Displaying items by tag: RYA
#youthnats – The RYA Youth National Championships kicked off yesterday with racing for all classes at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. A single Irish crew is competing in the 56–boat 29er class. An Irish Youth Nationals, expected to attract 200 boats – the bulk of which will be Optimist and Laser dinghies – is being staged at the Royal Cork Yacht Club this week.
The day in Weymouth started with a short postponement ashore before sailors headed out for their first race around 11am. The light sea breeze remained in the harbour for the rest of the day. A dying and unstable breeze in Weymouth Bay meant that the schedule was not completed on the 420, Spitfire and Radial boys' courses.
Consistency was key across the race courses, and those who mastered the shifty sea breeze have taken the advantage on day 1.
A hat-trick of firsts started Dan Wilson's Youth National Championship title chase with a bang. The RS:X sailor led from the start of each race and protected his lead around the course.
Wilson looks to do much of the same as the week progresses: "I'm hoping to continue the rest of the week where I left off today, just getting the start nailed and pushing forward from there. Once you get the first beat out of the way it's just trying to protect what you have, so I will be hoping to do that this week."
Younger sister, Emma Wilson and Emily Hall sit on ten points in second and third respectively, both scored a second, third and fifth however Wilson pips Hall on countback.
Favourites coming into the Youth Nationals, Dan Venables and Patrick Keech proved their dominance in the 29er class picking up double wins in racing today.
The pairing are already on the hunt for a EUROSAF Youth Europeans spot and are very happy after day 1: "It is a great start to the week, two bullets in two races especially considering it was quite gusty and shifty. It's the best start to the qualification process for the EUROSAFs this year, and hopefully we will keep it going for the rest of the week."
In the 29er yellow fleet Bobby Hewitt and Harvey Martin also had an excellent opening day, picking up a win in the first followed by a second. The 15-year-olds, who transitioned into the 29er this year and are the 2014 RS Feva World and European Champions, were thrilled with their first day.
"It's been a really good day, we were leading from the start in the first race and we just played the shifts up the beat and it was easy from there," said a smiley Martin.
"The second race didn't start so well, we were buried off the line but managed to get it back up the first beat, rounding mark one in fourth then fought the rest of the way to finish second."
Winning the second yellow fleet race of the day were all girl team Hannah Bristow and Emily Covell. Bristow, also a previous RS Feva World Champion, paired up with Covell a year ago and they have spent the winter training in the 29er Transition Squad.
The girls thrived in the gusty conditions: "It was a sea breeze day, a lot of mixing. The wind was shifting right throughout the day and was quite gusty. We were just making sure we were squeezing every gust and getting all the power we could get out of the boat." Explained Covell.
Henry Wetherell and Michael Beckett took all three of the race wins today. Wetherell claims the advantage with double firsts and a third finishing the day on five points to Beckett's six.
Although Beckett didn't win all three races he acknowledged his consistent start to a long week: "It was a one track race course and so once you figured that out it was just a question of working around the fleet. It couldn't have been much better for me but it could have been much worse, I'm happy."
The Laser Radial boys' fleet only managed to finish two of their scheduled three races. Jack Cookson and Daniel Whiteley stole the show in the two races sailed, both with a one and two to their score lines.
Both were pleased with their results: "My first day was really good, quite consistent and I was pretty quick around the race course." Said Whiteley.
After disappointing starts to both races, Cookson used his downwind speed to the advantage and sailed back through the fleet, pipping Whiteley to take line honours in the last race of the day.
Light wind specialist, Karyna Manuel ends the day in pole position in the Laser Radial girls' fleet. Similar to other race courses, consistency was the name of the game for the Radial girls' and Manuel takes the early lead with a six point advantage over rival Hanna Brant. Other race winners of the day, Clementine Thompson and Ellie Cumpsty sit further down the pack after both picking up a starting penalty.
Max Clapp and Ross Banham won the first and only race on the 420 course. The pair led up the first beat after a successful start, however they lost their lead to Martin Wrigley and Marcus Tressler after sailing to the wrong mark. With impressive boat speed Clapp and Banham regained the advantage up the second beat and held until the finish, winning by only a couple of boat lengths to Wrigley and Tressler.
