Why do you race - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 06-03-2014
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Why do you race

I have owned a sailboat for 4 years now and absolutely love it. My season is about 5 months long and on average I go out twice a week. A friend of mine had the opportunity to tag along in a few races while working out of town and now continues to tell me that I should get into racing. My answer is always Why. I enjoy myself on my own schedule and don't see the benefit in racing. Am I missing something?
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Old 06-03-2014
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Re: Why do you race

Racing offers the possibility of learning how to sail well, at a fast pace. A steep learning curve.

If that's not your thing, then carry on. It's not for everyone.
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Old 06-03-2014
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Re: Why do you race

There is a thread that discusses the pros-cons of racing but it's ultimately about how you want to use your boat.

For many including myself, racing will teach "sailing" and some aspects of seamanship that won't come as readily when "cruising". I've found it to be quite true that one doesn't really know how to "sail" until they've raced.

Often times, so much of our discussion is more about "boating" than actually "sailing". When we look at the SailNet threads, this appears to be true... There isn't a lot about actually sailing but a plethora of stuff about keels, chart plotters, sewing and such. None of that is bad, just where the emphasis appears to lie.

So it just comes down to what one wants from a boat. It's all good...your boat, your time, use them as you will.
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Old 06-03-2014
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Re: Why do you race

I don't think you will find a better way to get better at sailing and boat handling.
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Old 06-03-2014
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Re: Why do you race

I love to race, and have been doing it for over 40 years without tiring of it. I love the competition of it, the challenge to get the best performance out of the boat, and the opportunity to learn new sail handling and sail trimming techniques. Most of the people who don't like to race seem to take it all too seriously, or to be the victims of some skipper who takes it too seriously. I never yell at or insult crew, and have no respect for anyone who does. Racing inspires creativity in sailing. The objective is to get around the race course in the shortest amount of time, and a racer is on a constant search for creative ideas on how to either shorten the distance around the course, or to increase boat speed, and how to get ahead of the other boats that are trying to prevent you from doing so. The search for those things makes racing an intriguing puzzle. Racing isn't an athletic sport. It's a cerebral sport. It matters little whether you are bulging with muscles. It matters alot that you have a facile mind.
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Re: Why do you race

I did a lot of crewing in week night races in my 20s as a way to get on the water, and one of the guys I raced with was pretty relaxed and it was more about having fun, which helped. I really had zero interest in the actual race itself and had to chuckle at some of the ridiculous people out there on the course. Now that I have my own boat, I can't see ever racing again as it's just not my thing. There's too many uptight yelling stressed out types that sorta the whole thing seem silly.
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Re: Why do you race

ABH3;
Why race? Lots of reasons:
1. I'm competitive, in almost every avenue of my life. I'm too old to play volleyball, football, and some of the other pastimes I used to compete in at the level I wanted to.
2. It's challenging - I was out last week with a skipper that told me he looked at it like 'chess on the water'. You have a moderate physical element, plus a complex (and of varying scale of complexity, depending how tough you want to make it on yourself...) mental element.
3. It forces you to expand your comfort zone on the water. I would never have considered taking my boat out in 20knots on Lake Erie before having been 'forced' by a looming race deadline - and am now thoroughly comfortable with weather much heavier than that.
4. I enjoy the team-building element of getting a crew of varying ages and skill levels, and working together to make the boat perform.
5. Camaraderie - Most good racing fleets will rendezvous afterwards, to share stories, discuss decisions made on the course, and usually just hang out and shoot the breeze. A person can learn a lot from this.

If NONE of these items interest you, then by all means, carry on!
If one or more DOES interest you, then try dipping just one toe in the racing pool. Make it clear in your club/marina that you'd like to try crewing. ask around about skippers, and try to find a boat that is moderately successful, and whose skipper is NOT a yeller. (nothing spoils racing more quickly than being made to feel ashamed or belittled, and has no place in club racing...)

You decide where you want to go after that.

Have fun!!

Andy
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Re: Why do you race

I race in beer can series and a few weekend races. I enjoy the competitive nature both in in sailing against other boats and against myself. Chances are if one doesn't have some competitive sprit they wouldn't enjoy racing. As other have said you'd be hard pressed to find a better way to learn true sailing and boat handling skills. I know racing has certainly taught me to be a better sailor and I'm far from finished learning For instances, with my former boat I seldom fished less than second and usually first. Last night in my new (to me) faster boat got my clock cleaned. I have a lot to learn to sail the new boat fast.
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Old 06-03-2014
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Re: Why do you race

Quote:
Racing isn't an athletic sport. It's a cerebral sport. It matters little whether you are bulging with muscles. It matters alot that you have a facile mind.
I agree and disagree. You must not remember being a grinder short tacking. It can be brutal and I don't think I am all that weak or I wouldn't be asked to do it.
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Old 06-03-2014
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Re: Why do you race
















If you notice everybody's between 14 and 92 is HAPPY and we just don't do things especially racing with grumpy yellers


Quote:
Racing isn't an athletic sport. It's a cerebral sport. It matters little whether you are bulging with muscles. It matters alot that you have a facile mind.

You must not do much bow work
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If a dirty bottom slows you down what do you think it does to your boat
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Last edited by tommays; 06-03-2014 at 01:36 PM.
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