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Arcb 04-08-2019 03:16 PM

Re: Non Racing Sailors
 
I havent noticed any one mention the health benefits of racing. Maybe less so big keel boats but small boat racing is great exercise. I try to get out boating at least once a week for some exercise and to clear my head. Racing, actual or practicing/training is as good an excuse as any to get out of the house and go for a boat ride.

Minnewaska 04-08-2019 03:34 PM

Re: Non Racing Sailors
 
I love to race, but only with friends who are going to the same anchorage. I've grown to hate course racing. It's often the people, especially snotty crew, but it's the schedule that sucks the most. Wed night 6pm, regardless of what's going on, regardless of wind conditions. It's a massive waste of my life, IMO.

On the other hand, if we've ginned up a flotilla out to one of the islands (or anywhere) for the night, it's game on. Point to point is much more fun that around the buoys to me. It's never more than a question of who's buying the first round. This doesn't matter much, because everyone will be buying a subsequent round. Thereby ensues the *****ing about LOAs and other completely unaccounted for disparities. They don't matter. First in the harbor wins. Period.

We will have not coordinated start. If you left an hour early, you better arrive and hour early or the guy behind will claim to have beaten you. Passing a boat that left first is the bragging home run. You never want to come up short on that measure.

My wife is rabid about it. Sometimes I really don't feel like working that hard, but she's energized by it, when it's for fun like this. If anyone is creeping up on us from behind, you'd think one of our kids was about to fall off a building, it gets so hectic to do something. Of course, text messages fly between boats too. I'll often let others know I'm having lunch and steering with my foot, especially if we're in the lead. Sometimes it's an excuse for doing poorly. Whatever.

I also race my friends to be the first to launch in the Spring. I was in this past Tues, one friend was in on Mon. That bastard. We're double or nothing to see who's off the dock first.

Yea, we race. We don't do the matching uniform, champagne, club thing.

SchockT 04-08-2019 03:35 PM

Re: Non Racing Sailors
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by capta (Post 2051594482)
I'm sorry to disagree, but there is only one level of racing if one wants to win consistently. One can go out and dither around, getting in the way of the serious racers on the formal races or club races, but if you want that trophy, you've got to pay for it one way or another. And IME that takes hard work, risking equipment and a dedication to do whatever it takes ti to be just a few seconds faster than the next guy.

Of course there are different levels! I am just a club racer, but even in my local area I have raced in local club races in fleets made up of old racer-cruisers and various "furniture boats", and I have won my share of trophies at that level.

I have also raced on a regional level, where more serious racers come from clubs all over the region to compete in a regional championship. Even in that level the fleets are divided into divisions, with the lowest divisions made up of the ubiquitous " 4 Knot ****boxes" and the higher divisions made up of 40+ foot race boats with container loads of sails, and every kind of cruiser, performance cruiser and racer-cruiser in between.The boats I raced on won consistently in their divisions without having to spend anywhere near the kind of money the big boys did. I even raced with some of the big boys with big budgets.

I have raced in One-design fleets where you need to scratch and claw for every tenth of a knot, every degree of point, and catch every wind shift. Those are the fleets where you really do need to have perfect sails, as well as excellent crew work and excellent tactics in order to win consistently, but even then, you dont have to have an unlimited budget.

I have even raced One Design in a North American Championship level, that entailed trailering a 30foot keelboat down the coast to San Francisco, where we, as a motley crew of club sailors went up against boats crewed by professional sailors. We didnt win, but we certainly put up a good fight, and did so on a shoestring budget.

I have flown down to SanDiego to compete in a match-racing challenge, which is one- on-one racing with one-design boats, where crew work, boat handling and tactics are critical.

So even I, as a bush-league club racer, have experienced a wide range of different levels of racing. And I have sailed with Olympic champion sailors, Americas Cup sailors, and world champion one design sailors who all got their start racing whatever boat they had at the club level.

Now, as I get older, I am content to take my boat out in the less formal club races where we use geographical marks, rabbit starts, and take our own finish times. It will help me learn my new boat and get out on the water. If I want to do more serious racing, I can get out on someone elses boat be it for more competitive beer can races or long distance races like Vic-Maui.

So I know there ARE many different levels of racing because I have experienced many of them.



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pdqaltair 04-08-2019 04:18 PM

Re: Non Racing Sailors
 
I wouldn't say two boats are always racing. Sometimes you just wonder if your sail trim is that bad. On a new-to-you boat, pacing a "trial horse" is one of the best ways to learn what your new boat likes. What you think is fast isn't always.

JimMcGee 04-08-2019 06:01 PM

Re: Non Racing Sailors
 
For me sailing is about being on the water -usually but not always with my wife or with friends.

Racing is a whole different vibe I don't need. I get on the water to get AWAY from stress.

hellosailor 04-08-2019 06:12 PM

Re: Non Racing Sailors
 
I never had any interest in racing, until an instructor said "There's one open slip in the restaurant marina, and we have no harbor charts, but if you guys can get in there before sunset...that's a damned good steakhouse."

So one part of racing is simply learned to make a boat go fast with what you've got.

