Spectator from a Marker Boat

 I hope that everyone can occasionally crew on race committee marker boat for the race committee.  This is different than the race committee boat where they have to set flags, check in boats, start the race, and record the finish times, while the marker boat is much different.  Here is what I saw and why I think you may be interested volunteering on the marker boat.


There are four distinct phases for crewing on the race committee marker boat.  The four steps are: 1) planning the course, 2) setting the anchors for the two race markers, 3) watching and critiquing the boats during the race, and 4) picking up markers.


Step one included a lot of experienced individuals providing input into the wind direction, weather forecast, expected wind changes into the decisions on the ultimate course.  Current winds were between 60 (NE) and 90 (E) and forecasted to change.  We settled on 70degrees. The forecast was for increasing winds through the evening and no bad weather on the radar for the next few hours.  Therefore, we opted for a course of four legs versus two legs and the legs length of .9 mile distance. (4 x .9 = 3.6 mile course)


Now that the decisions were made, we were on to our second step of placing the markers.  We motored 70degrees directly into the wind and placed our windward marker at .9 miles from the race committee boat.  Then we needed to place the start/finish buoy 90 degrees port of the race committee starting boat.


Thirdly, we enjoyed and critiqued the race.  Doug, who has been racing for years, knew when they were going to tack, and who would have trouble with the spinnakers.  Unlike the race committee, which is very busy at the start of a race, the marker boat is free to watch and take photos during the entire race.  I took photos and remembered how cool it was to receive race pictures by other volunteers.


Lastly, we picked up the markers and packed them away.  I really enjoyed my leisure trip out on the race marker boat and thought you should know.



 Race Committee boat preparing for the start

 Spinnakers flying












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About John Weller

Brought up sailing on Lake Macatawa (Holland, MI). Raced Sprites (12 ft main and jib) at the local yacht club as a youth. Raced on LicktySplit J35, BlackBeard S2 7.9, and Lake Effect T30 on Wednesday nights with the Bay Shore Yacht Club racing organization. Enjoy teaching, sailing, and skiing to those who want an adventure.

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