>Staying out of the Way: 2011 US Olympic Team Qualifying Regatta

>“Who’s that chick all by herself in the powerboat?”

“Oh, that’s Carol Cronin. She’s the OSC rep.”

“What’s an OSC rep?”

Up until day two of the Women’s Match Racing Trials event held at Key Biscayne Yacht Club Oct 26-30, I’m not sure I could’ve come up with a decent answer to that last question. Now, after five days of wearing that title, I can tell you. Though it officially stands for the Olympic Sailing Committee Representative, it really means staying out of the way.

I said going in to the event that if I did a really good job, no one would remember I was there. The OSC has always had a representative at each Trials, a person who is tasked with “keeping it fair” and making sure everything runs smoothly. When I was asked to step in by Dean Brenner, who’d been our OSC rep at the 2004 Yngling Trials, I was honored.

What I didn’t recognize right away was the different needs of a match racing event. In addition to the usual regatta constituents (sailors, race committee, shoreside volunteers, boatwrights, press), match racing adds another very important group: the umpires. These ten people had spent way more time thinking about the rules than I had, so it was best to let the racing run as it would have without me there.

My role, then, became that of regatta manager: letting everyone do their job, while balancing conflicting demands on equipment. For eight sailing teams competing in seven equally matched Elliott 6ms, we had fifteen powerboats on the water, which sounds like plenty. But when one of the USSTAG coach boats stopped running, we needed to find a spare boat so that each team in the finals had complete access to a private coach.

Fortunately the photographer and videographer graciously agreed to give up their RIB, since they recognized it would be better for the sailors. This “athletes first” attitude was shared by everyone on site, which made my job a whole lot easier.
I’m looking forward to the final four boat Trials event in Weymouth next May. I’m sure the sailing will be tight and fierce. And hopefully, no one will even notice the OSC rep, riding around in a powerboat all by herself.

Carol Newman Cronin won two races at the 2004 Olympics in the Yngling. She’s also published three books; the latest, “Game of Sails,” is an Olympic love story. http://www.carolnewmancronin.com/

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