The Spitfire class also only had one race. Eddie Bridle and James King took advantage of the tricky sea breeze conditions and crossed the line ahead of Sam Barker and Victoria Akhurst in second. Alex Philpott and Jess D'Arcy completed the podium in third.
Warning signal for the first race today is at the earlier than scheduled time of 10.25am for the 29er blue fleet. You can watch the live streaming from the Harbour course on the sportsXstream website. GPS tracking will also be live for all courses on the sportsXstream class pages.
#teamracing – The Royal Forth Hoosiers (Tim Saxton, Rob Friend, Mark Powell, Isobel Walker, George Clark, Holly Scott) were worthy winners of the RYA National Team Racing Championship hosted by the UK Team Racing Association and Rutland SC on 21/22 March.
24 of the best team racing teams from across the UK were competing at the event, including the recently selected GBR squad for the forthcoming ISAF Team Racing World Championship, which is also being hosted by Rutland SC in July.
The competition started in a fresh, force 4/5 breeze on Saturday, necessitating the use of cut down mainsails on the fleets of 12–foot Firefly dinghies.
The first stage of the Championship consisted of four, seeded leagues, each comprising six teams. After 60 races, the fleet was reclassified for the second stage into Gold, Silver and Bronze leagues of eight teams.
The Championship was decided on the results of the second stage races that had been sailed. The Hoosiers were convincing winners, having not lost a race throughout the competition, and were presented the Prince Philip Trophy.
The next major team racing competition will be the Wilson Trophy (the unofficial British Open Team Racing Championship), which is being hosted by the West Kirby SC on the Wirral, near Liverpool, on the 8-10 May 2015.
#ryajob – The Royal Yachting Association in Northern Ireland (RYA NI) is seeking to appoint an Active Clubs Coordinator. The purpose of this role is work in partnership with RYA clubs and training centres to create and implement sustainable introductory and regular sailing and windsurfing activity. The successful applicant will work with RYA clubs and training centres to assist them with developing innovative initiatives and interventions to increase club membership and to create a range of training, learning, education and capacity building opportunities for coaches and volunteers. Closing date for applications is 4pm on Thursday 26th March 2015. More here
The countdown to the 2015 RYA Youth Sailing National Championships is well underway, with just six days left to enter the premier annual event for the UK's young sailing talents.
Competitors have up until Sunday 22 March to sign up for the regatta (4-10 April), where racing will take place on the famed Olympic and Paralympic waters of Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour, and where RYA Youth National Champions will be crowned across six classes.
Racing will take place for under 21-year-old boys in Laser Standards, girls and boys in Laser Radials and Neil Pryde RS:X 8.5 windsurfers, and for all-boy, all-girl or mixed crews in 420s, 29ers and Spitfire catamarans.
The event also doubles up as a selection event for the British Youth Sailing Team to compete at the EUROSAF Youth European Championships in Brest, France (26 July-2 August), and will determine invitees for the British Youth Sailing Team Selection Event for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, to be held at Hayling Island Sailing Club from 29-31 August 2015. The 2015 ISAF Youth Worlds is to be staged in Langkawi, Malaysia, from 27 December-2 January.
To enter the event and for further information click here
#youthsailing – Sole Irish skiff duo Sean Donnelly and Patrick Crosbie took fifth overall in a highly competitive British youth nationals fleet in Weymouth yesterday. After eight races and one discard in the week long event, the National Yacht Club pairing counted seven top ten results, inlcuding a third place in race six in a 64–boat fleet.
And in the 420 dinghy, Ewan McMahon and Colin O'Sullivan from Malahide Yacht Club were 15th overall. Club mates Lizzie and Carrie McDowell were 26th in the 44–boat fleet.
ll classes took to the water as scheduled on this final day of racing yesterday but battled against a light shifty breeze resulting in postponements and abandonments across the four course areas. The RS:X were the only class to complete a race, whilst the other four classes attempted one race, which was abandoned shortly after starting.
