Race Officials met in Dublin

Dun Laoghaire, Ireland
The EUROSAF Race Officials Exchange Meeting took place last weekend in Dublin. Thanks to the professional organisation of the conference by Jack Roy, president of the Irish Sailing Association, delegates from all over Europe were able to concentrate fully on the distribution and allocation of the places for Race Officials at sailing events on the continent for 2020. The “exchange sailing season” is about to begin in a few days, starting in Martinique, France, with a F18-Catamaran Championship at the end of January, followed by the first EUROSAF European Championship this year —the Inclusive Europeans in Javea, South-East Spain— one week later. The 135th and last entered event of the EUROSAF Race Officials Exchange Programme will end the season on New Year’s Eve in Hvar, Croatia. 
 
Effective meeting, new IT platform
All in all 135 events in 29 member nations were put on the conference table, starting from national championships and ending up with some of the major European events and continental championships. Nearly 230 places had to be filled up; at the end of the meeting about 145 were awarded. The remaining 25% will normally be awarded in the next two weeks. “We had delegates from all over Europe represented and were able to continue on the high level of the programme we reached last year, qualitatively and quantitatively. Furthermore we were happy to launch the new online database and start working with it,” Pınar Coşkuner Genç, EUROSAF vicepresident responsible for the programme, said right after the conference.
 
Research results, fruitful discussion
On the evening before the conference started, delegates already present enjoyed a dinner together at the National Yacht Club only a minute walk from the hotel. The next day they met at the Royal Irish Yacht Club for the day’s meetings. After the allocation of events, the conference was rounded off with two presentations by Prof. Alessandro Pezzoli, weather expert in Olympic Sailing and the America’s Cup. In about two hours he worked out the most important weather issues faced by Race Officers. After a short break he unveiled the first results of the study launched by the EUROSAF European Sailing Academy Working Party, of which he is the vicechair, about international and national Race Officials in EUROSAF member nations. Followed a fruitful discussion with delegates that brought up new avenues of research around this question and suggested new opportunities for collaboration between EUROSAF Members in this field. Furthermore, some of the questions dealt with during the day —e.g. guidelines for matching ROs to events and new IT tool user-friendliness— will be followed up by ad hoc working parties. 
 
Unique hospitality, additional activities
The weekend was accompanied by a EUROSAF Executive Board meeting and concluded with an invitation by the Irish Sailing Association to a dinner at the Royal Irish Yacht Club. “We are really happy to see the continued involvement of a large majority of our Members in the RO Exchange Programme, which is a sure sign of its value for both ROs and organising authorities. The new IT tool has allowed delegates to free some time to investigate ways to expand the programme into further useful fields. The study presented by Prof. Pezzoli has brought to light the different realities existing in our Members and suggested possibilities of further analysis and —importantly— of increased collaboration between EUROSAF Members. We look forward to specific proposals to expand the programme and the meeting for an increased impact. Our fond thanks go to the Irish Sailing Association, the National Yacht Club, and the Royal Irish Yacht Club, and especially to Jack and Rosemary Roy for their fantastic and friendly hospitality and to the conference participants for their unfailing involvement,” said Josep M. Pla, EUROSAF president.
 
Next year’s EUROSAF Race Officials Exchange Programme Meting will take place in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, on January 16, 2021.