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Old 05-04-2014
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Can my boat handle racing?

I have a 31' 1978 Pearson Sloop. She is a racer/cruiser in good condition and perfect for weekend "cruising". I typically sail her ~1-2 days/week during the season. I have just been asked if I want to join a YC offshore race schedule this summer (~6 Sat. races). I personally have been in less than 10 races, none on my boat and I simply do what ever job I am assigned. I am excited to race and be part of crew, but I wonder if my boat is up to it. They will provide experienced crew and tactician.

Will it put any undue stress on her? Any ideas? Thoughts?

Any input is appreciated. Tks.
Lisa
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Old 05-04-2014
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Re: Can my boat handle racing?

The hull and rigging should be fine. The deck hardware... Well you will find out pretty quickly what needs replacing. Racing pushes these systems to the limit, and anything that is just hanging on by a thread will likely blow up. The flip side is that the same gear would have broken in a storm with a lot fewer people to help clean up the mess.

All in all I think racing a boat is generally good for it. Since it forces you to honestly asses the condition of gear, and the ease of use of that gear.
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Old 05-04-2014
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Re: Can my boat handle racing?

Without question, yes.
most boats can 'handle' racing. Yes, you might break some gear. Yes, you will likely finish last, or close to it. Yes, you will learn more about your boat in the 6 Saturday races you participate in than you would learn in a single season on your own schedule. Yes, you will learn a bunch from the experienced crew and tactician.

Should you race your boat??
(Do I even need to say it???)

Yes.
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Old 05-04-2014
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Re: Can my boat handle racing?

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Originally Posted by CaptLDL View Post

Will it put any undue stress on her? Any ideas? Thoughts?

Lisa
Just sail it like you are cruising. Then just make your tacks and gybes a bit smarter, quicker and in the right place... Thats 90% of racing. The other 10% seems to be the smart racing gloves and yelling at each other
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Old 05-04-2014
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Re: Can my boat handle racing?

Your boat can probably handle it provided you're confident of the rigging. From my experience, the critical factor depends on your tactician, both their boat skills and interpersonal skills. If you are driving and are not familiar with racing, the tactician is likely to put you in spots that are going to make you uncomfortable. Are you OK with this? Do you know the rules of racing? Can you handle close maneuvering? Can you hold your line because another boat is going to duck you and it doesn't look like it till the last second? Do you know the sequence of events when you and 4 other boats are rounding a mark and throwing up spinnakers at the same time? This is my first year that I have been single and double handing in my boat, and I admit to being a bit timid on the starts because I don't want to crunch hulls with anyone. I've also been in a horrific crash on someone else's boat when the driver was relying on the tactician to call a tight finish line on our port tack while 3 other boats were converging on the same place on starboard tack. It was very ugly. This is not meant to scare you. Racing is absolutely the best legal fun you can have on the water, and it's fantastic when you have a good tactician, but you have to know you can trust them, and when to say "screw this, it's my boat, get me space." You might also try to find some time for a practice run before the race. It can get a bit wonky with all new crew on a new boat.
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Last edited by gamayun; 05-04-2014 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 05-05-2014
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Re: Can my boat handle racing?

Thanks everyone. Just the type of input I was looking for. Lots to think about
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Old 05-05-2014
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Re: Can my boat handle racing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
Just sail it like you are cruising. Then just make your tacks and gybes a bit smarter, quicker and in the right place... Thats 90% of racing. The other 10% seems to be the smart racing gloves and yelling at each other
A few years ago, our yacht club had its premier race of the members, and the winner was somebody in a cruising sailboat with no crew except him and his wife, who took a completely different course than the rest of the fleet, and won when an unexpected wind shift occurred. We all got a good laugh out of it. He was in the non-spinnaker class, and still had the overall best time. He was so far ahead of everyone else, he had no clue he was in first place when he crossed the line.

I wish I had time to go through the old race reports and find it, just because it made me laugh so much when it happened.
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Last edited by Group9; 05-05-2014 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 05-05-2014
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Re: Can my boat handle racing?

There's a racing club here in my area many of the members are members of my YC. I was somewhat into racing a few years ago, until my boat when I was nearly t-boned by a C30 when I was rounding a buoy, nearly dead in water because of wind and current in the lee of the island. I think Davy Jones reached up and turned my boat in the last few seconds and the C30 just hit my aft starboard side just off of their bow. NEVER AGAIN!

Do the math! 10,000 +- lbs moving 3 -4 mph, hitting another object near stationary, weighing about the same!

Things to think about sailboat racing that always stops me from going with my boat.

1,can you afford to fix rails, hull and decks, rigging, etc from minor to major collisions with other boats?

2, Do you love using $$$ bottom paints and fine sanding the bottom of your boat? possibly twice a season?

3, Do you really believe, the first rule of racing is to not collide with other boats?

4, Do you love spending lots of $$$ on racing sails, gear, to get "just the next better then what I have" things you just have to have to beat "so and so" But you don't know so and so is "connected" with chandlers and lofts?

5,Don't carry a gun!.. you may use it! when things get "heated" between crews and captains when they are drinking beer. ( why it's called beer can racing) Later they all say.. It's just in fun and comradeship!



The positive things of racing?
you can learn to sail better?
problems with your rig and boat will soon become evident?
you will be a better sailor?
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Last edited by deniseO30; 05-05-2014 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 05-05-2014
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Re: Can my boat handle racing?

Geez, Denise, in nearly 30 years of racing (on catamarans!) and crewing on the occasional leaner, which incidentally includes a Pearson 36 Cutter about the same age as OP... I've only been hit once, and that was a guy running us over as we were readying to beach the boat.

Racing is fun - you just have to find the right group with which to race, and your attitude needs to be fairly loose as well

BTW the Pearson on which I occasionally sail also does some fairly serious offshore sailing: her name is FREE SPIRIT and if you look at past results from the Annapolis to Bermuda races, she's won it once and has done well in other years - she also has some silver from the P'cola to Isla Mujeres races. That said, the boat is kept immaculately, bottom clean always and rigging well maintained
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Last edited by Multihullgirl; 05-05-2014 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 05-05-2014
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Re: Can my boat handle racing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptLDL View Post

Will it put any undue stress on her? Any ideas? Thoughts?

Any input is appreciated. Tks.
Lisa
Yes, it can handle racing. Yes, it puts a little more stress on the boat, but not anything the boat can't handle.

Ideas: Try crewing on someone else's boat first before you spend money. Get a PHRF certificate from CBYRA. Race nonspinnaker and try racing in your club or some of the more fun, family-oriented distance races that are less about boat handling and tactics than the typical short windward-leeward courses, like "Down the Bay", or Govenor's Cup or St. Michaels race, or the Cape Charles cup race. On the longer races, it is less likely that you will get caught in some clusterF at the boat end of the starting line with a bunch of ultra-competitive bargers.

Use the Vanderbilt start and aim for clear air in the middle of the line on starboard. Forget about the favored end of the line. Stay in the middle of the course; don't bang the corners. You have a heavier boat so you want clear air and momentum. Sail conservatively and have fun. Expect to be middle or last in the pack on elapsed time. If you become good, your corrected time and high participation rate will save you at the end of the season. Don't yell or allow yelling on your boat.

It becomes expensive if you want to be competitive. It becomes very expensive if you want line honors or first to finish on elapsed time.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 05-05-2014 at 09:36 AM.
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