Irish Sailing Race Officials Newsletter December 2020

Irish Sailing Race Officials Newsletter December 2020

Irish Sailing Race Officials Newsletter

A newsletter for Irish Sailing Race Officials from the Irish Sailing Race Officials Policy Group

December 2020

Changes of members the ROPG

Since the last meeting there have been several changes to the makeup of the group.  We said goodbye, by rotation, to long serving judge/umpire members Mike O’Connor and Ailbe Millerick as well as to ex- officio member Jack Roy aton the end of his presidential term. We welcomed incoming new members Suzanne McGarry NRO and Cxema Pico IJ, IU and of course President David O’Brien NRO as ex-officio member.  In a new departure Dara Totterdell has joined bringing expertise in results management –more on this below.

Here’s a roundup of current ROPG members:

  • David Lovegrove IRO (HYC) Chair
  • David O’Brien NRO President (RCYC & Baltimore SC)
  • Gordon Davies IJ, IU, LRO (Bray SC)
  • Liam Maloney NRO (LDYC)
  • Suzanne McGarry NRO (RSGYC)
  • Ciaran McSweeney NRO (MBSC, RCYC)
  • Mal Nowlan NML (NYC, RIYC)
  • Fergus O’Kelly NJ, IM (HYC)
  • Cxema Pico IJ, IU
  • Philip Scallan (WHBTC)
  • Dara Totterdell - Results Management (NYC)
  • Sarah-Louise Rossiter is the Irish Sailing convenor and secretary.

Results Management

The scope of the ROPG has been extended to include results management and Dara Totterdell has agreed to join the group to fill that role. The plan is to set up a grading system for Results Managers similar to the other officials involved in running a regatta, namely Measurers, Event Safety, Mark layers, Race Officers, Umpires and Judges.  Irish Sailing is one of only a handful of National Authorities who are establishing a graded system for results managers but undoubtedly more will follow.

Training Courses - A year like no other ...

A hackneyed phrase at this stage but true nevertheless. The impact of Covid-19 messed up all our sailing in 2020. Much of the activity of Irish Sailing staff was diverted from normal sailing support services into advising clubs and sailors as to what could be done safely and within government heath guidelines. Running race officials training courses suffered major disruption as most courses require a considerable degree of personal interaction.  Complying with guidelines meant that running most courses was not viable. However there was one Local Umpire online run by Cxema Pico and Chris Lindsay. The course was attended by 37 attendees.

In the absence of “live” courses Cxema Pico, Chris Lindsay and Gordon Davies also ran a series of online “Lockdown Challenge” – racing rules quizzes which were very well attended, and the idea has been picked up internationally. More challenges are planned in the new year. The existing challenges are still available on our web site here if you want to have a go over Christmas.

Dara Totterdell and Ian Bowring ran three Race Results webinars (two basic and one advanced) using the Sailwave software which were also well attended (85 attendees!) and again more webinars and courses are planned.

An online Local Race Officer course was run by David O’Brien over two evenings with a massive 71 attendees!

More webinars, including perhaps an online version of the postponed race officials Race Management and Support Conference, are being considered and this will come before ROPG in early February.

Should anyone in your club be thinking of getting involved in race management David Lovegrove will run an online Event Management course on the evening of Thursday 21 January. For more information and to register visit ...  it’s free, but places are limited.

Although not directly training, anyone who wants to learn a little about serious offshore racing should watch Irish Sailing’s Gail MacAllister as she discusses foiling experiences with Pamala Lee, Jamie Boag,  Brian Carlin and more at

Racing Rules Committee

New Terms of Reference for the Racing Rules Committee have been agreed and approved by the board of Irish Sailing.  The Racing Rules Committee is a policy forming committee which has two main functions.

First – to promote understanding of, and recommend improvements to, the Racing Rules of Sailing.
Second – to handle appeals and queries which may arise relating to Rules. 

Gordon Davies has been appointed to chair the committee. More on this and the committee’s  terms of reference can be accessed at

New Racing Rules of Sailing “RRS”  2021-2023

New rules were adopted by World Sailing and come into force next year. The new rules can be downloaded form Irish Sailing's World Sailing Library or printed booklets purchased from the Irish Sailing online shop HERE. (post will now head out in the New Year).

There are two principal changes which are important to race officials “on the water”. First, to start or finish part of the hull of a boat must cross the line rather than any equipment in its normal position (so a bowsprit, say, peeping over the line does not count anymore).  Second, a competitor who fails to sail the proper course (leaves out a mark, for instance) can be disqualified by the race committee and scored “NSC” without the need for a protest by the race committee. If the competitor feels aggrieved he/she can seek redress. For more on this see "Sailing the Course" by Gordon Davies HERE.

Race Officials Conference

As you will remember the bi-annual Irish Sailing Race Officials Race Management and Support Conference was to be held in Spring of 2019 but got cancelled because of the beast from the east. It was re-scheduled to March of this year and cancelled because of COVID. It is hoped to re-arrange this for 2021 and running it online is being considered.  Remember attending these conferences is a necessary part of revalidation of qualifications, so watch this space!

In the meantime, the RYA has decided to run its National Conference (which normally runs for two days every four years) online. It will run over four evenings in January 2021. Speakers from all over the world are to contribute so the content should be fantastic.  A main speaker will talk for 45 minutes each evening, then a short break.  After the break there will be a choice of workshops and presentations usually but not always tied to the main speakers subject.  The range of topics is extensive.Taking part is open to all at £20.00 for RYA Members and £50.00 for non-members. The range of subjects, lots more information and registration are on the RYA site HERE.

New Race Officials

Despite the difficulties in running full training courses the family of Race Officials continues to grow. Below are our recent qualifiers with many more in the pipeline.

  • Oscar Doyle – Local Safety Leader
  • David O’Sullivan – Local Race Officer
  • Matthias Hellstern – Local Race Officer.

Congratulations to all of them!

Eurosaf Exchange

Eurosaf is due to meet and discuss race official exchanges in mid-January. If you are an IRO, NRO, IJ, NJ, IU or NU and would like to get some experience in other countries, usually with out of pocket expenses paid, you should have a look at the Eurosaf website and if you want to apply for an exchange please contact Sarah-Louise on

To Conclude

Finally, in what has been a tough year for everyone, stay safe and have a great Christmas. Hopefully, with vaccines on the horizon, next year will be a better year.

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