Wednesday, June 27, 2012
How Would You Handle It?
In our case, the wind was around 17 knots and the water was relatively flat since we sail in an area protected from big waves. The tide was coming in but nothing severe. But there were several sailors who were relative beginners and they were not able to handle the conditions well and 4 boats were either towed back or had a more experienced sailor sail it back. Whereas the rest of the fleet was enjoying sporty, exhilarating conditions and some felt cheated the race could not finish.
So, how should that be handled ? Certainly the helm of each boat is responsible for the decision to go or not go depending on conditions. But that may not be enough. Should the Race Officer make an independent judgment? If so, based on what? Intuition? Feeling? Should there be several categories of proficiency with only the higher categories allowed in certain conditions?
In the past we have tried a system where on a blustery day we had all boats go out just a little way and do a couple of tacks and gybes next to the Committee Boat and if someone felt uneasy or was judged by the Race Officer as not ready, they would return.
But of course, one never learns to handle conditions without being in them.
Another possibility is more safety boats on the water, both coaching and rescuing if necessary, but in a small club that has it limits.