Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association, Inc.
by Michael C. Rushing, Marquette ’97, Gail M. Turluck, Wisconsin ’77 and George H. Griswold, Wooster ’61
inspired by “HOSTING A COLLEGIATE REGATTA” by Karen Christensen, Michigan ’67 and George H. Griswold, Wooster ’61
Hosting regattas is not only important to the strength of your team, but to the health of the MCSA. More regattas at more venues means better competition, and in the long run, better sailors.
With the help of this definitive guide, you’ll be able to host an event that will make your team look great-and help you enjoy all the aspects of being an MCSA sailor. Hosting a regatta doesn’t have to mean that the people responsible for organizing the regatta and hosting visiting sailors can’t have just as much fun as they would if they were on the road. All it takes to insure this is some solid preparation, a modicum of dedication, and enough volunteers.
There is one important idea that every member of the host team must keep in mind for the entire regatta weekend: All the regatta personnel must treat the home regatta as if it were a road regatta.
Often, members of a team hosting a regatta will see the home event as an excuse to be only casually involved with the regatta functions. Since there is no road trip, team members often feel that they will be able to divide their time between being involved in sailing and doing all the things that they would normally do if it were an off weekend. This attitude is self-defeating. By pretending you’re on the road, you’ll be forced to spend all your time where you should: with your teammates and guests. Make sure everyone is fully dedicated to making your regatta a first-class event. Treat the home regatta as if you weren’t at home.
It takes a team to host a regatta. The whole team. Everyone. (See Regatta Mindset). You must first designate a Regatta Chairperson. This should be the most dedicated, experienced and responsible person on your team. This is the person that will run the show. The Regatta Chairperson will be responsible for seeing to it that everything gets done right, and in time for the event. It is important that the Chairperson be experienced in running regattas and has experience on Race Committees. The Regatta Chairperson oversees and has final authority over all the activities of the various committees.
All duties in organizing events should be divided into Committees. Each committee should have a Chairperson as well, and these Chairpersons should be selected based upon their interest, experience, and reliability. Choosing younger team members to head up committees is a great way to prime future Regatta Chairpersons for the job, as long as they are responsible enough to get the job done. Each Committee Chairperson should select team members to be on the Committees. Dividing duties among Committee Members is the only way to ensure that all the necessary tasks get done in time to host a first-class event. If at all possible, see to it that no one has to serve on more than one committee, and that EVERYONE on your team has a job to do.
Following are the committees that should be formed for an MCSA regatta:
|RACE COMMITTEE||PROTEST COMMITTEE|
|EQUIPMENT COMMITTEE||PUBLICITY COMMITTEE|
|SCORING COMMITTEE||HOUSING COMMITTEE|
|FOOD COMMITTEE||ENTERTAINMENT COMMITTEE|
At your first meeting of the season your club should implement this Guide, sooner if your event is early in the season.
This Guide outlines the duties of each committee. If you follow this Definitive Guide, everything will get done.
And one more thing. The Regatta Chairperson sets the deadlines for committees to get their duties taken care of, and those deadlines should be well in advance of the start of the first race. Stress to committee members that if everybody makes their deadlines, everybody can take credit for the successful regatta.
The Regatta Chairperson must understand the official MCSA procedure for announcing, securing competitors for, and running the regatta. This Guide covers most of these bases, but be sure to review the current version of the MCSA Policy Handbook sections B (:Policies Regarding Events Sanctioned by the Conference) and C (Policies Regarding Regatta Host’s and their Responsibilities). See also: Intersectional Regattas, Championship Elimination Regattas, or MCSA Championship Regattas if the event you are hosting is that type. Black Book instructions like the ones you’re currently reading are always helpful, but as rules and procedures change, the Tell Tale newsletter and the website will reflect them long before the Black Book is updated, so check the website, too.
It is also the job of the Regatta Chairperson to understand the policies and procedures regarding scheduling, the trailing of boats and the provision of enough MCSA (CFJ or Club 420) spec sails. If any questions arise that cannot be answered by this Guide or the website, contact the MCSA Race Chairman. This is the MCSA Board Member responsible for making sure that your regatta goes according to plan. Do not hesitate to call this person with a question. It is his or her job to help you.
