Strong Medicine Page 2

hat if I told you there is a way to keep post-college sailors in the game instead of letting them drift away? Of mixing generations of sailors? Stirring club spirit? Building relationships between different sailors and regions? Making the game more fun for all sorts of people? Well, I’m telling you.I have to admit I’m not talking about low-hanging fruit. It might be a no-brainer to want it
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
tr3.int

In New Orleans, at the Southern Yacht Club, where they team-race aboard Flying Scots, folks tell a similar story. SYC built itself up as a team racing power while it was rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina—no small feat. Last fall it ran the Southern Soiland Cup, for a trophy donated by their friends at Newport Harbor, with entries from three coasts.

“We wouldn’t have this going if we didn’t have the college kids leading the way and educating the rest of us,” says past commodore Corky Potts. “Team racing is the wave of the future because 15-minute races are exciting. The sailing doesn’t kill you if you have a few years on you, and the kids love it. The whole thing is invaluable.”

Flying Scots are an institution on the Gulf Coast. All the clubs own one or more, and virtually everybody has experience in them, so they were the automatic boat of choice. The Bay Waveland and Buccaneer yacht clubs each fielded teams and contributed boats to the 2009 regatta, which SYC won under the windows of its fine new clubhouse. Think 160 years of tradition on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain and plenty of forward thinking.

New England remains the epicenter of team racing in the United States. The major players all have club-owned fleets—a heavy ante, but it’s seen as an investment, not just an expense. Around the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club on Long Island Sound, a longstanding tradition of sailing against a single rival club reaches back to 1921. The original team race competition, the British-American Cup, was held aboard 6-Meters. In 2006, the club bought a fleet of used Sonars for its team-racing program.

The British-American Cup is still a big deal, and Seawanhaka uses it as a draw to recruit top talent. The contestants “set an example,” Seawanhaka’s team-racing chairman Al Constants says. “They put together a weekend and have at it with the rest of us. We learned early on that you can’t do this without practice, but when you expose people to team racing they get addicted.”

Those used Sonars, we should note, came from the New York Yacht Club as it upgraded to a new fleet. The sailors of Harbour Court are the undisputed pace-setters in this game, seeding the region with Sonars, aggressively recruiting post-collegiate sailors, and conducting team race events at all levels, including a masters competition.

Of course, there’s a flip side to supplying competitors with the boats they’re going to sail—somebody has to own and maintain them. Then you need umpire boats and umpires, not to mention a handy method of moving teams from boat to boat afloat or ashore. Still, in a sport that many people think is ailing, team racing is growing, and that’s some pretty strong medicine.

Related

Headsail

Ask Sail: Silencing A Rattling Headsail

Q: Our Pearson 26 has a 110-percent jib that tends to rattle very noisily at the top hank. We only bought the old boat recently, but it must have been happening for a long time, since there’s a deep groove worn inside that bronze hank. The jib has an unusually large and wide ...read more

Alerion2048x

Alerion Yachts 33, the 90 Minute Get Away

Easy to sail, luxurious, and swift; the Alerion 33 is the solution to your busy life. The intuitive, simple rig design, easy set-up, and put-away mean there’s no need to wait for crew to enjoy a weekend, a day, or an hour out sailing. Her beauty and comfort are evident in the ...read more

anchor

Know how: Ground Tackle

Your ground tackle is like a relationship—the more you care for it, the longer it will last. So, how do you enhance the relationship? First up, think of the accommodations—a damp, salt-rich, often warm environment, just the kind of thing to encourage corrosion. What can be done? ...read more

DSC_7522

Boat Review: Beneteau Oceanis 46.1

The Beneteau sailboat line has long represented a kind of continuum, both in terms of the many models the company is offering at any given moment and over time. This does not, however, in any way diminish the quality of its individual boats. Just the opposite. Case in point: the ...read more

shutterstock_1016585167

Cruising: Memories Made by People You Meet

Steve greeted my boyfriend, Phillip, and me as soon as we tied Plaintiff’s Rest, our 1985 Niagara 35, up to his dock on one of the Berry Islands in the Bahamas. He was tall, cheerful and clad in a hodge-podge of clothes one might wear to paint a house: oversized, grungy and old. ...read more

_98A7540

Cruising: Dogs Afloat

We dog owners understand the general expectations of ourselves in public places, like picking up after Fido and keeping him on a leash. There are, however, certain places where additional unspoken rules or expectations may apply—as in harbors or marinas. If you sail with your ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Log the glass  A week ago I set out after breakfast on a 50-mile passage. The day’s forecast via the internet was for 14-18 knots. It never happened, and I spent the entire trip adjusting my genoa ...read more