I have been sailing for about 15 years and am now interested in crewing aboard a racing boat. How can I get started?
Dan Dickison responds:
There are opportunities almost everywhere you look for getting involved in racing, but they vary depending upon where you live. If you're in the San Francisco Bay area, you'll be overwhelmed by the amount of activity that happens there. You can start by getting in touch with the local Yacht Racing Association there, known everywhere as the YRA. However, If you're land-bound in Mississippi, for instance, there's a likelihood that you'll have to travel for most of the racing you'll do.
One good way to get an overview of the racing activity that exists in your area is to get in touch with the folks at US SAILING (www.ussailing.org), the national governing body for the sport of sailboat racing in the US, and have them recommend a few race management organizations in your area. They can tell you about a few yacht clubs or sailing organizations in your area that maintain a calendar of activities. Then, through those groups, you'll be able to contact racers, some of whom can get you out on their boats to give it a try.
The other approach is to post a message on the SailNet Racing List to let folks know you're out there and want to give it a try. You can also create your own personal page on SailNet for the same purpose. Just log on to the homepage and look on the left-hand side under Members' Center, Personal Pages. Here's hoping this information will get you started in the fun world of sailboat racing.