Skip to main content

Some Good Races for Beginners

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Although it’s the Key West Race Weeks and Volvo Ocean Races that get the lion’s share of the yachting press’s attention, low-key races abound, pretty much anywhere there’s a decent number of sailboats.

To find them, try visiting the websites of your local yacht club or PHRF committee. Another great way to get involved is by visiting your local community sailing center. They will inevitably have racing programs in addition to their basic learn-to-sail courses. Here are a few regattas to try out if you’re looking to get into racing.

Boston Harbor Islands Regatta

Now in its 10th year, this pursuit races takes place in September and sends dozens of boat of all types and sizes on a serpentine course around some of the many islands in Boston’s outer harbor. islandalliance.org

Queens Cup

Every June more than 200 boats line up for this 76-mile overnight classic from Milwaukee to the other side of Lake Michigan. There’s even a jib-and-main (no spinnakers) cruising division, which starts a little bit early to ensure they get tothe finish in plenty of time for the party. ssyc.org/queens-cup

Figawi Race

Another pursuit race, this 44-year-old Memorial Day classic starts off Cape Cod’s Hyannis Port Jetty and finishes in Nantucket. More than 200 boats typically take part, ranging from red-hot racing machines to wooden classics and family cruisers. Be prepared to dress warmly. Nantucket Sound can get downright chilly this time of year. figawi.com

Mardi Gras Race Week

Sailed on New Orleans’s Lake Ponchartrain, Mardi Gras Race Week is held just after the city’s iconic Mardi Gras celebrations, making it a great time to go enjoy the city and then enjoy some racing. Sailed out of the New Orleans Yacht Club, the event involves sailors of all stripes and is a fun regatta with a laid-back New Orleans vibe. mardigrasracing.org

Around Catalina Race

The Around Catalina Race is one of the longest continuously running regattas in Southern California. Held over the Memorial Day weekend and co-sponsored by the partnership of Cabrillo Beach and Dana Point Yacht Club, the race has PHRF, double-handed and cruiser classes. aroundcatalina.dpyc.org

Bone Island Regatta

Run every May, the Bone Island Regatta is a three-part race that takes sailors from Sarasota, Naples or Tampa to Key West, Florida. The race is open to any single hulled, self-righting, enclosed-cabin sailing boat that holds a current valid PHRF rating and to all offshore multihulls with a current valid PHRF rating. boneislandregatta.com

Do You Know Your Racing Signals? Take a Quiz to Test Your Knowledge!

13 Ways to Make Your Cruiser Faster (and Luckier?)

How to Race Your Cruiser

July 2015

Related

promo-2048x

Just Launched Mid-sized Cruisers

With so many manufacturers dreaming up bigger production boats, more and more mid-sized cruisers fall on the smaller end of their lines. However, “smaller” does not mean less, and the tricks for optimizing larger models have helped with squeezing more enjoyment into less LOA. As ...read more

05-DSC_0638

Charter: Lake Tahoe

A sail on Lake Tahoe has been on my bucket list since the day I first laid eyes on it, and come hell or high water, I decided I was going to someday charter a boat there. North America’s largest and deepest alpine lake, Tahoe sits at 6,225ft above sea level and straddles the ...read more

East-River-Rapids

Escape from New York Part 1

I was never supposed to take my boat through New York City. After getting sucked backward through the Cape Cod Canal on my way south from Maine, when the speed of the current exceeded the maximum speed of my little electric auxiliary, I wanted nothing to do with Hell Gate and ...read more

LEAD-Celeste-in-the-Tuamotu

A Watermaker Upgrade

As a classic-boat sailor, I’ve long held that simpler is the better. I still think this is true: a simpler boat is cheaper, she has less gadgets to break down and there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing you’re able to handle a bit of discomfort. Thus, for a long time, I sailed ...read more

01-LEAD-IDECsport_180919_032

Sailing Speed Records

Although the 1903 defender of the America’s Cup, Reliance, was deemed a “racing freak”—the boat pushed design rules to their limit and couldn’t be beaten, at least in very specific conditions—designer Nat Herreshoff was nonetheless onto something. A century later, purpose-built ...read more

BVIFeetup

Chartering with Non-sailors

Three tips on managing the madness First-time charterers and first-time sailors aren’t at all the same thing. One group may struggle with beginner chartering issues, like sailing a multihull, catching a mooring or dealing with base personnel. For the other group, though, ...read more

AdobeStock_455372159

A Gulf Stream Crossing at Night

Even the dome of light glowing above the city behind us had disappeared as if swallowed in a gulp by Noah’s whale. The moon was absent. Not a star twinkled overhead. The night was so dark we could have been floating in a pot of black ink. The only artificial lights to be seen ...read more

00-Lead-549215sJL2uLEa

Summer Sailing Programs

Every year, countless parents find themselves navigating the do’s and don’ts of enrolling their children in a summer learn-to-sail program for the first time. While the prospect of getting your kid on the water is exciting, as a sailing camp program director, there are a lot of ...read more