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Criticising race management

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: Dinghy classes
Forum Name: Dinghy Yarns...
Forum Discription: Tell us your sailing stories
Printed Date: 24 Oct 20 at 3:28pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: Criticising race management
Posted By: Barty
Subject: Criticising race management
Date Posted: 23 Jul 07 at 5:54pm

I was recently involved in helping run a 2 day dinghy event.  There were around 30 boats of different classes over 2 starts.  One fleet had 6 races scheduled and the other 4.  The weekend went well or so we thought.  We had a couple of moans about not getting 3 races in on the saturday etc but on the whole it seemed to go well.

After the weekend one of the sailors then posted a daming report on his association website saying the race management was very poor, courses rubbish, sailing area rubbish etc.  It was the first time this fleet had been to our club but he didn't offer any advice on how we could make things better during the weekend.

As this was a travelling event it is likely that this particular fleet will now not return due to one set of comments.

6 people gave up there weekend and sat in a yacht some being sea sick whilst taking times and this is how we are repaid

Is it acceptable to slate the race management after the event but not give any constructive critisism or advice during the weekend??

Your thoughts please

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Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 23 Jul 07 at 6:22pm
The trouble with trying to give constructive criticism or advice during a weekend event is that its quite hard to manage without it coming across badly, especially as everyone is probably rushed and stressed. It can be very easy for it to come across as confrontational. Also if a race team is already struggling and know they've got problems, unsolicited constructive criticism is not always the thing they need most. Of course its come across like that anyway...

You often find at Champs that the class association and the organisers have got contacts set up which are pre-arranged, so that its not unsolicited comment, and its all managed a bit more easily, but its a lot more hassle to set this up for a two day event.

Posted By: WildWood
Date Posted: 23 Jul 07 at 8:36pm
You've obviously take care not to name names!  Sounds like pretty bad form to me.  I think most sailors will have the odd grumble about race management, but are actually very grateful to the folk who have made the effort to run the event.  Sounds like these guys have gone a bit far.


Posted By: *GM*
Date Posted: 23 Jul 07 at 9:50pm
Having read your post and without knowing where you sail or what class was involved, I guessed at which individual was responsible for the criticism.  Two minutes later and I think I've found the website and the comment - and it was indeed made by the person I thought.  Nothing changes....

Posted By: Nessie
Date Posted: 24 Jul 07 at 10:38am
Findhorn Week?

usually brilliant


(I like cats, but i couldn't eat a whole one)

Posted By: Barty
Date Posted: 24 Jul 07 at 12:06pm
Not quite Nessie but very close, Findhorn WEEK was brilliant

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Posted By: Graeme
Date Posted: 24 Jul 07 at 12:24pm

It's very poor form indeed, clubs and open meetings happen, because folk are prepared to give up their time, if they didn't then said individual won't have any where to sail. It doesn't show the individual or the group involved in a very +ve light.

Posted By: Guest
Date Posted: 24 Jul 07 at 1:35pm

If that person is representative of the views of the class then don't invite them back.

If it's just one person then perhaps have a word with the class assoc.

Very dissapointing that people should behave like this.



Posted By: Nessie
Date Posted: 24 Jul 07 at 2:16pm
go on, name and shame!!


(I like cats, but i couldn't eat a whole one)

Posted By: ChrisJ
Date Posted: 24 Jul 07 at 2:19pm

On the other hand, is this the right way of doing it: - .html


An individual / single person criticising the Race Committee is BAD FORM.

The individual should be talking to the class representative at the club, who can then have a word with the race committee during (so it can be fixed now) or after the event (so that everyone can learn and improve for next time). At the briefing you may need to make it clear who the class rep is, so the visitors know to whom they can explain improvements to.

Posted By: Tillerman
Date Posted: 24 Jul 07 at 3:08pm
Thanks for the suggestion that my semi-humorous post of feedback on race committee work is the "right way of doing it".

