SailNet Community banner
1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have owned a sailboat for 4 years now and absolutely love it. My season is about 5 months long and on average I go out twice a week. A friend of mine had the opportunity to tag along in a few races while working out of town and now continues to tell me that I should get into racing. My answer is always Why. I enjoy myself on my own schedule and don't see the benefit in racing. Am I missing something?
 

·
Chastened
Joined
·
4,861 Posts
Racing offers the possibility of learning how to sail well, at a fast pace. A steep learning curve.

If that's not your thing, then carry on. It's not for everyone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,647 Posts
There is a thread that discusses the pros-cons of racing but it's ultimately about how you want to use your boat.

For many including myself, racing will teach "sailing" and some aspects of seamanship that won't come as readily when "cruising". I've found it to be quite true that one doesn't really know how to "sail" until they've raced.

Often times, so much of our discussion is more about "boating" than actually "sailing". When we look at the SailNet threads, this appears to be true... There isn't a lot about actually sailing but a plethora of stuff about keels, chart plotters, sewing and such. None of that is bad, just where the emphasis appears to lie.

So it just comes down to what one wants from a boat. It's all good...your boat, your time, use them as you will.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,566 Posts
I love to race, and have been doing it for over 40 years without tiring of it. I love the competition of it, the challenge to get the best performance out of the boat, and the opportunity to learn new sail handling and sail trimming techniques. Most of the people who don't like to race seem to take it all too seriously, or to be the victims of some skipper who takes it too seriously. I never yell at or insult crew, and have no respect for anyone who does. Racing inspires creativity in sailing. The objective is to get around the race course in the shortest amount of time, and a racer is on a constant search for creative ideas on how to either shorten the distance around the course, or to increase boat speed, and how to get ahead of the other boats that are trying to prevent you from doing so. The search for those things makes racing an intriguing puzzle. Racing isn't an athletic sport. It's a cerebral sport. It matters little whether you are bulging with muscles. It matters alot that you have a facile mind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,026 Posts
I did a lot of crewing in week night races in my 20s as a way to get on the water, and one of the guys I raced with was pretty relaxed and it was more about having fun, which helped. I really had zero interest in the actual race itself and had to chuckle at some of the ridiculous people out there on the course. Now that I have my own boat, I can't see ever racing again as it's just not my thing. There's too many uptight yelling stressed out types that sorta the whole thing seem silly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
134 Posts
ABH3;
Why race? Lots of reasons:
1. I'm competitive, in almost every avenue of my life. I'm too old to play volleyball, football, and some of the other pastimes I used to compete in at the level I wanted to.
2. It's challenging - I was out last week with a skipper that told me he looked at it like 'chess on the water'. You have a moderate physical element, plus a complex (and of varying scale of complexity, depending how tough you want to make it on yourself...) mental element.
3. It forces you to expand your comfort zone on the water. I would never have considered taking my boat out in 20knots on Lake Erie before having been 'forced' by a looming race deadline - and am now thoroughly comfortable with weather much heavier than that.
4. I enjoy the team-building element of getting a crew of varying ages and skill levels, and working together to make the boat perform.
5. Camaraderie - Most good racing fleets will rendezvous afterwards, to share stories, discuss decisions made on the course, and usually just hang out and shoot the breeze. A person can learn a lot from this.

If NONE of these items interest you, then by all means, carry on!
If one or more DOES interest you, then try dipping just one toe in the racing pool. Make it clear in your club/marina that you'd like to try crewing. ask around about skippers, and try to find a boat that is moderately successful, and whose skipper is NOT a yeller. (nothing spoils racing more quickly than being made to feel ashamed or belittled, and has no place in club racing...)

You decide where you want to go after that.

Have fun!!

Andy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
I race in beer can series and a few weekend races. I enjoy the competitive nature both in in sailing against other boats and against myself. Chances are if one doesn't have some competitive sprit they wouldn't enjoy racing. As other have said you'd be hard pressed to find a better way to learn true sailing and boat handling skills. I know racing has certainly taught me to be a better sailor and I'm far from finished learning For instances, with my former boat I seldom fished less than second and usually first. Last night in my new (to me) faster boat got my clock cleaned. I have a lot to learn to sail the new boat fast.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
668 Posts
Racing isn't an athletic sport. It's a cerebral sport. It matters little whether you are bulging with muscles. It matters alot that you have a facile mind.
I agree and disagree. You must not remember being a grinder short tacking. It can be brutal and I don't think I am all that weak or I wouldn't be asked to do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,304 Posts















If you notice everybody's between 14 and 92 is HAPPY and we just don't do things especially racing with grumpy yellers


Quote:
Racing isn't an athletic sport. It's a cerebral sport. It matters little whether you are bulging with muscles. It matters alot that you have a facile mind.

You must not do much bow work :)
 

·
bell ringer
Joined
·
5,420 Posts
I don't race and have a book and knotmeter to teach me how to sail better.
 

·
Kynntana (Freedom 38)
Joined
·
977 Posts
You either love it or you don't. I like single-handed and short-handed races. This past weekend, I sailed over to Richmond Yacht Club where the single-handed TransPac boats were getting inspected. I toured and spoke to the skippers of an Islander 36, a Garcia Passoa 47, and a Wilderness 30, that have their boats all set up for not just single-handing, but for safety and self-reliance in a big ocean. We talked electric, and windvanes, and sails, and engines, and autopilots, and so much more for hours. It was great. Could I be part of this group if I wasn't racing? I would guess, yes, because they're so inviting to everyone who wants to learn how to be a better sailor. This is why I love racing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
I race because the other guy and me are on the same tack... :)

I have an old boat, not particularly fast and I usually finish close to last acrossed the line. But my PHRF is 218 so it all evens out in the wash I guess. That being said I don't do alot of weekday races, although I have crewed in the past. I'm more of a weekend racer and distance races. Here in West Michigan the sailing season is short and it's fun for me and my friends to do a cross lake race. We get to hang out with good friends from other boats and meet new ones. Most importantly we look and listen, and learn how to do things better and safer ect.

