Join Date: Apr 2006
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A lot of YC racing and even regional racing associations don't and won't care if you have a certificate or not--as long as your boat conforms to the same standards as another in the fleet.
Depending on how fierce the locals are, you might try meeting up with the RC (not on race day!) or even volunteering for that onerous duty, and saying flat out "I don't know if I'm really interested in racing. Things are a bit tight, could I race one night without getting a certificate for my boat, just to get a feel? "
A smart RC will find a way to make it happen, to encourage more folks to the sport.
But for major events and racing series that score for total points--don't expect that to happen. One day or night around the cans, yes.
There is ALWAYS argument and unhappiness about unfair ratings, and that's all part of the game. If that's going to be a problem--stick with one-design racing, or go cruising.
And if you do a little research, you can probably find out if your boat is considered "properly" handicapped, or hard to race to her numbers, etc. Some boats are problematic, i.e. they may have a terribly fine range and be incredibly hard to sail to their optimum speed. Others are much more forgiving, and if you're not an experienced racer--more likely to be competitive for you.