Racing is arguably the best way to become a better sailor. As with any endeavor, the more you practice the better you become. Given enough time you can become a seasoned sailor just through clocking leisurely hours on the water cruising. But if you clock those hours racing, you’ll find that it rapidly accelerates the learning curve.
Simply stated, it requires more effort both physically and mentally.
While the same basic principles apply whether you are cruising or racing, the competitive nature of racing requires you to be more physically active in every facet of handling the vessel you are on. From constantly adjusting sail trim, to hoisting and lowering different foresails depending on your point of sail, you have to take advantage of every opportunity to stay ahead of the pack.
On the mental side of things, the competitive nature of racing requires the execution of sound strategy. Anticipating the moves of other vessels, anticipating the movements of your crew, directing your crew if you’re the captain and timing are amongst the things you have to balance and manage while racing.
That Sounds Like A Bit Much
That might all sound like more than you think you can handle, but it isn’t. Racing is just as much, if not more, about having fun as it is competition. As sure as there is a dad at the little league game that thinks he’s at the World Series, there will be a racer who takes things very seriously. But that isn’t the majority of racers.
Racing Is For Fun
Most racers just want to have fun while feeling a little more excitement than they would on a leisurely cruise. And most racers are more than happy to have a novice sailor aboard and teach them the ropes and share their knowledge. Racing is a great way to be active in your sailing club, meet new people, and spend time on the water all while giving your learning a boost.