Charley Cook (USA) is the ISAF Principal Race Officer at the 2010 Skandia Sail for Gold regatta. He will also be the (PRO) for the 2012 Olympic Games Sailing Competition to be held in Weymouth in just under two year's time.
Cook has a team of International Technical Officials (ITO) and Course Race Officials (CRO) to manage the final regatta of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Weymouth. There are seven race courses in Weymouth and nearly 700 boats so this is a major test for this highly experienced team. The key objective, Cook points out, is to provide consistent and fair racing at all Sailing World Cup regattas.
"Every SWC this year has appointed a (PRO) from a small group developed by ISAF, and the concept was to have a (PRO) who is not from the host country to make sure the events run consistently on the water at all SWC events."
The race officials appointed by ISAF travel from all over the globe to gain experience and take part in some of the biggest and most important sailing regattas in the world. From this pool of officials some of the best are chosen to officiate at the Olympic Games. This is a very important accolade of which any race official can be very proud.
Cook explains, "Events like this are an opportunity to bring officials from parts of the world where they would not get the chance to learn the skills required to officiate at major events. They can then take this knowledge back home and use it in practice at local regattas. That is good for sailors worldwide."
This year's Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta is also an informal test event in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games. So two years out, what is his view on preparations ahead of the Olympic Regatta from a race management perspective?
"They are well ahead of schedule from my experience at other events, we still have a lot to do, and we have some issues with equipment and resources. On Tuesday when it was rough we tested the limits of our resources and equipment. However the local organisers are committed on working on the issue."
Bearing in mind that the Olympic Games Regatta will be held at exactly the same time of year, how will the organisation cope if Weymouth is bombarded with bad weather for two or three days?
"The Olympics will be easier to cope with, the reason being, that there are fewer boats, more resources and a bigger period of time. So we can cope a lot better if we have a couple of days of bad weather."
"In the ISAF policies, we have established guidelines to advise when we will race and when we will not, so that the sailors know we are being fair." It is all about Quality not Quantity."
I asked Cook how the set-up compares in Weymouth to other leading venues?
"The general prevalent conditions here are excellent. Access to the racing from the venue is excellent and I am sure we will have a good sailing regatta here in two years time."
With nearly 700 boats and 1000 sailors racing on seven different courses I ask whether the ISAF Sailing World Cup has reached capacity?
"The SWC has become a victim of its own success, all of the event organisers are stretched to the limit in coping with the size and number of fleets. The event organisers are working on that going forward because we are getting close to the point that the size of the regatta is affecting the quality of the racing."
I ask Cook on how 'on the water umpiring' is improving the race management of Sailing World Cup racing?
"I think it is vastly superior to spending hours in the jury room waiting for protests to be heard. It is not feasible in a large fleet but we use on the water umpiring in the medal races wherever possible and of course in the Women's Match Racing"
As well as Race Officials, ISAF have a team of Jury members and Umpires appointed to officiate at each SWC regatta. Regattas of this magnitude would simply not be possible to organise without their hard work and dedication.
2010 Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta
The Race Committee
Event Director - Rob Andrews
Field of Play Manager - Rod Carr
ISAF Principal Race Officer - Charley Cook USA
Orange Team windward - leeward course Alpha Course
Classes 2.4 metre, Skud and Sonar
CRO Jamie Wilkinson
Deputy Jenny Wilson
Blue Team windward - leeward Bravo Course
Classes RS:X (male and female)
ITO Ross Wilson AUS
CRO Rob Lamb
Deputy Mike Garvey
Purple Team windward - leeward Charlie Course
Women's Match Racing
ITO Maria Torrijo Moll ESP
CRO John Burgoine
Yellow Team windward - leeward course Delta Course
ITO Sulis Papantoniou GRE
CRO David Campbell-James
Deputy Richard Stanley
Red Team trapezoid course Echo Course
Classes Laser and Laser Radial
ITO John Parrish NZL
CRO Jeff Martin
Deputy Peter Saxton
Black Team trapezoid course Foxtrot Course
Classes 470 (male and female)
ITO Nino Shmeuli ISR
CRO Adrian Stoggall
Deputy Frank Newton
Green Team trapezoid / windward - leeward course Golf Course
Classes Finn and Star
ITO Peter Reggio USA
CRO Tim Hancock
Deputy Mark Wood
Bernard Bonneau FRA Chief Judge
David Tillett AUS Olympic Chief Judge
Katrina Adloff GER
Chris Atkins GBR
Mohamed Azzoug ALG
Jim Capron USA
John Doerr GBR
Jon Haines GBR
Nelson Ilha BRA
Peter Johnson GBR
Hulki Oruz TUR
Takao Otani JPN
Andres Perez ESP
Alfredo Ricci ITA
Ana Sanchez ESP
Peter Taylor GBR
Richard Thompson GBR
Egil Wold NOR
Jury Secretary Jon Napier GBR
Jan Stage DEN Chief Umpire
Alan Baser GBR
Gerard Bosse FRA
Nick Burgin GBR
Sally Burnett GBR
Angelo Buscemi USA
Jack Lloyd NZL
Flavio Naveira ARG
Bill O'Hara IRL
Tom Rinda USA
For full race results click here
For the latest news, blog and details on tracking visit : www.skandiasailforgoldregatta.co.uk
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