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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #21  
Old 07-23-2013
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Re: How does racing help you learn to be a better sailor?

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Originally Posted by outbound View Post
just to be a PIA

Racing is checkers (unless it's blue water) and cruising is chess. Think everyone learns trim from racing and it's very much worthwhile but that's only one skill of many needed to run a boat.
IMO, you've got this backwards. Racing is very much a chess match in that a move you make now can have profound effect much later in the race. Strategy also plays a large roll.

Racing teaches you boat handling, reading the wind, and making the boat sail in it's most efficient form regardless of the conditions. it also teaches you to think quickly on your feet. Racing teaches you to assess the waters you will be racing in. Knowing everything from the hazzards present in different areas of the course to how the wind and currents may change from one side of a course to another. These are all traits that will make you a better sailor.

Are these the only skills you need to be a better sailor? No! Cruising along at all of 7mph teaches you how to fall asleep on a sailboat! And sleep, as we all know shouldn't be under rated!
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  #22  
Old 07-23-2013
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Re: How does racing help you learn to be a better sailor?

Beg to differ. Won a Newport to Bermuda on a try. Done well in the Marion race as well. Did buoy racing as well. One thing to run a boat ragged for a few days or hours with it fully prepped and crewed by sailors as experienced or more experienced than you. Another thing to be out there by yourself for the long haul. I'm not disparaging racing. I love being after guard and will do anything but bowman. Too old and out of shape. Now I'm finding out how much I don't know. Trim and race strategy is just one part of the package.agree everyone should do it and if possible in as many classes as possible.
Just saying it's one aspect of being a fully versed seaman.
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Last edited by outbound; 07-23-2013 at 09:45 PM.
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  #23  
Old 07-24-2013
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Re: How does racing help you learn to be a better sailor?

Eh. I think you guys are just having a semantic disagreement about the metaphor that you're using. Chess or checkers isn't really the issue.
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Old 07-24-2013
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Self-Racing Part II

OP,

While strongly advocate first crewing on another boat for a few races before getting your own boat in the thick of it there are ways to increase your learning curve when you race your own. I understand that you specifically are soloing in your Hobie (maybe you can take another person), but if you, or others, eventually get a multi-crewed boat, here are some suggestions:
  1. "Hire" a competent "Old Race Salt" to be your tactician/deck boss. Let them worry about were to go, when to trim/ease sails, strategy etc. You focus only on driving the boat.
  2. Make sure everyone understands what there responsibility is and who they take "orders" from. For example Mast listens to foredeck and helm only. Main trim, helm and jib trim, etc.
  3. When you do get crew, try to keep them on your boat if they are competent and get along with others. Shed the incompetent ones and jerks. I'd rather sail man or two down than have incompetence and jerks on my boat.
  4. Once you have a good crew, keep folks in a position for a few races for them to learn it well.
  5. If your totally out of a race, don't abandon and head for the bar. Practice tacking/jibing, even if there is no race reason to.
  6. In the above situation, don't give too much warning sometimes. Just say "tacking/jibing" in 5 seconds." Eventually will result in faster tacks/jibes in race situations.
  7. Once in awhile change crew positions. Not all at once, but say make the main trimmer the mast, or switch foredeck person the jib/spinny trimer. People will understand boat better and become a more coherent and competent crew.
  8. Lot's of folks start motor and head right in after crossing the line. Instead, keep sailing. Offer crew members chances to take helm during sail back and have a relaxing sail back.
  9. After race, talk about mistakes and what can be done to improve.
  10. DO NOT YELL at or speak condescendingly to crew. It's supposed to be fun. If you become known as a ***** captain, no one will want to sail with you.

DrB
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Last edited by DrB; 07-24-2013 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 07-24-2013
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Re: How does racing help you learn to be a better sailor?

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Originally Posted by domromer View Post
The sailing club I belong to has started a casual open race on Tuesday nights. You can race whatever you like..cat..420..sunfish..it doesn't matter. I've heard over and over that racing teaches you a lot. My question is how? If you are racing single handled against other people how does racing help? I could understand if you are being coached, but going solo with no instruction? Could someone shed some light on this for me. I plan on checking it out. I'll take out a hobie wave and mess around.
Here is how it helped me, in rough order:
1) Boat handling skills are way up. I'm a lot more comfortable sailing in tight quarters and tacking into spaces that previously didn't seem possible.
2) Right of way rules are ingrained, I don't even have to think them through.
3) There is nothing like beating to windward against a similar boat to let you see how small tweaks in sail trim hurt or help your performance. There is no question of "was that puff bigger than I thought?" or "did letting out a bit of vang open our leach and speed us up?"
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Old 07-24-2013
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Re: Being Scared.....Not

