How to pick up racing experience?
I would assume you are looking to be a pro crew as opposed to a pro racer owner. First step is to find the yacht club nearest you that has the most active and wide ranging dingy/OD fleet. Forget about really learning anything in the cruising class, they are as a rule a few steps behind when it comes to the intensity level and rules knowlege etc. It is good to find an area that has a number of good yeach clubs. Western LIS has some really outstanding clubs with active programs. Once you identify the club, it is as simple as posting a note on the club''s crew available bulletin board, they all have them. Make sure you list yourself as an eager novice. You won''t land any top crew positions at first, as the top teams usually have a stable crew list. But get on whatever you can. Starting out low, work yourself up to better teams as you progress. Be prepared to be little more than ballast at first. And make sure you are there early, and stay late. Helping out at the lift, and the staging lot wherever you can. LISTEN to everyone, and try to find out who the "Hot" teams are and try to hang around them after the race. In many of the clubs, they are always looking for extra hands on the race committee, and that is good to ingratiate yourself to the commodore or race chairman. Plan on this taking a number of years, this is nothing that can be accomplished overnight. I started actively racing one design at the age of 10 and at age 20 was already very sought after, so you will have a lot of catching up to do. Live and breath sailing. Watch videos, get all the books you can on sailing and racing and study them. Look at getting a job at a local loft, even if it is just taking out the trash for starters. KEEP YOURSELF IN SHAPE AND FIT!!!!! When you do finally graduate to the big boats, you will start at the bottom all over again, grinding or hauling sails below decks. Plan on living out of a duffle bag. Don''t get caught up in too many material possessions, you will need to have a low overhead at first, as you will be spending a good deal of time sailing and not making any money. There are very few paying positions in racing and those that do get paid are the cream of the crop. If you are lucky, you can land a position as a BN on a larger boat. Get your hours in and your licenses up to CG 100Tn. Good Luck, it is a dream that is worthy to follow.