If you didn’t make it to Skerries for the 2008 Wayfarer Europeans, you missed a great event. Championship class venue, warm welcome, well organised, excellent sailing for all.

My particular impression was of a great event for all sailors, no matter their level in the fleet. At the front of the fleet competition was close, fiercely competitive and no quarter given when mistakes made or rules infringed. Across the fleet there were mini battles taking place at all levels as the series unfolded. Some were coming out on top and were delighted. Others were suffering, occasionally capsizing, but still enjoying the regatta. That Wayfarer racing embraces such a disparate standard of competition underlines its diversity of appeal and that it is a vehicle for sailors at all levels to improve their game.

The organisers arranged for there to be a jury in place should protests occur. As is the norm in the majority of fleets, and at the higher profile regattas, the jury included individuals with appropriate judging qualifications. The organisers provided a RIB for the jury to watch the action out on the water. There was a good chance a juror would actually see any incident on the water that would find its way to the protest room (as was the case). Generally, getting out on the water allows the jury to better understand the characteristics of the boat (and the sailors), how the race was managed and the prevailing conditions.

This is not about on the water umpiring (à la International Match Racing or the America’s Cup). This is about a ‘sharpening the saw’ of the existing approach to juries and protests. There is an element of ultimate deterrent, but not something that should be feared by any Wayfarer sailor.

The direction the Wayfarer class is going is consistent with that of pretty much all classes. We are learning, as others, from mistakes made in the past; improving the game today and for the future.

Mr Q