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Coaching during regattas
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Jan 18, 2009, 6:38 AM

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In Scuttlebutt 2755 (Jan. 8, 2009), Paige Brooks wrote an article titled WHEN IS COACHING UNFAIR? Her commentary reviewed the current situation of on-the-water coaches during regattas, and how the Etchells class rules had recently changed to limit coaching at all US events to before the warning signal through the end of the last race of the day. The Star class had also just amended their rules for their championship events, stating that "a yacht shall receive no outside assistance from support boats or otherwise once she has left the dock for the day until the finish of the last race of the day, except in the case of emergency and/or towing supplied by the organizer and available to all participants."

The response to this story in Scuttlebutt is included in this thread.




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Jan 18, 2009, 6:38 AM

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Issue 2756:

* From Ed Coyne: (re, coaching story in Issue 2755) I sailed in the Etchells
Worlds in Chicago last summer. I saw that at least one of the teams, immediately
prior to the first race of the day, take the skipper onto their chase boat and
drive him up to the weather mark then return him to the boat just before the
start sequence. This seemed like an extremely unfair advantage.

The professional teams already have the advantage of experience, training and
coaching. Adding coaching and assistance on the race course makes it nearly
impossible to compete. I am in favor of restricting coaching from the point of
departure of the dock on the first race until the end of the last race of the
regatta. This is in keeping with the concept of one design racing.


* From Michael H. Koster: (re, coaching story in Issue 2755) On the subject of
coaching, what follows is a cut and paste from tennis' 2008 Code of Conduct for
ITF Pro Circuit Tournament. Let's consider the race course a court and keep all
coach boats off the course, or at least 50 yards behind the base of the course.
I suspect tennis' approach to this issue is too simplified for sailing!

"Coaching is considered to be communication, advice or instruction of any kind,
audible or visible, to a player. In team events where there is a team captain
sitting on-court, the team captain may coach the player(s) during a set break
and when the players change ends at the end of a game, but not when the players
change ends after the first game of each set and not during a tie-break game.
In all other matches, coaching is not allowed."


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Jan 18, 2009, 6:39 AM

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Issue 2757:

* From Phil Mostyn: (re, coaching story in Issue 2755) I guess we all know the
difference between the support a competitor gets from friends in a support boat
between races, and the support a competitor gets from a coach. However, who in
the heck can that difference between the two on the water? What if the coach is
among the friends? What if the coach doesn’t register with the RC?

I’m a judge and umpire and sometimes come across race officials who get carried
away about coach boats going up one side of the course or the other, but in all
my experience I have yet to catch someone cheating, notwithstanding that we
have, at the request of RC’s, monitored some suspects very, very carefully.

My view, if it’s good for the development of the Class, then go with it. If the
sailors don’t want it - as the Star sailors are said to have voted that they
don’t - then ban it. But if you want to try and police such a ban between races
you are probably going to have to ban support from any source.


* From Geoffrey Emanuel, Southlake, TX: The decline in race participation has
been long debated. However, I cannot think of a bigger deterrent than on the
water coaching during a regatta. Most can't afford it and those that can should
practice with coaching and race on their own. On the racecourse, coached teams
dilute the true test of skills in a sport that rewards self-sufficiency. The
uniqueness of our sport has been the ability of amateurs and professionals to
compete together. I can think of no better way to alienate amateurs this than
on-the-race course coaching. Ban it outright. There is no manageable middle
ground.


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Jan 18, 2009, 6:39 AM

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Issue 2758:

* From Ed Furry, Sail22 LLC: (re, coaching thread from Issue 2755) I am all for
coach boats off the race course as all powerboats should be. But I work with a
lot of amateur drivers that want to improve. I already know we have a
disadvantage over teams with a pro driver. That is why we look for coaching to
get us closer to where the pros are. No one is allowed to get coaching during
races. Never have been - never will. However, if we wait until the end of the
day we lose the opportunity to fully learn from our mistakes.

Last time I checked we are still the only sport where amateurs can truly compete
against the top level pros. So if the pros are using coaches to win, why should
we limit the amateurs from getting the same coaches? If you think it is unfair
then why don't you ask for a list of coaches that can help you get closer to the
pros. If you have an issue with paying money for a coach then that is your
choice for not wanting to improve. But there are a lot of sailors out there that
want to spend the money to get better. Not because they have it, but because
they have the drive to get better and feel spending money on a coach is how to
do that. And the issue to talk about in the next article is how to pick a coach
that works for both your budget and your personality.


* From Tom Donlan (re, coaching thread): I am generally opposed to
professionalism of all kinds in sailboat racing. But since that horse left the
barn some time ago, I suggest full disclosure. Any competitor engaging a coach
should be required to disclose the fact and to disclose the contract he has with
the coach, including the amount he pays the coach.


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Jan 18, 2009, 6:40 AM

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Issue 2759:

* From Mark Lammens: (re, coaching story in Issue 2755) Originally power boats
on the water at regattas were for a little regatta servicing, a place to get and
drop off food and gear, sometimes a tow, for rescue/safety, and even when
needed, Race Management. The boats on the water were usually available for
almost anyone that asked. When you got a tow from the FRA or DEN coach, you
usually had to get them a beer or a tow for their sailors when at a different
event. We needed to be pleasant to each other because we needed each other’s
help.

Today we have National Teams and even club teams focused exclusively on their
team, especially for the little boats (Laser, Radial, and windsurfer) where
there is no room/space for kit. It is part of all the Olympic Classes, as well
as the small youth boats. At the Olympic level it has been this way for quite a
few years, perhaps since the early 90's when the benefits of coaching were
realized and really took off. At this level it is understood.

Other sports have coaches on site as well; it is in every sport. Will these bans
(in the Star and Etchells classes) on "on the water" coaching trickle down to
the smaller boats? This may be oversimplifying the issue but with race courses
far from shore venues you have to be careful about making rule changes because
people are upset they did not get a fast tow.


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Jan 18, 2009, 6:40 AM

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From 2760:

* From Mike Levesque: (re, coaching story in Issue 2755) As a racing sailor in
classes that don't use coaches (Hobie Cats), it is a big change for me to run
Opti and Laser events as a PRO (in Newport), and to have so many coach and mom
boats on the water (sometimes 30 or more power boats for 100 Optis).

Generally speaking, these folks are a tremendous asset to the sport. They are
always there to help with logistics (towing in and out in light air), safety
(assisting capsizes, escorting individual boats to the beach if they have
problems during racing), etc. I have even had occasion to deputize some into
helping out as a mark boat.

Do I want power boats in the middle of the course? Maybe, if the conditions
warrant it and the drivers are capable. Do I want them interfering with starts?
Of course not, and that is usually the one area that requires the most finesse
with SIs.

Like anything, blanket rules are never good. We have to assess each regatta, and
the needs of the sailors before anything else. I know I'm not alone when I say
that Opti regattas probably wouldn't be as successful without coach boats.


* From Peter Lawrence: (re, coaching story in Issue 2755) The issue should be
based on the rules of each class:

- If a class allows professional sailors to race, then they should not allow
coaches as the results should be based on the pro's skill.
- If a class limits the number of pro's using the owner-driver rule, then also
no coaches, as the results should come from the boats pro's.
- If a class has separate scoring for pro's and Corinthian sailors, then the
Corinthian sailors should be allowed coaches to improve themselves in the class.
- If a class does not allow pros, then no coaching, because it gives the person
being coached an advantage.


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Jan 18, 2009, 6:41 AM

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From 2761:

* From Manfred Schreiber: (re, Mark Lammens letter w in Issue 2760) I think that
Mark does simplify the matter a little bit by suggesting that the people who got
upset about NOT getting a quick tow back into the harbour, launched this thread
or the rule change in the Star class. Have to say, I am not a member of that
class organization but know a few influential people. Those people could well
have a huge RIB with trainer and support crew out on the course, all on their
own expenses, but they are not doing so. They are as upset with the big numbers
of RIB´s hurling around fro and to the marinas, through other course areas,
putting a layer of bad smell and ugly wakes on the water, where we sailors with
some social intelligence want to be seem environmental friendly. Green sport so
to speak.

My experience is only from Kiel or Medemblik or Lake Garda and I have seen the
RIB´s growing in numbers like there is no tomorrow. We also had bans for parents
or coaches changing from a green to a red sweater during start sequences. Hats
off for the Star class and their slogan which brought the rule change: "We want
to be the first clean class". We can only hope that other classes will follow
and that coaching takes place ashore and outside these big regatta events. One
or two boats do no harm but the 300 - 400 RIBs (and growing) which are coming to
Kieler Woche every year are a big problem which needs to be solved.


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Jan 18, 2009, 6:45 AM

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* From Geoffrey Emanuel, Southlake, TX: In response to Ed Furry's letter, the last time I checked, we compete in an amateur sport. If we allow on the water coaching to become pervasive, our sport becomes more and more professional. Then amateurs become scarce.

Where should we draw the line? I never expected to beat the pros when I raced against them. I did expect to learn something and improve. If you want to take it to the next level, by all means hire a coach and get better. But at least let me and the rest of the fleet compete on a racecourse devoid of the distraction and frankly the intimidation of outside coaches. Learning how to learn from your own mistakes is a fundamental part of what makes sailing so unique.





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Jan 18, 2009, 6:47 AM

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* From Mike Moore: In response to Mark Lammens, my issues with coaching have nothing to do with missing a highspeed tow. I much prefer sailing to and from the course if the breeze is up. I also don't have any issues with someone wanting to raise their game and hire a coach. What I do object to is having to dodge coach boats in the starting area (and the extra chop they churn up), having to shout that much louder at the skipper due to the coach boat noise in the starting area, and competitors getting weather information once on the water that isn't available to all.

Coaches can be a positive influence, can help almost all sailors raise their game, and can be of huge benefit to all when conditions get adverse. But they can also really change the game. For instance, is it fair for one competitor to get a wind report from the weather mark just prior to the warning signal while the rest of the fleet is left with just knowing what is going on at the starting line? Is it fair for a competitor to have access to spares on the water that everyone doesn't have access to? Both are examples I've seen, and neither are against the rules, but they do give a competitor specific, tangible, immediate advantages over his competition.

Banning coaches probably isn't the right thing, but it seems to me we need to work harder at making sure they don't change the game in fundamental ways. If I choose not to hire a coach I can't complain about a guy getting a post race debrief about what he did wrong, or about not getting a tow in, or about how he spent hours on the water evaluating rig set-up. But the guy with a coach ought to have to deal with equipment breakdowns the same way I do, and he ought to have to figure out the race course the same way I do, and I shouldn't have to worry about his coach boat getting in my way.




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Jan 18, 2009, 7:11 AM

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From Dawn Riley: Recently there have been some discussions on coaching circulating around the sailing world. There have been some people who have insinuated or claimed that they believe coaches are cheating and communicating with sailors on the race course. As a result, some classes have recently ‘banned’ coaching. This is an unfair attack. Also IF it is happening then it is up to the fellow coaches and the competitors themselves to bring it to the attention of the judges. If you follow the logic of ‘some cheat so ban all’ then we would have to ban all classes where anyone had ever cheated. Ridiculous and unfair.

Life isn’t always fair but we all have a personal responsibly to make it fair – not by hiding behind some cooked up rule but by standing up and fixing the situation, if or when it happens.

On a more positive note, I have been coached a lot more than I have coached but I have to say I really do love coaching. Quite a few of the team members that I have worked with have become great friends as well and I see benefits at all levels I work with. As far as I am concerned it is all good.

I also see coaching as one of the few opportunities for our sport’s growth. Anyone who is on a membership committee of a club knows that we have really low participation between the ages of 20 and 40. One of the reasons is that these people have a LOT of stuff going on in their lives and they don’t have time for the inefficiencies of learning by trial and error, of sitting on a boat and wallowing in the middle of the fleet week after week. Coaching and clinics prevent wasted time and energy and improve results and enjoyment. I believe that it is perfectly OK to be mid fleet if you are improving. Coaches can help.

