This strange race is much misunderstood.  Unattractive, with a tentacled face, gleaming red eyes and requiring an interpreter they do however speak with one voice, based around their low-level telepathic field, which also allows them to project through time and space.

This is what I did at the weekend.  No really – ood stands for Officer of the day.  So on this day, once a year I have to be calm, consistent, organised, encyclopaedic about RYA rules and beyond reproach.

(OK, OK, the club changed the duty last year from ood – splitting it into to ROD and COD (race officer of the day and committee on duty) – but to me we’ll always be ood’s – there’s nothing like pushing through a lunch que declaring ‘ood coming through’ while waggling your hand in front of your face.)

It’s normally a disaster.  Last year I got shouted at for running all the timings wrong in the Stern Chase (I wasn’t – they were right – no consolation), had to check who won with the two lead boats as I wasn’t sure from the angle they finished at and didn’t manage to log finishes at all in the Ramblers series.  Fortunately the competitors were all pretty forgiving – especially when one of them twigged I had gone to hide in the race office and cry.

But it’s a really stressful day, allot to cope with on your own, and as our duties tend to be on the same day each year I always get the same challenging mix of races – two short back to backs ran on the water in the morning, followed by a one hour shore start Stern Chase (often with half a dozen and more different classes all with a different time start) with an on the water finish followed by one long race usually started and finished from the shore.

Phew.  We run handicap racing at the club too – so following all of these you then need to be able to work the race program on the club abacus computer to get a result.

After last year I swore never again.

I’ll tell you what happened tomorrow.


  1. And there was I thinking that OOD meant Olympics Over Disorder.

    The Ood seem to me to be an implausibly vulnerable species that ought to grow a 3rd arm or something to hold that ball thing.

  2. Being an OOD is terrifying. I’m not sure which is worse – being in charge of the racing yourself or being an assistant to a very experienced race offer who demands perfection from his assistant and assumes you know how to do everything as well as he does.

    My best race officer experience was when I volunteered to assist at a huge, major, high-powered Laser intergalactic championship (or something like that.) People actually came from foreign countries, overseas, abroad, to sail in it, so it was a really really big deal. My job was to pull up the flags and I was terrified I would put up a Q flag or an F flag when they really wanted an M flag. (I have no idea what all those flags mean and even less idea what they look like.) It was my best experience ever because we had no wind for the 3 days I was volunteering so we didn’t run a single race. Phew! But at least I didn’t screw up.

  3. Have you considered taking one of those training courses for online customer support staff?

    They teach how to invent convincing sounding answers when you have no clue what you’re talking about. If you get good at this, you’ll be able to make people feel guilty for even questioning your authority.

    Above all else, never – ever – admit you don’t know the answer to something. If you can master the art of being wrong convincingly, you’ll also be preparing yourself for a career in management.

  4. I look forward to tomorrow’s revelations as long as includes the fact that we all had a fantastic days sailing on both occasions you have been ood….

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