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Behind the Scenes with StFYC's Race Office
StFYC puts on over 40 on-water events a year, representing over 150 days on the water. Behind all of this activity is our hyper-organized, super-talented Race Office professional staff comprised of Race Director Graham Biehl and Race Coordinator Grace Carrick. Susan Ruhne interviewed this dynamic duo to learn more about what it takes to make our race program thrive.

Behind the Scenes in the Race Office: the wide-ranging responsibilities of our talented team 

By Susan Ruhne

The St. Francis Yacht Club is able to run an extensive and well-respected race program thanks to a combination of our professional race staff and our Executive Race Committee.

In the Race Office, Race Director Graham Biehl and Race Coordinator Grace Carrick keep our calendar organized, our documentation up-to-date and our member volunteers on track as they plan and execute our many regattas. This team does so much more behind the scenes and there is no way our ERC could pull off our schedule without their steady support.

When I asked Grace what stood out about the program in her brief tenure, she said it was the extent of the work required before, during and after each event. In addition to coordinating and communicating with sailors and the ERC, Graham and Grace coordinate all of the Club’s departments including Catering, Food & Beverage, Finance, Docks and Operations. Running a single regatta might involve prepping boats, saving dock space, reserving a room and booking food—all of which requires a ton of pre-work and organization. In addition, this team works with third-party vendors, sponsors, the SF Rec & Park Department, the Golden Gate National Park, the Coast Guard, Bar Pilots and more.

Beyond the walls of the St. Francis, Graham represents our Club at US Sailing and World Sailing meetings around the world, which he attends to expand our knowledge on current sailing trends; to meet and network with other leaders in sailing; and to recruit fleets to come to StFYC as part of our mission to be a national and international leader in the sport. As a club, we are in constant contact with other leading clubs so we can stay up to date on trends, ideas and creative solutions to common industry challenges.

Off season (yes, we do have an off-season!), Graham and Grace travel to warmer climes to work at least one other regatta, gaining cross-training in regatta management and recruiting for future StFYC events. Typically, this occurs at the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta.

This year, Graham had the rare task of helping source, purchase and plan for outfitting our new signal boat. He coordinated this effort with ERC Chair Gerard Sheridan, Dick Watts and the Board and Finance Committee. This project is part of another area of Race Office oversight: our fleet of Race Committee, Umpire and Junior Coach boats, all of which have an extensive maintenance and replacement program.

The Race Office is located over the Starting Line Room, which means it's possible that Grace and Graham have the most amazing office view anywhere in San Francisco. They handle in-person visits, calls, texts and emails. (Hint: the best way to get a quick response is email!) They share the office with Brent Harrill, our Sailing Director. The office schedule is Wednesday-Sunday and often extends during major regattas.

Whether behind the scenes or out in front, we’re grateful to have one of the best Race Office teams in the business! Next time you’re at the Club, be sure to stop by the Race Office and introduce yourself.

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