World Match Racing Tour.

ISAF Special Event

Posted: 09.06.2014 - 12:01:04 (GMT)
Category: Interviews
Bill Edgerton is the Chief umpire of Match Race Germany © Ian Roman /

Bill Edgerton is the Chief umpire of Match Race Germany © Ian Roman /

Langenargen, Germany (9th June 2014): Downunder, where chief umpire Bill Edgerton comes from, there’s a children’s character called Blinky Bill, a laid-back cuddly cartoon Koala. But if the sailors on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour think they can pull the blinkers over their on-the-water officials, they’ve got another thing coming. Edgerton (known to some as Complicated Bill) and his colleagues are wise to their mischievous tricks.

Most of the boats used on the Alpari World Match Race Tour are tiller-steered, but at Match Race Germany, the Bavaria 40 keelboat is equipped with a wheel. This offers the cheekier skippers a new opportunity to pull the wool over the eyes of the umpires. Just as professional footballers are prone to tripping over a blade of grass on the edge of the penalty box, sailors are not immune to similar forms of dyspraxia. Tight situations sometimes tempt sailors into the dark art of dissimulation. But Complicated Bill is on to them: “They're playing to the umpires! They're trying to gain an advantage, and it's a game between us and them.

“They're always trying to show that they're doing what they need to stay out of trouble, and we're always looking to see that they're doing enough. So, they can exaggerate the drama of the situation and make it look as though it's more dramatic than it is in reality. But it's not as bad as a dive in football.


“When you need to keep clear, you have to turn the boat, and if you're not close enough or not watching closely, they can slide their hands over the top of the wheel without actually turning it, saying, ‘Look, I'm going as hard as I can!’” Little beknown to the offending skipper, Edgerton is looking further down - below the waterline - for evidence of whether or not they’re really trying. “Actually if you're looking at the rudder you see there's no turning of the rudder whatsoever. It's up to us to try and satisfy ourselves if they are really doing everything they can, or if they're just playing a game.”



Go to the Image Gallery