Here at SailNet, we receive "Ask the Experts" inquiries on a regular basis, posing the question how do I get involved in sailboat racing? If youre a non-racing sailor who has been giving some thought to thisto joining the ranks of the folks having fun going around the buoys or racing point-to-pointread on: heres how to get started.
Right off the bat, lets debunk the myth that you have to join a yacht club to go racing. Im living proof that this just isnt so. In 20-plus years of racing sailboats, Ive only once been a member of a yacht club, and that was a club that existed only on paper (as well as in the hearts of two dozen fun-loving sailors). Dont get me wrong; Ive got nothing against yacht clubs. These institutions support racing in a vital way, but the truth is you dont have to join one in order to participate in the sport. That said, hanging out with the folks who are members of a yacht club is often the fastest way to get involved in racing, especially if you dont own a boat. But there are other approaches.
Once youve gotten in touch with an actual person within the appropriate organization in your area, you should ask questionsas many as possibleso that you quickly get an idea of the opportunities available. What size boats race, when, and where? Is insurance required? Is membership required? And if youre attempting to get aboard someone elses boat as crew: what personal equipment should you bring?
Unless youre a super Type-A person who thrives on mano-a-mano competition, I recommend you try to identify the most casual, least intense arena of racing as your first foray into the sport. Usually that activity can be found in the form of weeknight, beer-can races, where once a week sailors get out on the water after work and race one or two short races with no more at stake than bragging rights at the bar afterward. In Charleston, SC, an organization called Charleston Ocean Racing Association runs races every Wednesday evening from early June to late August and sporadically throughout the year. The organization maintains a website with a list of member skippers (along with their phone numbers) and wanna-be crew (www.sailnet.cora), so its an easy way for newcomers to get involved.
Suggested Reading List
- Should Children Race by Michelle Potter
- What You Need to Know About Sailing Instructions by Dan Dickison
- The Philosophy of Racing by Dan Dickison
|Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)|