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Racing vs. Cruising

Apr 7, 2021
15
Cape Dory 22 Clear Lake
Although I find racing and cruising are very close in nature, the two types of sailing have their clear distinctions. I’ve raced several times and it just wasn’t my thing. How many of you enjoy both, or prefer one over the other? And why?
 
Feb 21, 2013
3,573
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Used to enjoy racing my Hobie 16 catamaran and later Hunter 31 and 386. I no longer race, except when on the same tack like Don said, but just cruise.............one reason is I do not want to risk getting my Hunter 46 t-boned..........and many of the boats I have raced with that are on a port tack do not give right away to boats on a starboard tack.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,712
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
As @Don S/V ILLusion alludes to, anytime there is a sailboat on the horizon its a race! ;)

I have raced a fair amount on other people's boats. It was a good learning experience and I enjoyed working together as a team. I was less concerned with winning because I recognized there were a couple of sailors who were much better skilled than we were, so chased them. However, when things were going well, tacks made, spinnaker sets and douses smooth, and we had a decent start, it was a good day on the water.

I have raced my one of my boats, but got annoyed with the Captain Bligh references.

All the years on the race course have taught me to be a better, more confident sailor who sails a better equipped and maintained boat because of that experience. Wouldn't have traded the experience (most days).

Now I'm quite content to settle in for a long day sail, beam reach out and beam reach back, or a long day sail where I end up in some other harbor or anchorage.
 
Oct 26, 2008
4,988
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
I'm in agreement with Dave. I like sailboat racing and I would definitely do much more of it if I was able. I also have the attitude that it isn't necessary to be the victor. I'm perfectly happy measuring my performance and the crew's by how much fun we've had. But, I don't think about sailboat racing in the same manner that I think about cruising. I dream about places to go in our boat far more than I will ever dream about races to attend!
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,529
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
I don't see it as one or the other. Both are good ways to enjoy boat ownership even though they are separate things. Add in day sailing, sitting on the boat at the marina for an afternoon or sleeping aboard overnight, doing things to improve the boat, making dinghy excursions from the slip to dockside bars or restaurants, joining a club, etc. All of it adds up to to getting maximum enjoyment out of a very expensive "hobby."
 
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Jun 29, 2010
1,246
Beneteau First 235 Lake Minnetonka, MN
Do both. At WYC we are a racing club and once you get your minimum number of races in, you get slip priority and a discount on fees. It's been going on for over 50 years and we have hosted many US and World Championship events. Have multiple US and Olympic champions as members as well. Makes one a better sailor in my opinion but to some, racing is all there is. Not me, racing gets us on the lake and our slip but, there is so much more to sailing then racing. We have 9 fleets, an amazing race committee and on Thursday nights we have about 110-120 boats on the 2 courses. About 80 or so races every season. Pretty amazing in, my book.

The lake gets a lot of power boats on the weekends but, you can find your spots to anchor overnight as they all bail as soon as it starts to get dark.
 
Jun 29, 2010
1,246
Beneteau First 235 Lake Minnetonka, MN
and many of the boats I have raced with that are on a port tack do not give right away to boats on a starboard tack.
That's what the protest flag is for and the RRS. Someone needs to have a chat with these skippers if this is the case.
 

DArcy

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,193
Islander Freeport 36 Ottawa
I enjoy both racing and cruising. I grew up with both, my family raced our Niagara 30 and then Viking 33 but also spent many weekends aboard taking it easy. I used to race my C&C27 and really enjoyed the active fleet of one design boats, there are usually around 18 C&C27s registered for racing, 15 or so show up to most races. At one point I decided the additional maintenance and cost of sails to remain competitive wasn't worth it so I started crewing on other people's boats. What really kicked it off was overhearing a conversation on the dock of a C&C115 looking for someone with experience flying a spinnaker so I jumped in.

Now I have a comfortable, slow cruiser that I can enjoy time relaxing on the water in no great hurry. I still race on the C&C115, occasionally on a Viking 28, First 40, First Class 10 and any other boat that will take me. I mostly enjoy long distance races but I still race around the cans on Tuesday evenings. It seems like the best of both worlds to me and racing gets me out on the water more than if I only cruised.
 
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Oct 29, 2016
1,765
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
I do enjoy racing, but, with absolutely no expectations.
Our Sapphire just wasn't cut from the, "R" cloth, she loves to have a crew aboard adjusting sheets, travelers and vangs but it seems that no matter how much she enjoys the attention she just can't keep up with the group. Probably has something to do with the fact that she is out there on her own, with boats which are cut from the "R" cloth but none the less there are only a couple of rules, we must return with the same number of crew as we left with and we must have a great time and so far we haven't broken those rules.....
Cruising is a given on our Sapphire as this is where she is truly at home, right there with the first mate, but my youngest son has joined the club and with the Soverel 33 I believe, we are not only going to race more, but also be competitive.
 