To wrap up, I personally don’t think coaching is that valuable during a regatta. If I have done my job correctly my team is ready when the start gun fires. On rare occasions my team thinks they really do need me and I go to a regatta with them. But I am much more of a go-fer, part time psychologist and mixologist than a coach.

Being a supporter on the water during a regatta is fun but what I find really fun is helping myself and others to continue learning and striving for sustained excellence on and off the water.


MEsposito
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Jan 19, 2009, 9:46 AM

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I hate to disagree with Dawn, but coaching from other boats should not be allowed in the race area. For the reasons stated above (or somewhere around here, wherever it's posted), on-water coaches provide an unfair advantage to the racers who have them. They also add more boats to the already congested pre-start area, raising the possibilities of collisions and injuries (of which we already have several near-fatal examples).

Coach all you want before the event. Coach all you want after the event. Get the team ready to go, but once the regatta begins, the skills of those on board the racing boat are all that should matter. (That's why you hire pros to race WITH you. Tongue)

And the argument that getting 20- to 40-somethings up to speed faster is specious at best. No matter how well-coached they all are, if there are 100 boats in a regatta, 90 percent of them will finish outside the Top 10. So gimme a break, someone's going to be the cannon fodder on any given day.


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Jan 20, 2009, 11:06 AM

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Scuttlebutt 2763:

* From Joe Williams, Seattle, WA: (re, coaching story in Issue 2755) This
article describes several areas of information that a coached boat could expect
to receive between races:

> Ambient condition changes since the last race
> Strategies and potentially tactics – what could have been done better, how to
approach the next race - in small and / or big fleet racing
> Trimming and tuning suggestions for the existing conditions

Having this information greatly advantages a coached boat vs. a non-coached boat
--- for one design racing, where the goal is to even up the advantages of
spending $$ to win and test the sailors’ skills more directly, the above info
provided only to a few swings the “even” nature out of balance. The wealthy
receive an advantage because they have the means.

Even the pre-race information that you cite - Wind direction and current at the
starting line, top mark, left and right sides of the course - hands an advantage
to the wealthy owner. Yes, the non-coached boat could get this information by
sailing the full racing venue and recording on their own….but that’s not the
same as getting it delivered to you just before your warning signal.

The best way to have a true one-design regatta is to eliminate coaching from the
moment the boats enter the race area until the end of racing for the day. This
limitation puts all competitors on an even level for the day’s racing….and isn’t
that what one design racing is all about?


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Jan 21, 2009, 9:41 AM

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Scuttlebutt 2764:

* From Chris Ericksen: (re, Coaching during regattas) As one who has seen
coaching from both sides of the table, as an un-coached competitor in regattas
that saw several coached teams and most recently as a race official for a youth
regatta where there was one coach boat for every three racing boats, I could not
possibly agree more with anyone than I do with Joe Williams when he suggests in
'Butt 2763 that every "one-design regatta (should) eliminate coaching from the
moment the boats enter the race area until the end of racing for the day."

It seems to me to strike at the very heart of one-design racing, the idea that
the contest is sailor against sailor, not less-well-heeled sailor against
more-affluent sailor. As one who lies in the latter category in my class, I am
resigned to the fact that some of my fellow competitors will have newer boats
that are better finished and have newer sails. I just think having to compete
against a team of professionals both on and off the racing boats is to me a
"bridge too far."

As a current member of the Etchells class and former member of the Star class, I
am proud of the stand these class associations have taken in this regard. And
don't get me started on coaching at youth events...


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Jan 22, 2009, 12:15 PM

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From Frederic Laffitte: As a long time one design sailor (J-24 and now Etchells) I have watched the slow demise of fleet after fleet once the amateur guy knows he has no chance to win but also feels like they will never win. Pros on board are a fact of life; actually they are part of reason why us little guys still go sailing in big regattas. We want to measure ourselves against the best, learn a few tricks in the process and if we have a good day and beat a few of them, we are on cloud nine.

However, when coach boats are on the water, feeding information to a limited number of boats, then the game is skewed and the thrill is gone. Coaches have their place at practice and post race analysis. They are very important if we want our sport to be able to compete on a worldwide basis. For example, coaches for kids are necessary so they learn the basics, coaches for high school and college teams are a necessity much like football and basketball coaches, private coaches for boats who have a desire to improve or need to prepare for a big regatta also have their place and are perfectly acceptable.

Where coaches have NO PLACE AT ALL is during the race, and the race starts when the boat leaves the dock and stops when the boat returns to the dock… PERIOD. The coach boats can go out and look at the race but should be treated just like any other spectator boat and should NEVER have any communication with the racers. If this type of rule is not set in motion, one design racing will become another race for the money and that is exactly the opposite of what One Design sailing is intended to be.

Here is a very simple example: While a one design sailor is prohibited from using outside assistance (cell phone for example), a coach boat is not. So if a coach boat gets information about a change of wind direction on shore or from another member of the coaching staff, he then can report it to his race boat who gains an advantage....and that is legal. If I do the same with my cell phone it is illegal. And dont get me started on the secret signals coach boats use on the water to avoid obvious coaching-coaches, you do it, we know you do it so dont deny it.

I am very proud to be an Etchells sailor, a one design class which has designated where coaching stops and the racing begins.


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Jan 26, 2009, 5:21 PM

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Scuttlebutt 2766:

* From John Culter, Vancouver, Canada: (re, Coaching during regattas) Money
talks, as usual, but almost all segments of our sport use money to make things
more competitive. Better foul weather gear means more endurance; high tech lines
mean less stretch, more power; new sails are faster. And so on. Why not add some
paid-for brainpower to the mix?

If you want to find out what the weather is at mark 1, come out a bit earlier
and find out. Or hire someone to tell you, if you think that will make a
difference. On a big boat it's possible to get lots of opinions from various
members of the crew about the favored side of the course, best place on the line
to start, whatever. You'll probably listen harder to a paid opinion, but I doubt
it will improve things all that much. Conditions have a way of rewarding good
driving and good tactics, never mind the grand strategies.

For those who cheat, (red and green sweaters!?) we have well developed rules,
and they should be enforced. For major Level 1 regattas where things are too
crowded, the organizing authority can take steps to cut down the wash and reduce
the numbers. For gear replacement, if the OA doesn't want to have spare parts on
the course, it can say so in the SIs. I don't see the need for classes to
broad-brush their rules to solve what seem to be very high level management
issues. Much as I respect the Star class in general, I think this one is a
mistake.


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Jan 26, 2009, 5:22 PM

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From John Culter, Vancouver, Canada:
We hear that the Star and Etchells classes expect to ban coaching from their regattas. While there may be good reasons for these expensive and well sailed boats to keep things pure, imagine the effect on our sport if dinghies took up this idea.

The largest employer of coaches in my part of the world are yacht clubs. We've learned that the easiest way to improve performance for young athletes is to get coaches involved, the earlier the better. (For an interesting take on the power of early coaching in another sport, check out Malcolm Gladwell's newest book "Outliers".) So if the Laser class, for example, shut down coaches at its regattas, our development plan would fall apart pretty quickly. Some accommodation would have to be made for regattas at club and regional levels, just to keep the program going.

Coaching works. People can be taught to sail. It's only reasonable that professional coaches be with their competitors, whether they be a handful of young Opti sailors or a single Finn sailor at a Gold Cup. Coaches have a job to do, and good ones make a huge difference.


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Jan 27, 2009, 8:49 AM

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Scuttlebutt 2768:


CLASS SPONSORED COACHING AT REGATTAS
by Justin Scott, Viper class president
The Etchells class and the Star class have recently introduced rules that
prohibit coach boats. The Viper class has taken a different route for the last
two years. We agree with those that point out that coaching on the day of
racing, between races, is a much more effective way of helping a sailor lift his
or her game than clinics or training days. We also agree that an expensive
coaching program is a hell of an advantage for a boat that can afford the dough
and doesn't accord with the Viper philosophy of providing economically
affordable racing. We love what coaching can do for sailors trying to improve
their skills. But we want a level playing field.

In the Viper class we try and get the best of both worlds. Individual coach
boats are not present. However we recently introduced Class coach boats at some
of our regattas supported by the Class Association and Rondar (class builder).
These are a couple of RIBs flying large Viper flags and staffed by some top
world class sailors and coaches. They follow the fleet taking pics and notes for
all competitors. Between races they station themselves near the pin and any boat
can sail past and get tips and pointers. They proactively seek out the bottom
third of the fleet and help them address any boat speed issues and comment on
strategy and which side of the course is working and why. -- Read on:
http://linkbee.com/CI7S


* From Peter Jones: (re, Coaching during regattas) I have always thought that
racing against someone with an active coach made me think I was racing against
the coach which is not appropriate but even worse when you don't know who the
coach is. In the past I saw that even when racers where limited to things like
age, sex, or to a racing area their coach may not be limited.

During high school I was a successful national wrestler because I had a great
coach. The coach never instructed us during a match because if he did we would
depend on him and of course that would be inappropriate but also not as timely
as our own decisions. So the most important thing is to learn to make decisions
yourself.






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Jan 28, 2009, 11:05 AM

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From Jay Feaver: Don’t kid yourself, there are lots of ways to “buy your way ahead” in this sport: Keel jobs (J/24), sail programs (Tornado, I-14, 470, etc.), spending a winter in Australia (in particular youth sailors), going to the gym... They only vary in the quantities of effort/cash required.

Watching others get the opportunities you can’t match sucks. It may be frustrating to see someone getting coaching on the water, but banning it at regattas will do little to reduce the effect of resource inequality.

When coaching is done right, it is a particularly cost effective way of getting faster. Far more so than new sails, flipping your Laser, or adding distant regattas to your schedule. Worse, banning coaching is awkward to enforce; some of the best coaching I have ever got was from fellow competitors.

If it is really the information inequality you are concerned about, then you as a competitor should be seeking out advice and making it available to all. Every coach I can think of in our area will take time to talk with you if you ask (an important etiquette detail). The Viper class has this right by making coaching available to all.

If this is about coaching conduct (in particular wake and etiquette), that is different. If this is about the style of racing that coaches teach (aggressive vs. cooperative vs. other), that is also different. If this is about reducing total campaign cost then admit that is your goal and work on that.

First note: For the record, I sail in Western Canada in the Laser and I14 and I coach in the Laser, Byte, Optimist, and 29er classes. I coach both junior athletes and a masters program. Also, since I now have grown up work, I am only coaching training sessions and the first local regatta from an inflatable stinkpot. I sail the rest (but talk between races…)

Second note: I understand / sympathize with the issue of boat numbers and wake. However, you will notice that collegiate sailing which had a similar problem (no where near enough boats) didn’t ban coaches they just stuck them in one boat together. I have shared coach boats in the past, it can work.

Third Note: Locally, we have coaching agreement (it gets put in the Sis) that has us to coach the back third of all fleets and all of the Opti Green (beginner) fleet on course for several of the provincial development regattas. I take full advantage of it for beginning sailors and it makes a huge difference in the rate they learn at if they are just starting. But after that, the better they get, the more you step back. I don’t use it for those who are advanced; anything you want to tell them can wait to between races. I would add we split it – one person takes one fleet and watches the whole fleet. Makes it much easier to understand and advise than watching 4 spread out fleets. This is possible because we have good cooperation between the local coaches and you are coaching beginners.

Forth note: I don’t know how to say this better than Jane Baldridge implied. David Barrow has it completely backwards. Yes, I too can see mistakes my sailors (it’s most acute in opti-land) are making due to either more experience, better tools (wind graphs), and/or hindsight (hey look, who’d a thunk, left paid at the top this time…) but that’s irrelevant. You need to be working on developing the whole sailor to be self-sufficient over time. It’s no good if you tell them after each race 25 things they did wrong since they already made the mistakes and will be overloaded. Telling people strategic outcomes (go right, go left) only works in the VERY short term. You need to teach them to understand shifts (for example) without you when they are happening. More over, if it’s a development regatta you are probably only focused on one (or a few) aspect(s) you need to suppress the rest. Going back to the collegiate example, most of the experienced collegiate coaches I most hoped to emulate never gave retrospective advice. They watched and occasionally asked questions such as “what are you going to watch for next race”.