The RS:X boys' class was the one to watch this week as the battle for the top spot was the hot topic of conversation on the final day of racing. Entering the final day of the regatta Daniel Wilson trailed overnight leader Robert York by two points, however was unable to overcome the deficit as York clinched a second in the only race of the day to take event victory.
"It feels pretty awesome, I have put in a lot of hard work over the week so it's nice for it to pay off," expressed the 18-year-old from Skegness.
"It means a lot, I have been in the RS:X for two years now. Last year was my first Youth Nationals and it didn't really go to plan so it's nice to win it this year. I have been looking up to people for a quite a few years so it's nice to finally be there."
York found himself in third place going up the first beat with Wilson leading the race from the word go. Fighting against the light breeze inside Portland Harbour, York managed to pull himself up into second, while Wilson dropped back into third, handing York his first RYA Youth Nationals title.
"The last race didn't start off too well, I had an okay start but probably didn't go the right way up the first beat and ended up in third. Then the wind started to drop, there was a lot of pumping involved but I managed to bring it back and get past Dan [Wilson] who finished third."
Imogen Sills has completed her quest in emulating older brother Sam and twin sister Saskia by winning her first RYA Youth Nationals title in the female RS:X windsurfing event. Sills sealed championships honours with a fourth place finish overall, ending her regatta an impressive 20 points ahead of second placed Emma Wilson.
"I've finally won a Youth Nationals title," laughed the17-year-old from Launceston. "It means a lot to win and I'm just so happy. I worked hard and knew what I had to do, it feels good to keep the title within the family."
Entering today's final races with a healthy lead, Sills admits that she still had a lot to do to secure the title: "Emma [Wilson] is pretty good in light winds, so I thought if there was two races then there was a chance that she could overtake me, so I had to stay near her and work hard and keep an eye out. I didn't think I had won before the race, I wasn't taking anything to chance."
The 420 boys class was won by 2013 Youth National champion Tim Riley and his new crew James Taylor, who finished fifth at the 2013 event in Largs, Scotland with his former sailing partner. The duo who had a disappointing start to the regatta, soon came into their own posting seven top three finishes from the 12 race series to win the regatta by a comfortable 17 points. Robbie King and Ryan Orr clinched the silver medal while New Zealand's Sam Barnett and Zak Merton finished with the bronze.
Riley said: "I am relieved mostly, it was such a long day on the water especially with all the wind shifting about and I was half hopeful they would get a race in. We got one away and we were doing quite well in it then they canned it because there was no wind. I looked at my watch and noticed the time limit was over and realised I'd won it, just relief, pure relief."
On defending his Youth National title, Riley added: "It means a lot to win it for a second year, especially this year as we have had so many young competitive sailors in the 420 class really coming up and just to be able to hold them off for one week which is a long, long time in these varying conditions is a relief."
Sarah Norbury and Mari Davies took the girls 420 title holding their place as top female crew throughout the regatta. At the halfway stage of the regatta the duo really upped their game and posted three seconds giving them a sizable lead over the other 420 girls crews and placing them an impress fourth overall. Jemima Lawson and Lily Summers won silver while Olivia Mackay and Abby Goodwin (NZL) finished third.
Norbury said: "It's incredible, it feels so good to win! All the work hard has paid off and it has all come together so we are really pleased."
For the 29er title, Owen Bowerman and Morgan Peach tussled all week with 2013 Youth National champion and 2013 29er World Championship silver medallist Marcus Somerville and his crew Isaac Mchardie for the top spot but fell short by a single point, giving the Kiwi sailors their second consecutive Youth National title.
"The Kiwi's put in some great competition this week so hats off to them, it has been awesome having them here! We also have had some great British people to race against so to finish second is a massive achievement for us. It's been hard work and I am pretty proud of what we have managed to achieve" said Bowerman.
Bowerman and Peach finished top GBR boat whilst Scotland's Gilles Munro and Daniel Harris rounded their regatta off with a hard fought bronze medal. Ruth Allan and Alice Masterman were the top placed female boat finishing seventh overall, improving on their 13th place finish at the 2013 event.
