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Race Officer Program - Questions and Answers
,,,,, about the US SAILING Race Officer Certification Programs
- What are the primary goals of the US SAILING race officer training and certification program?
The primary goals of the program are to “improve the quality of race management at all levels throughout the country to make racing more enjoyable for the competitors” and to “increase the standardization of race management practices, making it less confusing for the competitors.” Implementing these goals involves establishing standards for race officers, recognizing the people who have met the standards, providing training, and providing an incentive for people to become certified.
- Is this program designed to centralize more authority in US SAILING, vs. in the various organizations that make up US SAILING?
No. The Area Race Officers administer the Club Race Officer certification program in its entirety, and also participate in the Regional and National Race Officer certification process.
The establishing of standards for race officers is something that should be done by the national authority, as is the publishing of suitable reference material such as the Race Management Handbook.
- My regional sailing organization (a.k.a. YRA) already has a training program for race officers. Why do we need a national program?
We hope that the existing regional sailing organization’s race management training programs will, over time, adopt the US SAILING curriculum. However, there is no requirement for them to do so.
A local race officer is being asked to assist with each seminar, in order to be sure that local conditions and practices are discussed.
- Is there a plan to require event organizers to use only certified race officers?
Under the racing rules [RRS 88.2(b)], it is usually up to the organizing authority to appoint the race committee. Organizers of major events may choose to use certified race officers, but there is generally no requirement to do so. US SAILING, as the organizing authority for its own championships, has a requirement http://championships.ussailing.org/Championships_Home/ChampMngt/Race_Official_Requirements.htm to use certified race officials (judges, umpires and race officers) at many of these events in order to provide a consistently high level of officiating.
- Do I have to pay US SAILING a fee to become certified?
No. However, if you take a test at an approved race management seminar, the seminar organizer is required to pay US SAILING an administrative fee. As of December 1, 2008, the testing fee for members is $5 at one-day seminars and $10 at advanced seminars. US SAILING membership is required to attend this workshop, a special introductory first year membership is available for workshop attendees who are not yet members. http://raceadmin.ussailing.org/Assets/Race+Admin/Race+Officers/Documents/PDF/Introductory_Membership.pdf
- Do I have to travel to a US SAILING meeting to participate in a seminar?
No. Seminars are offered around the country, wherever there is sufficient demand. They are scheduled by the Area Race Officers and the Race Management Committee, using qualified instructors. Seminars can be organized by any interested local or regional organization (club, fleet, RSA, etc.). If you are interested in having your organization host a US SAILING seminar, contact your Area Race Officer (www.ussailing.org/racemgt/aro.asp). Guidelines for organizing a seminar are available on the race management page of the US SAILING website http://raceadmin.ussailing.org/Officials/Race_Officers/
- On the water performance is the real test of a race officer. Why doesn’t the program rely on direct observation of race officers on the water?
Direct observation is a good way to judge a race officer’s performance, if the conditions are suitably challenging and there are objective standards. Information about an applicant’s on the water performance is obtained from the references, but such information tends to have a positive bias, since the applicant selects the references, and many people are reluctant to give a poor reference.
Applicants for National Race Officer have to submit a detailed evaluation from a National Race Officer who has observed the applicant as a principal race officer. Such evaluations may be submitted by an Area Race Officer or a member of the Race Management Committee who is a National Race Officer.
- What benefits do I get from the US SAILING liability insurance that I don’t get from regatta liability insurance?
Regatta liability insurance provides coverage only when there is an incident on the water involving personal injury or death. US SAILING’s liability insurance provides much broader coverage. Examples include incidents involving property damage or injury occurring ashore. In addition, many organizing authorities do not carry regatta liability insurance.
- Do I have to start as a Club Race Officer, or can I qualify for one of the higher US SAILING levels initially?
You can be certified at any level initially. There is no requirement for “time in grade” before being certified as a Regional or National Race Officer. If you wish to become an ISAF International Race Officer, US SAILING requires that you be a National Race Officer.
