My last point: i don’t understand the fear of ‘sailing hard’. Just because you are racing doesn’t mean you have to stress the boat any more than cruising. Maybe you reef a little later, if you’re afraid of damaging your boat then something is wrong with your boat. I’ve raced in 30-40 Ltd of wind, upwind and downwind. It is scary but i know that the boat can (or at least should) be able to handle a lot more. Barry
It isn't about being scared, it's about common sense. Our boat is our home, our livelihood and our means of transportation. Sure, if your boat is your plaything
, you can go out there and beat the daylights out of her, then go home and take a shower and give her not a thought until the next race.
To be a consistent winner in racing you must push the boat and her equipment far beyond the general level of what would be considered prudent seamanship. I don't see the Volvo boats easing off in any weather. It's balls to the walls 24/7 and that takes a huge toll on the men and the equipment, and they are running multi-million dollar budgets!
And for what? Fun? Bragging rights? A silly little trophy?
We have to do that often enough to meet our charter schedules, but we are paid for that and that money goes back into the boat a lot faster than from a cruiser's kitty.
I raced on a boat in Frisco Bay that won 5 out of 7 seasons, and the first season was division, which we didn't win. We never reefed, we rarely eased the sheets no matter how deep the rail was in the water and we replaced our sails seasonally. There were times when the boat was sailing beyond the crew's ability to control her, especially on the downwind runs from the GG bridge, and if the main boom hadn't been prevented and vanged down, we would have broached and dismasted her, nearly every single race. If you don't intend to 'stress the boat any more than cruising" then you are not going to be taking home any trophies, or you are going to be spending a great deal of money cruising.
As far as stressing a boat and being "scared" how about you do a Christmas bareboat charter in the Windwards or Leewards (not the VI because that is just the kindergarten) and sail a channel every day, especially north in the northeast Christmas Winds. No weather windows or going when you feel like it. Perhaps "fear" will take on a slightly broader meaning to you after a week of that, even if it isn't your
rig or sails at stake.