Scotland's Jamie Calder claimed his first RYA Youth Nationals title in Radial fleet which saw competition become extremely tight once the qualifying series determined the Gold fleet. Having posted a set of consistent scores in the qualifying series, Calder entered the final series at the top of the pack. Facing stiff competition in a competitive Radial fleet, the Scottish sailor kept his focus and continued an impressive scoreline to claim event honours.
Ellie Cumpsty claimed victory in the Radial female fleet by an impressive 38 points. Cumpsty finished eighth overall while New Zealand's Ali Nightingale finished second female with Rhiannon Massey laying in third.
Coming in as one of the favourites, Cumpsty confessed: "If I messed it up it would be pretty disappointing for me. I managed to stay calm and exceed my expectations."
The Spitfire class was a tight affair with Weymouth duo Sam Barker and Ross McFarline and Olivier Greber and Jess Eales swapping first and second place all week. Two race wins on the penultimate day of racing was enough to give Barker and McFarline the Youth National title, while Greber and Eales were made to settle for the Under 19 crown. Brothers Oliver and James King took bronze.
James Tilley, RYA Youth Nationals Event Manager, said: "It has been a fantastic week of racing at WPNSA, on the behalf of the RYA I would like to thank the huge team of volunteers, the venue and all of the sailors for making it an excellent event."
Double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Gosling OBE, who has formed part of the RYA's Selection Panel at WPNSA this week, added: "I have been really impressed with the standard of racing this week, it's fantastic to have some foreign sailors here. The boat handling around the course has been strong and in a wide range of conditions which has been fantastic especially from a selectors point of view to see how the sailors react to different conditions.
"For those who didn't quite achieve what they set out to, they need to remember it is the first stepping stone in their journey and I think everyone needs to understand that you don't necessarily win everything you set out to, you don't always perform to the best of your ability all the time.
"It is how you overcome that, take the lessons forward and improve for the next event and this is actually what makes a great sailor. Not everyone will win everything, it's how you knuckle down after this event and assess what happened then go out and do better next time," concluded Gosling.
It was hard to miss the big announcement of '100 days to go' for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this week but today it is the turn of RYA Scotland as they also reach the '100 days to go' milestone for the Commonwealth Flotilla.
As previously reported, the Commonwealth Flotilla is an official Festival 2014 event and the RYA Scotland team is delighted to be part of the Games experience for spectators and visitors. The event has really gathered pace since the formal launch at the end of February. With over 250 applications having been received already, the response of people looking to get on the water and get involved has been overwhelming.
The Commonwealth Flotilla, which will see the largest number of boats ever assembled on the Clyde, will take place over the weekend of 25-27 July 2014. The morning of Saturday 26 July 2014, the mass Flotilla will make its way on the 17 nautical mile (32km) journey from Greenock to Pacific Quay in Glasgow, adjacent to BBC Scotland and the Glasgow Science Centre. The event is the perfect way to not just promote sailing as a sport, but also to showcase Scotland as a fantastic place to visit and to go sailing.
"Our trip up the Clyde and into Glasgow at the end of July won't just be about the sail itself. If your boat isn't one of the 250 registered to take part then all is not lost as there will be lots of other chances to get involved and enjoy this spectacular opportunity" commented Claire Caffrey, RYA Scotland Marketing Officer.
The RYA Scotland Commonwealth Flotilla is actively seeking boats from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland and beyond to enter. The Flotilla is not just for Scottish boats. RYA Scotland would like to welcome and are encouraging boats from all over the UK, across Europe, the Commonwealth and beyond to join us for the event of a lifetime. Don't miss out – register before 28th April 2014.
Scotland is one of the best places in the world for sailing – challenging waters, a beautiful and dramatic coastline, intriguing history and places to visit – wrapped with a genuine warmth and hospitality along the way. Combining this with the Commonwealth Games, Homecoming Scotland, the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme and the Commonwealth Flotilla event means there really is no better time to visit Scotland and experience all that Scotland and the city of Glasgow has to offer.
