Monday, December 29, 2014

Umpire Clinic

In connection with the Volvo stopover, I participated in the ISAF Umpire Clinic. What a great experience - led by Chris Atkins, it started with a full day in the classroom explaining what umpiring is all about and how to do the dialogue. Lots of new information and new ways of thinking about the rules.  The dialogue really helps you focus on the essentials and where problems are likely to arise for both the right of way and keep clear boats.

Then, the next two days were on the water to umpire team racing with youngsters in Optimists.  A great learning experience - driving the RIB around the course in the correct way and following our boats, with a proper dialogue and decision about infractions.  Takes some real concentration and of course we made some mistakes.  But learned a huge amount.

And, by the way, on the first day as we introduced ourselves, there was a young Chinese woman whose name sounded vaguely familiar but I didn't make a connection. However, on the first day she was my training partner on the RIB.  About an hour after we were on the water, one of the other umpires asked her about her penalty at Weymouth - and through a few inept questions from me to which she responded completely matter of factly, I finally realised that it was Weymouth in the summer of 2012.  If you want to see the penalty referred to, you can see it here.  Of course her name is one some of you Laser sailors may have heard of - Xu Lijia - gold medalist in the Radials.  That's her in the RIB above, along with two International Umpires - Costas from Greece and Bernadette from France.


  1. So was Lily on the course because she plans to be an umpire? Or was she doing it so she can understand how umpires think and work so she can avoid getting another penalty on her journey to another gold medal?

  2. I think that is a question you need to ask her. But if she does become an umpire she would certainly have the tools to be a good one. She obviously knows the sport and I was very impressed by her poise and her down-to-earth attitude. An impressive young lady.

  3. What did she have to say about the penalty? I remember it well - it was a hugely impressive performance. I was watching the race here in Ireland, and there was a lot of interest at the time because Annalise Murphy could have won gold that day. And the penalty could have cost Xu Lijia the gold, too.

    1. Yes, it was an amazing performance - taking the penalty and then winning handily. I also did a bit more research on her and was surprised to learn that she is deaf in one ear and partially sighted in one eye. You would never know about either in meeting her. Amazing woman.


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