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Two-Boat Umpiring Devised by Bruce Hebbert June 2007 Background At most TR events, we do not have the luxury of 3 boats umpiring – rather, we often have only one and sometimes two umpire boats on a race The following has been developed to provide a method for handling this

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two boat umpiring

Two-Boat Umpiring

Devised by

Bruce Hebbert

June 2007

  • At most TR events, we do not have the luxury of 3 boats umpiring – rather, we often have only one and sometimes two umpire boats on a race
  • The following has been developed to provide a method for handling this
there are generally 2 variations
There are generally 2 variations:
  • 2 umpire boats throughout
  • 2 umpire boats at the start, with the second leaving at the windward mark
  • Driver of Lead Umpire Boat – LU
  • Second Umpire in Lead Umpire boat- LUA
  • Driver of Second Umpire Boat – 2U
  • Second Umpire in Second Umpire Boat- 2UA
  • (Sorry about this…but if you have a better acronyme, shout now)
general principles
General Principles:
  • All Umpires follow a single team, usually those with the lower numbers are selected by the Lead Umpire (eg. the Red team)
  • The Lead Umpire (UL) for the race will take the committee boat end of the line. The other Umpire boat (2U) will take the pin end
  • The driver of the Lead Umpire boat (UL) is the controller
  • When an Umpire boat is following a single ‘target’ boat, dialogue between LU/LUA and 2U/2UA is essential – the driver taking the ‘target’ boat, and the second Umpire taking the opposing boats that are nearby
  • When an Umpire boat is following two boats, each Umpire should clearly select to follow one of the two boats



LU to LUA: ‘I have Red 2, you have Red 3 - keep an eye on Red 1’

While all in a bunch around LU, then 2U just waits



Here, when it is clear that Red 1 is moving to leeward, 2U starts to take responsibility



If this happens, 2U should take both Red 1 and Red 2




As the boats approach the line to start, (generally) one of the Red boats will move down the line. 2U takes this one (Red 1)

LU may hail or radio to confirm that 2U takes Red 1




In the final approaches, LU should take the boat starting closest to the committee boat and position to see any incident. LUA should follow the other Red boat at the committee boat end


If as here… 2 Red boats go to start at the pin end, then 2U and 2UA each take one and LU keeps the committee boat end

A hail or radio call to this effect from LU is helpful to ensure this happens


In the last 15-20 seconds, Umpires must keep to their boats ensuring they know how overlaps were established


Just before and after the starting signal, an eye should also be kept on the Blue boats - especially if Rule 42 conditions exist or if one is OCS and may turn to return


After the start, Umpires should keep with their boats for the first 30 meters or so to ensure all ‘accidental’ incidents are covered




Thereafter, the fleet typically splits left and right.

LU should go right, 2U should go left


Despite the left-right ‘rule’, the over-riding requirement is to be positioned to cover ‘engaging pairs’


As the fleet approaches the laylines, the Umpire boats should move to be outside the laylines


On the approach to the mark, the Umpire boats must be positioned to see overlaps as boats reach the zone




The Umpire of the leading pair must aim to get to windward of the first mark, and hold position to see any action before turning towards Mark 2

Illustrated for LU – easier when 2U is on the leading pair


The first Umpire to the windward mark goes with the front of the fleet…keeping to windward, then going down the port of the fleet as they approach Mark 3


The second Umpire to reach the windward mark goes either high or low on the first reach, depending on the spread


The Umpires need to keep sufficiently to windward to avoid luffs… but avoid the Red shaded area


On the run, the Umpires have kept to the port side of the fleet..though the green Umpire may go either side at first


If there is any attempt at a passback at Mark 3, the Red area is a ‘no go zone’ for the umpires


The front Umpire boat moves below Mark 3 to see the action…then turns and keeps to leeward of the rhumb line 2-3


Approaching Mark 4, both Umpire boats are ideally positioned below the rhumb line…and both avoid ‘Hell Corner’ indicated in Red


On the final beat, the Umpires need again to go left and right, taking the two most in contention pairs. Whatever happens, the key ‘Gap’ must be covered. LU should hail or radio as necessary

It is often (but not always!) easier for the Umpire leading along the reach to go right up the beat, and the trailing Umpire to go left


Approaching the finish, seeing overlaps at the zones are key for E9 calls, so Umpires need to be outside the laylines…and should never cross the finish line