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Jan 28, 2009, 12:50 PM

Post #19 of 39 (81258 views)
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Scuttlebutt 2769:

* From Jane Lawton Baldridge: In 1976, I was fortunate enough to get be in the
4th year of trying for the Adams Cup with the same skipper and crew. We were
from Seabrook, TX, a great place that encouraged many great sailors. John
Kolius offered to be our coach even though he was going for the Olympics in
Solings then also. He spent tireless practices out on the water making us
smart and tough. He went to the finals, but was there for morale and keeping
the team together more than anything, his on the water job having been done
before we left Texas for Rochester, NY. He never talked to us on the water. I
wouldn't trade his coaching for anything in the world and he knew the
boundaries. A great coach can make a team reach their peak performance and
skill levels before the event. From shore they can help with the "team
stresses" but they do not belong on the race course except as distant
observers. If the coach does their job well the athletes will do "their job"
on the race course and take encouragement and direction on shore after the
day’s events.


* From David Barrow: How many times have you watched a race from another boat
and thought, "Why can the fleet not see that shift, tide, current, etc. - it
is so obvious.” That is the coach’s perspective. The coach will also be armed
with GPS wind equipment and a fast boat to get around the course. Is it an
unfair advantage - yes! Is it legal for most classes - yes! Should it remain
so? That will boil down to the amazingly democratic sailors that compete in
our sport. Personally, I believe to make things fair, coaches should not be
allowed on the course during racing or between races. You could really level
the playing field by saying that coach’s findings have to be published daily.
When all that has happened you will still find the same guys at the front -
you can't buy feel.


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Jan 29, 2009, 11:25 AM

Post #20 of 39 (81133 views)
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From Dee Smith: I would say 90% of my business as a pro sailor is really coaching, mostly on big boats. I have made a career out of helping crews move up the ladder and stay there. Any good pro that sails with a non pro boat should be sure to teach whatever they can to make sure the crew gets better and enjoys their sailing more.

If your goal is not to get better, then you don’t need help and would be against coaching. But it is very hard to learn what it takes to win on your own. By having good pros or coaches that teach, crews can not only learn some basic tricks but how to learn on their own.

With coaches fleets get better. Everyone gains. There are enough classes that are weaker and non pro or non coached fleets that people can sail in if they don’t want the pressure to get better. There is no reason to put in a rule that limits learning. Of course, if there are no coaching boats allowed on the water, owners that want to learn will hire pros to sail on the boat and coach from there.

In my coaching experience from off the boat, it is very hard to see what is happening. I can see much more and help crews better if I am on the boat. What you do learn from off the boat is more speed related in sail trim from other boats. I do agree if a class gets too many coach boats on the water, then they should be limited to stay under the starting line. That should be a race committee call.

All in all, most pros and coaches want to help people get better and that is why we do the job.


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Jan 29, 2009, 11:27 AM

Post #21 of 39 (81131 views)
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Scuttlebutt 2770:

* From Morgan Reeser: (re, coaching during regattas) I feel that perspective
has been lost over who actually benefits from having a coach:
- Helping ‘mid-fleeters’ get to the front: The sailors in the middle and back
of the fleet will suffer most from minimizing coaching contact of the water.
Without coaches on the water the established experienced teams will continue
to win and will never be threatened by a mid-fleet team. Expert coaching
allows the sailors further back in the fleet to sail to their potential and
better enjoy the competition. Helping sailors to be their best and achieving
their goals is why I continue to coach. To have been told by one of my Gold
Medal athletes that I helped her achieve her life’s dream, makes me want to do
it with each succeeding team I have the opportunity to help.

- Coaching possibilities: In the 1996 Olympics, Tom King/Mark Turnbull were
23rd in the Men's 470 class, 110 points from the Gold Medal. In 2000, with a
lot of hard work directed by coach Victor Kovalenko, Tom and Mark won the Gold
Medal.

- Reducing expense: The expense for a coach pales in comparison to what
owners pay for multiple professional crews that sail with them. And isn’t a
professional sailor racing on the boat actually coaching the owner driver
around the course? In recent Etchells Jaguar Cup events, I have coached
multiple teams, hugely reducing per boat coaching expense and keeping per team
benefits very high.

Coaches help sailors, coaches help sailing.


* From Kerry Poe: Coaching should be handled the same way as allowing
professional sailors race… let the classes decide what level of coaching is
acceptable. The class associations should be able to control the kind of
atmosphere and kind of sailors they want to attract to their fleets.


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Jan 29, 2009, 12:05 PM

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Scuttlebutt Poll: Should there be limits on coaching?

(January 27-29, 2009) When it was announced that the Etchells and Star classes initiated new rules to limit on-the-water private coaching at some of their events, some people wondered whether private coaches should be allowed at all, that competitors being coached during a regatta are gaining an advantage that is not available to everyone. Investing money for coaching between events to improve one’s skills is one thing, but does utilizing coaching during an event take it to another level?

Some mentioned the added event logistics due to coaches and their boats. Others mentioned the safety issues (both pro and con) and environmental issues of having coach boats on the water. But can everything be regulated? If someone can afford a coach, and if they believe this is the best way for them to improve and further enjoy the sport, is it wise to restrict their access to this service? Does the sport need to be protected from coaching during regattas, or should it embrace it?

If you had a magic wand, choose among the following coaching rules:
  • No rules limiting coaching. - 4.2%
  • Coach contact allowed before a race warning and after a race finish for each race on a race day.- 21.4%
  • Coach contact allowed before warning of first race and after finish of final race for each race day. - 13.3%
  • Coach contact allowed before competitor leaves the dock prior to first race and following finish of final race for each race day. - 23.9%
  • Coach contact allowed before competitor leaves the dock prior to first race and when they return to the dock after final race for each race day. - 37.2%

    See poll comments in next post.





