Fair play in sailing and a cross-discipline, consistent approach for officials were the major topics at the first-ever ISAF conference for Race Official Instructors held over the weekend of 3-5 October at the ISAF Secretariat.
Instructors occupy a crucial role in the ISAF Race Officials programme, training and assessing candidates aiming to join the 600 plus officials worldwide currently holding ISAF International Race Official status. The ISAF Instructors Conference was the first Conference to be held dedicated to Instructors and followed in the line of previous Conferences for ISAF International Judges, Umpires, Race Officers and Measurers.
A key focus of the Conference was to work towards a cross-discipline approach for all Race Official training, moving towards a model which involved much greater integration between the four disciplines (Judging, Umpiring, Race Management and Measurement).
John DOERR, chairman of the ISAF Race Officials Committee and head of the Presenting Group for the Conference, explained further, 'We want to develop the idea of a Race Officials team at events, not separate entities of Jury, Measurement and Race Management, but an integrated whole. We realized in order to do this we had to increase understanding and awareness between the different disciplines of Race Officials, and in turn to do this, we recognized we needed to update our training structure.'
Much of the conference was dedicated to working towards a cohesive strategy for all Race Officials. In particular the delegates sought a shared definition of fair play and identified potential solutions in order that these may be applied consistently. Instructors from each of the four Race Officials disciplines reviewed their teaching practices , materials and the content of seminars, each discipline gaining from the experience of the other three.
'Becoming an ISAF International Race Official is recognition of a level of expertise on a worldwide standard,' explains DOERR. 'The Instructors Conference has been an invaluable starting pointing from which we can develop our training structure and work towards the goals of more consistent training and assessments across all the Race Officials disciplines. Across all sports, a key attribute in the success of any rules system is their consistent application and the ISAF Race Official Programme needs to reflect the importance of this. That's why we've focussed on reviewing and improving our methods to ensure we're working towards that goal.'
Twenty-nine International Race Officials who either hold or are applying for Instructors status, including over 90% of current Instructors, attended the Conference, representing nations across Europe, North America, Oceania and South America. Along with DOERR, other members of the Presenting Group were Josje HOFLAND, Jan STAGE, David SPRAGUE and Nino SHMUELI.
The Instructors Conference is just one element of the ISAF Race Officials Programme which encompasses the training, assessment, support and appointment of International Race Official worldwide. You can find out more about ISAF Race Officials, including details on how to become an official, on the ISAF Race Officials microsite www.sailing.org/raceofficials.
International Sailing Federation (ISAF) - www.sailing.org