Re: I think I may do some racing!!!
Doing some racing is probably the best series of sailing lessons that you can give yourself.
Realistically, I'd recommend that you do only three things to prepare to race. None of which include buying anything for the boat.
First, buy yourself a book on sail trim. I like Sail and Rig Tuning by Ivar Dedekam. Lots of great pictures and practical advice. IMO, you shouldn't buy a single boat part without digesting the book. Figure on a full season for that (and the rest of your life to really understand).
Second, I'd download the sailing instructions and read the basics so you don't get yourself into too much trouble. If you're racing against anyone with carbon sails, they're serious and they won't want you barging, not giving room at the mark, etc. They may also try to intimidate you (a sailing art form) to get you to back off from a good position.
Three, get a PHRF rating and flags for your class. It's not expensive.
Prepared to get hammered. Anyone who tells you that their boat is fast without racing is blowing smoke. Realistically, you have no idea until you're up against someone else. That's why syndicates spend millions on trial boats against which to compare themselves (like a scrimmage team). When you come in at the back of the pack, analyze what you did wrong. Trust me, it ain't the boat's fault. When you've improved your performance 50%, then start looking at new sails. There is controversy regarding which sail is more important and should be replaced first - main or genoa. The reality is that they're equally important, working together to form a single entity. A clean sail does not mean a fast sail. If you have new sails and know how to trim them (see item #1), you'll finish half way (ish) up the fleet. To go the rest of the way, you need to master item #2 (tactics). A subscription to Sailing World is nice, with lots of tactics advice. The trend of my advice is to learn and not to spend $$.
Good luck! Get out there and enjoy. It's a gas and the camaraderie with your crew will be priceless. You will be a much better sailor for it.
PS. My Avatar was taken near the end of the 2010 MD Governor's Cup race. Among other things, I learned not to dig holes in the water when tacking. I also started to learn about staying near the rhumb line and not taking such deep tacks. Racing is all about learning.
PPS. The above advice is what I learned the hard way. I'm still learning and still hoping for better starts and finishes. It's not the boat's fault.
Sabre 38 "Victoria"
Last edited by Sabreman; 07-05-2012 at 07:59 PM.