Message from IDA Chairman
20 Sep 2018, 16:40 by IDA
It is amazing how much fuss can be created by a single word! And how it can have negative meaning for some and positive for others.
If you have health problems (which I do not wish anyone at all - just the opposite!) what is the main criteria for the selection of a doctor? Surely his professionalism or expertise! When we need any kind of services we always demand a professional, expert approach!
I do not distinguish between whether a person is paid or not. The label professional is not important, it is the quality of the work that matters.
At our grade 1 and championship events we spend a lot of money preparing our boats and on travel and accommodation, so it seems only fair that we expect the very best race management, and the very best race officer.
However, often in the past few years we have not always had this top quality in race management - which results in frustration and disappointment, and a feeling that we will not return to this or that venue.
We all know the race management failures that cause us frustration: sending sailors out to wait for wind which never arrives, poor communication via VHF, start line too short, too long, or too biased, failure to correct a faulty line after a general recall, races too short because the RO wants to complete the schedule, race course too close to the shore, gate not square or one mark removed, marks not moved to accommodate wind shifts, no attempt by the RO to explain his decisions at the daily briefings and so on.
And always this is because of the inexperience or inexpert behaviour of the RO.
The IDA recognised this problem some years ago and took various steps to improve the situation. Some years ago we appointed a Sailing Coordinator to review venues and assist ROs with communication to sailors.
This year the IDA exercised its right under the Championship Regulations to insist on the selection of the best available race officer at IDA events. In one case the officer was appointed by the club at the Europeans in Balatonfüred. At the Gold Cup the IDA appointed their preferred RO.
Both were high quality ROs. One was a Corinthian (not paid) and one a paid professional but they both did a professional expert job.
Next year the IDA will introduce a new format to the European Grade One circuit by having a final between the top 20 competitors in the series.
These are responses to a large group of experienced sailors who are united by their wish to improve the Grade 1 circuit with the aim better participation, sailing at the best time of the year at the best places, and their commitment to the IDA.
At this years Gold Cup, a large number of them backed up their belief by making commitments for financial support of the IDA to improve race management.
So dear Dragon sailors, the IDA officers and the Chairman of the class also have their honour and want to make the best not for a group of selected personalities but for the entire class. And the sailors respect this.
Please do not take my word for this, or listen to rumours or gossip - inform yourself by travelling to some of our major events and talk to me or any other officer at the international event. We are a wonderful class with excellent traditions, which we follow, but we are also open to improvements that are necessary in our fast-changing world with many competitive leisure activities and other sailing classes.
The national associations voted at the last AGMs unanimously for your officers. And we are doing everything we can to justify your trust. The class needs unity. It is in our hands to provide it and make the class better.
Some notes about the AGM proposals
It seems there is a great deal of confusion about the IDA proposal to improve race management at Grade 1 and championship events in 2019 and beyond.
First of all the existing Championship Regulations already stipulate that the IDA has the absolute right to approve the Principal Race Officer for a championship event, and furthermore, reserves the right to appoint its own Principal Race Officer or an advisor to the Race Committee and/or the event Organisers. The Champ Regs also say that the IDA also reserves the right to withdraw its approval for a particular venue or country at any stage, if it feels the organisers are unable or unwilling to comply with the Championship Regulations.
The only difference that is being proposed to these existing rules is that the IDA wants to amend the Championship Regulations - sections 7 and 11 - to say that the IDA shall keep an up-to-date list of a minimum of 5 preferred race officers who may be appointed by the IDA to act at any championship or Grade 1 event. These preferred ROs will be International Race Officers and may or may not be paid professionals. If the Race Officer appointed by the IDA is a professional and requires a fee, this will be funded by the IDA and not the OA.
One of the reasons that the IDA Events Association was set up (and approved by the AGM last year) was to receive and distribute funds for this type of eventuality. At the Gold Cup in Helsinki, a number of sailors pledged money to provide this kind of funding if it is needed, and this money can only be accepted if it is given unconditionally, without any stipulation as to how it can be spent - except on improved race management. The IDA Officers will decide how it will be spent. Any other situation where a donor could have a say in a race venue, or a race officer would be unacceptable, most especially if they are competing in the affected event.
The important point is that the IDA will try to behave as it has always done, and consult with OAs about race management. It is only if the IDA is genuinely concerned about the quality of race management (and the RO in particular), that it will move to exercise its right to make a change.
We hope that the national associations will support these changes.