Have you ever wondered what goes through the minds of PROs?  In our new series, Pro PROs, we’re sitting down with some of the best PROs in the business and asking them the tough questions: like what their favorite course type is and finding out once and for all whether they are pro or anti flags.  We’ll share their best course setting advice and tips for you to take back to your race courses.

First to be featured is PRO Brendan Hagman.

Hailing from the Midwest, Brendan is relatively new to the Race Officer scene, becoming a PRO in 2018.

While he may be a newer PRO, he is definitely not lacking in experience. He has been a Race Officer for circles ranging from ORC classes at the Ugotta Regatta to one design youth racing at the Chubb Championship.

So read on to learn more about Brendan, including his secret for avoiding egregious rule violations!

Brendan Hagman
Tell us a little about where you are from, your sailing background and when you first became a PRO.

I was born and raised in Chicago and started crewing on PHRF boats in the late nineties.  As I learned and progressed, I found opportunities to race on boats around the US and was lucky enough to compete in several one design National, North American and World Championships.  As I aged out of some of the more physically demanding boats and racing, I saw a need for more race management folks and I became a PRO in 2018.

What is your best piece of advise for someone new to race committee?

Always be thinking ahead.

What is the most egregious rule violation you have ever seen?

As a PRO, I learned early on that whenever you see a possible incident about to happen, LOOK AWAY IMMEDIATELY!  That way, you never see any egregious rule violations.

Where is your favorite venue?

Key West Race Week always delivered the best sailing conditions, competition and fun.

Are you pro or anti flags?

Flags are necessary in mixed fleets on the same race course, not just for the start, but for course changes as well.  If there’s only one class racing all in one start and they have a course all to themselves, the flags aren’t that necessary.

Hardest course to set up correctly?

Triangle.  Get rid of it.

Do you see a difference between running a race with Bots versus without?

The Bots give us confidence in setting a line that let’s me focus on other aspects of the course set-up, and for a single class course, they’re far superior.  When there are multiple fleets on the same course, having manual marks — and lots of them — provides for more options than a smaller set of Bots can.