Volunteers play a hugely important role in the smooth running of the Club. Helping us with everything from creating the beautiful flower arrangements that adorn the Club House to mark laying on Club race nights, our volunteers are at the heart of everything we do. Volunteering is a fantastic way to meet new people, work in beautiful surroundings and a chance to use your talents to help enrich Club life. Below we’ve listed some of the roles we welcome volunteers to participate in. If you would like to find out more on how you can become involved, please contact the Club office for more details.
Volunteers are responsible for purchasing the flowers (reimbursed by the Club) and ensuring that the arrangements through out the Club stay fresh for the week.
Trophy and Antiquities Care
Volunteers are responsible for polishing the Club trophies, looking after the Club’s numerous antiquities and ensuring that any repairs are carried out.
Occasionally members are called upon to use their expertise to carry out minor repairs and alterations to Club property.
Chairman of the Race Committee or Event Director
The Chairman of the Race Committee may, but preferably not for a major event, be the Principal Race Officer (PRO). He liaises closely with the Race Officer(s). He supports and directs them off the water and authorizes changes to the Sailing Instructions.
Principal Race Officer
If there are multiple courses being used at the same time, the overall on water management of the regatta is the responsibility of the PRO who liaises with the race officer on each course. If there is only one course it is managed by a Race Officer and there is no PRO. The PRO keeps an overview of all courses and is the ultimate decision maker on the overall conduct of the event. The PRO also supervises the onshore aspects of race management, ensuring that signals are displayed correctly, notices are placed on the official notice board etc. The PRO will liaise closely with the Regatta Chairman/Event Director.
The Race Officer is responsible for the actual conduct of the racing on his course. Ideally, the Race Officer is an on-the-water manager, who lets his team get on with their jobs. He should at all times keep an overview of what goes on around the entire race course. He will liaise closely with the Principal Race Officer. The Race Officer and key assistants should record all their actions on tape recorders for later reference. The tape recorders should be left on during all start, recall and finishing procedures. As the responsible person for his race course, he will usually represent his Race Committee at protest hearings, although, exceptionally, he may prefer to delegate.
Deputy Race Officer
A person, working on the main committee boat with the Race Officer, who would be capable of taking over as Race Officer in an emergency. Under normal operating conditions he would organise the committee boat personnel to ensure that everyone is in position and ready to proceed. He ensures that all systems on the race committee boat are ready and operational.
Assistant Race Officer
On the Pin End line boat and/or the Finish boat. The ARO works closely with the Race Officer, and is in charge of the procedures on his own boat.
This is, after the Race Officer, the most important position on the Race Committee. More starts have been spoiled by the Timekeeper being distracted than any other single cause. It is a position which requires single-minded concentration and a good clear voice.
Visual Signals Officer
The Visual Signals Officer will be responsible for ensuring the visual signals are ready for display and removal at the appropriate time. He takes all his timings from the Timekeeper.
The Gunner works closely with the visual signals officer. He has responsibility for all the sound signals that accompany the visual signals. The tasks of Gunner and Timekeeper may be combined if the sound equipment allows.
The Recorders are responsible for the paper work on the water:
- note the competitors reporting at the start;
- keep the log of actions and communications;
- wind direction and strength;
- course used;
- note all the boats identified as being OCS;
- the sail numbers of the boats incurring penalties;
- sail numbers of boats correcting errors;
- the finish.
A back-up recorder is advisable at the pin-end boat and at the finish. In other words, a good Recorder compiles a diary of the race. Tape recorders should also be used to record finishing positions as they are called while actually crossing the finishing line. This is very handy for sorting out any confusion later on particularly where a lot of boats have finished in a close group.
Pin End Boat Crew
The person in charge of the pin end line boat is normally an Assistant Race Officer. The crew of this vessel are required to judge the starting line and to very quickly communicate with the RO what they have recorded in the way of boats ‘On The Course Side’ (OCS). It is important to emphasize that they act in an advisory capacity only. The decision as to which boats are over, or if the line is ‘clear’ (no boats over), rests solely with the RO. Communication with the RO is best by mobile telephone but if this is impossible, by VHF.
Only appropriate to dinghy racing, his tasks include ensuring the orderly and systematic launching of boats and retrieval on their return. He also takes care of important safety checks such as noting who has and has not entered the water, and similarly, who is still to return – he usually operates a signing in and signing out system (or a tally system). He should report these actions to the RO. He will have radio contact with the Race Officer and will advise him of the time when the last boat leaves the beach and the expected number of boats in the starting area.
In dinghy racing the Safety Officer deals with safety and rescue operations under the guidance of the race officer. In practice, they both work together very closely although the RO is ultimately responsible for the safety of the event. The Safety Officer must be familiar with the regatta venue, the characteristics of the class(es) competing, the class rules and, of course, the sailing instructions. Cooperation with local Rescue organizations is highly recommended.
* Race Officer role descriptions with thanks to the RYA