Checklist for Running A Successful Regatta

Reposted from Snipe USA Jan 2020 Newsletter

Means and Peggy Davis from the Atlanta fleet have been sailing Snipes for eons and have hosted countless regattas, so their suggested “to-do” list can serve as an excellent anxiety reducer:

Planning for your fleet:

  • Be sure every non-sailing person / spouse is involved. Give each a small job to do. That makes it their regatta, too. I found nothing more discouraging than watching others having fun while I stood by, feeling unneeded.Keep good records of what you did with notes of suggestions for the next year.
  • Start planning early enough that you can do the planning in your leisure time and actually enjoy looking forward to a great event.
  • Increase participation in the event by having each member of your fleet come up with a few names of Snipers who may not be planning to attend and have those members get in touch with them. If contacts are lost, maybe the SCIRA Office can help you with the last address SCIRA had for them.

Planning for the participants:

  • Think through the regatta as if you were an out-of-towner arriving at your club. If they come at a reasonable hour, is there someone to greet them? If late at night, at least are the lights on and maybe a note on the door saying welcome? If they arrive the day of the event, are the local sailors standing by to help them launch and find whatever they left behind? Is there someone assigned to check that there remains a sufficient amount of paper goods in the restrooms? Is there water available for skippers to take out?
  • Is registration made easy by having prepared envelops of tickets for all preregistered boats? It’s easier to keep the group together for the regatta, and to stuff envelops, if you will include important – or all – meals in the registration fee. Then you can have envelops prepared with meal tickets for those you are not expecting and only have to add extra meals at the registration table.
  • Have you planned entertainment? It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive to keep Snipers happy. Many of my favorite memories are sitting around a campfire with a few guitars and a lot of camaraderie. Silly games also create memories without cost.
  • Have you ordered reasonable trophies? Most Snipers would rather save a little money than have a gigantic trophy.

Planning food:

Plan your menu depending not only on what things cost and what you like, but by practicality. Think through the amount of energy it will take to cook at the club. A giant pan of lasagna reduces labor as does pizza ordered to be delivered (we just found one chain who delivered ready to eat pizza cheaper than we could buy the frozen at the big warehouse stores.) When an exact time for the meal can’t be determined, ie Sunday lunch, plan something like subs which can be put out quickly if the race is short, and will last a long time if it is long.

Planning for sailing:

  • Have you written accurate and complete Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions? Even if you have a very low-key regatta, it’s wise to run these by someone certified as a race officer or judge before they cause misunderstanding at the event.
  • Have you arranged for a competent race committee and protest committee?
  • Have you staffed the RC boat with backup to record finishes, either on tape or at least by a second person?
  • If there is a good chance of clumps of boats finishing together, have you told the sailors at the Skippers’ Meeting that if they finish in a clump to make sure the RC can see your number – even after finishing as your number may have been obscured by another boat. Does your RC finish boat have a “first blank” person who will follow the next boat away from the boat number you call until that boat’s number can be read? Have you told the RC personnel taking finishes to record the end of a number or hull color etc when a clump finishes together so that they can sort out the whole number from those in the finishing area? Have you told the person taking finishes to have the recorder record numbers in the margin in advance when they see a clump approaching?
  • Do you have enough rescue boats if the weather gets rough? Do they know proper rescue procedure? Do they know to tow in the last finishing boats (not the winners) if the winds are light?

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