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post #31 of 87 Old 04-09-2019
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Re: Non Racing Sailors

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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.
When I say club racing I simply mean races that are part of a particular club's regular schedule, rather than a large regatta. I belong to two clubs, one is the largest club in the city, and the other is a much smaller community club. The larger club races are much more structured with proper buoy racing courses, mark boats, committee boats etc. The starts are much more aggressive as are the mark roundings, which can be intimidating to the uninitiated, although even in that club the slower divisions are more laid back.

The other club is much more casual with one of the competitors doing the start sequence from his boat, courses using existing objects on the water such as barge moorings and small islands for marks, and the honor system for finishing times.

In both cases all comers are welcome, not just members. They both have their merits, and quite a few boats from the small club make the trek out to the bigger clubs to participate in some of their more serious events.


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post #32 of 87 Old 04-09-2019
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Re: Non Racing Sailors

We do not race - we did a few at one time until we won one and immediately someone filed a protest that was eventually overruled. But we said if they are that picky we want no part of that nonsense.

We were invited to a regatta over last weekend that was a 18nm sail and had 2 classes - fast serious boats and cruiser class. We went and went in the cruiser class and as all were working the starting line we just laid off and then started near the last 1/2 of the boats. For us it was not as much about racing but learning to make the boat go again. We have spent the last couple of years doing short hops in lite winds and not a lot of sailing and coming up in a month is a 3-5 day passage and we needed to work on our skill. We made some early mistakes when compared to the boats around us then we worked on our sail trim and got it right and blew a few folks away and most could not keep up with us. It was good practice for us and we learned a lot.

Say that one of the fast boats is a couple and she is a world class racer as is he. But she is a better racer. But she will not cruise with him as he always try to get the last tenth and makes cruising not fun when stressing the crew and the boat. To her it is more important for a comfortable good speed cruise than a very fast stress long sail. I would love to have her on this boat for a sail and learn from her as she is one of the best.

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post #33 of 87 Old 04-09-2019
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Re: Non Racing Sailors

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We do not race - we did a few at one time until we won one and immediately someone filed a protest that was eventually overruled. But we said if they are that picky we want no part of that nonsense.



We were invited to a regatta over last weekend that was a 18nm sail and had 2 classes - fast serious boats and cruiser class. We went and went in the cruiser class and as all were working the starting line we just laid off and then started near the last 1/2 of the boats. For us it was not as much about racing but learning to make the boat go again. We have spent the last couple of years doing short hops in lite winds and not a lot of sailing and coming up in a month is a 3-5 day passage and we needed to work on our skill. We made some early mistakes when compared to the boats around us then we worked on our sail trim and got it right and blew a few folks away and most could not keep up with us. It was good practice for us and we learned a lot.



Say that one of the fast boats is a couple and she is a world class racer as is he. But she is a better racer. But she will not cruise with him as he always try to get the last tenth and makes cruising not fun when stressing the crew and the boat. To her it is more important for a comfortable good speed cruise than a very fast stress long sail. I would love to have her on this boat for a sail and learn from her as she is one of the best.
Unfortunately protests happen. There are rules to racing, and those rules need to be enforced. Some people that are more competitive tend to become "sea lawyers" and try to enforce the rules if it gains them an advantage, and bend them for the same reason.

When I was racing more seriously we had a protest flag in a quick release pouch tied to the backstay. We made a show of packing that flag into the pouch while waiting for the start sequence. We rarely had to use it, but having it hanging there ready to deploy sent a message...

Most of the time rule infractions are settled in a gentlemanly way, with the offender voluntarily doing their penalty turn. If the Bravo flag WAS flown, the issue was usually settled over beers in the bar. The only time I was ever involved in an official protest hearing was when it involved a collision causing damage, and fault needed to be determined for insurance purposes.

I have often sailed with fellow racers when we are delivering a boat to a distant event, or going away for a weekend somewhere, and I have never had anyone make it stressful. Sure, we all like to tweak sails and make adjustments, because that just becomes second nature. Constantly checking telltales is something that I do without thinking, but I certainly cant imagine stressing about it. The guy you refer to needs to learn to relax a bit...

