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Feb 2, 2024 |
General, Juniors, Training, Racing, Upcoming Events,  |

Why you should try racing? (It's not what you think!)

When taking control of a sailing boat it gives one a great sense of achievement knowing that you will be able to sail it with confidence no matter what the conditions. Yes, you may try and choose ideal conditions but if the weather turns foul, then it’s nice to have the skills to get back home safely.

Okay, so where does racing come in to this?

Well putting the competitive aspect to one side for a moment, a race means setting off at a certain time, sailing to a particular point, rounding that mark and then heading off to the next mark and so on. Much more structured than just pottering on the lake.

Doing well is about being efficient with your sail trim and the ability to‘ read ’the wind shifts. In this respect, the best sailors don’t necessarily sail faster, they just make fewer mistakes.

Also, sailing with others and especially in the same class of boat gives you a barometer as to your performance. If you are keeping pace with a fellow mariner then you are at least as good as them.

Races are often grouped into series, where participating in about half of them is needed to have your results included in the various awards and this may mean racing when the wind is either too light or slight too windy. In other words, more challenging conditions than usual but with the security of a support boat on hand.

Finally, rules set out to avoid collisions at sea are very much imbedded in the rules for racing so participating is a good way of getting to know who has right of way and who is the ‘give way ’boat.

You can see therefore that over time, racing will raise your skill level and make you a much safer sailor. It’s also fun!

How do I get into Racing in 2024?

Once you’ve achieved RYA Level 2 or Stage 2 and mastered sailing up wind reasonably and gybing in good conditions you will be ready for a new challenge and ways to extend your ability. Racing is the ideal next step. Many of our members get to this stage but feel that they would be in the way if they joined in club racing. This is not the case; we always welcome those who want to race.

This year our Training and Sailing Sub-committees have put a programme together aimed at easing the path into racing.

We want you to race.

Firstly, in March (3rd & 9th) we are running and RYA Start Racing course. This two-day course will teach you the basics of how to start a race and some insight into the tactics around the course. Please refer to the flyer in the newsletter.

Secondly once a month there is a Beginners Race Series (used to be Wakefield). This is a 30-minute race starting at 13:30, with on the water coaching. If you come to Adult Saturday Club you can stay on and perhaps buddy up with an instructor who will guide you round the course. Dates are (TBC): 23 Mar, 27 Apr, 25 May, 22 Jun, 20 Jul, 17 Aug, 21 Sep, 26 Oct, 23 Nov.

Thirdly, and new for 2024, are our ‘Have a go racing’ sessions. These are not part of a formal race series. The sessions are intended to provide ‘relaxed and friendly’ racing so that everyone should feel comfortable and enjoy joining in. We would encourage parents to have a go if their children are participating. There will be a race coach/instructor to provide support on the water and to answer your questions before and after the session. There will be a briefing, covering the basic rules, just enough to ensure you know who has right of way, and giving some guidance on the course. If more
experienced sailors wish to join in then they should help promote the ‘relaxed and friendly’ ethos, they will be encouraged to be helpful and even offer to crew. Don’t worry if you haven’t got a crew, we will try and pair you up on the day. The format is flexible, but will aim to include three races of about 20 minutes (a couple of laps per race) or two races of 30 minutes. The first race will start at 14:30 and it is intended that you should be off the water by 16:00. Club boats will be available for those who have achieved Level 2 or Stage 2 or an equivalent standard. You should aim to sail a boat that you have learnt how to rig and sail, most likely at a Saturday Club. It is likely that we will ask you to book these sessions so that we are aware of which boats will be required and matching up helms and crews, more details nearer the time. Dates are (TBC): 2 & 30 June, 14 July, 4 & 31 August, 8 September.

Finally, you are welcome to join in any race, if you are a bit nervous let the Race Officer know at the briefing. Let's get racing in 2024!