Matt Ryder was only helping out when a Yachting New Zealand staff member was in town for an information evening but ended up taking the course himself.
Ryder was one of the first club race officers to become qualified through Yachting New Zealand's new online club race officers course on the online platform, Embark.
Yachting New Zealand launched Embark last year with the aim of providing greater access to opportunities for coaches, race officials or club volunteers to learn and develop their skills.
Coaching 101, intro to race officiating and club race officer courses are presently offered and Yachting New Zealand are working on judging and umpiring courses which should be rolled out in 2021.
The main advantage of Embark is that it can be done at a time and place that suits the participant, rather than having to attend a course that could be out of town. Previously, Ryder would have had to commit a whole weekend to attend a seminar or likely would have had to wait as much as two or three years for one to occur in his region.
"We had [regional support officer] Wayne Holdt come to the club to do a presentation on Embark and he needed someone with someone with a computer to allow him to present," said Ryder who is involved in the Taupo Sailing Club. "I found it really interesting and thought I might as well do a course.
"I popped the headphones on and did it over two or three lunchtimes. It was very handy to do it at a time that suited me.
"It's good to see that Yachting New Zealand are looking to expand the platform so people are able to progress if they are from the smaller regions. People aren't disadvantaged by having to travel, which makes life easer, and the cost is right too - it's free."
Ryder has already recruited a couple of fellow club members to take the intro to race officiating course and they're both now running club racing.
Currently there are two courses available for aspiring race officials and volunteers.
- Intro to Race Officiating - An introduction to the concepts and knowledge required to become a qualified race official (race officer, judge or umpire) or competent on-water volunteer: Modules are:
- Race officials
- Visual signals
- Vital rules
- Organising races
- Club Race Officer course - This course follows on from the Intro to Race Officiating course. It delves into more depth on race management and what race officers need to know and do to run good quality racing. Completion is required to become qualified as a Club Race Officer.
It is made up of 5 modules:
- Setting courses
- Starting races
- During a race
- Running safe racing
See here for more information on Embark, including details on how to register.