Forum: The Racing Rules of Sailing

PRO Training Club Level

Bob Scott
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
This may not be the right forum but there is certainly considerable experience in the "room" so - I've recently been appointed to education chair for our club in Grapevine, TX.  We have an existing PRO training which all skippers are required to attend annually.  I'm interested in see what is out there being used by other clubs to train their volunteer PROs for "beer can racing".  We have about 36 days of series racing each year so having a pool of trained and willing volunteer PROs is important to our racing program.

Thanks in advance if anyone can share resources or provide input.
Created: 23-Nov-12 16:37

Comments

Mark Townsend
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • International Race Officer
  • International Umpire
  • International Judge
1
US Sailing offers race officer training for Club Race Officers. The training is offered via zoom. If you want to let me know dates we can arrange something for you.
https://www.ussailing.org/competition/rules-officiating/resources/find-a-seminar/race-officer-seminar-calendar/

Send me an email. 




Created: 23-Nov-12 16:45
Dan Bowman
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Race Officer In Training
0
The USS training is very good.

Keep your expectations in check if you want to certify.  It is nearly impossible to certify at the club level without being PRO for multiple large events which means travel.  I went through the entire process and had time as both a PRO and OA and have regularly written NOR and SI documents but it wasn't enough.  Other PRO's at other clubs did offer to assist so there is a path but unlikely if you only PRO at your own club.
Created: 23-Nov-12 16:50
Bob Scott
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
0
Mark and Dan,  Thanks for your input.  I may have mis-stated my need.  No interest in becoming certified, personally.  What I need is about an hour long training for 30 or so club members so they are prepared to run a club level beer can race.
Created: 23-Nov-12 16:55
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Umpire In Training
  • Regional Judge
0
I agree with Mark's and Dan's comments, particularly Dan's that the entire process for certifying as a RO at the Club level may be overkill - lots of small clubs may not run enough events, may use permanent rather than drop marks, etc making it difficult to accrue the current certification experience requirements.

But the seminar is very useful & not too much for a small club race official. I'm not sure proper justice could be done with an abbreviated session. And I think it's important that even beer can races be run "by the book". It's a learning ground for both committees & racers as they progress toward more formal events so nothing good comes from cutting corners. 
Created: 23-Nov-12 16:56
Mark Townsend
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • International Race Officer
  • International Umpire
  • International Judge
2
Below is a link to some more information.
https://www.ussailing.org/competition/rules-officiating/race-officers/

Club Race Officer
A Club Race Officer is expected to be able to properly run any race normally conducted at his or her local sailing organization, including organizing the race committee, writing sailing instructions and scoring the event.
Created: 23-Nov-12 16:58
Bob Scott
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
0
Thanks, guys.  I love the responsiveness and knowledge on this forum.
Created: 23-Nov-12 17:08
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Umpire In Training
  • Regional Judge
0
Bob, you might want to look at running a small cadre through the RO seminar, & then have them work with a local experienced/certified RO to develop role-based training for the rest. Certainly lots of race committee volunteers are specialists who have no desire to certify or ever take on the PRO role. 
Created: 23-Nov-12 17:14
Andreas Knospe
Nationality: Germany
Certifications:
  • International Race Officer
0
Hey Bob,

can you share your PRO training schedule ?

At this level, the mentoring system has proven itself: an experienced race officer transfers his experiences to his mentee. I know that doesn't work with 30 people in one hour. So a real PRO is responsible for a upcoming PRO. It takes time but it´s worth. 

Created: 23-Nov-12 17:26
Mark Townsend
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • International Race Officer
  • International Umpire
  • International Judge
1
Take a look at RACE COMMITTEE 101. It is a 90-minute talk & PowerPoint that takes beginners through basic race committee concepts such as types of boats and racing, the purpose and duties of the race committee, equipment and jobs of the race committee, and what to expect out on the water. This program is perfect for an evening presentation to new members or a first introduction to race committee work.

https://www.ussailing.org/competition/rules-officiating/race-officers/training-certification/
Created: 23-Nov-12 17:35
Bob Scott
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
0
Adding more context:  We are all volunteers at Grapevine Sailing Club and every week we race we need a PRO (with their own boat) and a mark-set boat (club owned).  We have 4 series, each with 5-6 race dates.  To encourage volunteers for these positions, we offer the PRO/skipper and the Mark-set driver/skipper and RDG-1 (first place) for the races they run (they can only run one per series).  To get the RDG-1 each skipper has to attend the PRO basic seminar.  So what we are doing is not a "rung on the ladder" to certification or running larger events (we bring in PROs for our regattas and regional/national competitions we have hosted).  We just need the basics - course set up, start management including flags and horns, course adjustments and scoring.  As I said, we have basic presentation we have been using effectively for years but in my new role I'm looking for best/better practices that fit our situation.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and comments.  Keep them coming.
Created: 23-Nov-12 17:37
Matt Bounds
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Race Officer
0
I'm going to disagree with Dan's comment about the difficulty in becoming certified at a club level. (Your milage may vary.)  The whole point is to get you to know what to do and get you into the system.

