What To Expect When Entering a Sailing Race

Since we are now less than one week away from our annual Association’s Keelboat Regatta and Catamaran and Dinghy Race at Utah Lake, I thought I would take some time to talk how a sailing race works. I have a good friend who likes to sail and he’s doesn’t want to race without experience.  I thought this article would help him to know what to expect when entering a sailing race, especially if it’s your first time. Since our Utah Regatta is just a few days away, I’ll be basing rules/regulations off of what how our race is set up.

Keelboat Regatta

  • 3 Different Classes: Tugboat, Speedboat, Middle Class

How Many Races Will You Do?

  • Depending on the wind, anywhere from 3-5 races

How Long Will It Take?

  • Including set up, Skipper’s Meeting, 3-5 races, and take down you can plan on a good 6-8 hours by the time it’s all over.

What is the optimal amount of people to have on the boat?

You might think the less people on the boat, the faster you’ll go. There is a small amount of truth to this, however, we have found that every boat is different. If you’re on a huge pro-class racing boat you’ll see 10-12 people on the rail. For a smaller boat like a Catalina 22, 3-4 average-sized people is optimum.

Skipper’s Meeting is very important. DO NOT MISS THIS! At the skipper’s meeting they will explain which flag means 10 min until start, 5 min to start and then the official start. There they will also pass out racing diagrams and explain which buoy’s are which and which races will come first, second and third depending on the wind.

Below are some examples of what a racing diagram looks like:

Courtesy of Lake Kegonsa Sailing Club

Catamaran and Dinghy Race

  • The diagrams and course outlines above are basically the same for this race as well.

What are the different classes?

How Long Does the Race Last and How Many Races?

  • The same amount of time and races apply as with the Keelboat Regatta.
  • 3-5 Races (depending on wind)
  • 6-8 Hours total from Set Up to Take Down

Here is a link to Standard Set of Racing Rules– again thanks to our friends at the Lake Kegonsa Sailing Club

The Most Important Question of All is: Why Should I Race?

Why? Because there is no better way to tell how good of a sailor you are until you start racing. Otherwise, you have no other boat or sailors to compare yourself to on any given day. The only way to get good at racing to start racing. Who knows- you could be the best sailor in your state and not know it until you get in the race!

If you have any more questions please feel free to contact us. If you have any specific racing questions that relate a race in your area feel free to contact your local sailing or yacht club.

Cheers! ~Megan

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