So you want to start yacht racing!
So you want to start yacht racing. Whether you are an experienced sailor or have never set foot on a yacht before, you can start racing at any time. There are different types of races which you might wish to take part in. Each offers a different experience and needs a different skill and knowledge set.
Local round the cans racing.
These are usually held as part of a series over a season or two and run by local sailing and yacht clubs. You will be welcomed with open arms to yacht racing with or without experience. They are usually not too competitive (erring on the fun side of things). Yet they do need a commitment to the weekly series and might include training days.
The banter in the bar is worth enduring any bad weather for and you will learn a great deal fast. It is customary to buy a round of drinks in the bar afterward. If you do have to rush off, make sure you leave enough dosh behind the bar for your skipper and crew.
Some of the yachts will not have the safety equipment required for heavy weather sailing. Thus if the winds are too strong, most clubs will cancel the race and you will get a few more hours in the clubhouse. To get involved in these types of racing, the best place to start is your local sailing or yacht club. Check out their website crew board. Here Skippers looking for crew and crew looking for sailing opportunities can connect.
Regattas held throughout the year in many locations worldwide, offer a great opportunity. Some are well known and attract international sailors. Big sponsors and Yacht Clubs host these events. These run over a few days or a week and involve daily races and shoreside events. For boat owners, these can be quite expensive to take part in. Depending on the owner, you might find expenses and travel paid or you pay a contribution.
Most regattas are inshore races. Yet skippers will want some experience. Not being willing to take complete novices on board. For safety reasons as well as a competitive need to do well in the results. The RYA Competent Crew certificate is the beginner’s certificate. This demonstrates that you will understand basic instructions when given.
The race committee will be keen to get all the yachts out on the water each day. If the winds are not favourable for any or all the fleet, the races may be canceled or shortened.
Getting involved in these regattas is not always easy as places are sought after. There are many companies who offer racing opportunities at a cost. To find spaces on some of these regattas please visit our racing page HERE
Now you are racing on a different level. Out of sight of land, during the night, enduring any type of weather, sleeping on board and cooking on board. As these races are offshore, most race organisers will insist on certain items of safety. There will be mandatory crew training levels too. To increase your chances of getting in such a race, it is advisable to hold certain RYA certificates. Recommended but not always essential may include:-
- RYA/ISAF Offshore Safety
- RYA Sea Survival (or STCW Personal Survival),
- RYA First Aid (or STCW Elementary First Aid).
- RYA VHF/SRC Radio license
To find a berth on yachts taking part in offshore racing events, please visit our yacht racing page HERE
Racing is a great way to learn and hone sailing skills as well as offering opportunities for travel and fun. If you are keen to get started, find schools running the various courses mentioned above. Kick start your entry into the world of yacht racing now.