But that's not racing. A BIG part of racing is knowing the racing rules, and knowing how to use them, offensively, against the competition.

Then there's the question of commitment. Racing crew need to BE THERE every time,no excuses, the only death in family that counts is your own. You need to show up with a clear head and put in the time practicing, like the Rockettes, to make sure everyone has the same timing down.

And if you're going to get serious about it, you need to make a financial commitment that goes way beyond cruising. New sails as needed. Sails from a good loft. Get plenty of sandpaper, longboard fair the bottom, measure your spreaders (J/24's can point higher upwind if the factory spreaders are cut down to class minimum size, gee), learn to trim every last pound out of the boat. Replace stainless with fabric or titanium. And, isn't there a lighter VHF?

Going out to do some fun beercan races, can be good social fun. Especially if there's a nice buffet someplace after. But racing, real "We're taking first or someone's going to die" is a whole other world of sailing.

I don't have the budget and don't care for the Type-A temper tantrums. And I don't know how to trim the last 0.05 knots out of the sails, either.

jephotog 04-08-2019 06:35 PM

Re: Non Racing Sailors
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Arcb (Post 2051594610)
I havent noticed any one mention the health benefits of racing. Maybe less so big keel boats but small boat racing is great exercise. I try to get out boating at least once a week for some exercise and to clear my head. Racing, actual or practicing/training is as good an excuse as any to get out of the house and go for a boat ride.

Any of the health benefits of racing you mention is offset by the calories consumed after the race.

GeorgeB 04-08-2019 06:37 PM

Re: Non Racing Sailors
 
What exactly do you guys mean by “club racing”? Are you talking about weekly beer can racing? Or “club members only” regattas/races? There are only about four races a year that my club restricts to “members only”. We sponsor our Friday Night “beer can” races (yes, somewhere on or near the course is a pony keg with real beer so the big winner isn’t the first to finish!). Our beer cans are open to anyone from a club with YRA affiliation. The YRA/OYRA races do require a current certificate on file.

pdqaltair 04-08-2019 08:00 PM

Re: Non Racing Sailors
 
There are MANY things even laid back cruisers can gain from racers:
* Understanding sail trim means being able to press the boat in bad weather when needed. Everyone is a racer when beating into a near gale.
* Faster sail changes, or at least the idea that processes like this should be practiced until they are easy in any weather. Cruisers often hide from such challenges instead of solving the underlying procedure or hardware problems.
* Reliable tacking. Break it down into steps until it is mistake proof. Darn handy in heavy weather or tacking up a channel if the engine died.

And finally, tacking on shifts. Certain times of year, weather patterns bring oscillating winds with 15-30 degree shifts that last for 5-20 minutes. These can pay HUGE benefits working to windward, but you have to recognize the pattern and be ready to tack. Always prep the lines for the next tack as part of finishing a tack, and don't hesitate when you see it. And like a racer, you should be watching for it on the water ahead, just like you watch for gusts.

Even cruisers need to get to the harbor sooner, sometimes, even if only because someone is bored.

(And don't get the idea that because my avitar shows a quick boat that speed is everything to me. My last boat was a cruising cat.)

fallard 04-08-2019 08:21 PM

Re: Non Racing Sailors
 
Back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s we had an 18’ catboat and participated in a number of “race-rendezvous” in Fishers Island Sound. One of these events was Noank to Block Island, with a (cold) lobster dinner on the beach. More than half of the boats were 18 footers, but there were some 20 footers, a few 22 footers, a 26 footer, and a 35’ ancient wooden catboat. (The boom on the 35’ boat could have been recycled as a telephone pole.)

So, we had cats and dogs, and usually we had some kind of loose handicapping system. Some—but only about half—took the race component seriously, but all enjoyed the after-race social scene, which was usually at the race organizer’s home. We did this for 4-5 years. There were some folks who really honed their skills over a period of years in these races. One of these boats was modified with a larger sail plan and started walking away with the trophies, but his boat eventually ended up in the Chesapeake, giving the rest of us some relief. Another fellow started at the bottom of the pack and eventualllyl started winning with his Atlantic City 26 footer. There was enough mixing up of the results that it never got really boring on the race course. Still, there were some folks who were really serious. Most of us, including some of the competetive sailors were simply good sports and contributed to the incredible cameraderie that the catboat folks are know for.

So, those of us who raced for years really learned something and became better sailors, proving the adage: “It’s easy to sail a catboat, but it takes skill to sail it well.” Nonetheless, the highlight of the race-rendezvous was the rendezvous part, proving that you can use racing to develop your skills, but still have a hell of a good time socializing afterwards.

The highlight for us was the 1990 Catboat Association rendezvous at Mystic Seaport, where we had 106 catboats in the water, ranging from an 1895 racing catboat to a 19’ Menger cat on builders trials. Folks brought boats from the Chesapeake, Maine, and parts in between. One fellow trailered his boat from Illinois. My wife and I headed the local committee for that event. Our fondest catboat memories of are of the socialization, but the racing was an important component in developing our sailing skills, including reading currents and weather.


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