It was in Nice, but it wasn’t nice anymore.
I’m usually quit capable to find the positive side of and event and write about that. The last couple of days I wasn’t able to do that, so to avoid writing something I would regret later, I skipped posting altogether.
It is now Monday morning and I’m sitting at a corner table in terminal A café LE NIKAIA. My flight is in an hour or so and there’s free WiFi so I’ll be able to post this.
The wind in Nice was a deciding factor – or better said the lack of wind. It frustrated sailors who felt it was “pot luck” on the short courses. It frustrated the RC as they struggled to find reason in starting. It frustrated the Organisers as they wanted to have some races for all the VIP’s that were invited.
In the morning we did some fairly decent races a little way from shore. In the afternoon in front of the spectators and VIP tent it was bad. The Extreme 40s struggled to get some speed, were very slow manoeuvrable and we had multiple boat rounding's (and incidents) at marks. That cumulated in a couple of very dubious manoeuvres by several boats. Almost as if they deliberately were breaking the rules – something that is very hard to prove.
And when we gave a penalty all their frustration came out – you guessed it – against the umpires. I’m well aware that people need to vent their emotions sometimes, but being called an idiot in a five minute rant is un-acceptable. We were very close to getting out the black flag and disqualifying boats.
It didn’t get any better in the next races.
It feels like all the effort we have spend to build up a relationship with the sailors has been wiped away by this behaviour. The CU spoke with several skippers but found them uncooperative and emotional.
We will let things cool off and pick this up in Almeria next week. But the border has been reached. If this happens again, it will have consequences.
I’ll prepare some scenario’s to go over the rules involved.
I’ve qualified to stay an International Umpire by passing the test, but this time it was no fun being one…..
Until next time,