Sunday, July 27, 2014

Do you understand the rules?

I have just returned from the National School Sailing Association Regatta, hosted by the Kent School Sailing Association at Downs Sailing Club in Deal. It was one of the friendliest regattas we have had.

The primary event of the NSSA is the Mount Haes Trophy, which is sailed in six provided, identical boats over a series of short heats, with a semi final and final. Usually, it is umpired, but this year they decided to use arbitration. At least that is what they called it.

My instant reaction was - "This will be interesting! Why would anyone take a two turn exoneration, which would almost certainly cost you any further progress, when you could roll the dice at a hearing." Well I was wrong and, when we had an incident, a boat did turns and they still managed to make the cut and proceed to the next stage.

The question is, . .  was I being unduly cynical or had the competitors, being young and inexperienced not appreciated the situation. Can we continue to do it this way or will they catch on and will we be delayed by hearings? Was it the friendly spirit of the event that had them being so sportsmanlike? or was it that the varying abilities enabled them to calculate that they had time to do their turns and not lose out?  I know sailors don't read sailing instructions, let alone understand the implications, but they do catch on eventually.

The next day I was elected to head the NSSA so I need to ponder these questions so that future Regattas are just as successful as the event at Deal.