Here's your chance to learn how to organize a race Seminar set for Feb. 27 at Annapolis Yacht Club

If you've always wanted to know more about how a race committee produces a successful race and think you might like to try it, mark your calendar for the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association's annual Race Management Seminar on Feb. at Annapolis Yacht Club.

After brief welcoming remarks at 9 a.m. in the AYC's lower-deck Skipjack Lounge, the attendees will divide into two groups.


Group A, for new race committee members and those who have not participated in the Rowse Race Management Simulation previously, stay in the Skipjack Lounge to spend the next couple of hours going through Gordon Rowse's highly acclaimed and successful simulation exercises.

For the simulation program, participants are divided into several groups of six or eight, each of which is its own race committee, equipped with models of boats, marks, flags and most of the other gear used by an actual on-water race committee.


After a short introduction and explanation, Rowse runs through a timed pictorial series illustrating situations that might be encountered on the water during a race, and each committee uses its model equipment and scoring sheets to start, manage and finish the compressed race illustrated with the overhead projector.

It may sound a little silly, but having done it myself, I can attest that as a learning experience it works extremely well. It's nearly as much fun and excitement as actually being there, without the chance of sunburn or seasickness -- or of being yelled at or worse by irate racers.

When the race is finished, each committee scores the imaginary finishers and the participants discuss their experiences, compare notes and find out where they went wrong.

While this is going on, the more experienced race committee types of Group B adjourn upstairs to the third-deck dining rooms. There they can choose to sit in on three of six presentations and panel discussions on various aspects of race management ranging from protest committee procedures to setting up for junior sailing, multirace/handicap events, championship regattas and other topics.

In the afternoon, after a lunch break, the entire group reunites to go through more discussions by experts on subjects of interest and importance to all race officers, regardless of experience levels.

The program, which is free, concludes at about 3:30 p.m.

Although the hour-long midday break is sufficient for participants to go downtown and find a meal elsewhere, lunch is available at AYC for $8, as is a cash bar during lunch and following the seminar. These more or less social times are good opportunities to share ideas and ask in-depth questions of other participants and the expert speakers.

This seminar, which is also a qualifier on the road to becoming a certified Club Race Officer, is one of the most important things club race committee members and potential members can do locally to prepare themselves to run good races. It is also one of the most meaningful services that CBYRA performs for its member clubs, with significant and obvious trickle-down benefits individual racers.


If you've never done race-committee duty before, and wonder why you should be interested in getting involved in this side of the sport, there are several significant considerations.

Your club needs a pool of qualified volunteers to run the kind of races you yourself would enjoy sailing, and of which you, as a member of that club, can be proud. As an experienced racer or trained race manager, you can bring a clear understanding of the things that go into running a good race to your club's committee.

Your own racing skills can even benefit from time spent on the other side of the fence.

In addition to the obvious benefit of gaining valuable experience in such things as rules, signals and procedures, you will have a unique opportunity to observe and understand wind and current factors in your home racing region from a more empirical point of view than you generally have while battling it out on the course.

Most importantly, however, serving on a race committee can be a lot of fun.

Talk to your club's race committee chairman about signing up to help out on a couple of events this season, and come on down to AYC on the 27th for the Race Management Seminar.


For reservations or more information, call CBYRA at (410) 269-1194.

CBYRA forum

There's still time to reserve your space for CBYRA's forum featuring Gary Jobson, Buddy Melges and Jim Brady on Feb. 20.

Each of these men is a highly experienced and successful sailor, and are interesting and often amusing speakers who have promised to share some of the secrets of their success.

The format for the seminar at the Holiday Inn on Riva Road in Annapolis from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. will include dividing the attendees into three special-interest groups so the speakers can focus on the specifics of sailing big boats, one-design keelboats and one-designs.

The day will conclude with a panel discussion and short film presentations on the 1992 America's Cup and the Whitbread Around The World Race.


Cost is $40 per person, and because the day includes lunch, advance reservations are a must. Tickets will not be available at the door. Call CBYRA at (410) 269-1194.