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Originally Posted by DrB View Post
On one particular Wed. Night Beer can race,the winds were in the 20-25kt range with gusts to 30. I was working the main on a J105 that night and asked the skipper if we were going to reef the main before we left the mooring. "Reef the main? Why? I don't think we have ever done that."
Yup!
I started crewing on a J105 to build my repertoire of sailing skills. We raced this weekend in 20 knots. None of his mains even have reefs points.
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Re: How does racing help you learn to be a better sailor?

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Originally Posted by outbound View Post
Beg to differ. Won a Newport to Bermuda on a try. Done well in the Marion race as well. Did buoy racing as well. One thing to run a boat ragged for a few days or hours with it fully prepped and crewed by sailors as experienced or more experienced than you. Another thing to be out there by yourself for the long haul. I'm not disparaging racing. I love being after guard and will do anything but bowman. Too old and out of shape. Now I'm finding out how much I don't know. Trim and race strategy is just one part of the package.agree everyone should do it and if possible in as many classes as possible.
Just saying it's one aspect of being a fully versed seaman.


But you are disparaging racing.

The question wasn't does racing make you a complete sailor. It was how does it help you become a better sailor.

Learning how to get the most out of the boat regardless of conditions is one of key take aways that comes from racing.

I watched a youtube vid of two guys crossing the Gulf Stream on an ugly day. Nor easter had just passed and the GS was doing what it does. This boat was reefed but the rail was down and they were flying! Several comments posted asking why they didn't they reduce sail or sheet out? Answer: because momentum is what drives the boat. The speed was needed to drive the boat thru the high waves. Reducing the heel would have slowed the boat causing it to hobby horse over the waves. The high heel angle put the boat on it most efficient plane.

Maybe these guys learned that by constantly sailing in bad weather. But most likely they learned it on a race course.

That said, becoming a competent blue water sailor requires additional skill sets - no argument.

Last edited by TJC45; 07-24-2013 at 12:24 PM.
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  #28  
Old 07-24-2013
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Re: How does racing help you learn to be a better sailor?

TJC- Sorry if you thought I was disparaging racing. Think it's an important way to learn to sail as it allows immediate feedback which sailing on your own does not. It's a fun way to learn as well. Love to be on a boat( any boat) racing when it's quiet except for a rare word for a change in point of sail. That mean everyone knows what their doing and working well to a common end. Looking forward to gearing up for the next Bermuda and already picking crew. Hopefully we'll get it together and have another go. I only wanted to say skills learned on the race course are a fraction of the skill set needed to be a true salt and sometimes ( just sometimes) the mindset of the racer is different than the cruiser or voyager. Seeing a phenomenally skilled racer so focused on the slot and trim that she wasn't attending to other issues brought the thought to mind.
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  #29  
Old 07-24-2013
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Re: How does racing help you learn to be a better sailor?

Somewhere in this thread, I think I saw mention of singlehand racing against other people.

If you have limited sailing knowledge, racing by yourself will be a much flatter learning curve because there's no one more experienced onboard to tell you what you're doing wrong. You'll build bad habits that are hard to break.

If you crew on other people's boats, you'll learn many ways to skin the same cat, and you'll take back the best method to your own boat. The learning curve will be much steeper, you'll learn more, faster.

Racing your own boat with an experienced crew (as a new skipper) will also be more educational than racing single and new. You'll rapidly learn how to handle your boat, and what tweaks work the best for your particular boat.
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Re: How does racing help you learn to be a better sailor?

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post


I've met people who actually seem to be proud of the fact that they don't sail very well, somehow trying to convince me of the utterly silly notion that they're having more fun, because they aren't concerned about how well the sails are drawing. For the life of me, I can't figure out why they don't just buy a trawler and be done with it.
I too, have encountered this attitude and I just don't get it.

On Monday, I had a 41 mile sail back from Solomon's to my home in Edgewater. The breeze was 5-8 knots from the south, all day. A friend and I, double-handed my symmetric spinnaker and made the trip in 8 hours.

The sun was blistering hot, and we chugged fluids the entire trip. Can you imagine how long this would have taken, wing-on-wing? I simply can't imagine adding 41 engine hours to my log for no good reason.
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