Select and invite regatta judges to serve on the Protest Committee (see Protest Committee section for complete instructions).
Have a team meeting at least two months before the regatta to assign committees and committee Chairpersons. During that meeting, explain to everyone what their duties will be, and stress that the weekend of the event should be treated as an away weekend and not a home one, as explained in the Regatta Mindset. If everyone pulls their weight, the regatta will go off without a hitch.
If your event is an Intersectional or Championship regatta, notify the MCSA Conference Commissioner who your Protest Committee officials will be.
Have another team meeting at the beginning of the week before the regatta to make sure everything is on schedule. At that time, determine what everyone has to do as part of final preparations for the regatta and make sure the Committee Chairpersons stay on task to get it done.
Stun the Food and Equipment Chairpersons by being there early to unlock things, help set up, and deflect sleepy, red-eyed sailors waiting for the coffee.
Call and run the Competitors Meeting. Call it on time (9:00 a.m.-it’s policy), after the course has been set. The purpose of the Competitor’s Meeting is to introduce the regatta officials to the contestants, identify the contestants and to review the rules under which the regatta is conducted which are special to the particular site. While there is no formal format for such a meeting, the following items should be covered:
Be present at the site the whole time to deal with the crises which arise. You know they will arise. Count on it.
When the event concludes, conduct the awards ceremony. This is done after the Scoring Committee has completed its work and the entire set of statistics is available. The following format is suggested:
to be sent in with regatta publicity after the presentation.
The Race Committee Chairperson (who will act as the Principal Race Officer, or PRO, pursuant to ISAF specification) must be carefully selected. The Race Committee Chairperson will prepare the Sailing Instructions, be available at the Competitor’s Meeting, set the race courses and run the races. This person must have first-hand experience running a regatta on the water, or at least know someone who does. This person must have good common sense as well and must be the type of level-headed and mature person that will not get overexcited if things on the water get hairy.
It’s best to have 2-3 people in the Race Committee boat at all times. The Race, Committee Chairperson also directs the rescue boats (which often double as mark set boats but NEVER as coach or spectator boats). The nastier the weather forecast, the more Race Committee and rescue boat people you’re gonna need.
Safety is the number one concern of the PRO. This person, if not constantly on a boat with a functioning motor, should be transferred to one instantly in case of an emergency.
In an ideal world, rescue boats would be manned by two people, at least one of which is in possession of a US Sailing Level 1 Small Boat Sailing Instructors’ card, or at least be someone who has experience as a sailing instructor. These people are most often the best equipped to handle cold, wet, and/or frightened crews of overturned boats in a competent and professional manner. If you have such a person or persons on your team, see to it that they are on the water in a boat with a functioning motor for the duration of racing.
Second to safety concerns, is the concern of efficiency. As the PRO or a member of the Race Committee, it is your job to ensure that races are run smoothly, fairly and quickly, This prerogative, however, can come into conflict with the overriding safety concerns at times when it’s really howling. If you are having problems getting a race off because many boats are capsized in or around the starting area, attempting to wait for everyone to get upright before starting a sequence will only make the problem worse, and will only make the wet people colder. It is imperative that you be decisive: either leave a committee member on the Committee Boat to begin running races for the more competent members of the fleet (while the rescue boats help right boats), or send the fleet in to await a further decision after postponement. Both of these options are better than allowing the sailors to freeze while you fight the uphill battle of getting everyone upright before blowing the whistle.
Third, as Race Committee Chairman you will need to have a copy of the current version of the Racing Rules of Sailing(RRS) with US Sailing Prescriptions, ICSA Procedural Rules, ICSA Policy Manual, and MCSA Policy Handbook. All but the first are in The Black Book, so make sure you have access to it.
Additionally, the RRS includes appendices on Race Committee procedures. While some of these procedures are modified or overridden by the ICSA and MCSA rules, conditions and procedures, these appendices will prove an educational read.
