Monday, December 29, 2014
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.