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post #34 of 87 Old 04-09-2019
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Re: Non Racing Sailors

You don't have to race to become a better sailor. Try turning your engine off for the day, come what may.
One season down here, before we began chartering, we sailed nearly 2500 miles (all interisland day sails, no ocean crossings) and we ran the engine less than 20 hours for the whole year. One day we sailed from Young Island to Rodney Bay in one shot (windward side of St Vincent, leeward side of St Lucia), 79.3 miles in winds less than 18 knots: 12:22 (nice current).
Or sail your home grounds w/o turning on your engine, at all. Sail off the anchor, and to wherever you choose to go and sail onto the anchor again. Sailing the lees down here, with just you and your sailing partner (not a crew of avid sailors), actually sailing when all others are powering is an amazing feeling. Now there's a challenge that sharpens your sailing skills.
Then, when the engine does fail, you'll not be so quick to call a tow, but sail your boat to safety on your own. That beats any amount of trophies on the mantle.
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post #35 of 87 Old 04-09-2019
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Re: Non Racing Sailors

I race at a club that is focused on racing. We race on Thursdays, Saturdays, & Sundays. Part of the deal is if you get 15 attended races, weather being what it is, you get the racer discount on your slip or mooring. This is a significant savings as the lake is a very popular large lake with lots McMansions around it. Thursday nights are the most popular as we have 100 - 120 boats in 9 fleets, 2 are PHRF with spin and non-spin, on 2 different courses. Our race committee handles it all amazingly and rarely people hit each other. We have people that only get their 15 in so they save money on their fees to those that race nearly all races for the season. We also have people that sail not that well but follow the rules and are out there to have fun to a double gold medal Olympic sailor. We work closely with the community sailing center next door, classes start for kids at 5yo on up through hosting a number of High School teams and the Univ. of Minn sailing team. Most protestable issues are handled by people doing their turns, or around the free beer after each race. We are more cargo shorts and beers as opposed to the blue blazer & ascot crowd. Oh yeah, we also have a crew available table where anyone can sit and go out on a boat for a race. No one ever gets left behind. So, there are racing clubs out there that are not all banzai and crazy people on sailboats yelling at each other. Well, it does happen, mostly at starts with the Capri 25 fleet and the J's....
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post #36 of 87 Old 04-09-2019
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Re: Non Racing Sailors

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
You don't have to race to become a better sailor. Try turning your engine off for the day, come what may.

One season down here, before we began chartering, we sailed nearly 2500 miles (all interisland day sails, no ocean crossings) and we ran the engine less than 20 hours for the whole year. One day we sailed from Young Island to Rodney Bay in one shot (windward side of St Vincent, leeward side of St Lucia), 79.3 miles in winds less than 18 knots: 12:22 (nice current).

Or sail your home grounds w/o turning on your engine, at all. Sail off the anchor, and to wherever you choose to go and sail onto the anchor again. Sailing the lees down here, with just you and your sailing partner (not a crew of avid sailors), actually sailing when all others are powering is an amazing feeling. Now there's a challenge that sharpens your sailing skills.

Then, when the engine does fail, you'll not be so quick to call a tow, but sail your boat to safety on your own. That beats any amount of trophies on the mantle.
You certainly are fortunate to be in a place where the wind blows strong and consistent! Not everyone is so lucky! I wonder how you would feel about sail only, "come what may" when it is only blowing under 10 knots, or 5 knots! That is what we sometimes get, and believe me, it takes some skill and patience to get some decent boatspeed.

If it took me over 12 hours to go 79 miles with up to 18kts windspeed and favorable current, I would be diving my boat to figure out what I was dragging on my keel! 6.5kts average boatspeed on a 53ft boat is well under hull speed!

I get that you are a heavy cruiser, and that you are in no hurry, but for many people, learning to get the most out of their boat is part of the joy of sailing! Many, perhaps most of us are stuck on shore earning our living, and when we get away on our boats we want to make the most of our vacation days. For me that means being able to cover a lot of ground under sail so I can get to farther destinations in a limited time.

But you are right, you don't have to race to become a good sailor, but it certainly helps, and it will likely raise your standards around your boat's performance potential!

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post #37 of 87 Old 04-09-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Non Racing Sailors

Racing doesn't make anyone a better sailor. It gives them a set of skills that can be useful to any type of sailing. The performance of a sailboat is up to the skipper and if there is... a crew. Sailing is a dynamic activity involving the sails shape/trim and steering etc. The more you are engaged and sensitive to the controls available the better you are. Any type of sailor can maximize their boat's performance. These are learned skills.