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Apr 7, 2021
15
Cape Dory 22 Clear Lake
I do enjoy racing, but, with absolutely no expectations.
Our Sapphire just wasn't cut from the, "R" cloth, she loves to have a crew aboard adjusting sheets, travelers and vangs but it seems that no matter how much she enjoys the attention she just can't keep up with the group. Probably has something to do with the fact that she is out there on her own, with boats which are cut from the "R" cloth but none the less there are only a couple of rules, we must return with the same number of crew as we left with and we must have a great time and so far we haven't broken those rules.....
Well cruising is a given on our Sapphire as this is where she is truly at home right there with the first mate, but my youngest son has joined the club and with the Soverel 33 I believe, we are not only going to race more, but also be competitive.
Thanks for your comment. I actually raced four times when I was younger. Three of the four times I crewed. The time I skippered I actually enjoyed. I was wondering if I could like to use your comment on a post I did for a blog?
 
Apr 7, 2021
15
Cape Dory 22 Clear Lake
I enjoy both racing and cruising. I grew up with both, my family raced our Niagara 30 and then Viking 33 but also spent many weekends aboard taking it easy. I used to race my C&C27 and really enjoyed the active fleet of one design boats, there are usually around 18 C&C27s registered for racing, 15 or so show up to most races. At one point I decided the additional maintenance and cost of sails to remain competitive wasn't worth it so I started crewing on other people's boats. What really kicked it off was overhearing a conversation on the dock of a C&C115 looking for someone with experience flying a spinnaker so I jumped in.

Now I have a comfortable, slow cruiser that I can enjoy time relaxing on the water in no great hurry. I still race on the C&C115, occasionally on a Viking 28, First 40, First Class 10 and any other boat that will take me. I mostly enjoy long distance races but I still race around the cans on Tuesday evenings. It seems like the best of both worlds to me and racing gets me out on the water more than if I only cruised.
Thanks for you comment, especially the quip. I've hit a few docks a little stiff, to be sure. I find this topic to be interesting. I wrote a post on a blog on this very subject. The post got over 40 views, but not one comment.
 
Apr 7, 2021
15
Cape Dory 22 Clear Lake
Used to enjoy racing my Hobie 16 catamaran and later Hunter 31 and 386. I no longer race, except when on the same tack like Don said, but just cruise.............one reason is I do not want to risk getting my Hunter 46 t-boned..........and many of the boats I have raced with that are on a port tack do not give right away to boats on a starboard tack.
Thanks for commenting. I find racing to chaotic for my liking.
 
Oct 29, 2016
1,765
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
Thanks for your comment. I actually raced four times when I was younger. Three of the four times I crewed. The time I skippered I actually enjoyed. I was wondering if I could like to use your comment on a post I did for a blog?
Absolutely use away
 
Jan 19, 2010
9,950
Hunter 26 Charleston
I've only raced once. I enjoyed it but I don't see getting overly serious about it. Until August I was at a small marina in Alabama and the other sailors there (they were mostly power boaters) would host a race about once a month. It was mostly an excuse to go sailing then BBQ afterwords.... and I headed back out at dusk and found a cove to drop the hook in for the night....one of the other boats came into the cove so we swam to shore...made a camp fire on the island... drank some bourbon and told lies and then went cruising in the morning....:cool:

I'd do it again!
 
Feb 21, 2013
3,573
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
That's what the protest flag is for and the RRS. Someone needs to have a chat with these skippers if this is the case.
I agree........we were racing my Hunter 386 a few years ago nearing the first mark off of San Francisco during the Jazz Cup in a field of 100+ sailboats when an older sailboat on port tack would not give way so at the last second we tuned away loosing momentum narrowly avoiding a collision. That really soured me on future races.
 

DougM

.
Jul 24, 2005
2,159
Beneteau 323 Manistee, MI
I don’t race my present boat. I got my racing experience over several years sailing scows on inland lakes and thoroughly enjoyed it. Racing single handed helped me gain the confidence in boat handling to sail in close proximity to other boats in a relatively large fleet. There is no doubt that learning the racing rules was a huge benefit.
I have always been hesitant to join a group of sailboats in any kind of an event which was apt to include non racers. Since many have no clue about general rules of the road, let alone racing rules, its an expensive accident waiting to happen.