I guess I'd agree with you if you mean that I did thank the race committee for their work and tell them how much I appreciated them. Maybe when things go wrong it is all too easy to forget that they are all volunteers giving up their free time and trying to do their best.

However I would not agree that posting criticism of a race committee on a public website (as I did) is the right way to do it. Much better to give quiet confidential feedback. My only defence is that I did not name names and, although some sailors and race committee may recognize some of the events I wrote about, the post is actually a composite of stuff from more than one regatta with a little but of deliberate exaggeration here and there for comic effect.

But in any case, thank you ChrisJ for your kind words. I do appreciate them. I really do.


Posted By: *GM*
Date Posted: 24 Jul 07 at 3:48pm
Originally posted by Nessie

go on, name and shame!!

I think you will know the gentleman concerned.....

Posted By: Nessie
Date Posted: 24 Jul 07 at 4:30pm
you're not wrong!

First guess! No surprise there!

I personally think the management at Findhorn for the few events i have
been to is excellent, and will return for holidays AND racing.

Great racing out in the Firth, considering the tidal constraints that make
Findhorn unique.

A great bucket and spade venue too, which is much needed in snowy Jocko-


(I like cats, but i couldn't eat a whole one)

Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 24 Jul 07 at 5:14pm
Originally posted by *GM*

Originally posted by Nessie

go on, name and shame!!

I think you will know the gentleman concerned.....

You may as well enlighten the rest of us now... Other clubs events would probably like to know which source of criticism has very low credibility.

Posted By: 29er397
Date Posted: 24 Jul 07 at 5:59pm
---message lost---

------------- - Kielder Water Sailing Club

Posted By: Barty
Date Posted: 24 Jul 07 at 7:52pm

I completly agree with all the comments made here.

I am not going to name names but if anyone really wants to find out then think of formula one event title and add the suggested likely sailing location mentioned in this topic, google it and you should get there.

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Posted By: English Dave
Date Posted: 25 Jul 07 at 12:33pm

I recently had to deal with a letter of complaint about race management after a regatta. It came from, of all people, the Race Officer himself. The complaint concerned the quality of the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions! ConfusedMy letter in response was quite interesting.Smile

English Dave - Ballyholme Yacht Club

(You'd think I'd be better at it by now)

Hurricane 5.9 SX

Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 25 Jul 07 at 1:35pm
Test Post...

Posted By: Contender 541
Date Posted: 25 Jul 07 at 4:58pm

When you find a big kettle of crazy it's probably best not to stir it - Pointy Haired Boss

Crew on 505 8780

Posted By: Contender 541
Date Posted: 25 Jul 07 at 5:00pm
trying to force this to page 3

When you find a big kettle of crazy it's probably best not to stir it - Pointy Haired Boss

Crew on 505 8780

Posted By: broccoli
Date Posted: 27 Jul 07 at 5:34pm
I feel i have to reply to this, i am not the person getting slated here, but the event was   badly run from a racing point of view, not Findhorn which has a great sailing club and normally great place to sail and have a holiday. I came of water on both days feeling really pxxxxx off, as did alot of the competitors in the skiff class, and didnt enjoy the sailing at all, which i was disappointed about as was really looking forward to Findhorn as sailed there once before and thought waves were great ie BIG! .

saturday...We had to sail in a sand bar area to close to shore, where water was totally confused, not that windy, but we could hardly hold our feet in boat, one boat broke mast by capsizing and hitting bottom on bar, could hardly get over start line or seperate finish line on starboard in both races. Beats were heavily biased with hardly anytime on starboard. We went further out to firth after racing and there was great waves that werent confused and regular, this area would have been alot better area to sail in.

Sunday...3 out of four races we didnt have to tack to get to windward mark from start line and again heavily biased up beats on one tack ie windward mark not in right place, starts heavily biased and long lines, and on both days just 3,2,1 go starts, this was probably the most annoying, as most people have a procedure for starting, and we, any sailing really never get 3,2,1 starts , not even in club races, so this totally throws your start procedure.

having gates halfway up beats isnt great aswell i feel, as this takes away the tactical element of the saling , especially when beat is heavily biased on one tack anyway, it basically makes it a procession and boring. much bettewr if could have start at bottom mark, and finish on run, this is for skiff boats. I know there was convential class on course aswell, so maybe finish at top would have been compromise?? This is something the class association should have gone over with you before event.

