The Middelfart TMC Spring Cup 2009 Open/Woman Umpire group.... with emphasis on GROUP.. is a twelve person Umpire Group made up from 6 IU/IJ and 6 NU.
Probably the biggest "heaviest" umpire group at a Grade 3 event ever. Our chairman is applying to be entered in the Guinness Book of World Records 2009. She - yes the CU is the only woman among this 'platoon' - drives us like a lieutenant should; reveille at 07:00 hours - meetings before breakfast - new calls 15 minutes before we go out and on the water until 18:45, - double penalties, - testing the organisation, - testing the new rules, specially rule 19 for obstructions and asking for feedback on everything. TMC Middelfart will host the European Championship Match Racing later this year and they want to get it right.
I'm having a great time and am sorry it is only two days.
I'm typing from the notes I made the first afternoon at 13:43. The sun came out but it took the wind away. We were under AP waiting. With me is a Danish National Umpire who's been doing this for a long time. We've been discussing new wording and calls.
Although everybody is expecting that the changes in the RRS will have an effect on how we umpire, the actual fact is that most calls - if not all - are about the 'usual' row rules. And about rule 15 and/or 16. Mark rounding and obstructions don't seem to be that difficult any more. Inside or Clear ahead gets mark-room. No issue.
Rule 19 has simplified the pre-start manoeuvres round the starting vessel. If you get an overlap, the outside boat must be able to give room, otherwise she doesn't have to. No zone, umpires don't have to say when boats have passed and revert 'back' to row-rules. The row-rules stay in effect and therefore it is simpler and easier to follow.
Also, conditions at this event were very light, so that gave us all - sailors and umpires - a change to catch up with the changes.
On Sunday I ended up on the Woman's course. They were expected to finish earlier and would give us a time to leave a little earlier - the trip back home would take about 8 hours...
I have tried to video a pre-start as promised in a previous post. You can watch the result below:
You will hear us comment on the windward boat getting in between the starting vessel and the leeward boat. Expecting to double penalty her, we watched closely. But leeward never could reach windward! Windward pulled it off and wins the match. Bold, scary, almost breaking rule 11 but legal. As long as she is keeping clear, she can use the room that the leeward boat leaves her.
I want to thank everybody. Being able to participate in such an event, is one of the reasons why I love umpiring....