Good for you BubbleheadMD. Sounds like you and your crew are getting used to each other and used to working your boat. Persistence and practice definitely pay off.
We had decent wind up here last night as well, mostly < 15. With my usual crew off on summer hiatus I took a cruiser on as my only crew. We did quite well in our white sail division finishing in 2nd place. I think I may have helped create another racing enthusiast. Hopefully my one rule of "No yelling" helped.
The racing "thing" can be a bit intimidating to non-racers at first. The starts in particular can be quite exciting in a way that can put some people off racing. The racing rules of sailing are also pretty detailed. I don't claim to know all the rules but I found this rules quiz website interesting: Regelspiel Uli Finckh
UK, North and other sailmakers also have extensive web RR quiz pages.