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    Jan 29, 2009, 12:06 PM

    Post #23 of 39 (81128 views)
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    Poll Comments :
    • Whatever it takes to eliminate event coaching at everything but the Olympic level.
      1/27/2009 1:58:59 PM
    • Policing coaching will be difficult so keep it simple, eh! This limit also allows coach and crew to compare on-water observations at the end of the race day.
      1/27/2009 5:32:50 PM
    • Coach boats should be limited on the water, coaches should not be allowed to talk to competitors on the water, unless allowed by class rules, classes should institute restrictions based on the composition of their sailors.
      1/27/2009 6:04:25 PM
    • If you need to be led by the hand on the water, go to the kiddie pool.Every element of the spirit of sailing is about independence, self-confidence, and creativity. Let the robot sailors go sailing on Wii. Doran Cushing
      1/27/2009 6:06:16 PM
    • This is madness. How can we allow a "coached" competitor to have an extra set of eyes, wind instruments, etc., in a powerboat scurrying all over the race course and providing a briefing, while the un-coached competitor is left solely to his own devices? What ever happened to the "fair sailing rule"?
      1/27/2009 6:08:41 PM
    • The less coaching the better. The less coaching the less cost the less pretend it is a professional sport the better. Bennet Greenwald
      1/27/2009 6:09:18 PM
    • We hired a coach for our group of kids in Optis to foster team spirit and camaraderie, to keep the parents from overly criticising their kids, and to help the kids with more immediate feedback. Some of these things would probably apply to adult coaching, as well.
      1/27/2009 6:11:36 PM
    • Coaching should be to help people get better. Great! Once the competition begins let''s see how much you learned? Keep the coach boats away from the competitors during the regatta. Like in Tennis they sitin the stands and watch. In Golf they are prohibited from even talking to the competitor during the round.
      1/27/2009 6:11:37 PM
    • Actually, I would prefer that no coaches be allowed at the regatta site from the day before the reggat starts to the day after it ends.
      1/27/2009 6:12:55 PM
    • This idea that coaches damage the sport could not be more absurd. Coaches are the catalyst that keeps the sport moving. their role on the water is only the tip of the iceburg. If you took away the coaches you would find that many regattas would disappear for lack of organization, hundreds of kids would stop sailing and move on to other sports. Look at other sports, if anything coaches in sailing already have their hands tied. Any further limitation would ONLY damage the sport. It would not help anyone, but rather satisfy some cranky folks who have not bothered to look behind the curtain to see who is really doing the work in our sport.
      1/27/2009 6:14:49 PM
    • On the water coaching for all significant Junior regattas should be outlawed..now
      1/27/2009 6:17:42 PM
    • It''s just like buying new sails. I donlt see that there should be rules prohibiting that.
      1/27/2009 6:22:50 PM
    • If one needs coaching, fine, but go into the ring by yourself, take your licks, it builds character, one learns more from their mistakes than their successes, and get coached between events. We all have too much input all too constantly. Take off the earphones, put down the cellphone, Reflect within yourself, it will mean more to you than a talking head telling you what to do next. Get human! This sport was more rewarding before we all took ourselves so seriously. And we still developed great sailors! The best lesson is getting outsailed and taking note of how that happened.
      1/27/2009 6:25:30 PM
    • I probably should stay out of this as I no longer race, well I might, but not at a level where coaching would ever be likely. However, I strongly believe that coaching boats, and the press, and spectators must not be on the race course ever, at any time.
      1/27/2009 6:27:28 PM
    • To an old time sailor this is ridiculous. Is this a race or a training exercise? Coaching has no place during racing.
      1/27/2009 6:31:00 PM
    • and not during protests - please -- level the field -
      1/27/2009 6:38:40 PM
    • In one design series at least, it''s boat vs. boat, skipper and crew vs. skipper and crew. I don''t think coaches belong in races unless they want to be part of the crew and qualify as such. We''re not racing to find out who can afford the best coach, we''re racing to test crew skills, navagation, tactics and boat preparation.
      1/27/2009 6:44:51 PM
    • The water actually is a level playing field. One of the purposes of Rule 41 is to ensure it stays that way, and this option is the only one which guarantees it will be true for every competitor. Any assistance which reduces the challenge inherent in the sport and makes it EASIER for one sailor to compete against another (including first shot at the hot showers) is UNACCEPTABLE.
      1/27/2009 6:45:09 PM
    • The arrival of coaches on the race course is an unwelcme development and in fact they should be limited to shore contact only. I have no problem with one wishing to improve their skill level but that should be limited strictly to non-race times and venues. I cannot think of anything less enjoyable than submitting myself to constant evaalulation and criticism in a recreational pursuit that I choose for escape from the rigors of everyday life. I also prefer to succeed or fail on my own merit. I don''t believe that those with coaches on the water are only in contact before or after a race. The Star class has it right! This support system mentality which seems to have wormed into almost every athletic (and non=athletic activity)will ultimately drive away people from their chosen game. I as a high school athletic coach was stunned when one of my former players was trying out for a division 3 college team and informed me that even at that level some of the athletes brought their personal trainers to school with them. It''s all nonsense. It''s time to have fun again in all of our athletic pursuits and especially in sailing. Who wants to arrive back on the beach and have to wait an hour or so to have a beer with a buddy while they go through their debriefing and critique. Coaches go away!!!!!!!!!! John McShane
      1/27/2009 6:46:39 PM
    • There are obviously many possibilities, but my goal would be to limit the effect of coaches on actual racing. No radio conctact outside of emergencies, no additional sails or equipment opportunities not available to the un-coached sailor, and keep the coaches a reasonable distance away from the starting area. These ideas seem to strike a balance between keeping the information a coached sailor gets timely and relevant, and still making the coached sailor figure things out for himself and make the same sail decisions at the start of the day as the un-coached sailor.
      1/27/2009 6:49:15 PM
    • I believe the NAYRU and subsequently US Sailing rule used to read “no outside assistance.” In many ways that rule provided equal playing conditions for all. What’s the problem with that? Competitive sailing, as many other sports do, continues to provide a benefit for people who can invest greater resources to further their endeavors. This does not result in an equal playing field for all participants. The Etchells class is not alone in trying to limit spending with their “sail card” which limits sail purchases over a period of time. It is no wonder the class has voted to limit coaching. Why not limit the benefits of an individuals financial resources to level the playing field? If excessive spending in yacht racing continues, the ultimate result may well be the kind of shenanigans that Alingi is trying tried to incorporate into the AC. Excessive spending will also discourage new individuals of “limited and/or ordinary means” from becoming involved in competitive sailing. Is this the picture we want to present of our sport? Me, thinks not! Jamie Leopold
      1/27/2009 6:54:14 PM
    • There are so many issues and valid viewpoints on this, a full response would take pages. So let me just list a few of my thoughts to fuel the fire. 1. Some of us were not born to families with a rich sailing tradition. So for us to "get up to speed", a coach is necessary to do the job that a father or grand-parent would do without being challenged. 2. That being said, what is wrong with raising the bar of competition outside of the "old boy network"? Some gifted sailors might actually have to work a little harder. 3. That being said, aside from MAJOR international events (which regulate themselves quite well) coaching at the lower levels (where I think most of this critique comes from) comes down to tossing food and water to a sailor- as well as helping unrelated sailors - and providing a safety buffer on the water which RC''s appreciate, or most times make mandantory. Then comes the Great Carnack predictions that the precious few receive from the "coach". If going left or right and predicting in advance a wind shift to a competitor becomes an advantage, then the coach should be elevated to the level of Allah! The sailors still have to sail the course, and as often than not, the coaches are wrong. WHAT AN ADVANTAGE! 4. That being said - perhaps this discussion should be moved to "The Board Room" to be resolved, as so many other issues in our sport, as well as other sports, seem to find a welcomed ear. 5. KNOW ANY GOOD ATTORNEYS?
      1/27/2009 7:12:32 PM
    • In these poor economic times do we, the sailors, want to remove jobs from the already diminishing job pool. To all the lawyers in sailing, how would you feel if you were not aloud in the courtroom?
      1/27/2009 7:12:54 PM
    • I am only interested in racing against fellow competitors, not competitors plus their support team (which may include coaches). I do not care what they do from Monday to Friday to improve their on water performance (legitimately), but come Saturday and Sunday then its "seconds out" and competitors against competitors only.
      1/27/2009 7:18:02 PM
    • Golf has given quite a golf bit of thought to this issue over the past 600 years or so. In essence, no coaching (advice) on the course except from your caddy. The best parallel for caddy is crew, not coach.
      1/27/2009 7:19:33 PM
    • In one design, there should be no coach boats, no gear boats, etc. It just isn''t fair to everyone else. At the Miami OCR last year in the stars 4 boats left the dock and 7:45 am. The rest of the fleet were towed by their coach boats. There was no wind to get to the race course about 3 miles from the dock. As the breeze filled the RC started a race and the 4 boats that actually tried to sail to the start were excluded. Is that fair?
      1/27/2009 7:31:01 PM
    • I don''t see a whole lot of difference between 4 & 5
      1/27/2009 7:32:22 PM
    • I don''t think coach boats should be allowed on the water with the competitors. I''ve been one of the folks who fills out the fleet and my crew and I have worked as hard during the races that day as the guys with coaches. It galls me to see them being towed in while we have to sail all the way in. At least there ought to be a rule that boats being towed are required to toss beers to competitors that they pass on the way to the dock.
      1/27/2009 7:39:47 PM
    • Coaching on the water just before the start of a race and after really tilts the playing field and will make it difficult for sailors to compete with those that have a full time helper. Constant coaching also takes away the incentive to learn and makes it easy to defer to the coach. I think this trend will weaken the sport. Also coaching really young sailors takes away the "fun" because coaches have to justify their existence to parents that pay the bills both expect improved results.
      1/27/2009 7:45:07 PM
    • coaching fees are getting way out of line. the amount of money that some coaches are earning are absolutely absurd. Opti and c420 coaches are worth paying for for clinics, practice etc but during a regatta when they are incharge of 4 or 5 boats it is rediculous to pay such high fees for glorified babysitting.
      1/27/2009 7:45:32 PM
    • i think that we will improve sailors by having coaching on the water each day. there is so much to be learn by going over tactics, weather, should haves etc. the more we all learn the better the sport will be. once a race starts the competitors have to apply what was taught and do their own thinking. after the race, while still fresh in their mind, is a good time for coaches to reinforce the lesson.
      1/27/2009 7:48:13 PM
    • Coaching is outside assistance, and should be allowed only on a equal basis between teams. If one team has no coach boat, no coach boats for any team. Thanks, Jim Nash
      1/27/2009 7:50:26 PM
    • and we need some control of the coaches during the race day outside the race zone which they must be prohibited from entering except for emergency purposes (similar to spectator craft during AC events)
      1/27/2009 7:51:49 PM
    • It''s not just coaching, but also getting towed in and out, carrying spare parts and doing repairs and relaxing while others are still sailing. Watching Opti''s at lunch with some still sailing and others sitting in an inflatable with a coach just shows what is wrong with coaching at events.
      1/27/2009 7:57:49 PM
    • I would also add that if the competitor is lodging a protest or being protested that there should be no coach coaching about how to handle the protest
      1/27/2009 7:59:03 PM
    • I always understood that getting outside help in a sailboat race was against the rules. With coaches yelling advice from their boats alongside, the next thing they''ll want is to be On the boat with the competitor. Coaching is good for all sports but not DURING the race.
      1/27/2009 8:14:49 PM
    • Coaching should occur before beginning to race - once on the water it should be up to the competitor. Having any coaching boats on the water raises a suspicion of arranged signals.
      1/27/2009 8:17:26 PM
    • No rules limiting coaching Optis no on water coaching contact over 21
      1/27/2009 8:46:19 PM
    • On-water coaching provides an unreasonable advantage.
      1/27/2009 8:54:41 PM
    • Is coach equivalent to parent or friend? It is nice to be towed in.
      1/27/2009 9:00:50 PM
    • Except in regional, national and international championships when coaching should be before the warning of the first race and not again until all racing is complete for the day.
      1/27/2009 9:34:44 PM
    • This choice allows coach to comment prior to racing, observe and then access performance on the way home avoiding interference between races and the unfair advantage of being a supply depot on the race course with extra food, water, clothing etc. This kind of support between races destroys the one-design concept, esp. in classes like the Laser where sailors w/o a coach have to be self sufficient and carry all their needs in a confined space. Also tow out-in should be banned unless all competitors have equal access to the service. Often the sail out or in can be a physical challenge and a tow gives an unfair advantage
      1/27/2009 9:39:30 PM
    • This approaches is akin to professional tennis where no coaching is allowed during a match. Restricting coaching to off the water helps limit the escalation of support, reducing the incentive for each team to have its own on the water coach boat for observation, assuming the regatta provided one or more observation boats available to all coaches.
      1/27/2009 9:45:05 PM
    • Getting towed out later, getting to race area sooner, more rested and with more time to prep., coach boat zipping up to the windward mark for last minute wind readings... how is this keeping a level playing field? Is the sport about money or skill?
      1/27/2009 10:03:47 PM
    • Some Etchell class members are getting bent out of shape about coaches but don''t think twice, or indeed turn a blind eye, to professional crew. Give me a break. I know which is better for the sailors & therefore the class. Get a grip.
      1/27/2009 11:46:02 PM
    • After racing the last two Etchell Worlds Championship in San Francisco 06 and Chicago 08 it became obvious the me and the fleet in general that coaching on the race course was getting out of control and money was becoming the winning factor. The Etchell class restricted coaching this year and I congratulate them.
      1/28/2009 12:09:20 AM
    • I''m watching the Australian Open-the players are out on the court alone during the match-the coaches are sitting in the stands. There''s no huddle after each game or set between coach and player-they''ve already done their work and it''s now up to the player. Why can''t the same apply restrictions apply to sailing?
      1/28/2009 12:34:05 AM
    • I would actually suggest coaching is allowed up to when the boat enters the racing area --- that would allow some coaching on the sail out to the course.
      1/28/2009 12:43:06 AM
    • Provided that the coaches don''t interfere with boats whilst racing what''s the problem?
      1/28/2009 1:14:51 AM
    • Individual classes are free to limit coaching via their class rules if they so desire, just as they are free to limit equipment, sail numbers and materials etc. You cannot feasibly have a blanket rule applied via the RRS (which in any case cannot possibly govern what sailors do when they are not competing) which would apply to all sailing including AC, Olympics, Vendee, Figaro...
      1/28/2009 1:31:21 AM
    • I''m a coach and competitor. As I have seen the proliferation of RIBs at simple events (e.g. Optimists), I don''t want the cost participating in the sport to rise any further, so coaching should be away from the event or through on-shore briefings only.
      1/28/2009 1:35:26 AM
