Two for the price of one
1. They Expect Too Much
This weekend at Farmoor Bruce commented that feedback from competiors was that they thought that Umpires were using the black flag when they are uncertain, or unable to make up their minds. This probably arises from a couple of recent incidents where a competitors infringement has given their team a race winning advantage which the Umpires have been unable to correct by giving additional turns.
The rules mean that we can only give penalties to a boat that has infringed a rule - it might be nice if we could give penalties to other boats - or even order a re-sail (which it turns out we cannot do either) but we cannot. I don't think any of us like using a Black Flag. Competitors should just be more understanding - in my opinion.
We do the best we can and they don't make it easy.
2. They don't understand
I have to renew my RYA Race Officer Qualification this year and the form asks for "any other regattas where you have had a Race Management involvement"
So . . . do I put down this weekend at Oxford? I was there as an Umpire, but with the Committee Boat dragging her anchor all the time I was the one who went in and had to sort out the anchors so that the boat would hold. Surely anchoring the Committee Boat is a Race Management Function? I also had to supply the Committee Boat with an X Flag!
Then there are all those events where we move marks - (and we are not even allowed to observe a mark laying course)
The real world doesn't fit their neat little boxes.