Arrangements for the use of the waters and facilities for the event have to be cleared with the sponsoring yacht club, state department of natural resources, the U.S. Coast Guard and/or other agency. This should be done immediately and checked again just prior to the event. If you’re not sure who needs to know, ask the MCSA Conference Commissioner.
Have a “work party” (work first, party later). Check the necessary equipment for running the races as listed below, so that if it is missing it can be obtained, or if broken, fixed in time for the regatta.
You have to publish a set of official Sailing Instructions (SI’s) for your regatta. This will allow you to say how your regatta will be run, and will eliminate the need for PROs to answer the same questions multiple times. The MCSA website www.mcsasail.org? has a fill-in sample which you can copy and paste for the creation of this document, and are included as an appendix to this Definitive Guide. Get plenty of copies made.
If hosting an Intersectional or Championship send Sailing Instructions to MCSA Conference Commissioner for review.
Load gear into Race Committee boat. Be sure to include a copy of the Sailing Instructions and the Boat Rotation.
Set the race course as soon as possible.
Course setting 101: The key to a good race course is a good windward leg. A good windward leg is one which is close to directly into the wind from a starting line which is close to right angles to the leg. To set a triangle with a 90° turn at the reach mark, place the starting mark and then travel directly upwind from that point. This assures a windward leg directly into the wind and also gives you a feeling for how long the leg actually is. When the windward mark has been placed the leeward mark should be placed by proceeding directly downwind from the windward mark past the starting mark about the same distance. When placed, the leeward mark should be in line with the windward mark and the starting mark. To set the reach mark, place it about as far away from the starting mark as the other two marks, about even with the starting mark, on the port side of the line formed by the other three marks. Finally, the Race Committee boat should be anchored on the starboard side of the starting mark at a distance which equals about one and one-half times the combined widths of all the boats entered in the race. It’s common practice to skew the starting line about 5° to port to spread the fleet. Depending on the water this may need further adjustment to allow for current and/or tides. A long anchor line should be used on the Race Committee boat so that its position can be adjusted without raising anchor. In shifty wind conditions, the angle of the line to the starting mark should be averaged relative to the direction of the wind over time.
If the wind shifts considerably during racing, it may be necessary to move the marks. However, make this decision very carefully. Many a regatta has been held up by overzealous course perfectionists. When it’s obviously bad, change it. If it’s one of those goofy, light days, let it go.
Start the race when the course and sailboats are in the starting area.
Keep informed on weather conditions, and be prepared to postpone the racing, if necessary.
Send the results ashore to the Scoring Committee after each rotation.
At the conclusion of racing, put all Race Committee materials away in centralized location, noting any supplies which need to be replaced.
The Protest Committee is responsible for hearing and deciding all protests. This Committee is not optional. The arrangements for obtaining regatta judges to serve on the Protest Committee is usually the responsibility of the Regatta Chairman.
If your regatta is not a Championship or Intersectional event, select people to hear protests based on 1) their understanding of the rules, and 2) their position of authority over the regatta, IN THAT ORDER. Go out of your way to find people that have no interest in the outcome of the protest. Provide them with all the items they need, such as properly filled out protest forms, rule books, SI’s, NOR, and a comfortable place to meet. It is generally unacceptable for members of the Race Committee to hear a protest. ”
If your regatta is a District Championship or Intersectional event, YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST have the appropriate amount of Judges present at your regatta to hear protests. Read the applicable appendices in the RRS to learn more about protest procedure.
Select and invite regatta judges to serve on the Protest Committee. Three is a good number for a Protest Committee. Odd numbers eliminate ties. Never should the committee consist of only one person. For “regular” MCSA regattas the committee members may be chosen from people recommended by local yacht clubs, your club’s alumni, or other MCSA alumni. Protest committee members must be top sailors familiar with the racing rules. At least one member of the Protest Committee should be well acquainted with collegiate sailing. US Sailing certified judges are not required for our everyday regattas, but complete Protest Committees are.