    • Having utilised their services in the past coaches dont just stop at coaching. They''re also data gathering, weather observers, competitior watching with video''s and camera etc. The problems is if we allow coach contact, one coach will become two, then three and the next thing we''ll have AC like teams turning up to events if you''re priveliged enough to afford them. Money and greed has already distroyed one great event in our sport. Lets not let it happen at the grass roots and that includes the highly competitive one design fleets. One Etchells Sailor
      1/28/2009 1:36:49 AM
    • Have you ever seen a couch inside the cour, trackt or field? They must be outside the borderlines, in our case the docks or regatta area. Rafael Valdivia, Santos-Brasil
      1/28/2009 1:54:07 AM
    • Coaching during races destroys the sport and degrades it to Dad with the biggest wallet. Besides coaches should get off the water during the race day. Period !!
      1/28/2009 1:54:59 AM
    • at Olympic and olympic junior pathway classes, many events would struggle to manage the rescue responsibilities if coaches were taken off the water. Also where does this end, there seems to be a great deal of bitterness about advantage for those that cannot afford it, well why not restrict new boats/sails development, sponsorship and pro crews (insist every sailor has to have a day job etc etc). very soon sailing these elite classes would die!
      1/28/2009 1:55:23 AM
    • Different ranges of competition should require different level of allowed coaching guidance. For instance, coaching before and after races in High School Sailing helps teach the sailors. This is good for the sport. At a higher level of competition, more coaching restrictions may be appropriate.
      1/28/2009 2:41:10 AM
    • Based on the fact that I am a RYA Senior Instructor who coaches young sailors on race courses.
      1/28/2009 3:06:59 AM
    • Whilst there is some use for coaches as extra rescue boats they cannot be relied on and generally cause more problems than they solve. Coaching should of course be allowed but not at the regatta. However, the more restrictive the rules the more devious some people will get in trying to talk to their coach during the day!
      1/28/2009 3:23:38 AM
    • Yes the sport needs protedted from coaches during regattas. I would have voted for no coach boats allowed had that been a choice.
      1/28/2009 3:54:45 AM
    • It would be great to sail one event and not have to breath all the exhaust from the coach boats!
      1/28/2009 4:41:15 AM
    • There need to be regulations on coaching as in all sports. As a coach (Youth Sailing) I know there are many among us that drive like maniacs or disobey other rules regarding coaching in the SI''s. The RC needs to enforce the rules in the SI''s and give penalties to the coach''s sailors. When race committees communicate with coaches and reprimand when necessary coaching should not be something that detracts from an event. As an event coordinator I know that I have been very grateful for the presence of coach boats when the conditions became dangerous. Like anything we don''t want it to get out of control and the coaches need to respect the sailors by not causing problems on the race course, but we also don''t need ban all coaches from the water.
      1/28/2009 4:47:02 AM
    • Apart from Olympic Level most peoples time is restricted to weekends and Holidays. They need to make the most of the time they get on the water to improve, which if they can afford it means having coaching at events. Very few people outside Olympic level train/practice outside of competitions and even if they do coaching at events is key. Its also a restriction of trade.
      1/28/2009 4:47:57 AM
    • I chose option 4, but option 2 should remain in effect for college sailing.
      1/28/2009 4:53:44 AM
    • Any sport shoots itself in the foot when some can simply pay to get ahead. In many cases there is nothing we can practically do, but the growth of the sailing has been seriously undermined by the cost for the average entrant/participant and coaching is one areas that can easily be addressed. The people with the vested interests, however, are usually the most vocal and involved and will thus write the rules to their favor.
      1/28/2009 5:04:42 AM
    • This is the best way to learn. In the early days of Bermuda''s Optimist programme, we allowed coaching during the race in fun races. Learning is applied immediately or not, and everyone gets the lessons hands on. Sincerely, Malcolm Kirkland
      1/28/2009 5:22:35 AM
    • I vote no coaching allowed, as defined as professional (paid) coaching. We need to stimulate racing, not create advantages for the few.
      1/28/2009 5:25:09 AM
    • I would submit that allowing coaching on the race course takes away the amateur status of the sport. Let''s face it, the majority of the competitors are weekend warriors or wednesday night contestants. Allowing "coaching on the water", once again the skill of the boat and crew is measured by the depth of their wallets or pockets. If the contestants want coaching them let them declare themselves as professionals. I say no coaching away from the dock among the amatuer ranks.
      1/28/2009 5:49:01 AM
    • Coaching should be conducted on non-race days. The results of the coaching should show on race day. Afterwards, review those results. The coach should be there...but not as an unfair advanage.
      1/28/2009 5:49:30 AM
    • I don''t think that a sailor gains a huge advantage from having a coach on the water. Having a coach on the water is more of a "crutch" the sailor probally has less assurance with their own decisions and needs an outside eye to vaidate or invalidate their tactics/decisions.
      1/28/2009 5:49:44 AM
    • no coaching at all during a regatta would be better yet.
      1/28/2009 5:52:51 AM
    • Let''s not foment an arms race on the Opti or Sabot circuit.
      1/28/2009 5:55:22 AM
    • As a parent of a junior sailor, i may have a different perspective.In fact, i think the debate should be divided into junior and adult prospectives. From the junior point of view, most juniors are coming up through club programs where coaching is an integral part of learning. Having a club program coach at regattas is not only an important part of the sailor''s individual improvement but is prudent aspect of safety for many junior level sailors. i think allowing coaching at regattas for juniors, as is currently the normshould continue. Especially if the US is serious about returning to it''s former level of sucess in the international and Olympic ciruits. On the other hand, the Etchells classes and Star clasess are cleary adult, serious classes with big money, pros, big egos and all the attendant "win at any cost" attitudes. The people with money will generally want the leverage and advantage that that money offers, and those without will want to eliminate that leverage and level the playing field. It''s human nature. Each class needs to excercise the democratic option and allow it''s members to decide. For classes with large or exclusive junior participation however, such as Opti and laser, the approcah has to be different.
      1/28/2009 5:57:47 AM
    • Enough already. Racing should be between competitors only, on a level playing field. Get the coaches off the water.
      1/28/2009 6:00:47 AM
    • Unless all competitors are receiving assistance after leaving the dock, none should. We are trying to level the playing field, not tilt it in favour of those with more money.
      1/28/2009 6:07:02 AM
    • Coaching makes the racing a learning experience. Reminders of mistakes and encouragement for good choices immediately after the race really helps the learning curve, especially for children.
      1/28/2009 6:09:28 AM
    • Clearly a coach should not be allowed to communicate with a boat during a race. But when the boat is not racing then a team should have full access to the support of a coach. Every sport has coaching. At the ''high end'' of the sport coaching should be used more that it currently is. Why do we keep trying to un-professionalize sailing at the top level? Sailing has a very strange culture where working on improving one''s level in the sport is looked down on. If you play golf you go to the driving range with a pro, or if you play tennis you hit balls with a pro...on a regular basis. Why is it wrong to strive to improve your game in sailing? Coaching, like in any other sport is the fast track to improvement. More people should utilize coaches. And not just at the high end...the weekend warrior could gain tremendously from off the boat coaching as well.
      1/28/2009 6:09:31 AM
    • Once you get on the boat to go race, it should be a measure of YOUR talent against your competitors period. Coaching and practicing before event is fine to hone your talent, but not on the race course.
      1/28/2009 6:14:05 AM
    • Some areas of the sport are professional sailing. If you compete in these classes expect the coaches to be there. Would an NFL team show up without coaches for the game?
      1/28/2009 6:26:05 AM
    • Coaching after each race is good to point out on the water errors that happen in the previous race. Stay out of the race course and obseve for the sides.
      1/28/2009 6:30:30 AM
    • I actually think that it varies depending on the type of boat (dinghies v. keelboats), age of sailor and such. I am actually a proponent of providing the best possible coaching during practice and practice racing, and allowing coaches the ability to observe racing so that they can have material to provide as feedback at the end of the day, but, especially with kids, coaching between races is so limited in the opportunity of what you can provide, and whether the competito can absorb and apply it so as not to be really worth it. We''re bringing up a generation of sailors who expect there will always be someone there to carry their lunch and spare gear and solve their problems for them. And the trade-offs of powerboat mayhem in the starting/finishing areas and along the laylines is just a pain and distraction for everyone involved--competitors and RC alike.
      1/28/2009 6:35:07 AM
    • Haveing coaches improves the sailing level of not only the people beeing coached but the people they sail against. In addition, when the going gets rough...it is the coaches that can jump in and save the day with their knowledge, skill and experience that volenteers do not always have. Coaches should not be allowed in the course area during racing but other than that...it is all positive. They can be directed to not do something by the race committe at any time. My husband and I both coach and we both often help one of the beginner sailers when ever possible when we are out there, even when we are coaching another team. COACHES RAISE THE THE GAME FOR EVERYONE. You can have a private coach or go in as a group to share a coach. Coaching does not have to be over the top expensive. IT MAKES THE SPORT BETTER and elevates the skill level, not to mension makes it safer for EVERYONE.
      1/28/2009 6:35:26 AM
    • USSA has restricted or forbidden ''on water'' coaching for junior and adult ''ladder events'' for many years. It seems to work just fine.
      1/28/2009 6:44:26 AM
    • My "magic wand" would be no coach contact within 48 hours of the scheduled start of the first race of an event and when they return to the dock after the final race of the event.
      1/28/2009 6:54:51 AM
    • None of the above choices is acceptable. I only made a selection because I could not offer any comments without a response. No coaching should be allow during a regatta at all. No coaches should be allowed to observe racing, communicate with competitors, or offer any type of support from the initial skippers meeting until the awards are presented. Get coaching out of regattas and return sailboat racing to fair competition among the sailors. There is enough distinction made between rich competitors and competitors of modest means in the equipment and paid crew. If we want this sport to prosper, level competition must be available to more sailors.
      1/28/2009 6:59:49 AM
    • This way you improve the competition within the class, and interest in the sport without boats without coach boats getting in the way during the day''s racing and you prevent unfair advantage with wind direction, favored sides, etc...
      1/28/2009 7:00:35 AM
    • Coaching is the best way to improve you skill and practice starts/races just are not as competitive so coaching only there is not nearly as beneficial. I do not regularly use a coach; however, I have a few times and believe that the best way to balance the advantage over non-coached competitors vs. fully coached is to restrict contact from departure dock time until the last race of the day. This means that the coached boat gets the "pump" and check list for the predicted weather (say for heavy - remember to vang sheet, twist off the jib, etc.) but not the specifics for the first race after having seen the actual conditions 30 minutes before the start. You could wait until docking after the race, but I think coaching in that few minutes following the finish before you shift out of race mode is quite important - I always have the de-brief then - before any "refreshments" or discussion of the evenings activities begins.
      1/28/2009 7:17:33 AM
    • For youth sailors, allow coaching only before and after each race. For adult sailors (including Olympic trials and the Games), allow coaching only before the first race of the day, and at the end of the day. - USMMA Collegiate coach
      1/28/2009 7:22:50 AM
    • I believe the current program of not limiting coaching is extreamly detrimental to our sport.
      1/28/2009 7:27:57 AM
    • While I don''t disagree that those with means should be permitted to spend and escalate their game to whatever degree they like, most competitors would agree that more powerboats in a race area only adds additional distraction to the course and confusion to the sea state. Fundamentally the sport is cleaner, more enjoyable, and potentially safer (class dependent) with fewer obstacles and noisemakers around the racing area.
      1/28/2009 7:31:45 AM
    • I think coaching raises the bar for everyone, just as allowing professional drivers and crew makes us all better sailors. But we should limit a competitors resources to what is contained within the bounds of her boat, and restrict outside contributions. There is nothing inherently wrong with coaching during the regatta, but I would rather sail in a fleet that keeps the game limited to the fools on the boat.
      1/28/2009 7:35:24 AM
    • My vote applies to coaches in coach boats. Part of learning how to become a better sailboat racer is learning how to make quick decisions on the race course. This education won''t happen if a coach is always available. If someone wants to take a coach on board the race boat as one of the crew, this would allow coaching during the racing and is an appropriate way to deal with it. Having extra boats on the race course impacts other competitors and should not be allowed.
      1/28/2009 7:50:41 AM
    • No wakes allowed anywhere near the racing area.
      1/28/2009 7:57:57 AM
    • As well,to limit air and water disturbance, coach boats should be required to stay well outside of the course area while the races are in progress . Requirements for safety and lunch boats should to be arranged and controlled by the organizers. Spectator and parent etc boats should be subject to the same restrictions.
      1/28/2009 8:30:58 AM
    • Have we lost the plot as to what sailing boat racing is all about? It is about individuals and individual teams on board a particular boat doing their best to win races based on their skill and preperation. As with the best of sports world-wide, amongst the few exceptions being American Football and basketball, most competitors train and practice before their event, and when the event/race starts they are trained to the best of their ability and let loose, with a level playing field. No on-field coaching or time-outs! In sailing; the America''s Cup, offshore racing and the majority of dinghy events are raced without on-the-water coaching, and it has always worked. The rich guys have to do it the same as every-one and they have always enjoyed competing at that level. Let those with the grand budgets spend the money on their boats to gain a competitive edge, but don''t allow them to outspend their competition even more with coaches on the water. At a time when all sports and ''players'' are watching budgets, we don''t need another cost to the sport that a minority can afford, to out spend the majority. When-ever the cost of sailing competition has risen the number of competitors always goes down. This is just another way that (some) wealthy competitors can outspend their competitors to gain an advantage. In this case ''Wealth'' can mean earned income or sponsors money; the result is the same for ''Joe 6 pack'', an advantage he can''t compete with or outspend. After writing this I reviewed the ''View Comments'' Link. Have a look! Overwhelming vote for no coaching. Some great comments. From Sharpie in Ft. Laudredale.
      1/28/2009 8:39:49 AM
    • Imagine a tennis tournament where each player gets coached between every serve.
      1/28/2009 8:53:26 AM
    • More contact should be allowable for junior regattas
      1/28/2009 8:59:08 AM
    • I'' like to see middle ground where coaches can tow competitors out, but no contact after reaching start area.
      1/28/2009 9:01:16 AM
    • Remember, this should also include telephone calls to weather information paid for and accessed before the boats warning gun , not unusual with big boat programs.
      1/28/2009 9:15:56 AM
    • Providing any on-water assistance to one competitor that is not available to all provides an unfair advantage. In my opinion, it''s pretty close to cheating.
      1/28/2009 9:20:07 AM
    • For beginners coach contact should be before warning and after finsh of each race. In advanced classes coaches should only be allowed contact after boat leaves dock and after final race.
