Put Variety in Your Courses

Perhaps to start a conversation, here’s a column from the June, 2010, issue of Sailing World on varying the racecourses beyond windward – leeward. What do you think? There’s a poll at the bottom you can enter your opinion. Jon

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Are the sailors in your fleet tired of sailing around the same old racecourses year after year? If so, inject some excitement into your races with a few easy ideas. From the “Jobson Report” from our June 2010 issue

It’s much different nowadays, because we’ve come to expect perfectly aligned windward-leeward courses, but it seems sailors are growing tired of the same-old, and it’s time for race committees and sailors to branch out and try new course configurations, or, in some cases, revive a few old traditions.

by Gary Jobson

I’ll never forget my very first sailboat race. I was six years old at the time, and my responsibilities on the 15-foot, gaff-rigged Sneakbox included bailing out the leaky boat and holding on to our paper chart, which had the racecourse outlined on it. At the first mark we led the fleet, and I had the boat completely dry. But when the skipper asked what the next mark of the course was, I couldn’t say. The chart had fallen out of my pocket and was now floating on New Jersey’s Barnegat Bay. We eventually lost our lead, and the race, and since then I’ve made it a point to know the correct course to sail.

As I reflect on those early days, I fondly remember how the racecourses were always set around a collection of buoys scattered around the Bay. The race committee usually tried to set a course that featured all points of sail. It was unpredictable and always great fun.

You can read the whole column at the Sailing World site here.

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