I spoke to other members of race committee at findhorn, and they agreed with me on alot of points, so maybe this will change for next event??

Most people i think werent very happy about the event, so this makes race committee and ourselves.

Lessons to be learnt

Race officer to learn to set start lines and courses, and normal starting practises..

Skiff Class to provide info/SI to club of what we would like from our race course, procedures etc, and is this okay with club to do??


Posted By: Paramedic
Date Posted: 30 Jul 07 at 8:29am

Whilst i appreciate the time and effort people put in to running these events, it must not be be forgotten that opens are a major source of funding to the clubs, and if you've travelled a long way it's not a cheap experience and you expect a good, fair sail.

I recently took part in an open meeting at a major south coast sea venue where it was impossible to cross the start line on starboard tack in all three races. Once due to a windshift i can accept, but (including general recalls) 5 times there can be no excuse for.

Posted By: Barty
Date Posted: 09 Aug 07 at 12:47pm

I think that broccoli has made some interesting points but has failed to understand the purpose of this thread

My original post was about the way one individual has published his thoughts on the racing on a forum without talking to the club during the event.  It is a real shame if so many of the skiffs came of the water feeling pxxxxx off as Findhorn is keen to expand its open calender as we feel it is a great place to sail.  This reinforces my point even more, if people don't come and tell the race officer how skiffs want their sailing then nothing will change.  The start sequence was written in the SI's by someone else but I agree 3,2,1,Go is not good.

I believe that sailing is a social sport; thrash round the cans and then discuss it over a few beers after.  There are many clubs in Scotland that are new to the skiff concept and therefore many RO's who are new to it.  If the associations or competitors don't tell them what they want then they will run the event how they see fit.  If a competeitor came up to me during an class event where I was RO and discussed how their class needs are different then I would welcome their input, evey days a school day etc.  It is just disappointing that no-one said anything to the RO who was actually running the event for the skiffs during the weekend.  Then an unofficial report pops up on a forum saying how rubbish the event was.  Findhorn got a copy of the post after it had gone up.  It is very unlikely now that the skiffs will be back at Findhorn due to the effect of that post.  Findhorn would love them to come back and would welcome any specific requirements that they might have but we need to know before the event!!!

As broccoli said there are lessons for us all and it would appear that the scottish skiffs are trying to put togeather their preferred course, course lengths etc so that any club holding an event for them can accomodate their requests.  This has to be good news.

This whole episode comes from a break down in effective communication, nothing more

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Posted By: spin cycle
Date Posted: 09 Aug 07 at 2:29pm

I  think the same individual got told where to go last year by the race committee when he made suggestions  and had specifically emailed the  club instructions  of the event setup.   Time for discourse between  r o  and  fleet rep i think.  I was at North berwick  on Monday Tuesday where  the pro  for the topper nats  goes and speaks to the coaches sailors etc each day to get the feed  back.  There  were at least 2  boats from the home club  who could of been asked how it went! 

gav Homer

ps  does the  person we are talking about  who won the event !  now the  discussion exists

Posted By: Barty
Date Posted: 10 Aug 07 at 12:44pm
I am not sure if he does or doesn't but would guess that broccoli will have told him by now.  I have nothing against this person but it is disappointing the way he chose to give his feedback.

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Posted By: GraemeB
Date Posted: 10 Aug 07 at 1:29pm

Keeping this thread going is not helping the profile of open events north of the border.

There are lessons to be learned by everyone - leave it at that.

Posted By: Barty
Date Posted: 10 Aug 07 at 8:35pm

Agreed and apologises for this dragging on and almost getting personnal...not my intention.

This was an isolated occurance and it should not detract from the great opens held north of the border.  Once again sorry.

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