by Katie Nicoll
IJ Kathy Dyer started sailing in her late 20s at the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club in Hamilton, Ontario. At work, she was putting together a book on Canada 1 and became hooked on the sport. She and her husband, Colin Jacobs (Past Vice-Commodore of Docks and Boats at RHYC), haven’t looked back.
International Judge, Kathy Dyer, explains the finer points of rules as Andreas Josenhans looks on
They started out sailing together on a C&C 27. Then Kathy moved on to a C&C 25, Tartan 10, and then got the bug to go back to one-design boats, ending up on a J/24 with owners Al Kozan and then Kevin McAuley.
She was introduced to, and encouraged to start judging by Gwen Jocelyn (a former gold judge and umpire) in the early 1990s. In 2000, Kathy decided to change gears and go after the IJ (International Sailing Judge) certification. IJ Leo Reise started mentored Kathy as she went on her path, although IJ Alex McAuley and IJ Bill Cheek (all three from RHYC) were there too. Beside these, IJ Robert Stewart, has also joined the fold down in Hamilton.
Knowing that the role of a judge is a thankless job, with no pay except your expenses picked up, if you are lucky, Sail-World asked Kathy why this appeals to her. After thinking for a while, she replied, 'Giving back to the sport that I so enjoy and working with the young sailors, wishing that I could have had the opportunity to sail when I was a young child. I so enjoy the independence and self-reliance that these young people have and that spurs me on to help them. With sailing being a self-policing sport, it’s good to be able to share what I know with the sailors and do a little bit of education along the way.'
She can often be seen at regattas, as Chief Judge (always sporting her mantle of fiery red, curly hair, working on her computer (as she actually does have a real job as a type setter), lining up her panel of judges to hear protests, and completing the plethora of paperwork that always seems to go hand and hand with a protest committee. She is very generous with her time and advice, mentoring other junior judges, helping race committee with procedure, and answering the myriad of competitors’ questions on rules that come her way. We thank you, Kathy, along with all other sailing officials, for your time, commitment, and dedication to the sport. We couldn’t do it without you!