      1/28/2009 9:22:21 AM
    • I would have offered the following as one of the options Coach contact allowed while at the dock or while participating boat is not on the water. If someone returns to the dock or, for example, pulls the boat for repairs, why not let them be coached?
      1/28/2009 9:22:56 AM
    • hiring a "pro" to sail with you during a race is vastly different than off-boat coaching during a race series. Coach boats that can see the whole fleet, their sail trim and get to/from the marks quickly, gives an unfair advantage to those with more money than their competitors. This is not a commercial team sport or a school sport where coaches are expected to help the pros and kids get better during an event. If someone hires a coach, the coach should only be allowed to give advise before and after, not during, a race series. The coach can video the race and critique his employers performance after the series, not during the race. While racing, the competitors should all be on a "level playing field". I like the idea of having the fleet or class hiring a coach boat to video each boats performance and critique the fleet "as a whole", giving individual post-race advice to each participant, to help them do better the next time. Jeff Brown American Yacht Club Rye, NY
      1/28/2009 9:24:30 AM
    • this is a fringy area. from time to time, we have seen certain coaches/boats on the water after the sequence has started, positioning themselves in a place on the water that serves as a signal to the youth sailors telegagraphing which end of the line is favored. furthermore during the race will serve as a wind shift indicators by thier positioning for their sailors. i feel specific lanes for coaches and thier craft to stay in would help to create a more level playing field. i realize that my comments apply to youth sailing and not the larger boats, but it has been a hot button for me as an organizer of all youth sailing out here on the east end of long island, where we generally enjoy excellent sailing conditions.
      1/28/2009 9:32:42 AM
    • Tennis generally does not allow coaching during the match. The players have to be able to apply there knowledge without assistance. I think that once the boats leave the dock, it should be stricly up to the competitors skills without the assistance of coaching. The extra information that the coached teams get on the water gives them an unfair advantage. Coaching should teach the competitors how to think for themselves and not rely on outside information.
      1/28/2009 9:36:50 AM
    • Coaches are like support boats. If you want a level playing field, then everyone gets one or everyone doesn''t get one. If a class allows you to pay people to help you out, then they belong on the boat with you, not somewhere else.
      1/28/2009 9:45:12 AM
    • No coaching = Willful ignorance. I am amazed that some people resent others'' desitre to learn. Perhaps they would also like to outlaw college becasue it gives some people and advatage in the office place. Environmental? Are you serious the entire sailing industry is an environmental afront from plastic resins to plastic sails to toxic paint to the parent toting SUVs. A coach boat is not adding measurably to the damage. Stop resenting other''s success and step up, shut up, or create your own "no using your brain" fleet.
      1/28/2009 10:01:18 AM
    • It looks like some people are bitter that they can''t afford a coach. Those who want to improve and have the dough to pay for a coach, will see positive results.
      1/28/2009 10:04:46 AM
    • It is an unfair advantage for a team who has a coach who can tell them what was happening on the course for that race and any trends they can see when not involved in the race, compared to a team just out there to enjoy the sport and race head to head.
      1/28/2009 10:06:22 AM
    • Do what the RRS allow, and leave it up to the classes to ask the RC to add additional restrictions to the SIs if that is what the class wants.
      1/28/2009 10:17:14 AM
    • Contact allowed between races as long as the contact is at least one mile from the race area for subject and all other racing classes.
      1/28/2009 10:25:39 AM
    • If not all competitors can afford coaches, then this adds an element to regattas that takes away the "one design" aspect. Sure, those people may not be able to afford the best sails, lines, etc. as the others, but they are at least on the same "one-design" boat that has to pass measurment, crew weight, etc. That is what makes one-design racing so good. The beauty of sailing is that it revolves around the teamwork that happens within the confounds of the boat itself. Think of it like the rules of Tennis where a coach sitting in the stands can''t even give hand signals to their player. My vote is not to allow coaching on the water at all. Nothing can be done to stop it ashore however.
      1/28/2009 10:46:45 AM
    • Generally, coaching allowed before and between races, however each class is free to modify this to suit there best interests.
      1/28/2009 11:05:01 AM
    • Coach boat on the water but no interaction till end of day..
      1/28/2009 11:13:27 AM
    • Plus controls on where coach boats can be on the course area.
      1/28/2009 11:13:33 AM
    • Coaching during the race provides a significant advange of imput of high quality information from an different position that takes away the level playing field between just boat and crew. If training is the issue, record and review after the race. You are never going to learn to win with a coach wispering over your shoulder, you learn by making mistakes.
      1/28/2009 11:57:04 AM
    • The middle choice allows the coach to provide a tow out. But maybe the limit should be 1/2 hour before the warning or arrival at the race course (meaning, when dropping the tow).
      1/28/2009 12:06:46 PM
    • I would distinguish races at the Club level versus a wider audience. I don''t find a problem with someone wanting to improve their skills on a regular Wednesday night Club race (how else can they improve?), but I do find a problem with coaching in "bigger" races when racing truly is about testing and challenging the people in the boats (not their coaches). Coaching would provide a very unfair advantage. I guess we just let the classes determine their own rules, like they do with pro sailors.
      1/28/2009 12:31:23 PM
    • Why is sailing different than any other sport?
      1/28/2009 12:37:11 PM
    • There have also been instances wher a coach boat has hit another competitor....
      1/28/2009 12:43:37 PM
    • On race day, once you leave the dock ****your Racing****. Once you finish the last race and clear the finish line *** your day sailing.
      1/28/2009 12:53:09 PM
    • I do not mind competing against all of the PROS, but the support team with coach, does make the playing field that more un-equal.
      1/28/2009 12:56:42 PM
    • Coach''s are important during regattas because you can get an outside perspective on your race. They should definitely be allowed on the water, no coaching during races though. The only limitation I would like to see is maybe on the size of some coach boats. Sailing dinghy''s on light air days, wake can be a huge factor. Some coach''s have unnecessarily huge coach boats not only creating lots of wake but doing environmental damage.
      1/28/2009 1:07:22 PM
    • It''s tempting to suggest that race organizers, keeping their clienteles in mind, decide what kind of regatta, with what level of professional input, they want. But alas that is only a recipe for anarchy. Let the racers show their stuff unaided!
      1/28/2009 1:18:23 PM
    • It works well for us in the Farr40 class.
      1/28/2009 1:40:59 PM
    • Every other sport allows coaching of some kind (okay, at least the sports I know of), even fans that are allowed to yell directions at the competitors! Time for sailing to get with the times and allow coaching before and between races. Worried about it not being fair, join your local club, encourage them to get a coach, not only will you be improving your skills, but you''ll help develop more racing. On the junior level coaching is almost 50/50 between actual coaching of sailing skills and support (be it logistical, safety, or simply talking a 11 year old opti kid down from a disapointing result). I have been an Opti coach for many years, and I have never seen a coach not tow another kid in just because he ''wasn''t on the team''. Perhaps its different on the big boats with older sailors, but on the junior fleets I''ve been around, coaching helps the juniors develop and have FUN. You try putting a ten year old out on the water at Miami Orange Bowl (200+ optis) and see how much fun they have without a coaches support.
      1/28/2009 1:49:33 PM
    • How does this work for spectators. We regularly go out and watch our daughter race. We often carry extra clothes, food and water for her and other members of our sailing team. David F
      1/28/2009 1:49:58 PM
    • Coaching is a useful tool but a potentially significantly unfair one. If a class doesn''t allow the professional coach onboard then why should they allow him/her on or near the course during the race?
      1/28/2009 2:30:13 PM
    • No Wakes!
      1/28/2009 3:26:54 PM
    • My brothers and myself were blessed to have very season sailing legend father to coach us. Locals got very protective. Similiar to what I see here. 6 members of our club went to Sears Cup 2 yr in a rowClub put age limits on jr crews.. None since (53 yrs)We did continue on to 5 Nat Championships & 1 worlds.Law of natural selection & timely coaching should show the way of future US sailing champions. Robie Pierce Newport RI
      1/28/2009 4:13:48 PM
    • The age of Obama ...
      1/28/2009 5:04:18 PM
    • The Etchells class is a One Design Class. The beauty of One Design is that whether you are rich, or like most of us "we have just enough" means events can be won with skill by those on lowlier incomes. The bulk of any fleet is made up of average income individuals. History shows that any class will diminish once it just becomes the one with the money that wins. Coaching on the water in an event is wrong and strainss the limits of the average sailors income.
      1/28/2009 5:37:56 PM
    • Clearly, we are at a juncture where perhaps a definition has to be made between professional and amateur racers. Amateurs, by definition, do it for the "love of it"....pros, obviously are not so inclined. Being professional, obilgations and concomitant justification become the driving element. Yet, most recognize the advantage and thrill (not to mention the benefit) of mixing it up with the best as a way to better one''s skills. My question is how do you define an amateur sailor in our current climate? Where does coaching fit into the equation? Coaching has brought a new level of cost, logistics, and enterprise into the system, which only most pros can rationalize and which creates a dichotomy in what should be a level field. There was a time in the not so distant past when there were no coaches present, no referees/juries (just honor and only protest committees), no drama, no complications,... no nada,... and a relatively minimal cost associated with event management transferred to sailboat racing/racers. Coaching is an important aspect to develop competitive racing for sure - to acquire a level of seamanship and insight into the broad sailing spectrum that includes racing knowledge. To what extent does it need to become a focal point in our sport, and to what level does it impede development? The best in our competitive sailing world, after all, really don''t need personal coaching at all...perhaps it''s all about having the right stuff and being able to manage oneself efficiently.
      1/28/2009 7:11:12 PM
    • I think coaches should be limited to what they can do to help an athlete before the game begins and after it ends. They should not be allowed to help the competitor during the game. In practical terms, I think this means eliminating coaching contact on the water.
      1/28/2009 7:31:44 PM
    • I''ve been a professional coach for over 20 years... There are so ways I help my clients... some need serious help with tuning, rules, strategy, etc.; but I alway shoot to help them DEVELOP these skills. Never tell them what to do. You want them to be independent. You want to make them aware of things they can''t see from their perspective. And sometimes, you all you gotta do is remind them to eat and drink! Allow coaching between races!! (except for Green Fleet Optis... we should be allowed to coach the back-of-the-packers around the course!!) -Amy Gross-Kehoe
      1/28/2009 7:56:34 PM
    • Coaches belong on the sidelines, not the playing field.
      1/28/2009 8:19:27 PM
    • I''ve been a mid fleet contender in international fleets and seeing the top group with coaches can be upsetting thinking of all the advantages they have until I realized how everyone in the fleet can benefit from it as well. Coaching has certainly did a lot for me, sailing in a regatta''s is now much more rewarding to me as I''m able to recognize mistakes and work on them since I have had help & informed from coaches. I would have never have been able to do this on my own. I''m now a much better sailor because of it. Even the Tuesday night girls softball club has coaching. As a sport we are way behind in getting proper information and coaching to the sailors, limiting coaching will keep us backwards without us getting better. I don''t think it''s healthy. Plus when I don''t have a coach, I am now use to seeing them around, it doesn''t bother me anymore. The part that does bother me is some coaches not respecting other sailors on the course or while getting to the course. The lack of offering a tow or not slowing down near non client sailors, making waves at the weather mark doesn''t make coaches look good. They are a lot of good coaches out there like Morgan Reeser who are polite & talented but the bad ones ruin it for everyone
      1/28/2009 8:23:33 PM
    • No coaching during regatta. period.
      1/28/2009 8:53:29 PM
    • What about a Jr Regatta where the competitors come back to the dock for lunch? How are you going to limit coach contact during the meal break?
      1/28/2009 11:49:59 PM
    • Feedback is key to improving - why would you limit being the best that you can be?
      1/29/2009 4:11:06 AM
    • From a judge''s perspective: The fact that one sailor can afford a coach and the next sailor cannot is life - and life is not always ''fair''. When however one sailor has its private supply vessel to tow out to and in from the course, to carry lunch, extra water, change of clothing (hot or cold), extra equipment when the sailor beside him does not does give that competitor an advantage. Option 5 above removes that advantage. To control on-the-water I would also add a "gybe'' mark on one side of the course with an instrcution that all coach boats must stay outside that mark when traveling from one end of the course to the other.
      1/29/2009 4:31:49 AM
    • Look at most other mainstream sports and how the coaches (are allowed to) interact with their athletes. The sport of racing sailboats needs to embrace advancement of its athletes and its craft if it is to move closer to being a media friendly, sponsor value returning, spectator interesting activity. There are way too many contradictions from the sport. Corinthian, TV savvy, professional, youth oriented, cheap, expensive, public, private, etc. What do you want, people??
      1/29/2009 5:04:04 AM
    • I have sailed in many mixed fleet regattas and get very upset when I have to dodge around coach boats that are more concerned about their clients than good seamanship. I say "ban them from the race course" for the whole day.
      1/29/2009 6:10:07 AM
    • When I decided to take up: Tennis, I hired a Tennis Pro Golf, I hired a Golf Pro Gymnastics, I hired a Gymnastics Coach Ice Skating, I hired an Ice Skating Coach Piano, I hired a Piano Teacher Swimming, a Swim Coach Name it, there''s a coach for it. Even Olympic gymnasts have a coach during their routine to catch them if they fall. Why is Sailing different?
      1/29/2009 7:37:02 AM
    • Coaching is an important part of developement of an individual/crew developement. I don''t think that there is one simple solution to this situation. Perhaps the answer lies in a blend of the solutions in the poll. I think that the rules should be applied depending on the skill level of the competitors. For example at high level events, Olympics, Worlds, Grand Prix, Professional events coaching is limited to before leaving the dock untill after returning to the dock. For lower level events , club, local regional, etc. coaching up to the warning signal and after the finish of a race. The purpose of coaching should be to help the competitor learn and improve, not necessarily give them the upper hand over those who can''t afford to hire the best "top gun"
      1/29/2009 7:49:14 AM
    • Coaching is an integral and essential part of our sport. Many times a coach can see something that the sailor cannot, be is sail shape, wind shifts or fleet tendencies. All these things are part of the game. More importantly, having a person avalible to talk a race through after it''s conclusion is so important (especially if you have a bad race), in a sailors ability to move on and focus on the proper thing for the next race. The moral support provided by a coach goes far beyond even the information being exchanged. If a quarterback is allowed to talk to their coach inbetween every play, and has mic. feeds into his helmet, and least let me talk to my coach in between races!
      1/29/2009 11:11:42 AM
    • this sport should work towards evening the playing field. it is hard enough to watch non one design yachts wining based on money spent, but should be hard to see within the one design fleets. it is one design. ps--how is coaching not outside assistance? I know rule is written for race, but there is too much to gain with off the boat perspective.
      1/29/2009 11:24:42 AM