Next week will see a record number of the nation's top Youth sailors compete on the Olympic waters of Weymouth and Portland for the chance to be crowned RYA Youth National Champion 2014.
The premier event on the RYA's Youth Racing calendar, which this year is being staged at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy from 12-18 April, will welcome the largest number of competitors in the event's history.
Over 392 dinghy, catamaran and windsurf racers in the six Youth classes will compete across four race course areas in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour for Championship honours and the chance to be selected to represent the British Youth Sailing Team at a range of International competitions, World and European Championships in 2014.
Five reigning champions will be bidding to retain their crowns; Tim Riley (420 boys), Luke Burywood (420 boys), Olivier Greber (Spitfire) and Mimi El-Khazindar (29er) all landing their first Youth National titles in Largs, Scotland last year, while Ben Batten (29er) will be vying for his third consecutive national title at this year's event.
"Our preparations for the Youth Nationals have been going really well. Mimi and I have been sailing well together, we have been working hard over the winter and we feel like we are ready to go come the starting gun on Monday," expressed Batten.
"We would love to try and win the regatta again -- it would be an amazing achievement for us to win what is such a big and prestigious event for a second year running. Our aim is to just put in a good, consistent series and to also try and take away as much as possible for our summer regattas. We know if we sail like we know we can, keep consistent across the five days of racing then we will be in with a chance of defending our title."
17-year-old Batten, who competes with his helm Mimi El-Khazindar, will be up against it they are to retain their crown in the 29er class. The Lymington duo who represented Great Britain at the 2013 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship will face stiff competition from 2013 Youth Nationals medallists Owen Bowerman/Morgan Peach, siblings Rob and Emma Loveridge and the Scottish duo of Gillies Munro/Daniel Harris who will be among the other main title contenders.
"It's certainly going to be a challenge in what is such a competitive 29er fleet. Every year is as tough as the last and everyone gets better each year and everyone is continually improving so it will no doubt be a very tough regatta to win. We now know the people we are up against, better than we did last year, and have had more time to train and compete against them in the build-up to this regatta so it will be interesting to see what happens.
Batten concluded: "To win the Youth Nationals for a third consecutive time would be an amazing achievement for myself. I know there is only a small handful of sailors who have managed to achieve this in the past so to be able to do win three national titles would be incredible -- it would feel like I was joining an elite club which would be great."
The 420 class looks set to be a close contest with 2013 Youth National champions Tim Riley and Luke Burywood now competing against one another in a bid to defend their crowns with their respective new teammates. 2013 ISAF Youth Worlds bronze medallist Oli Greber and new teammate Jess Eales are among the top runners in the mixed multihull Spitfire event and no doubt will be dominant in the hunt for success.
The Laser Radial is the largest fleet of the Championships boasting 106 boats. With such large numbers the fleet is set to be one of the most competitive classes with a select number of sailors possessing the racing skills required to clinch championship honours.
With two-time RYA Youth National Champion and 2012 ISAF Youth Worlds gold medallist Saskia Sills not competing due to illness, the door has been left wide open for her twin sister Imogen to steal the show in the RS:X windsurfing fleet, while Robert York, winner of the RYA Olympic Classes Spring Series event in March will be the one to beat in the 16-strong RS:X boys fleet.
HRH The Princess Royal, President of the Royal Yachting Association, will also visit the event on Thursday (17 April) to see the latest crop of talented sailors coming through the ranks.
The home of the 2012 sailing Olympic regatta, the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) has announced a prestigious new collaboration with the 'Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation' (ASSF). The ASSF founded by the Academy's Director, Sir Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy OBE and Andrew's wife Leah to honour his life and legacy, will be opening the 'Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre' at the same venue where Andrew 'Bart' Simpson competed during the Olympic Games.
The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, based in Andrew's home county of Dorset, will act as a hub for all of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation's activities, helping the Foundation fulfil its charitable objectives. The RYA accredited Centre will open in May 2014 offering a range of sailing courses for young people, community organisations and adults; including programmes for schools, as well as club sailors.
