From the Commodore: Thursday's #FairSailing Seminar

#FairSailing Seminar at the PYC

Why We Hope to See You There

Thursday Night 7:30 p.m. – After Racing


Many of you likely have seen notices in Lifters & Headers about Thursday night’s #FairSailing seminar at the PYC.  As PYC Commodore and speaking for our entire board, we strongly support this ILYA initiative and hope to see a full turnout from our members.

Because we’re just beginning our sailing season, we realize you might wonder what this is all about and why we are doing it, so here is a bit of the background. At the ILYA meeting last October, a room full of sailors, sailing school instructors and directors, board members, race officers and judges gathered together to talk about sportsmanship.  The focus was on a perception that the ILYA’s legacy of clean and fair sailing was waning, especially among the youth fleets. The ILYA resolved to take steps to reverse that decline.

Over the winter, a newly-formed ILYA committee gathered information from youth sailors, instructors, sailing schools and many others involved in home lake and ILYA racing programs. The committee submitted a report with recommendations to the ILYA board. Among the committee’s findings:

  • Many sailors – of all ages – do not know and/or understand the Racing Rules of Sailing.
  • In many cases, there is little-to-no rules instruction in sailing schools.
  • Sportsmanship is of PRIME concern. It is part of our innate value system. Nothing other than full compliance is the expectation.
  • On-water execution of following the rules has deteriorated.
  • There are many reasons for this behavior but it appears there is no deliberate intent in most cases to broach the rules.


With the ILYA board’s approval, Commodore Porter then launched ILYA #FairSailing, which you might have read about in Scowlines. It includes a Rule of the Week, a rules quiz, and seminars at clubs and sailing schools, such as we are doing here at the PYC.

The PYC is not only among the ILYA’s premier clubs, it’s known in the global sailing world for its racing programs and accomplished sailors. We are proud of our reputation for hosting ILYA and other major championship regattas, conducted at the highest level of quality and performance. Our membership over the years has included champions at virtually every level of competition – local, regional, collegiate, national, global and Olympic.

One example is the late Peter Barrett, namesake of U.S. Sailing’s Peter J. Barrett Sportsmanship Award and long-time PYC member. In the 1964 Summer Games, Peter won an Olympic Silver medal in the Finn Class. He would have won Olympic Gold, except he retired from one race because his shoulder brushed the rudder of another boat due to his poor eyesight. No one, including the other competitors, noticed it. But Peter knew he had committed a foul and retired. Simply put, it was the right thing to do. That’s what the ILYA and #FairSailing are all about.

With a legacy such as Peter’s and that of many other PYC sailors, it’s vital that we lead the way in this unique effort to champion the highest levels of sportsmanship in our sport.

The PYC board is in full support of ILYA #FairSailing and we hope to see you Thursday night, right after racing.

Commodore Joe Barker