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post #38 of 87 Old 04-09-2019
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Re: Non Racing Sailors

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You certainly are fortunate to be in a place where the wind blows strong and consistent! Not everyone is so lucky! I wonder how you would feel about sail only, "come what may" when it is only blowing under 10 knots, or 5 knots! That is what we sometimes get, and believe me, it takes some skill and patience to get some decent boatspeed.

If it took me over 12 hours to go 79 miles with up to 18kts windspeed and favorable current, I would be diving my boat to figure out what I was dragging on my keel! 6.5kts average boatspeed on a 53ft boat is well under hull speed!

I get that you are a heavy cruiser, and that you are in no hurry, but for many people, learning to get the most out of their boat is part of the joy of sailing! Many, perhaps most of us are stuck on shore earning our living, and when we get away on our boats we want to make the most of our vacation days. For me that means being able to cover a lot of ground under sail so I can get to farther destinations in a limited time.

But you are right, you don't have to race to become a good sailor, but it certainly helps, and it will likely raise your standards around your boat's performance potential!

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Obviously, you haven't much experience with the island lees. Almost half of that trip was spent sailing the 18 miles in the lee of St Lucia. Winds in the lee can do 360's for a good bit of the trip, which is a whole lot of sail handling if you actually want to get anywhere. When I say a max wind around 16, that doesn't mean a steady 16 knots, but at times less than 10 knots with the current setting us toward the reefs of St Vincent for several hours.
I guess my post means little to those who haven't done that kind of sailing, so perhaps it wasn't a good example.
Personally, racing was very poor preparation for out of the harbor, real-world ocean sailing in the days before GPS and weather satellites. As I said, in 7 seasons we never once reefed the boat.
In 6 to 12-foot ocean seas with the current setting you to leeward, one doesn't get the kind of windward performance one is used to in harbor sailing.
And, as I said, I love racing, but I also want to win, and to me, that means going all out, even if it means taking risks. And I just won't do that with this boat.
There are lots of times when I have to sail this boat hard in unpleasant conditions because I have a schedule to keep. Few, if any, ever see it and even fewer care, I'm sure. We do it because it is our job, not to boost my ego or for some sort of glory or trophy. I think we do just fine with our boat's performance potential!

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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post #39 of 87 Old 04-09-2019
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Re: Non Racing Sailors

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Obviously, you haven't much experience with the island lees. Almost half of that trip was spent sailing the 18 miles in the lee of St Lucia. Winds in the lee can do 360's for a good bit of the trip, which is a whole lot of sail handling if you actually want to get anywhere. When I say a max wind around 16, that doesn't mean a steady 16 knots, but at times less than 10 knots with the current setting us toward the reefs of St Vincent for several hours.

I guess my post means little to those who haven't done that kind of sailing, so perhaps it wasn't a good example.

Personally, racing was very poor preparation for out of the harbor, real-world ocean sailing in the days before GPS and weather satellites. As I said, in 7 seasons we never once reefed the boat.

In 6 to 12-foot ocean seas with the current setting you to leeward, one doesn't get the kind of windward performance one is used to in harbor sailing.

And, as I said, I love racing, but I also want to win, and to me, that means going all out, even if it means taking risks. And I just won't do that with this boat.

There are lots of times when I have to sail this boat hard in unpleasant conditions because I have a schedule to keep. Few, if any, ever see it and even fewer care, I'm sure. We do it because it is our job, not to boost my ego or for some sort of glory or trophy. I think we do just fine with our boat's performance potential!
Naturally since I have never sailed in those waters the reference means little to me. 6.5kt average speed is not that impressive on the face of it, but if you had to deal with massive wind shifts while doing so, that is clearly a more of an achievement than it appears! Context is everything I guess!

I'm sure you have put enough water under your keel that you know your boat pretty well. Again, not all of us are so lucky as to be able to spend as much time sailing our boats as you have.

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post #40 of 87 Old 04-10-2019
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Re: Non Racing Sailors

SchockT, this is the part that confused me. Down here in S.F. virtually all the races and regattas are sponsored (at least co-sponsored) by the hosting club. I guess if I eliminated the various National Championships and events like the Rolex, I get a better definition of “club racing”. But this will still leave all the YRA/OYRA events in the “club” category. In fact, I will be on the RC for leg one and two of the California Offshore Race Week (we are one of four hosting clubs albeit, my club does the over-all race management). Now Capta is being pretty modest about his racing chops – Keeping guys like Tom Blackaller and George Olsen off the podium for nearly a decade is pretty impressive in my book.

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