Peter Allam, Chief Executive at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy explains the relevance to the local community; 'the ASSF has agreed to work closely with the Academy and the Chesil Trust to deliver the 'Rod Shipley Sail for a Fiver' scheme which has to date assisted 12,000 local children to experience sailing on the waters of Portland Harbour. The scheme has run successfully for 10 years and currently introduces 1,500 children to water sports annually. The Academy is committed long term to inspiring the next generation through sailing. Working in hand with the ASSF, this relationship will make a significant contribution to the ongoing development of the Olympic and Paralympic sailing legacy here at the WPNSA'.
Amanda Simpson, Andrew's sister and a Trustee of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation as well as being an accomplished sailor in her own right commented, 'this is a fantastic opportunity for ASSF to engage with grass roots sailing in a place where Andrew spent much of his youth and adult sailing life. We look forward to working with local and national communities to make this venture at the WPNSA a huge success'.
National Handicap for Cruisers or NHC is the RYA's new initiative for cruiser racing which as of March 2013 has replaced the Portsmouth Yardstick for this area of racing.
The change was born through a lack data coming into the RYA via club returns. The PYS, as a true empirical scheme, relied on clubs to return data to the RYA in order to be able to analyse the performance of each boat and to be able to publish numbers which identified these performance differences. Without the data coming in from the clubs, the RYA had nothing to analyse and subsequently nothing to publish.
The decision was taken to look at alternative options in October 2012 after four successive years where cruiser returns were in decline. Luckily this decision was taken at the right time as for 2012 the RYA received only 16 returns from clubs.
Having spoken to a variety of other countries running handicap racing, the decision was taken to work with a measurement based scheme which would alleviate the requirement for club returns. This would form a base list of boats from which clubs were able to develop their racing. The other element to the scheme was to include progressive handicapping, something which has been used very successfully in Ireland under ECHO.
In order to develop the handicaps, the RYA worked very closely with the RORC Rating Office who provided invaluable advice in tweaking the handicap formula as well as supplying the data to produce the base list. The RYA were keen not to make NHC a measurement scheme and therefore concentrated on the three principle factors which would effect a boats performance - length, weight and sail area. Additional a factor was introduced based on the design age which would account for the different style of hull designs as time went on.
The other decision was to publish a single number for a boat variant irrespective of the different rigs or keels available. This decision was not taken lightly and came about after a careful review of the boat data held. It felt counterintuitive to apply a 3% adjustment for a factor when a boat could be 15% lighter than all of its sister-ships. Instead of set adjustment factors, the decision was taken to allow the boats performance, as noted by its race results to actually define how it performed.
Analysing performance, like a handicapping formula, is completely open to opinion as to which method is best. In the end the RYA looked at a variety and developed a slight hybrid in terms of performance handicapping. It based its principles on ECHO but removed the subjective element and automated the process within a number of key popular scoring programs. It provides a different adjustment factor for over achieving than under achieving against your base number and is ultimately a little softer in how adjustments are applied over a series of races - perfect for club racing on a regular basis.
The new element to NHC is the regatta version which has been entirely developed by the RYA for use at key events. Recognising that the base list will never be 100% accurate and that a regatta may not have enough time to iron out any anomalies, a harsher adjustment module was developed for regattas where adjustments for the first couple of races in a series are much higher and soften out towards then end. This means that if a base list number is out - it is adjust quicker initially to get to the boats actual performance after Race 1 and then settles down providing the performance of that boat remains consistent.
Another key part of the regatta adjustment is that a boat that does not participate within a race is taken to have placed within the top three - this was key to avoid boats turning up for a single race within an event to purely win that days trophy.
Both systems will adjust depending on how quickly it gets around the course relative to other boats in that race. This will also combine a level of personal skill as well as boat preparation - leading to the possibility that two sistership boats will have completely different handicaps. This is the intention of the scheme.