Our Championships and Intersectionals, however, are a different story. The Host School needs to arrange, way in advance, for a panel of a minimum of three US Sailing certified judges for Championships and Intersectionals. Making your request immediately following the MCSA Midwinter Meeting is not too early! You need to have the Judges for these events approved in advance by the MCSA Conference Commissioner
A Regional Administrative Judge is appointed in each of US Sailing’s geographic areas to oversee the screening, training and approval of candidates and to monitor their performance. The list of US Sailing Judges is available on the US Sailing website www.ussailing.org?. Requests for Judges can be made to the Regional Administrative Judge in the US Sailing Area in which the event will be held. The MCSA is contained within two of US Sailing’s Areas: Area E-Michigan, Ohio, all but NW corner of Indiana; and Area K-SW corner Michigan, NW corner Indiana. Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota.
Call and reconfirm your committee and designate the Chairperson at that time. Give the Chairperson the names of the other members of the committee so he or she can contact them before the event.
Arrange for a room or suitable site for the Protest Committee to meet during the regatta.
If your event is an Intersectional or Championship event, notify the MCSA Conference Commissioner who your Protest Committee officials will be.
Call the Protest Committee members to confirm you’re still counting on them. Schedule the starting time for protest hearings for each day of the event. Protest hearings may be held after each race. If it is impossible or inconvenient to arrange the constant presence of Protest Committee members during a regatta, schedule hearings for lunch time and for immediately after the Race Committee docks after the last race of the day. Protests should be heard the day they are filed.
The Committee should follow the procedures outlined in the Racing Rules of Sailing. When the Committee has notified the parties involved at the conclusion of a hearing, the decision should be written up and signed. The written decision is then given to the Scoring Committee.
The Equipment Committee is the oil in the regatta machine. You must see to it that ALL your boats and ALL visiting boats are in top form for the regatta. You must keep tabs on teams that are signed up to bring boats to your regatta and ensure that they do so. Arrange for a breakdown boat. If you’ve been to an MCSA regatta before, you know how important this is. If something breaks during the regatta, it’s YOUR problem. Remember, an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of not get tin’ all wet changing a centerboard gasket on a floating boat.
Acquisition of marks, lines, anchors, powerboats, bigger, longer anchor lines, bigger anchors, life jackets and all the other things you won’t think of until it’s too late is your responsibility as well.
Choose an Equipment Committee Chairperson, and make sure he/she has LOTS of committee members. Begin preparations immediately!
Make arrangements for a Race Committee boat and a rescue boat (regattas of more than 10 boats need two rescue boats. The Race Committee boat doesn’t count, EVER.).
Read the “Regatta Reimbursements” section in the MCSA Policy Handbook. You and the Regatta Chairman have to work together to apply this policy in the event of boat damage during your event.
Have a “work party” (work first, party after) this week. Take an initial survey of all your necessary regatta equipment. Then create a schedule to fix it if it’s broken, find it if it’s lost, or buy it if you never had it in the first place. It is both impossible and beyond the scope of this piece to list EVERYTHING you need to check or fix, but here are a few suggestions:
Recheck all of the above.
Recheck it again.
Make sure all people bringing boats, still are.
Finalize all plans with the site, remind all workers of their assignments, get powerboats ready, and don’t forget anything.
Make final check of equipment, tools, and supplies for repairs.
Have the boats as nearly ready as possible.
Get to the site first. Arrange to have some people out at the sailing site early with you. Arrive early enough with enough help to have all the boats rigged and ready to sail before the Competitor’s Meeting. Make sure teams that towed boats get outta bed, too. Be sure to allow plenty of time.
Get all people busy with rigging/de-rigging.
Show visitors around, and answer questions.
Be on the dock at rotations.
When it breaks, fix it. (quickly)
Keep a log of repairs and keep track of supplies in case you will seek a “Regatta Reimbursement” (see MCSA Policy Handbook).
Store boats after each day’s racing, keeping a record of the damage and repair work needed.
The Publicity Committee is responsible for publishing the Notice of Race (NOR); and filing regatta reports with the MCSA Conference Commissioner and Publicity Secretary. These components comprise some of the more challenging aspects of hosting a regatta, but they’re very important, so get a responsible person to do it.
