"You don't know how to sail, - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 18 Old 09-24-2007 Thread Starter
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Angry "You don't know how to sail,

If you don't race, and you can't learn to be a better sailor"

"Oh REALLY?" I replied. "Oh no, we ONLY race" Was the answer… "I’m not going to get into this discussion" I thought to myself, and found something else to talk about. However, as I continued to think about this and all the things I've learned about handling my boat and things like dropping the hook, reading the weather, reading charts, knowig when to reef, etc.. I wonder how true that statement is? Then I see posts like "I hate my boat" and wonder even more.

I really don't think thread this belongs in the racing dept. Since I'm not into racing that much. I generally race on someone else's boat. (if it's not too hot, too cold, too windy etc. LOL) Now I'm far far from having yrs and yrs of sailing experiance but don't think racing is going to teach much more then I already know.

I was in a race, on a friend's boat the Saturday before last. I must admit I really enjoyed it. My arms ached for 3 days from working the mainsheet winch! I saw many boats getting knocked down in the heavy wind too! The boat I was on came in 2nd. (pretty cool! ) But I still would rather be crusing

Now when racers are gathered and all the talk is about perfs, rigs, me this, me that, you this, you that I saunter off. Really now.. I don't think I'm missing something!

Denise, Bristol PA, Oday 30. On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club.
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post #2 of 18 Old 09-24-2007
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I guess it depends on whether you want to be a 'great sailor' or have a great life while sailing/cruising. One's about the hardware, one's about the whole package.
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post #3 of 18 Old 09-24-2007
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Denise,

I'm with you! I have heard the same thing when it comes to skiing...

I started the Wed. night, and now Sun. morning, racing in a Soling fleet this year. Yesterday was a great day, and to be honest, the first day that I've ever felt comfortable flying the Spinaker (in over 10 races).

But, I would much rather be cruising. I have no problem running wing on wing, and if I need more speed, I see nothing wrong with motorsailing. I don't care if I can get around the cans in the fastest time. I want to go somewhere in the boat, not round in circles. Kiling yourself for 1/2 a knot? give me a break...

This may change if I start running from Marion to Bermuda though...

Ed
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post #4 of 18 Old 09-24-2007
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Denise - Seems like that person equates being a 'better sailor' with making the boat go faster which of course is only a small part of sailing. His (or her) later reply that 'we only race' also suggests that this person has some tunnel vision and is only seeing a fraction of sailing or being a 'better sailor'.

Stan
'Christy Leigh'
NC 331
Wickford/Narragansett Bay RI
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post #5 of 18 Old 09-24-2007
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Here's what I can say... I grew up racing on other people's boats. I thought I had a clue. I'm pretty decent with the sailing part. We bought our first boat, and now our current one. I was clueless! Get me on the water and I'll trim the hell out of a sail. Make me dock - I'm a nervous wreck! Fixing engines? The first time our engine broke I asked my son to grab me a hammer. Apparently, my wife is now the designated mechanic on the boat. I've learned more in the past year from cruising than I learned in my nine years of racing on big boats. There is soooo much more to sailing than going around the buoys. When I'm in a group of racers, I love talking about trim, performance software, new synthetics, etc. When I'm in a group of cruisers I love talking about heads, wiring, fridges and the thickness of their berth mattresses

s/v "Pelican" Passport 40 #076- Finished Cruising - for the moment -
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post #6 of 18 Old 09-24-2007
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Sailing and Racing

Hello,

I started sailing in 2003 on a Catalina 22. Went out with an experienced friend one time. Read a lot of books (and internet web pages), practiced what I read, read more, practiced more. Moved up from the 22 to a Newport 28 (with inboard engine, marine head, water system, galley, etc.). Went out in all weather, etc. Moved up again to an O'day 35.

This year I started racing (as crew) on Wednesday nights to learn more about sailing. The owner of the boat is a very experienced sailer. I found out that I did know about sail trim, etc. but I have learned a few things that have been very beneficial - such as, to point as high as possible, the boom needs to be on the centerline of the boat. On my boat, I can't ever trim the main in tight enough to do that, it always falls off to leeward. On the race boat there were two strips of tape on the traveller, about 3" left and right of center. When you go to weather, you RAISE the traveller so the middle of the car lines up with the tape. Then, when the mainsheet is trimmed properly, the boom will be centered. The next day I did some experiments and put tape on my traveller. It helped me point a few degrees higher without a drop on speed. Nothing earth shattering, but something that did not occur to me.