    The Publisher
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    Jan 29, 2009, 5:32 PM

    Post #24 of 39 (81101 views)
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    Scuttlebutt 2771:

    * From Ben Glass: I love the news and passion that this newsletter bring to our sport, but this thread is really not based on any well informed knowledge. It’s just whining.

    Coaches are not just some people in motorboats. They are sailors who have devoted their lives to the sport in a way that far surpasses 90% of the others on the water. They forgo their own desire to compete in order to help others. Some are paid, some are not.

    When they aren't on the water they are on the phone and email encouraging people to go sailing. They organize and run most local, High School, Collegiate and Junior Regattas. They call up kids who haven't been sailing and tell them to get out there. Battling on the front lines for the attention of the kids, there are dozens of coaches from other sports telling them to join swim team, or lacrosse, or football etc., etc. Sailing must do the same or we will lose what we already have built.

    And for doing this work they get to read this thread telling them they aren't wanted. But this sport would shrivel up and wither without them. So, please put and end to this silly whine-fest.


    * From Howard D. Paul: Several years ago I was in charge of the weather committee boat. As the boats started to approach the weather layline one of the coaches yelled out “don’t over stand the layline!” After the racing was over for the day I approached someone I knew from the sailor’s club and expressed my concern that this was not according to the rules. A bit later my friend came back after speaking with the coach with the response that it was encouragement and nothing more. I can to some extent understand encouragement but to this day I feel this was over the line. OK, the pun was intended! Because it can be very hard to distinguish between encouragement and coaching I am of the opinion that from the time the boats leave the dock until the last race is completed by all competitors there should be no contact / encouragement at all, nor should any boats be on the course period. By keeping them away from the competitors there will be no opportunity for a breach of the rule intentional or otherwise.


    The Publisher
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    Jan 29, 2009, 5:34 PM

    Post #25 of 39 (81100 views)
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    Re: [The Publisher] Coaching during regattas [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

    * From Alex Watters: With all this banter droning on about on the water coaching, I just thought I'd let you know, I've never lost a race I watched!


    * From Barbara Gold: (re, Jane Lawton Baldridge letter in #2769 about coaching) I agree 110% with every word of this. Coaching is most effective before the regatta, not at the regatta. I have been around sailing for many years to see when and what kind of coaching is effective. I have been coaching my son's sailing for years. My approach is very similar to what Baldridge talks about. And as recently as late, I have been doing coaching from a distance via text and email to teams on the road. I find that once the person or team gets to the event, what is necessary is to allow them to focus on sailing and sailing only. Even if you as a coach want to go on the water to spectate, I find that a lot of positive feedback on the water is key. And likewise off the water.

    For instance, back in October a friend of mine was going to the J/24 East Coast Championship in Annapolis. I was not there on site. Through emails and text messages and watching the results on the computer, I was able to help this team win and be successful. Another instance was at the most recent Orange Bowl Regatta in Miami. I was watching the races and a sailor I knew came over to the boat. He was very disappointed in his finish in the race. I had happened to see his start and commented on it. It was a fabulous start and I told him so. This sailor proceeded to do better and better in each race after that.

    Call me crazy or call it coincidence, but I think mind over matter and thinking positive has a lot to do with how you perform at the event. Keep the players mind on track towards the goal and have nothing else get in the way. Coaching has a time and place. It is not about handing out water to an Opti sailor. Any parent can do that. Why pay someone $100 a day to give your child water? If it makes you feel better, great. Be more effective to the sailor and your wallet. Coach before the event.


    smitynewpt
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    Jan 29, 2009, 8:46 PM

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    Hey Coaching did not get the etchells fleet to the best..... Geez where was "Coaching" when Norm & Munster took Dennis around San Francisco in 1991. Did coaching get Dave Curtis to the Finish line ahead of Local boy Tim Hogan in Newport Beach in 1985. I didn't see much coaching in the `1993 Worlds in Queensland during Thanksgiving week either. These young kids seem to have a "backrest" on the sport that I thought was a "retirement from Solings & Star sailing.....geez get the coach in a another boat or on the beach and shout up..... or get a round of "Dark & Stormies " in Bermuda.


    djca
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    Jan 30, 2009, 9:08 AM

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    coaching will further hinder the growth (or actually speed the decline) of the sport because it widens the gulf between have and have-nots. The people who we all need sailing more is the have-nots, so they will stick with it to become haves...


    jsvba
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    Jan 30, 2009, 1:03 PM

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    While I do not consider myself a sailing coach, just a competitor and certified ASA instructor, I am a Soccer and Volleyball coach and Referee, and I must say the comparison of sailing coaches to coaches of other sports are way out of line. There are no rules in any of the other sports regarding communication with or assisstance from outside entities during the competition like Sailing Rule 41. In point of fact, in all the sports I coach, calling time out or players over to discuss the situation and substitution are two of the coach's primary duties. Can you imagine the uproar if as a sailing coach, I called out "Substitution," drove my coach's boat up and changed the crew because they were doing poorly, or better yet, because the first crew was excellent at starts and upwind legs and now the downwind crew needs to take over?

    Michael Borga


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    Apr 26, 2011, 8:01 AM

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    The coaching thread has resurfaced. This story in Scuttlebutt 3326 opened the gate:


    PREPPING FOR A WINDY MELGES 24 WORLDS
    Kristen Lane and her team Brickhouse (tactician Charlie McKee, Willem Van Waay, Johnny Goldsberry and Matt Pistay) won the Melges 24 Charleston Race Week Championship last weekend. In just a few weeks she’ll be taking on many of the same teams in the Melges 24 World Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas (May 12-21). Lane, who lives in Tiburon, Calif., and turns 40 in just a few weeks has fast become one of the country’s top match racers - particularly impressive given that she only first stepped foot on a sailboat in her late 20’s.

    Lane talked to SailBlast about winning in Charleston in one of the country’s most competitive fleets, what she expects to face in Corpus, as well as some other fun things she’s taking on to fill her dance card these days. The following is part 1 of a 2-part interview with Lane:

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    SailBlast: What did you do particularly well that helped you in Charleston?

    Lane: We knew going into it that the Nationals were going to be bigger in terms of numbers than what the World Championships is going to be (for whatever reason there’s only 30+ boats registered for Corpus), so we knew it was going to be a fun challenge from the fleet management side. We went out and sailed the boat like we had been sailing it in all the regattas leading up to it. We’d been working with a coach in Miami before the event so everyone on the team felt like we were progressing every time we went sailing and we felt that way at the regatta too. We put that all together, executed it and it all worked out. The tactics were very challenging so it helped that we had made a lot of really good decisions. It all came together, it wasn’t any super formula, everything was just firing on all cylinders.

    SailBlast: You’ve sailed Charleston before - was that a benefit?

    Lane: I’ve done quite a bit of racing in Charleston so knew what to expect. It’s very challenging. Charleston is one of those places where you just cannot sail the shifts, you have to know where to put your boat on the racecourse - it makes all the difference in the world. The more boats you pack onto the racecourse the harder it is to fight for that piece of real estate that you need to keep the boat going in the fast lane for the currents. But we love sailing there. The weather is fantastic, the time from getting from your perfect dock to the racecourse is five minutes. It’s a perfect venue for the 24 on the inshore course.

    SailBlast: What’s the competition looking like for Corpus?

    Lane: I have a tremendous amount of respect for what Bora Gulari has done with his new boat not having been in the boat for long. He’s very fast. We were definitely chasing him around the racecourse more times than not. He’s one of the fastest US boats, if not the fastest. One of the strongest US teams is Full Throttle - they’re the nicest guys out there on the racecourse as well as being the toughest competitors. I love racing against them. I’d probably put those two at the top, but it’s always great to spar with my teammates (LOL). Peter (my husband) and I have been working alot training on our two boats. He oftentimes is faster than me and that pushes me to work harder. -- Read on:
    http://tinyurl.com/42xy7gc




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    Apr 26, 2011, 8:02 AM

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    From Alfred C. Constants III:
    As I read article after article where everyone describes hiring a coach, I wonder aloud whether a sailor can achieve good results in very competitive fleets without the engagement of a coach. The mind set has definitely changed to an overall reliance on coaching. Putting aside the question of whether that reliance is good or bad for the sport, is it true? By way of example, my question arose as I read the Melges 24 champion's article in Scuttlebutt 3326.



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    Apr 26, 2011, 8:02 AM

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    Coaching is either a trickle down from the America’s Cup and Olympic sailing, or a trickle up from youth sailing. Regardless, when ‘leaving no stone unturned’ in competitive fleets, retaining paid crew and/or coaching is frequently seen. I am crewing for Bill Hardesty in the Etchells Worlds this June, and last week we had a three day testing session with Ed Adams as our coach. No doubt we got much more done with Ed there. He provided structure, off the boat input, photos and video for debrief, and kept us on the water longer than we would have on our own. But not everybody can prepare at this level, so you can argue that when the bar gets pushed up too high, some people will stop trying to chase it. -- Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt editor


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    Apr 26, 2011, 8:03 AM

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    From Charlie Baker, Etchells 1012:
    Regarding recent comments on coaching, in sports like golf, golfing professional teachers are common. Every course I'm familiar with has at least one. Why shouldn't sailors want to increase their skills just as much, employ such methods, and benefit themselves and the sport as a whole? Some golf pros are better than others. Some golfers use them more than others. But as far as I'm aware no one thinks they should be outlawed or limited. It seems to me the same should be true for sailing.


    From Chris Ericksen:
    At the risk of sounding bitter and cynical, I relate well to your comments about coaching in response to the letter from Alfred C. Constants III ('Butt 3327). The 2011 Etchells Worlds is happening just over a hundred miles from my home; while I might have qualified to go, I did not even participate in my local Etchells fleet qualifying series as I refuse to sail in a regatta where some of the teams are working with professional coaches and some of the crews are being paid more than it would cost me to compete altogether.

    I am one of those sailors who feel that "the bar (got) pushed up too high" and I have stopped "trying to chase it." No offense to those who can afford professional crew and coaches - more power to you all; yours is just not a league in which I care to compete. But I hope you all have fun!