NHC has been designed as an entry level scheme to cruiser racing where if you don't have the right boat, a rail full of crew, more growth on your bottom than the Mary Rose or simply want to sail with your kids, family dog and tea bags - your handicap will adjust towards your skill level and performance. The scheme will rewards those who are consistent and the key to its success is in how much those sailors see their handicap changing as they develop their skills. Similar to golf, instead of retreating to the bar and whinging about the handicap scheme, sailors have the option of being able to brag about how much they have managed to increase their handicap by as they have got better at getting around the course.
Initial feedback has been positive and clubs that understand the nature of NHC is not to replace a top level rating scheme such as IRC but more to work alongside it in nurturing sailors skills at club level before they out-grow the scheme and move up to IRC. NHC has already been used for races after a month and every day the RYA are receiving more and more emails and calls from clubs starting up with NHC and getting their members onto the water in the most simple of methods.
#rya – The RYA Race Officials Conference is fast becoming a major international event writes Irish National Judge and Umpire Gordon Davies.
This year the conference returned to Wyboston Lakes in Cambridgeshire, far from the sea but north of Watford and convenient for train and air travel and an Irish race officer delegation attended.
This biennial event continues to grow. Earlier conferences were organised for Race Officers, Judges and Umpires. In 2011, Mark-layers were invited for the first time in 2011. The 2013 edition was notable for the presence for the first time of Measurers. In all, 220 race officials attended the conference, with 21 visitors from 10 nations: Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Slovenia, Canada, USA, Russia and Ireland.
This year, as Ed Alcock, ISA Racing Manager explains "Members of the ISA Race Officials Advisory Group attended and contributed to 20 workshops during this conference as a means to learn from the RYA education system to the benefit of officials and sailors in Ireland."
The highlight of the event are the large number of workshops treating a wide variety of subjects. Whilst the speakers are selected for their knowledge of the subject the participants are often experts in their own right. I was somewhat surprised, for example, when called upon to speak on the rather obscure subject of umpiring radio-sailing regattas, to be faced with an audience including several well-known umpires including not only the editor in chief of the Call Books for Match Racing and Team Racing, but also the person credited with inventing team racing umpiring Also listening attentively was a multiple World Champion in several Radio-Sailing classes, who is also a National Judge!
Chairman of the RO Advisory Group Jack Roy, who worked with many of the top British race officials before and during the Olympics revealed the reasoning behind this delegation: " It is important we have a close working relationship with our neighbours in the RYA, they are very generous with help and information. Having recently been responsible for, arguably the best Olympic Sailing Regatta ever, the RYA have first hand experience in providing the highest level of Race Management " Mike O'Connor added "It was great to work with such high level participation from the UK and around Europe on delivering unified race management and applying the new updates to the racing rules across different disciplines".
Bill O'Hara, fully recovered after his summer spent with the Russian Women's match racing team at the Olympics ran a workshop on "Raising Tactical Awareness for Umpires" Bill gave full credit to Chris Watts, RYA Race Officials Education Officer "The conference was incredibly well organised". Bill particularly appreciated the session on "Questioning Skills" run by John Sturrock, more accustomed to improving the interrogation skills of leading lawyers and parliamentarians, including members of Oireachtas. Bill O'Hara was one of several race officials from Northern Ireland to attend, including Robin Gray and Denis Todd.
Irish team racers will undoubtedly be pleased to hear that Peter Price was awarded the status of RYA Umpire Emeritus. Peter, from West Kirby, sailed and won the Wilson Trophy many times, and then ,in 1987, lead the first umpire team to officiate at the event. Peter has sailed many times in Ireland, both in team racing and in his Dragon, and has umpired at many events here.
Ed Alcock reminds us that the Irish participation at the conference will benefit local race officials "The ISA Annual Conference on March 2nd will include interesting points from these workshops in presentations from Jack Roy, Michael O'Connor and Ed Alcock in the areas of Race Management, rules issues in clubs and the new rules, including launching the new Racing Rule Book for 2013-2016.We would recommend all ISA officials and clubs to be present and look forward to receiving visitors from the RYA."
Presentations made at many of these workshops are available on the RYA website.