One month before the regatta
Designate a Publicity Committee Chairperson.
Get him or her started on the Notice Of Race (NOR). The MCSA websitewww.mcsasail.org? has a fill-in sample which you can copy and paste for the creation of this document (also appears at the end of this section). The NOR is sent to the MCSA Race Chairman for posting on the MCSA List a minimum of 22 days before the regatta.
Your team will need to provide information about social activities, directions, and other stuff directly to the participating schools (not via the list!). Have your Publicity Chair collect a list of phone numbers and email addresses of the participating schools’ representatives and keep it until well after the conclusion of the event.
Notify local media of the event if desired, and make arrangements for them to spectate. Contact local newspapers directly. Give them information for pre-publicity, forewarning them that you will have a large article for them immediately after the event AND THEN PROVIDE IT! Be bold-invite them to send a photographer and a reporter to the event.
Announce the hours of the event to your local and school radio stations with information .for those who would like to spectate.
Arrange to have a club member take photographs for the club and the MCSA. Have the club buy him or her the film, and pay for developing and printing, if necessary.
Diligently maintain a list of who is to attend your regatta, and keep the Housing and Food Chairpersons well informed of the number of competitors they will need to deal with.
Make sure all necessary materials are downloaded from the MCSA Website. Don’t wait even one more day.
Forward the parts of the forms pertinent to scoring to the Scoring Committee Chairperson.
Make sure that everyone fills out their Record of Participation Forms completely and correctly. To start sailing they gotta start their form.
Take photos and host any media people that turn up to spectate.
Send all results to the MCSA List and the MCSA Webmaster at the end of the regatta, and all paper forms (Including the RP forms)to the MCSA Conference Commissioner WITHIN ONE DAY OF THE END OF THE REGATTA (be sure to make a copy of each form just in case the originals get lost in the mail)!!
The Scoring Committee must build and maintain the rotation, keep accurate score of the races, maintain the Official Notice Board, accept and process protests, procure trophies, and prepare the scoring forms for submission to the MCSA. The Scoring Committee must keep in constant contact with the Race Committee during the event to ensure there are no errors.
Choose a Committee Chairperson. This person should be experienced in regatta scoring, should have a handle on the Scoring Program, or at least the computer savvy to figure it out. This person should also be responsible and even-tempered. Scoring Committee can test someone’s ability to withstand the pressure to make accurate scores available in a short period of time.
Get the scoring and protest forms, download the Scoring Program and program instructions from the MCSA Website. Get access to a PC that runs DOS and has a printer, preferably a laptop that you can bring to the site. Learn to use the Scoring Program. Make sure your printer is compatible (try all printer options). It is extremely advisable to create a practice rotation, and have a computer dry run (enter at least a few races into the program) to become familiar with the scoring program and work out any kinks before you start losing actual scores.
On that note, create the actual boat rotation on the Thursday or Friday before the event to ensure that competitors aren’t waiting when the rotation isn’t finished at 10: 00 a.m. Saturday morning. Also, though you’ll have an exact count on who is coming and what boat and sail number they are bringing, be prepared to have to make last minute adjustments to the rotation on Saturday morning. It can happen.
Post the boat rotation, school and competitor’s names, protest parties and witnesses, protest results, schedule and changes thereto on the Official Notice Board as soon as they are available.
To cause the Race Committee to adore you, hand them a copy of the boat rotation Friday night or first thing Saturday morning. Keep in constant contact with the Race Committee, and post new scores as soon as they become available.
Accept protest forms, note time received on the form, and give them to the Protest Committee in a timely fashion. Notify named teams and witnesses that they will be called into a protest hearing and that they need to stick around for it. Protests are heard the day they are filed, unless excused by the Committee.
Give scores to the Publicity Committee as soon as possible after the event.
Anyone who has been to an MCSA regatta knows that they won’t be staying at the Hilton. Housing guest teams with host team members has been and always will be the best, cheapest and safest way to make sure your guests have a safe place to stay.