Still with my boat and time I doubt I'll ever do weekday races with my boat. Too much time and energy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
I am new to sailing and do not yet own a boat.

For me racing lets me learn how to sail better. It also exposes me to the pros and cons of more boats ahead of my first boat purchase.
 

·
Windseeker
Joined
·
177 Posts
Think a VMG instrument might teach you more.
*Edit - rereading I see I misunderstood Scott's meaning, but I'll leave the tirade below in-tack(t). He's right, VMG will tell you more than a knotmeter, and combining the both is awesome.

Not true. Having started racing properly about six months ago my skill set has increased dramatically, with years of progress yet to be made.

VMG at any given moment does not equate to best average VMG to a position. You need to account for current (potentially in the future), wind shifts, wind patches etc. To do this you get better at reading the water surface, reading the meaning behind other boats behaviors, the meaning of tells like clouds, flags and smoke stacks.

As well as that in racing each maneuver needs to be executed as precisely as possible and is easily measured against other boats sailing near you. Tack at the same time as a boat you are neck and neck with tacks and get rolled by them and you know they did a better job. Launch the spinnaker a minute later than everyone else and see the yards lost. You are forced to prepare the boat better, keep things organized, minimize mistakes.

Had to bear down to get to the top mark? You know you overstood the layline and lost ground, suddenly you start getting better at knowing how close to the wind you can sail and visually judging that relative to the current wind. You get better at knowing simple things like the true wind direction, at all times.

You're also going to expand your sailing envelope - going to push flying the spinnaker in stronger winds (hopefully with experience needed on board to help you out), not going to fire up the motor you're going to learn how to make the boat move in lighter air than it seems possible to move in.

VMG is useful, it is something I've used for years, but only sporadically. Seeing other boats on the water nearby, heading the same way is a far more visceral experience.

Lastly, find the right boat (I hope Kraken is one of those boats) and you will have fun, without angry screaming. Its teamwork if you want it, or you vs your mates. Its a bunch of people who love the same thing in the same place at the same time helping each other improve and figuring out a really complicated thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,566 Posts
I agree and disagree. You must not remember being a grinder short tacking. It can be brutal and I don't think I am all that weak or I wouldn't be asked to do it.
Grinding can be and generally is brutal, but it doesn't have to be. To take most of the physicality out of it, the helmsman and release person have to work in coordination with the tailer-grinder, and most of them don't. That's mostly because they haven't really analyzed the process. Even a weak person can tail an unloaded line. Tailing a line only requires hard grinding after the line has come under load. The trick to tailing a line without grinding the winch until you become arm-weary is to get the line in before it comes under load. That means that the tailer-grinder has a limited amount of time in which to bring in a given length of line. If the release person or the helmsman reduces the amount of time that the tailer-grinder has to get the job done, then he'll have to resort to the winch handle to get it in the rest of the way. A common way that the release person can reduce the time available to the tailer-grinder is to backwind the jib. The longer he holds the jib, the less time the tailer has to haul in all the sheet. (The wind will usually be enough to bring the jib across during a tack, but, if the jib hangs up, then have a crew member walk it across. Backwinding the jib is usually unnecessary, and it uses up the limited amount of time that the tailer has to get his line pulled in.) If the helmsman turns the boat too quickly, he will use up some of the tailer's precious time. If the helmsman oversteers the boat through the turn, he loads up the sail, and the only way the grinder can get it trimmed is with hard grinding. A skilled helmsman will execute the turn at a speed that will permit the tailer enough time to get the unloaded sheet in, and he will terminate the turn before the sail becomes heavily loaded.

Tailing and grinding doesn't have to be nearly so physical.
 

·
Freedom isn't free
Joined
·
3,118 Posts
I race because it's fun!
I race because I usually learn how awful a sailor I really am.
I race because it's fun!
and it's fun.
Not to mention... um it's fun.

Sorry that's more of an inside joke. Lemme let you know what I mean. I am told our sail club is a "fun club." This is usually in reference when we work on improving courses, or try to use a fair application of the handicapped rating rules we use. Someone tells me its a "fun club," implying that racing isn't fun, or the application of fair rules aren't fun, or perhaps the uneven application is more "fun," honestly I am not sure which.

Reality is I find myself trying hard to figure out what the faster guy is doing that I am not... which makes this hard, because it's handicapped racing, and that isn't really all there is to it.

Strategy is as much a part of racing as ANY game can give. The more avid the sailors you are with, the more like chess, and less like NASCAR it'll be (please don't get on me about how NASCAR is also a head game, before you do read my first sentence again of this paragraph).

Also we don't have BIG WATER on our little puddle, so the only way to challenge us, landlocked as we are, is to race.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
For myself, I am much more about melding machine and myself than I am about competition. I also still avidly trail ride motorcycles (at age 46), but even though on a trail I'm probably faster than the average bear, I do not find myself attracted to competing with others. I also have friends that still ride, and for them the only reason is to compete. The act of operating the machine (boat or bike) has different personal meaning to me. As some of the others have said, there are few better ways to hone skill-sets than by racing. And if thats your thing, I have no criticisms at all. But it's all about the individual. For myself, I feel no compulsion to prove myself against anything other than Mother Nature. I'm much more about the Zen rather than the competition.
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
Top