly, both days and was cold, the next two it only rained on the Saturday and on the fourth it only rained on the Saturday but was particularly freezing on the Sunday. It has not been a nice month for umpires.

However, at least this last weekend the racing was really good. That is the reward for sitting in an Umpire boat, getting soaked and freezing, when there is a good team and you get to watch really good sailors. They may make mistakes but giving feedback is easy and rewarding.

The first weekend was a really grass-roots event. Much more difficult, it was down to the inexperience of the team, and the competitors. It was dire watching some poor sailing, poor judgement and slow progress, as the sleet came down. I console myself that these things are necessary, but it does place an obligation, I believe on all to try and do better.

So DO BETTER!! All of you.