I like racing on other boats - I am more of a cruiser myself, but if a simple adjustment can make the boat go faster, why not make it?

Anyway, racing can teach you a lot about sail TRIM and race tactics, but there is a lot to SAILING than racing.

Barry

Barry Lenoble
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY

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post #7 of 18 Old 09-24-2007
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I raced on weeknights for five years and cruised my own (larger) boat on weekends. Racing absolutely improved my cruising, because it improved my observational skills, my sail trim, my "eye" for helming, my weather sense (past X number of knots and X wave heights, the light boat I was on would not win because it would get beaten up too badly).

I also (and this is important, kids) learned how to avoid being a total screaming ******* to my crew.

So I enjoy and benefitted a great deal from racing, and my cruising has, I think, improved a lot from doing so. I am aware of many cruisers who sail somewhat inefficiently, and I wonder if it is because they never raced and never learned not only about sail trim, but about boat balance, halyard tension, rig tuning, and under what points of sail their boats would likely do best.

Racing on other peoples' boats is cheap and fun (bring crackers and cheese and a bottle of wine and you're covered, usually). Just don't get stuck with a tyrant skipper. Skippers need crew more than crew need skippers.

Lastly, if racing appeals not at all, cruise with older couples as crew. Your relative youth and strength will help some older folk continue to sail for a few more years, and you'll probably be treated very well and will learn a great deal.
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post #8 of 18 Old 09-24-2007
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[QUOTE=deniseO30;197138]If you don't race, and you can't learn to be a better sailor" QUOTE]

Right on Denise!

That's not entirely crap but it is . . . mostly . . . sort of. It depends on the context in which it was said. If it was in a condescending way then forget about it. Racing can improve skills faster but like you said, some skill sets are the same and some aren't. How are the anchoring, navigation, or general cruising skills of a "racing only" sailor? I'm not knocking racers. It's just two different things. Some use sails as the vehicle for competition. I use them for an escape.

I had a guy tell me once that being an Ivy league school graduate made him a "better person" than the regular college guy's like me. I went to a very small Aviation college in Oklahoma. I am not a wealthy guy by any means but I will say that HE was painting the name on MY boat.

The older I get the more I realize how much time I've wasted in my life listening to know it alls.


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post #9 of 18 Old 09-24-2007 Thread Starter
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I kind of thought this would hit a nerve for many of us. Seems I was right giggle

Denise, Bristol PA, Oday 30. On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club.
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post #10 of 18 Old 09-24-2007
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This is a question that does not have one single right answer. We all approach sailing from our own personal perspective, meaning we all have our own goals, tastes, talents, skills, competitiveness level, prejudices, fears, financial and time capabilities, physical limitations and so on. These unique characteristics impact what is important to each of us in sailing.

For some just being out on the water is its own reward. But for others precise boat handling and getting the most out of a boat in all kinds of winds and waves is highly prized. For those people, racing can represent the fastest way to build skills. It is not to say that an interested individual can't develop those skills while daysailing or cruising, but it is typically much harder and slower to do.

On the other hand, it often takes time off the race course to optimize those skills for any given boat. Whenever I get a new boat, or I am racing on a different boat, I try to do what I call 'labbing', which is cyclically experimenting with sail trim and steering to see how it effects the boats performance so that I learn what is fast and balanced and can reasonably quickly repeat those settings.

Cruising has its own skills and many of these rarely come into play on the race course or even bringing the boat back to the dock. Just as cruisers who have not raced may ignorantly dismiss racing as only being about speed, racers who have not cruised sometimes lack and understanding of the complexity of skillfull cruising and so may dismiss cruising skills as being unimportant.

In the end it is about how well rounded a sailor you personally would like to be. If you are only interested in a narrow focus, then pick that focus and live it, but if you wish to be well rounded then both cruising and racing have their place in developing your skills.

Respectfully,
Jeff

Last edited by Jeff_H; 09-24-2007 at 01:27 PM.
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