What he describes is what is required to be certified at a regional level. You do not should not have to travel to become club certified.

What you do need to to is develop a relationship with your Area Race Officer, who is the one who does the initial application vetting.  It's much easier to become certified when you get to know the initial gate-keeper.

And a hour is not nearly enough time for RO training.  It's not even enough for mark boat operator training.  At least a 1/2 day (4 hours) and preferably a whole day (which is what the USS Basic Race Management Course is.)
Created: 23-Nov-12 17:49
John Palizza
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Regional Race Officer
  • Regional Judge
0
Bob - I understand that not all of your skippers and volunteers may want to go through the Club Race Officer certification process, but may still want to help out and run good races. After I had been working as a PRO for a while, I sat down and wrote out my thoughts about how to do things at the basic level in order to help other people avoid some of the mistakes I made along the way. The article, entitled "A Guide to Running Sailboat Races" has been featured in both the US Sailing Race Officer newsletter and Scuttlebutt Sailing News. It covers the essentials, but stays away from the esoteric situations that often obscure many seminars. It's too lengthy to reproduce here, particularly with the attached checklists, but if you send me an email, i will be happy to share it with you.
Created: 23-Nov-12 18:03
Bob Scott
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Judge In Training
0
John, email sent.

Created: 23-Nov-12 18:29
Julian Summers
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
0
Bob - we have a similar situation here in Townsville (Queensland, Australia), with each competing boat required to provide crew members to run the race commiittee vessel once a year.  One of the crew (usually the skipper/owner) takes the role of Officer of the Day (= PRO).  I've have given a presentation at the start of the season each of the last few years - you can view a copy at https://os-data-2.s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/townsvilleyachtclub-com-au/bundle24/2023_officer_of_the_day.pdf.

I'm happy to provide a PowerPoint version of this, plus the associated OOD Procedures Manual, if you think they could be helpful.

Regards
Julian

Created: 23-Nov-12 23:44
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Umpire In Training
  • Regional Judge
0
Bob, for your scenario, without discounting the value of formal training for your core RC team, you can probably go far with some simple checklists for rotating PROs. It might be worth investing in an automated sound signal timer so all the PRO has to worry about in sequence is getting the flags right & calling OCS. 

Small, non aggressive beer can fleets probably don't care too much about the line being perfectly square or the perfect length (although again it never hurts to ingrain the habit with your RC) 
Created: 23-Nov-13 01:24
Steve Comen
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Bob,
We have a somewhat similar situation at Corinthian Sailing Club. Our fleets take turns running our Sunday club races.

I agree with other comments about the US Sailing Club training being good, but also understand that a lot of people seem to think it is intimidating and/or overkill. We typically do a 2-3 hour training for PROs every year or two. The training is very similar to the US Sailing training, but we customize it to talk specifically about the equipment we use and the courses we run. The training is at the clubhouse and we bring out the signal boat to give live demos. I think the 2-3 hours works pretty well. I think it gives a good introduction that can then be reinforced with mentoring.

One thing we do to try to make sure we get quality races is to have what we call an ERC (Executive Race Committee) of 12 experienced PROs. Each of the 12 is assigned to be the ERC for one month. The ERC is responsible for making sure the PRO and race committee show up, have what they need, and hold the races. When I first started sailing at CSC, the ERCs were expected to race every Sunday during the month they were assigned and after the races they would have a debrief with the PRO to discuss how the races were run. This gave really good feedback and helped the newer PROs improve rapidly. Unfortunately we slowly stopped doing that over the years, but several of us are trying to get it resurrected.
Created: 23-Nov-13 03:10
P
John D. Farris
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Club Judge
0
Bob, this might be what you're looking for:

RACE COMMITTEE 101 <---Link to Website

...is a 90-minute talk & PowerPoint that takes beginners through basic race committee concepts such as types of boats and racing, the purpose and duties of the race committee, equipment and jobs of the race committee, and what to expect out on the water. This program is perfect for an evening presentation to new members or a first introduction to race committee work.

"RC 101" is not a training course but provides an overview of race committee functions for those interested in learning more. The course is designed to be used with US Sailing's Join the Race Committee Team! Club Race Officers and other RC officials can present the booklet. Please email Race Administration or call 401-342-7900 for assistance.