- My club runs a race management training program. Will that program fulfill the requirement for participating in a race management seminar so that I can become certified?
It depends. If your club (or other local sailing organization--"LSO") uses the US SAILING curriculum and a “qualified” instructor, that seminar and the associated test will meet the program's requirements.
- I would like to become a Club Race Officer. Why do I need the US SAILING Race Management Handbook?
One of the goals of the race officer certification program is increased standardization of race management techniques across the country. The RMH contains information that is useful to all race officers, regardless of the type of racing they are running.
- I already own a Race Management Handbook. Do I have to buy another copy?
It depends. Certified race officers are required to own the current version of the book. The most recent version is the 2007 printing of the August 2005 edition. US SAILING keeps records of who has purchased books, and will verify that you own the current one (or have ordered it) before you can be certified or recertified. The Race Management Handbook can be ordered online: http://store.ussailing.org/viewItem.asp?ItemID=13036&UnitCde=1&Desc=Race Management Handbook 05&Search=N
- Why do Regional and National Race Officers have to purchase an appeals book that is written mostly for judges?
The US SAILING Appeals and ISAF Cases (one book) includes a number of appeals and cases on matters involving the conduct of racing and requests for redress. It is used most often by judges, but is also useful to competitors and race officers. Ownership of the current (2005) version of the US SAILING Appeals and ISAF Cases is required only for Regional and National Race Officers. The US SAILING Appeals Book and separate ISAF Case Book can be downloaded (for free) by US SAILING members at: http://raceadmin.ussailing.org/Appeals.htm . The printed book may be purchased at: http://store.ussailing.org/viewItem.asp?ItemID=13045&UnitCde=1&Desc=Appeals Manual 2005-2008&VendorDesc=&Search=N.
The US SAILING Judges Manual (http://store.ussailing.org/viewItem.asp?ItemID=13006&UnitCde=1&Desc=Judges Manual 2005 - 2008&VendorDesc=&Search=N) contains a great deal of information about redress requests, measurement and other subjects of interest to race officers. Ownership of this book is recommended, not required. In addition, both of these publications help people to understand the different roles of protest committees, juries and race committees, and how they interact.
- What will it cost to participate in the seminars?
The local organizer will determine the cost of each seminar. For some of the one-day seminars, the local organizers have offered the seminar as a benefit to their members, without charging a fee. The ROT&C subcommittee has developed guidelines for seminar organizers that specify the responsibilities of the organizer and of the instructor. The guidelines also highlight items that contribute to the cost of hosting a seminar, e.g. the testing fees paid to US SAILING. Copies of the guidelines are available from the Area Race Officers and on the race management page of the US SAILING website (http://www.ussailing.org/racemgt/documents/Seminar.PDF ).
- I would like to go to an advanced seminar and take the tests, but I do not have the necessary experience to be certified above the Club Race Officer level. May I take the tests?
Yes. Your test results are valid for four years from the time you take the test, so you have four years to accumulate the necessary experience and submit your application. In addition, you may opt to take the Club Race Officer test in place of the advanced test at the end of an Advanced Seminar.
- I was certified as a Regional (or National) Race Officer, but I did not apply to renew my certification before my four-year term expired. What am I required to do to renew my certification (and insurance)?
If you submit an application for renewal to your Area Race Officer by the deadline for consideration at the first US SAILING semi-annual meeting after your certification expires, your application will be considered as a renewal. The deadline is six weeks prior to the meeting. If you miss that deadline, you must meet all the requirements for initial certification.
- I did not pay my US SAILING dues on time and my membership lapsed, but my certification term has not yet expired:
Am I still certified? No; current membership in US SAILING is a requirement for certification.
Am I still insured? No; if you are not certified, you are not insured.
What am I required to do to reinstate my certification and insurance? If you pay your dues within 60 days of your membership lapsing, your certification and insurance will be automatically reinstated for the balance of your existing term as of the date US SAILING receives your dues. If you pay your dues more than 60 days after your membership lapsed, you must reapply and meet all the requirements for initial certification.
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