Over the last two weeks I have done 3 events, 10 days out of 11 on the water volunteering. It often surprises me how many people ask if I get paid for what I do. I am not sure if this is asked because I work in the Sailing industry or because of the number of events I volunteer at which means being out of the office. Lunches are usually supplied and sometimes breakfast for the early starts. Depending on the event you may get a regatta shirt or a small thank you gift. The three events I just volunteered at were two Match Racing Events at RPAYC and CYCA and the third was Fleet Racing being umpired at RMYC.
Many of the events I do I see the same volunteers, whether it be RO’s, Umpires, Judges or the onshore team. Many of the faces have now become good friends as a result of how much time we do spend with each other.
So I guess the question we should be asked is why we do it. We love our sport, we love talking tactics and rules. We get to spend huge amounts of time on our beautiful waterways that people pay to spend time on. But most of all we love our sport and seeing people enjoying it too. So next time you see the same familiar faces on a start boat or RIB make sure you say hi. If you have ever thought about getting more involved do talk to us as it can be great fun. Of course it can sometimes be hard work and very long hours on the water or back in the protest room.
It comes down to loving the sport, the friends and the time on the water. The next time you go sailing have a look at how many people it takes to run that racing. Do you see those faces on a regular basis?
I am a volunteer and this is why: