Update with various 'fun facts':
Last weekend was the last race of the Spring season, though they may add some Summer races because the powerboats are mysteriously absent (the upside to high fuel prices).
The boat we (Kilowatt and I) had crewed on before was out of service (only slightly my fault, I had the tiller when the genny ripped, but the puff is to blame, honest!), so we and the skipper of that boat crewed for some absolute newbies. They'd bought a Catalina 27 and had sailed it maybe 4 times. There was a small battery powered FM radio below, sitting there minding it's own business; within 5 minutes of getting the sails up, it had flown across the cabin and broken it's antenna, oops, didn't see that coming...
Anyway our friend with the ripped genny got us in shape, made the new owner stay at the wheel, we raced 3 relatively short races in rather unsteady winds, in a boat that was not set up for racing (one example: only one winch handle, plastic, 8 inches, we were lucky not to break it.).
We corrected out third (out of 7) for the day (ahead of the Commodore!) and ahead of at least two boats for the season (this was the only event this boat raced this season....).
The owners said afterwards that the first time we burried tha rail, they were rather nervous, but we looked so calm that they figured it was ok. I told them we (Kilo and I, not the skipper) were the sae way just a few weeks earlier.
So thanks to all here for the advice, and information. Nothing substitutes for time on the water especially when you HAVE TO get the boat OVER THERE and back, regardless of wind direction and speed. Every 'trick' comes into play. (just need to remember them...)