23 Oct, 2007
It may all appear to be fun in the sun but the orchestration of a successful regatta in the Caribbean requires countless man-hours, many volunteers and successful partnerships with organizations that are as different as the host’s country’s Immigration and Customs departments to the street venders. It was many of these relationships that were discussed in Antigua by the twenty-seven participants of the fourth Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) Regatta Organizers Conference (ROC) this past weekend.
Representing twelve CSA regattas, the participants spent two days discussing marketing strategies, ways in which to pool resources, the importance of good class allocations, and some of the nitty-gritty of race and event management.
All too often participants walk away from meetings such as this one with warm fuzzy feelings but no plans for real change, but CSA President, Cary Byerley was determined not to let that happen and, as a result, concrete actions plans were decided. All agreed that CSA is a tremendous rating rule for the Caribbean but organizations such as IRC have done a better job of marketing. With that in mind, the decision was made to work with an independent who can assist in revising and republishing the CSA handbook helping sailors throughout the world understand our measurement rule and how well it suits the Caribbean sailing conditions. It was also decided to develop some joint marketing strategies to encourage foreign boats to come to the Caribbean and take part in a number of regattas. Additionally, work will begin on a centralized database of Caribbean regatta participants, facilitating centralized registration for our events.
One of the more heated discussions concerned the use at our events of the IRC rating system, currently very popular in the US and Europe. To fully understand the impact, presentations were made explaining the history of popular rating systems and the reasons for which the CSA rule has continued to meet our needs in the Caribbean since its inception forty years ago. The oldest measurement system in continuous use, CSA was developed specifically for Caribbean conditions and all participants agree that it provides the most equitable handicaps for our events. Although individual regattas may choose to offer an IRC class, most agree to offer dual scoring to those competitors who want to race under IRC, insuring class sizes stay large enough for competitive racing. This specifically impacts Stanford Antigua Sailing Week, BVI Spring Regatta, St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and St. Thomas’ International Rolex Regatta as they are part of the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.
As the weekend wrapped up, Cary Byerley remarked, “Once again, the ROC meeting has brought together some of the most dedicated regatta organizers in the Caribbean and fostered open lines of communication, the pooling of resources and an environment of cooperation. Each conference gets better and now we’re no longer in competition with each other but instead, are jointly promoting the best sailing and racing in the world.”
Click here to see all news