Saturday, August 11, 2007

New Mexico Sailing Club volunteers needed

Of course, the NMSC needs volunteers for officer and board spots next year, and volunteers to host events and lead projects.

We need help on work parties, so we can get the marina ship shape, put pads on knee braces, finish the connecting walkway widening, finish refloating the dockhouse, get the pump-out fully working (now that the pump has been repaired) and re-install the long gangway.

And, we need racers for the weekends of August 18 and Labor Day weekend. We need people to bring side dishes to the potluck on Sept. 1 (Saturday) and dessert on Sept. 2 (Sunday). We need people to show up and cheer everyone on and enjoy socializing. We also have some special needs.

We need several people to help make the Buccaneer Rodeo happen: We could use help both on-and-off the water for the Buccaneer Rodeo at Heron Lake on Labor Day weekend.

On the water we can also use committee boat volunteers to hoist and lower signal flags, sounds horns, check the wind, watch the starting line, record sail numbers of boats as they finish or do other interesting things.

Maybe I need to make up a chart of possible volunteer jobs on the water:

race committee signal boat -- starts and finishes races, center of communication with racers, promotes fair and safe racing.

Jobs -- some people may have multiple jobs or switch --

Principal race officer (PRO, Pat) -- chooses the courses to be raced, directs placement of starting line and mark-rounding buoys, decides whether winds and conditions are suitable for running the race, instructs recorder and scorer on how to record boats that did something "unusual".

Timer -- keeps meticulous track of time and starting sequences. Time is based on Global Postioning Satellite time or may be synchronized to the PRO's watch. Ideally, race committee volunteers will synchronize their watches before the first race.

Scorer -- calculates handicap results for handicap races

Signaller -- raises and lowers flags...
posts flags or writes on course board to indicate
course to be sailed before the race
raises and lowers postponement flag
raises class flag 5 minutes before race start
raises preparatory flag 4 minutes before race start
lowers prep flag 1 minute before start
raises postponement flag if start is to be postponed
lowers class flag at start
raises individual recall or general recall is recall happens
raises abandonment is race is abandoned
does same thing all over again for the next racing class
and for subsequent starts; each class will have a
different class flag

Sounder -- sounds horn or gun
preliminary repeated sounds 6 minutes before start
blast 5 minutes before
blast 4 minutes before
long blast 1 minute before
blast at beginning
two blasts if postponement before race starts
blast after beginning if 1 or few boats are over early
two blasts if general recall
blast is course is changed
three blasts if abandonment after race starts

Line sighter/wind reader -- watch starting line to make sure it's square to the wind, watch for boats over the line before the start, help recorder identify sail numbers and boats

Recorder -- record starting sequence times, finish order and times for each boat, any special circumstances noted by the PRO, such as violations that the race committee should protest, boats that sailed the wrong course, didn't finish properly, etc. Keep good, legible, complete records.

Radio operator -- where regattas do this, is in charge of communication from signal boat. May broadcast starting sequence essentials and announce individual and general recalls, postponements, and abondonments, if so directed by the sailing instructions and the PRO. Knows emergency communication procedures for summoning medical, rescue, or law enforcement help. Should also have a cell phone and local emergency phone numbers as back up. Ensures boat is provided with emergency signal equipment.

Boat operator -- safe navigation, positioning, and anchoring of the signal boat. May also act as host/hostess and provide provisions for the crew. Ensures boat has safety equipment.

Mark set boat --
Place pin buoy, windward mark, leeward mark, and reach mark as directed. Adjust them as directed to keep the course square. If the course isnt square, one side will be overly favored, the effective maneuvering area gets smaller, and boats will haver fewer tactical opportunities to pass each other -- the racing becomes less fair and interesting. In general, the line should be at a right angle to the average prevailing wind --- to the extent we have such a thing in mountain lake sailing. The windward mark should be straight upwind from the middle of the line, the leeward mark straight downwind, and the reach mark should be roughly in line with the starting line, way out past the pin buoy. The starting line should normally be longer than the combined lengths of all the boats that will be using it for any given start.

The mark set boat may also be used to change or shorten a course and in this case would be given a "C" or "M" or "S" flag to display and horn to sound.

All support boats should keep out of the way of racers, except in an emergency, and keep their wind shadows and wakes from affecting the racing.

Chase/safety/patrol/stake boat --
Keep out of the way of the racers as mentioned above. When accelerating rapidly, turn away from the racers. A good strategy for if we have only one chase boat is for the boat to shadow the fleet from a mostly downwind postion on the left side of the course most of the way out to the windward mark, then lead the fleet past the reach mark if used, or just go off to the side beyond the middle of the downwind leg.

If a racing sailboat capsizes or seems to have dropped out of the race, ask if they need assistance, unless it's an obvious emergency. A racing boat crew may prefer to do self-rescue so they can continue in the race and not be disqualified. If the crew is in distress or asks for help, do so with care.

* You may be able to support the mast tip of a capsized boat so the sailboat doesn't turtle, or tie a line to a shroud or mast and run it around the boat and back down to help right a capsized boat.

* If the sailboat turtles in shallow water and the mast gets stuck, you may be able to approach the hull side and gently pull the boat by its centerboard or gunwales parallel to the mast so it doesn't break, or you may be able to approach the top side and push the boat's cockpit (watching out for loose lines so they don't get wrapped in your prop!).

* If the crew is injured, hypothermic, or exhausted, you may be able to provide first aid supplies, first aid, blankets, shelter on your boat, and perhaps a tow to the marina or shore.

* If something serious on a boat breaks and the crew can't fix it, you may be asked to provide a tow to the marina or shore.

* If the weather gets really bad, racers on smaller dinghies might want to anchor or abandon their boats and take refuge on your boat.

Other duties for a safety boat might be patrolling the course to courteously help let non-racing boats (fishermen, cruisers, etc.) know how to avoid the racers, inform park rangers of any dangerous situations, etc.

Photo/video/guest/press/spectator boat -- while keeping out of the way of the racing and race committee boat, get good pictures and videos of all the action that can be posted on the regatta and club websites, etc. Take out photographers or reporters, family members of racers, or club members who don't have a boat who want to see the action.

Semi-on-the water:
Judge. Chair protest committee and help arbitrate protests or disputes between boats. Help explain racing rules and regatta and protest procedures. Explain purpose of protest hearing and lead parties through the procedures.

Off the water:
We could use some people to greet the Buccs, help them find their campsites, parking, etc., do a few last-minute registrations, perhaps help shuttle trailers and vehicles, run errands, help set up the potluck, help give out prizes, perhaps entertain family members.


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