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

Shelly-forward-last-day

Charter Advice for First-Timers

Never chartered? No worries. A vacation under sail can be the most memorable time of your life. That said, it also pays to be prepared by doing some reading, building your skills and listening to what the experts say. First and foremost, not all charter grounds are created ...read more

HugoBoss

Video: Vendeé Update

Last week Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) led the fleet across the equator. As one of the class' top sailors who's been on the Vendeé Podium twice, it seemed possible that Thomson was going to grab an early lead and hold on to it all the way around the world. But early on Saturday, he ...read more

AdobeStock_229409051

Chartering Again for the First Time

It’s been a rocky road of late for the charter industry, especially here in the Western Hemisphere. First came hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean followed by Dorian in the Bahamas. There has also, of course, been the coronavirus, which burst into global prominence ...read more

01 LEAD cedaryachtclub_onedesign18_hike

An Interview with Ayme Sinclair

In recent months, US Sailing, like many organizations, has been taking a closer look at diversity to ensure it’s doing the best job it can of introducing people from all backgrounds and ethnicities to the sport. As part of this effort, this past summer it organized an online ...read more

125768940_10222759720523627_5373654001582879638_n

US Sailing Presents Adaptive Sailing Panel

On Tuesday, November 24, US Sailing’s Leadership Forum will present the latest panel discussion in their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion series. This event will focus on adaptive sailing and provide practical recommendations for organizations looking to expand their adaptive ...read more

02-IMG_5971

A Carbon Neutral Circumnav with Jimmy Cornell

Historic anniversaries have always held a special fascination for me, especially if they mark a significant nautical achievement. In 1992, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ would-be voyage to India, I organized a transatlantic rally that followed the historic route of the ...read more

DJI_0068

SAIL Podcast: Jimmy Cornell’s Carbon-free Circumnav

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with bestselling author and pioneering bluewater sailor Jimmy Cornell, who set out November 19 on yet another circumnavigation aboard a newly designed, carbon-neutral Outremer 4Zero catamaran. The voyage, which ...read more

emirates-600x

Emirates Team New Zealand Splashes the last of the AC75s

Emirates Team New Zealand unveiled its second-generation AC75 yesterday, joining the other three America's Cup teams with boats in the water. In just over 100 days, this boat will attempt to defend the Cup for the Kiwis, but there's plenty of racing between now and then, with ...read more