Gordon’s posting explains very well the advantages of on the water and other actively-involved officials and, since his posting, I now struggle to see disadvantages if applied sensibly and in tune with the ethos of the particular class and context, as he describes.

However, at yesterday’s AGM and elsewhere in this thread the issue of paying for more event officials, including on-the-water umpires, is raised. I believe that a case widely accepted within the open-event racing fraternity must be made before imposing costs on entrants or organising clubs.

Reporting objective descriptions like Gordon’s are key to making that case. When the case has been made, then event organisers and competitors would see the value (or not) of on-the-water umpiring, etc.

Maybe this year UKWA should treat umpiring the nationals as an experiment and centrally fund it to give organisers and competitors the experience they need to make an informed judgement of its value.

At the AGM it was suggested that a ‘levy’ should be placed on events designated an UKWA national event. In retrospect I am not clear whether this was intended to cover umpiring, etc, or simply as the cost of UKWA endorsement for the event.

Nevertheless, whatever the levy is intended for – and it is important that UKWA has sufficient income – it is important that if income from an event is to be shared between the organising club and UKWA, then so should the risk be.

Anyone who has organised an UKWA event (I speak from experience of chairing the team that organised the 2006 Easterns at MYC and other events) will know that the local club commits significant funds quite early on and doesn’t know until almost the day of the event whether they will make a profit or a loss. To make a loss and yet still be required to pay a levy to UKWA would not be equitable.

If event levies are to be made, then they should be on an equitable, risk-sharing basis.