Re: "I'm going to watch a race" protocol
It's hard to predict where you'll be out of the way, but why not go to the starting area (on land) early and ask if anyone needs crew?
It's the best place to watch the race , and you'll learn something and have fun, too. Explain that you know how to sail but haven't raced but would like to learn some of the basics.
1977 C&C 30 Mk 1 hailing from Port Clinton, Ohio