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  #1  
Old 02-04-2014
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Starting weeknight races for the first time.

I bought a tartan 30 last summer. I have crewed on some races and did the mac race as crew. My boat now does not have great sails and I am inexperienced as skipper in a race. Is it fine to sign up for a Wed. night fun series? I'm just sayin, I dont want to piss of folks for being to slow or inexperienced. Plus I dont have anyone else besides myself to crew the race on that particular night. Just looking for some opinions on getting started in general.
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Old 02-04-2014
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Re: Starting weeknight races for the first time.

I'd go out in that particular series before signing up to race your boat single handed, with blown out sails. If the race is crowded and you are a newer sailor then single handed is going to be a safety problem.

I think that the best way to get started is to race on other boats, then have an experienced racer come out with you on your boat (have them be the tactician, you can be the skipper) for a few races, then doing it when you feel ready.
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Old 02-04-2014
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Re: Starting weeknight races for the first time.

Abrahamx;
First off - congratulations! This is a good thing you're doing!
I was really skeptical about racing when I first got involved, but it really is one of the best ways to learn about your boat.
Advice - don't be afraid of being 'too slow' or inexperienced.
First time you go out, just try and hang back a bit at the start. make sure you understand the 'big 3' racing rules (1 Port/Starboard; 2 Windward/leeward; 3 Clear ahead/Astern). At the start is when most of these rules are most important.

Figure out who the best starter in your fleet is, and follow him the first few times.
Chase the fleet around the course, and you'll figure it out soon enough.
As far as crew goes, ask around at the club. You may find that some of the 'regular' boats have some spare hands they'd loan you.
Go on out and have fun!!

Cheers!
Andy
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Old 02-04-2014
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Re: Starting weeknight races for the first time.

Hey,

You might as well give it a try. Don't get in anyone's way at the start. You will probably find that the fleet sails away from you during the race so you won't bother anyone.

Good luck,
Barry
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Old 02-05-2014
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Re: Starting weeknight races for the first time.

I would second getting to know the rules. Even in a low-key fleet (some are lower-keyed than others) , people have a right to expect you to play by the rules. You don't join a basketball game, foul everyone, and expect them to be happy about it. The same goes for sailing. Being less aggressive the first few times will give you a chance to see how the rules work. Being in the race should also get you close enough to the other boats to see what they do to go fast. Do that, and you won't be at the back of the pack too long.
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Re: Starting weeknight races for the first time.

I don't know what the rules are where you are going to race, but where I am, single handing is not allowed in our races. Plus, you will learn a lot with an experienced crew on board.
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Old 02-05-2014
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Re: Starting weeknight races for the first time.

Those Wednesday night races with North Star are really laid back, and you almost certainly won't be the slowest boat out there. Just find a couple crew people and do it. Everyone is right that there is now way to learn faster.

Google basic racing rules of sailing, there are really only a few important ones. And if you get those wrong, there will certainly be someone to yell at you to let you know.
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Old 02-05-2014
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Re: Starting weeknight races for the first time.

Boat handling is more important than speed. Get you crew together and practice before the start of the season. Set a starting line, countdown and start, do four tacks, bear off, gybe, and return to cross your start finish line. Repeat ten times. Make it brisk. The entire practice should take less than 1.5 hours. Feed them and have a beer while you debrief.

Your crews skill and confidence will improve dramatically. You'll work out the ergonomics and identify any EQ problems.

Once you have the boat handling down. You can start developing your crew's ability to shape the sails.
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Old 02-05-2014
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Re: Starting weeknight races for the first time.

I did exactly what you want to do last season. People thought I was nuts for single handing. At first, I started at the rear and watched to see how each race materialized. I finished DFL or close to it. I added a crew member half way in, which helped. Then I got a ringer (very experienced racer) to show me what I was doing wrong for a couple of races. I ended up middle of the pack the rest of the way. I read a lot about the rules, but there are so many variables, you just have to get out there and screw up, yell at yourself and not do it again the next time.
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Old 02-05-2014
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Re: Starting weeknight races for the first time.

Ditto everything said above, especially to hold back at the start, follow the leader (at least while you're still learning), and perhaps pick up crew on the dock before the race. Be careful of the roundings at the marks, too. You may have multiple starts so the boats behind you might catch up, or you could stay with the fleet and get all bunched up at the mark. The starting line, rounding the marks, and crossing the fleet are the most nerve-wracking. Make sure you know what to do in each scenario (stbd/port rights, room at mark, room to tack, sailing your proper course, etc). If you can find a crew who knows tactics, sail trim, nuances of the course, then ALL the BETTER! You'll learn so quickly that way. In time, you could get your GPS tracks and compare them with others in your fleet.
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