As sailors, we see the revolving door of the crew. Life is an obstacle – families, work, new hobbies and burnout keep the door turning. But, there is one thing that keeps us coming back for more – the love for sports.
Nothing keeps the fire going more than a great night on the water and some quality socializing afterwards. You know the feeling well if you are involved in local club races. Club races, usually a weekly affair, run several meters at high speed: skillful, social and fun.
Club racing is the cornerstone of sailing. It’s where kids find their love for the sport and where families can cruise together. This is where you can take your friends or colleagues out on the water for the first time in their lives. It’s a safe place where people can learn to sail and eventually buy their own boat, starting the cycle all over again. It’s an opportunity for people to find community.
Results, while ultimately what most sail for, aren’t the only reason to participate. It’s about catching up with friends while you walk down the dock, while the wind blows through your hair, while you put on sunscreen, and probably while you watch “the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen.” seen” week after week.
Sailing is a unique sport where all walks of life come together around a common passion. While we watch the pros sail around the world, outwit in the America’s Cup and SailGP, or on the line in the 52 Super Series, we take our boats and crews to our local club every week. There, it is not a question of having top-of-the-range equipment on board, the latest technology or the best sailors in the area. It’s about gathering the people who matter most to you, having a safe boat moving around the race course, preparing the snacks and drinks afterwards, and just having fun. Bonus if the results are close to the top!
More like this
A lot goes into running club races, and for many clubs, during peak season you can get out on the water several nights a week. Volunteers jump on race committee boats, yacht clubs open kitchens and bars, owners prepare their boats and crews leave work early to arrive in time for the dock. The whole package makes the experience; for so many sailors, it’s what they dream about all winter long.
It only takes one beautiful evening to realize how special sailing is. A unique way to see your city’s skyline, a completely different vantage point. The post-run social aspect is equally important and will likely keep you awake after bedtime! Worth it.
If there is a decline in club racing in your area, look at the big picture, educate yourself, and work as a community to get it rolling again. Involve young sailors – they are the future! Create a post-race potluck where sailors can mingle, or maybe even invite your local band to play and get people dancing!
Either way, keeping the fire going for sport starts with club racing.