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    Apr 26, 2011, 9:43 AM

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    From Ken Womack:

    I am avid Corinthian (non-pro) Etchells sailor. I cannot think of a more fun way to spend my sailing dollars. The fun and rewards I get from sailing in the Etchells fleet are not derived in small part from those "professional crew and coaches". These professionals guarantee that I am measuring up against the best of the best. They also serve to attract the very best of the Corinthian sailors as well.

    When I arrived at SDYC last June for the Etchells North American Championship, I found that I would be competing against skippers like Bruce Golison, Chris Bush, Bruce Nelson, Bill Hardesty, Brian Camet, Dave Ulman, Vice Brun, Dennis Conner, and Chris Snow, just to mention a handful. Amongst their crew were dozens of class champions, Olympians and AC guys. Almost without exception any one of these sailors were more than willing to give me a few moments of conversation, coaching and advice. Not just before the regatta, but also during the cocktail hour following the races each day. Advice ranged from sail trim, steering and starting, to course management and weather forecasting.

    Perhaps one of the most fun aspects of this regatta was the fact that Argyle Campbell and his Corinthian crew almost walked away with the event, except for a tough go of it in the last race or two. Other great Corinthians also finished in the top ten, including Steve Wright and Andy La Dow. I just cannot fathom how someone could bemoan having to sail in such a great event, at an awesome venue, and with such a talented and fun group of amateur and professional sailors.

    If it were not for a little advice, or in the case of some cases, like that of Judd Smith, a lot of advice, along with competing on the race course with some of the all time greats, I would not be improving or having my occasional successes. Put me down as one who plans on continuing to sail as a Corinthian, but says bring on the pros!




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    Apr 26, 2011, 9:48 AM

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    In Reply To
    From Chris Ericksen:
    At the risk of sounding bitter and cynical, I relate well to your comments about coaching in response to the letter from Alfred C. Constants III ('Butt 3327). The 2011 Etchells Worlds is happening just over a hundred miles from my home; while I might have qualified to go, I did not even participate in my local Etchells fleet qualifying series as I refuse to sail in a regatta where some of the teams are working with professional coaches and some of the crews are being paid more than it would cost me to compete altogether.

    I am one of those sailors who feel that "the bar (got) pushed up too high" and I have stopped "trying to chase it." No offense to those who can afford professional crew and coaches - more power to you all; yours is just not a league in which I care to compete. But I hope you all have fun!



    From Glenn Selvin:
    To my friend Chris Ericksen...thanks for putting the coaching issue in perspective! I sail a Finn. I can't afford a new sail every year, and I wish I could afford that new HIT mast I keep drooling over. And I damned sure can't afford a coach. I guess money's just too tight in an economy that only the politicians say is improving. But still, me and the rest of the old guys still go Finn sailing, and do the best that we can with our bad backs and weak knees. Finns4ever.





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    Apr 26, 2011, 9:53 AM

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    In Reply To
    From Charlie Baker, Etchells 1012:
    Regarding recent comments on coaching, in sports like golf, golfing professional teachers are common. Every course I'm familiar with has at least one. Why shouldn't sailors want to increase their skills just as much, employ such methods, and benefit themselves and the sport as a whole? Some golf pros are better than others. Some golfers use them more than others. But as far as I'm aware no one thinks they should be outlawed or limited. It seems to me the same should be true for sailing.

    From Mike Moore:
    It's been a long, long time since I've sailed Etchells (the 1991 Worlds on SF Bay comes to mind). But I've been somewhat active as a crew in the Star Class since about 1997 and have seen a pretty significant shift regarding coaching over the years. I absolutely agree that coaches can provide a great deal of help to sailors of all calibers. But the reality I've experienced is that coaching during regattas has developed to the point where those with coaches have a significant advantage on race day, not just in the training period leading up to it, or in the debrief session after the day is over. Here are a few reasons why:

    1) The tow out. Let’s face it, that's really nice when the fleet is facing a long sail to the course in light air. And for the record, as long as there is breeze, I always prefer to sail over a tow, even home after the day is over.

    2) On-the-water supplies. Having no coach, we've always had to choose our sails before leaving the dock, and then live with them for the day. The coached sailor has 2 more mains and 2 more jibs on the coach boat. Lighter breeze on the course than at the dock, or wind picks up in between races? No problem, just change the sails. And perhaps even more unfair, spare parts are also available. Not sure that fitting will hold up? No worries, your worst case scenario is losing one race if it's a multi-race day, as you've got spares on the coach boat. The un-coached sailor either makes it through the day without a breakdown, or he's out for the rest of the day following one.

    3) More weather information. What might it mean for your start and first beat planning if a coach boat were able to radio the wind direction at the weather mark to either you, or another coach boat at the start line with 6 minutes to go? Sound farfetched? Think again. It's happening now.

    I really don't mind that some guys are willing to put the time and money into working with a coach. And I don't mind too much that they often get towed in while I'm sailing in (as I said, I tend to prefer it). I also don't mind that the coaches are on the water during the day watching what they can so they can add to the post race debrief. But what I do object to is the very real advantages the coach offers ON and DURING race day.

    In my opinion, there should be no communication between the coach and the sailor once the tow line is cast off until the tow line is picked up at the end of the day. At least then everyone is, as much as possible, on a level playing field once racing starts. I've never seen a pro golfer consult his swing coach during a round, and if it isn’t in the bag over the caddie's shoulder he can't use it; and I know tennis players aren't allowed any contact with their coaches during a match, and I don't think they're allowed to use something they didn't carry onto the court themselves. The sailor/coach relationship should be the same

    And don't get me started on coach boats getting in the way just before starts. It's absolutely unconscionable in my opinion.


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    Apr 26, 2011, 10:00 AM

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    In Reply To

    From Mike Moore:
    It's been a long, long time since I've sailed Etchells (the 1991 Worlds on SF Bay comes to mind). But I've been somewhat active as a crew in the Star Class since about 1997 and have seen a pretty significant shift regarding coaching over the years. I absolutely agree that coaches can provide a great deal of help to sailors of all calibers. But the reality I've experienced is that coaching during regattas has developed to the point where those with coaches have a significant advantage on race day, not just in the training period leading up to it, or in the debrief session after the day is over. Here are a few reasons why:

    1) The tow out. Let’s face it, that's really nice when the fleet is facing a long sail to the course in light air. And for the record, as long as there is breeze, I always prefer to sail over a tow, even home after the day is over.

    2) On-the-water supplies. Having no coach, we've always had to choose our sails before leaving the dock, and then live with them for the day. The coached sailor has 2 more mains and 2 more jibs on the coach boat. Lighter breeze on the course than at the dock, or wind picks up in between races? No problem, just change the sails. And perhaps even more unfair, spare parts are also available. Not sure that fitting will hold up? No worries, your worst case scenario is losing one race if it's a multi-race day, as you've got spares on the coach boat. The un-coached sailor either makes it through the day without a breakdown, or he's out for the rest of the day following one.

    3) More weather information. What might it mean for your start and first beat planning if a coach boat were able to radio the wind direction at the weather mark to either you, or another coach boat at the start line with 6 minutes to go? Sound farfetched? Think again. It's happening now.

    I really don't mind that some guys are willing to put the time and money into working with a coach. And I don't mind too much that they often get towed in while I'm sailing in (as I said, I tend to prefer it). I also don't mind that the coaches are on the water during the day watching what they can so they can add to the post race debrief. But what I do object to is the very real advantages the coach offers ON and DURING race day.

    In my opinion, there should be no communication between the coach and the sailor once the tow line is cast off until the tow line is picked up at the end of the day. At least then everyone is, as much as possible, on a level playing field once racing starts. I've never seen a pro golfer consult his swing coach during a round, and if it isn’t in the bag over the caddie's shoulder he can't use it; and I know tennis players aren't allowed any contact with their coaches during a match, and I don't think they're allowed to use something they didn't carry onto the court themselves. The sailor/coach relationship should be the same

    And don't get me started on coach boats getting in the way just before starts. It's absolutely unconscionable in my opinion.



    Mike brings up a lot of valid advantages of regatta coaches, many of which might be limited by one design class rules and event sailing instructions. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt editor




    Glenn McCarthy
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    Apr 26, 2011, 6:54 PM

    Post #37 of 39 (71243 views)
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    There is a different way to use coaches. At a pre-event to the Star Western Hemisphere Championship in 2003, our fleet held races where the "outside assistance rule" was turned off. We hired George Szabo in a coach boat offering advice to all competitors in the fleet. My father (Gene) and I have been a Star team since 1973 and picked up on three pieces of advice - upwind light air we needed our weight farther forward; reaching we needed to remove the rake out of the mast more and tighten the headstay; running I needed to stand at the weather side shrouds and search for wind. One week later with the Championship full on, we sparred all the way around the course in race 4 with the regatta Silver Star winner Howie Schiebler and Rick Peters and won that race using the new tools Szabo had given us.

    Consider a fleet purchase of coaching!


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    Apr 26, 2011, 7:13 PM

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    I agree with EVERYTHING Ken Womack said. It's a thrill to line up in an Etchells with the best there are on an equal footing. I think that a big part of the fun is that in sailing, compared to other sports, the delta between a pro & a Joe is not that great and you can improve quickly under the right circumstances. Sailing against pros is a good thing.

    Ed Kriese
    www.OceanRacing.com

    In Reply To
    From Ken Womack:

    I am avid Corinthian (non-pro) Etchells sailor. I cannot think of a more fun way to spend my sailing dollars. The fun and rewards I get from sailing in the Etchells fleet are not derived in small part from those "professional crew and coaches". These professionals guarantee that I am measuring up against the best of the best. They also serve to attract the very best of the Corinthian sailors as well.

    When I arrived at SDYC last June for the Etchells North American Championship, I found that I would be competing against skippers like Bruce Golison, Chris Bush, Bruce Nelson, Bill Hardesty, Brian Camet, Dave Ulman, Vice Brun, Dennis Conner, and Chris Snow, just to mention a handful. Amongst their crew were dozens of class champions, Olympians and AC guys. Almost without exception any one of these sailors were more than willing to give me a few moments of conversation, coaching and advice. Not just before the regatta, but also during the cocktail hour following the races each day. Advice ranged from sail trim, steering and starting, to course management and weather forecasting.

    Perhaps one of the most fun aspects of this regatta was the fact that Argyle Campbell and his Corinthian crew almost walked away with the event, except for a tough go of it in the last race or two. Other great Corinthians also finished in the top ten, including Steve Wright and Andy La Dow. I just cannot fathom how someone could bemoan having to sail in such a great event, at an awesome venue, and with such a talented and fun group of amateur and professional sailors.

    If it were not for a little advice, or in the case of some cases, like that of Judd Smith, a lot of advice, along with competing on the race course with some of the all time greats, I would not be improving or having my occasional successes. Put me down as one who plans on continuing to sail as a Corinthian, but says bring on the pros!

    G. E. Kriese
    www.OceanRacing.com


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    Apr 28, 2011, 8:21 AM

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    From Roger Marshall:
    With two sons active in sailing all the way from optis to worlds - and at last count ten boats, including a J 22 and a J 24, in the yard and driveway - I find the issue of coaches in sailing to be a no brainer. Aren't we all coaches at some point? Haven't we all helped a newbie or a beginner learn more about 'our" fleet, "our" boat or "our" race course? Haven't we all been a fleet follower in a powerboat? The goal is to share and impart information to improve every sailor.

    At a recent Worlds, my sons got help from a "pro" sailmaker who volunteered (read coached) to help them go faster and compete against him. When they returned to their fleet they spent time helping others in their fleet to compete with them. As one member of the fleet said, "By their going to the worlds, they raised the bar for the entire fleet."

    Whether the coach is paid or not, the best coaches help everyone. Having a coaching boat in the area is a safety net for all junior sailors. For people concerned about coach boats on the race course, simply write in the Sailing Instructions to keep coaches outside a designated area during a race and ban communication with the sailors until after the races.


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