Saturday, April 4, 2015
Last week I attended an ISAF International Judges Seminar at the Polski Związek Żeglarski (Polish Yachting Association) in Gdansk Poland. It was a really great experience.
First, there was an excellent instructor - Josje Hofland from the Netherlands. I had met her at the ISAF World Cup in Abu Dhabi and knew she was a very patient judge with in-depth knowledge. She did a great job teaching, especially since she had to do it alone since the other IJ scheduled to come had a nasty fall on his boat the day before and couldn't come. I particularly appreciated the emphasis on the "soft" skills necessary beyond a good knowledge of the rules. Also, like all good judges, she was never hesitant to admit that some issues do not have a crystal clear answer or that she might be wrong.
There were 19 students from all over the world and it was really invigorating to meet them and to see their enthusiasm not only for sailing but also for judging. There were some really geeky, but enjoyable moments when we were trying to solve a problem all delving into the RRS and Casebook, drawing diagrams and stretching our brains. I know that this sort of activity may not be every sailor's dream, but for those of us interested in such things it was really fun.
And the accomodations were interesting - we were lodged 2 to a room in rooms with a bunk bed and single bed - like being back in summer camp.
But, once again as I discover the world of race officials, I understand better how much work behind the scenes is involved in a successful regatta. And the fact that most of this work is unpaid, volunteer work makes it even more valuable.