The Race Director, The guarantor of a successful race

2018-07-10

The Race Director holds a major role in the race organisation and his actions go far beyond simply following the event. François Séruzier, Race Director of the Panerai Transat Classique 2019, lists the different aspects of his role.

Although the race is mainly aimed at amateurs, the Panerai Transat Classique 2019 is a competitive event. If any proof was needed, all crews showed an impressive tenacity, determination and commitment during the three previous editions. To help them tackle such an event with confidence, the role of the Race Director is essential. François Séruzier fulfills this delicate task on the Panerai Transat Classique 2019. He draws on a solid experience having officiated over this exceptional race since its creation in 2008, but also for the Atlantic Trophée (Douarnenez-Horta-Douarnenez) and events for the Mini 6.50 which include the Mini Transat 2015, as well as competitions for Figaro sailboats such as the Douarnenez Fastnet Solo.

He explains his different missions :
"The work of a Race Director does not take place exclusively during the event. My work began six months ago when I started to visit boats that were interested in participating in the race and helped owners and captains to prepare them. The majority of the ship owners are amateurs and although they sometimes welcome professionals onboard they are more used to coastal regattas than offshore racing. I usally give advice that goes from security equipment, personal beacons, satellite positioning and the medical kit. This also concerns the technical preparation of the boat and the motivation to participate, for the crew members, in safety training courses. A certain percentage of the crew must have completed a training of this type, but there are of course equivalences for experienced and professional sailors. These types of activities continue during the week preceding the departure through helping the crews to check their safety equipment, through verification of the distress beacon onboard and the status of the life raft.

My role also involves the study of the chosen locations for the start and finish. We must ensure the quality of accomodation for classic yachts ranging from 11 to 50 m, this means we have to check the depth, the docks, the supply of water and electricity for each marina. We also have to study the positioning of the start and finish lines, anticipate the route at the exit of the Canary Islands archipelago and at the approach of the Caribbean islands.
For this new edition, choosing Lanzarote and Marina Lanzarote for departure makes things easier. I am happy to find a competent and motivated team in all aspects of the organization.
In addition, it is necessary to contact the maritime authorities, establish relations with the local clubs and work on the collaboration with the French Federation of Sailing. With the latter we set the race rules, (available online on the website of the Panerai Transat Classique 2019) and create the team of officials with the President of the Race Committee and the President of the Jury, from the FFV.
Finally, for the race itself, there are the different pre-departure briefings: the safety briefing to explain the procedure in case of an alert/sos from one of the competitors a weather forecast briefing, in collaboration with a company specializing in the tracking of the offshore races, to explain the weather situation of the first days of the race. Once the race has started, and because the routing on land is prohibited (only free information available to all are allowed), I prepare daily weather reports addressed to all participants as well as a warning bulletin if necessary. Once a day the boats also receive the positions of all competitors. I am in daily contact with the skippers and I inform the communications team for the website of the Panerai Transat Classique 2019. "

To contact François Séruzier : +33 (0)6 33 02 81 28 | fseruzier@wanadoo.fr

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