Live Aboard,Bluewater,Coastal- Who''''s the better sailor?
I think JEF raised an ineresting point about your question. You asked "Who''s the better sailor?" If the question had been, "Who''s the better seaman?" Live Aboard,Bluewater,Coastal sailors each has their merits. But when you ask about sailing ability, nothing teaches sail trim, analyzing local conditions, and boat handling like racing, no racing teaches sail trim,analyzing local conditions and boat handling like racing one design.
I know you pirates ''don''t need no stinking rules'' and that ramming people is part of a pirate''s stock and trade, but for the rest of us, racing rules are mostly a slightly more sophisticated set of the rules of the road that anyone who sails must live by. I agree with you that I frankly do not advocate a sole diet of racing as a way to build skills. And I also agree with you that its hard to take time to enjoy the beauty of sailing when racing, but in terms of sailing skills building nothing beats racing.