DOWNLOAD RC 101 MATERIALS <---Link to files listed below

Download all of the RC 101 materials in the Dropbox folder:
  1. RC 101 v6.1.1.pptx
  2. RC 101 Instructor Guide
  3. RC 101 Slide Notes and Schedule
  4. RC 101 Flyer
 





Created: 23-Nov-13 08:30
Jerry Thompson
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Umpire In Training
  • Regional Race Officer
2
Hey Bob,

Here is another training option that you can modify to fit your specific needs https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1XB5n9KbCKrbRXN-djn7nC30H1OmMY4lX?usp=drive_link
Use, share, modify as you wish.
Created: 23-Nov-14 00:40
Richard Reitmeyer
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Club Judge
1
Bob, I agree with the comments above about the benefits of the US Sailing BRMS. But if you want to keep it short I have two ideas:

1) Austrailia Sailing has their training online, and does not have a paywall --- you do not need to be a Australia Sailing member to access it. See https://www.sailing.org.au/courses/ and filter to "race officer." The "race officer committee and finish boat" course might be good for your needs.

2) Some people read faster than they can hear a speaker talk, or click through an online course, and you might make a "manual" or other standard operating proceedure. Here's one for a local YC, and you could create something similar for yourself with just the sections you need and the scoring system you use: https://www.iyc.org/uploads/1/3/3/0/133005617/island_yc_race_committee_manual_with_emphasis_on_island_nights-1.pdf

Good luck!

Created: 23-Nov-14 00:47
P
Paul Leonard
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Regional Race Officer
  • Club Judge
0
Let's see if I can improve on Jerry's post, with a clickable link:

"Race Committee for RC and Sailors" (62 slides)
 https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1XB5n9KbCKrbRXN-djn7nC30H1OmMY4lX?usp=drive_link 

How to do race committee for folks that just wanna get racing the right way, in plain language. It's good stuff
Created: 23-Nov-19 19:54
P
John Allan
Nationality: Australia
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • Regional Race Officer
0
Mark Townsend, said Created: 23-Nov-12 16:58

The Aim for US Sailing Club ROs is
 
Club Race Officer
A Club Race Officer is expected to be able to properly run any race normally conducted at his or her local sailing organization, including organizing the race committee, writing sailing instructions and scoring the event.
 
I think this seriously overstates what can reasonably be expected.  To achieve this, in particular ‘organising’ the decision making members of a race committee (Regatta Chair rep, CA rep Sailing Admin etc), and writing SI are tasks that I would expect would require successful completion of a demanding training course, and 2 or 3 seasons active mentoring and regular frequent experience in race management.(see Note 1)
 
I think a more realistic aim, for a moderately experienced racer is to:
·        Conduct safe and fair sailing races, within the framework of established Club Sailing Instructions, and race management and safety procedures, and the Racing Rules of Sailing.
·        Participate in the development and review of club race documents and race management and safety procedures.

In other words, a beginner RO needs to be given good SI, sound on-water operating and safety plans, and moderately capable race management people.

How a club produces these is a different, but not insoluble, problem.

I don't think it's a fair expectation for an inexperienced Club RO to be able to cope with conditions radically different from their home waters.

Comments?

Note 1

I think I see a US usage of 'race committee' to mean the on-water race management team, rather than the decision making body that is responsible for writing and publishing the SI.  IMHO, these people getting their act together and producing good sound SI, with the assistance of a competent local RO is the key to making it possible for a beginner RO to conduct races properly.
Created: 23-Nov-24 04:03
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Bob Scott, you mentioned that all skippers were required to take this training. 

Is this scenario such that each skipper/boat must do RC duty on a rotating basis during the season (basically sign-up and turns running the race)?

If so, I actually have some experience with that specific scenario. I was the RC Chair for many years for the Magothy River Sailing Assoc (the next river just north on the Chesapeake Bay shoreline of the Severn River/Annapolis). 

In the MRSA, each competitor was required to take a turn as RC-boat and each skipper the PRO.  Usually the next week’s boat would hang around until racing was complete and grab all the gear for next week’s race. 

Getting people to come to training always proved difficult.  To minimize errors, we implemented a few things that reduced errors drastically. 

  1. Created a detailed script, with T-minus times, laying out all the prep stages (be on station, hang course-boards, etc). 
  2. Laid-out minimum personnel for the task, defining the roles including a “script runner”
  3. Since our fleets were the same each week (we started 5 fleets in rolling 5-min  sequence), we developed a “speaking script” that the script-runner read, detailing each raising/lowering of each flag and sound (both shotgun and horns) and countdowns for each (with pictures of what flags should be up in each time segment so they can check themselves)
  4. Developed predefined string-rule compliant courses organized by wind-direction and speed that the PRO could select from (the races utilized a rossette of fixed marks). 
  5. Required RC’s to audio-record the starts and finishes. 

There were other items in there too like thinking about squaring the line for finishing after all the starts, and since our courses often included multiple laps, moving the RC to the other side of the pin when the starting pin was rounded to starboard for the 2nd laps (to make shortening/finishing more natural for competitors). 

The general instructions for the PRO was 1 page 2-sided.  The separate “speaking script” for the start was maybe 2 … all laminated and passed along from boat to boat each week. 
Created: 23-Nov-24 13:47
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