Assign the Housing Committee Chairperson and have that person survey the team AND club members to determine how many guests each can house. If the hosts live off campus, have them make arrangements with their roommates as soon as possible. If the hosts live in dorms or in campus housing, make sure they make arrangements with residence or student life officials if necessary to house guests. If you need more housing, approach your club’s alumni, other MCSA alumni and other local sailors. If all else fails, make arrangements with a hotel or motel to reserve enough space. Over the course of the month, the Housing Chairperson should keep tabs on each host to make sure that they can keep their housing commitments and make additional arrangements as needed. Be sure to reserve extra space for late arrivals.
It is a good idea for the Housing Chairperson to keep a chart of which teams are expected to attend, and who will house them. Keeping in touch with teams and hosts up until the two week deadline will make your job a lot easier. Maintain contact with the Regatta Publicity Chairperson.
Confirm which team will be staying with which host and notify the hosts. Have each host draw a map from the Registration Meeting to the host’s residence.
Make each host responsible for finding their guests at the Friday night Reporting Site, and informing them of where they will be staying.
Make sure all the hosts are in attendance and know their duties. Have previously prepared maps on hand as a backup.
Make sure that the coordinator at the Reporting Site will be home (if at someone’s house) can host any stragglers or anyone that failed to meet their host.
If the Reporting Site is a public location, be sure to post a large, visible, easily noticed note with clear instructions on how late arriving competitors can reach you by telephone to get their housing assignment. Yes, even at 3:30 a.m.
Have a good time.
The Food Committee can make or break the regatta. Often teams that return to your regatta will not remember who won last year’s event, but will remember that the chili you served for lunch was hot and tasty.
Assign a Food Committee Chairperson and have that person recruit help in ordering, delivering, serving and cleaning up meals to be served at the site. Host teams typically provide coffee and donuts or bagels for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday morning, as well as lunch on Saturday afternoon. Some teams elect to serve lunch on Sunday, or to go all out and have pancakes or eggs for breakfast on either morning. While this is not necessary, it will make everyone happy.
Coordinating with the Entertainment Committee, determine if you will charge a Sailor’s Fee, and if so, how much it will be (up to MCSA cap). Inform the Publicity Committee by 22 days before the event.
Over the course of the month, keep track with the Housing and Publicity Chairpersons of how many people you will need to feed, and plan accordingly. Strive to have as much donated as possible. It’s a good idea to make one person responsible for each meal, and make sure that person finds enough help in getting the job done. Give one person the job of making sure there are enough cups, plates and utensils at all times, find someone with a working coffee maker and have them bring it. It is necessary to have someone with access to an automobile on the Food Committee.
Receive final commitments of those who will be working at the regatta.
Keep in contact with the Publicity Chairperson, so you will have a good idea of how many hungry sailors you will have to feed.
Pick up the food and store it somewhere where it won’t spoil.
Make sure the cups, plates and utensils will be at the site.
Get to the site early so that breakfast and coffee is ready to be served when sailors arrive.
Check with Race Committee Chairperson to find out when to begin serving lunch.
Appendix 1–OFFICIAL MCSA NOTICE OF RACE FORMAT
The NOR is the official notice from your school to other schools for your upcoming event. It should contain: name of the event, name of the Host School, date of event, name of regatta chair and phone number, Two week and 24 hour cancellation deadlines, date and starting time of Registration Meeting, name of host of Reporting Site, street address and telephone number of Reporting Site, name and phone number of who to call for housing assignments in case they arrive very late, whether or not Teams must bring spec sails, name of site of races, address of site of races, whether or not charging a Sailor’s Fee and if charging, how much*.
are encouraged to keep this as low as possible. Host Schools must indicate in the NOR one of the following: (1) they will provide no meals, receive no money for a Sailor’s Fee OR (2) they will provide meals (for 2 day regatta must provide 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch; for 1 day regatta must provide 1 breakfast and 1 lunch). If attending a regatta with a Sailor’s Fee, participants must pay.
No other information shall be included in the NOR. Do not post driving directions to venues or give instructions for locating maps or driving direction links to the MCSA list or in the NOR.