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Old 01-21-2012
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What am I?--Classification, Boat length, etc...

Hi all,
I just sold and delivered my 28.5 cruiser and am in the process of obtaining a 25ft. day-sailor. However, I would like to race the new ride but I don't know where to begin. I resigned my local yacht club due to financial constraints (there's, not mine) but I would like to trailer the boat to various events as I can and participate for ISAF points or USSailing points. With all of that said: I don't know where to begin. My questions include:

1. How do I know if my size boat is acceptable for certain races? I realize I'm not competing in the Volvo Ocean race but would like to race in Charleston if an organized event existed.

2. I'll probably single-hand so is that allowed and/or are there class races already established?

3. Are there websites which are better than others? I'm a non-paid member of USSailing and ISAF but haven't taken the time to find others.

4. If I could compete at a competitive level, is there any money to be "had"?

I don't know what I don't know so any advice is welcome.

Thanks,
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Old 01-23-2012
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1. You don't say what the boat is. If there are a sizeable population of them, you could race "one-design" against identical boats. If not, you can race "handicap" in the PHRF fleets. Your boat will be assigned a handicap rating based on it's hull and rigging measurements. There are categories of racing (4P, 5P, 6P) which describe the level of equipage and construction that your boat must comply with in order to race in certain venues (creeks and rivers, bays, off-shore, etc)

2. There are single-handed races, but you'll be able to participate in more races if you can scrounge up at least one crew member.

3. Usually, there are paper clubs and sailing associations that have no club house, and very minimal dues that you can join, so that you can participate in most racing in your area.

4. No. Almost all racing is for trophies and bragging rights. Any money made is usually for charity and never touches your hands. If you're racing to get rich, find another sport, like NASCAR.
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Old 01-24-2012
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A few people make a living as professional sailors, but they are a tiny minority. More people manage to stay close to the sport by making their livings as boat brokers, delivery and charter captains, sail makers, boat riggers, surveyors, sailing instructors, chandlery employees, water taxi operators, diesel mechanics, dockmasters and marina employees, commercial divers, fishing guides, tow/salvage boat operators, etc. -- sometimes having several part-time jobs in these areas. Some of these jobs require a US Coast Guard license (or foreign equivalent in other countries), which in turn requires passing tests, filling out lots of paperwork, and having the required sea time.
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