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Old 09-07-2014, 01:27   #61
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

I used to race a lot. In the 70's.

Then I grew up. Having been there, sailing is better than racing.
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Old 09-07-2014, 04:15   #62
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Originally Posted by letsgetsailing3 View Post

C'mon. Let's be honest. You can learn all those things without racing, and a lot of racing is squeezing the very last bit of performance out of a boat, which you don't need to do when you're cruising. Sail choices and sailing choices are a lot different in racing than in cruising.

A lot of racing is sailing rules, strategy, pushing the limits of performance, cutting off other boats, and doing things very quickly. Sure, you learn things that are applicable to cruising, but you can also learn those without being with a testosterone-filled guy who is living out his world cup fantasy.

I like racing, but while there is overlap in concept, it's a lot different skill set than cruising.
Absolutely. We're both saying the same thing. You don't need to race to learn these things, but racing hones many skills you can use while cruising. In my slow old 33 foot classic, I regularly cruise and pass 40+ modern boats. If I didn't know better, I would think my boat is faster than most Hunters on the Chesapeake. What really is going on is that it seems to be one boat of choice for novices down here. So racing skills can easily translate into knots gained while sailing. Not important for daysailog, but really important for passagemaking, especially in light air...
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Old 09-07-2014, 04:22   #63
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BTW - One area that racing training fails miserably is anchoring training - LOL... Racing Skipper's are predominantly clueless about how to anchor a boat.


Yes- just hang around in St Marys MD after the Governors Cup and watch some of these folks try to anchor after the all night race. Plenty of "professional anchor toss" being played, with toy-looking anchors, at 3:1 scope, then go in and hit the beer tent.

i think most cruisers could learn a lot from inshore racing mainly in terms of sail trim and tweaking. This goes especially in light air. sure, I also hit the diesel when winds are light and I want to get somewhere, but nice to know I also can make the boat go in light air.
Now offshore racing- I have always sworn not to do. I respect the ocean a ton, and like to be nice and safe out there. Makes me really nervous to fly chutes at night, etc
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Old 09-07-2014, 09:12   #64
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Re: How to Choose a good Skipper

Racing has the virtue of getting people out on the water, who might otherwise be sitting in their cockpits at the dock, at best. And time on the water is a wonderful thing.
And, most people just don't know what their boats can really do unless they have a reason to try sailing their best with other boats moving alongside to serve as a yardstick to teach skippers and crews what works and what doesn't work.
Racing at any level beyond the most casual does develop some observational skills about the sailor's environment, including a sense of how changes on the water affect the boat, and tuning the racing sailor into changes in wind, waves, and currents.
The same skills that let the racer know in advance how the boat will respond to changing conditions will also let her know how to sail in a seakindly yet efficient fashion when cruising.

Nor could I imagine an ocean racer being quite so silly as to tow a dinghy astern.
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Old 09-07-2014, 14:10   #65
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Re: How to Choose a good Skipper

I've heard those arguments before rgscpat but I believe they are mostly selfserving racer's rationale.
1 If people need to race in order to go out for a days sail, then they are racers not sailors.

2 "Best" does not mean "Fast"...... Why not practice and hone your predicted navigation, or heavy weather skills? They will be far more meaningful as a cruiser.

I do agree that racing helps to yardstick light wind performance but that is also when I would have humbly turned on my engine , or decided to fish...

Sailing for me is far too personal a love affair to allow others to measure and find me wanting...or worse change me into a predatory competative sailor.

That is why I stopped spear fishing and just enjoy the view.
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Old 09-07-2014, 14:50   #66
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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Well it has been a few years but I do not remember that was how it happened. I do remember seeing Ted Turner at the helm during the races, and don't remember seeing Dennis at all but like I said, it has been a few years. In fact as I recall I don't think old school Dennis liked Ted at all and would be surprised to learn that he was captain for Ted.

I did ask Mr Google and could find no mention at all of Dennis Conner in the crew for Courageous in 1977. I did find this article by Gary Jobson and a couple of others on the 1977 cup, none of which mention Dennis at all in relation to the Courageous defense.

Still The Best Defense, 30 Years Later | Sailing World
Turner was the skipper and Conner the tactician on Mariner in the 1974 defense trials. I am still looking for some TV video I remember well where Turner was blabbing for the camera and Conner tugged on his shirt and pointed to a luffing mainsail. There was bad blood between the two after the defense, somewhat due to Connor showing up Turner multiple times.. I doubt anyone would dispute who was the better sailor, or who had the bigger wallet.
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Old 09-07-2014, 14:53   #67
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Re: How to Choose a good Skipper

Ted and Dennis with a stache on

Mariner
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Old 09-07-2014, 15:07   #68
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Re: How to Choose a good Skipper

Next time, take a close look at the hat.


Bad skipper


Good skipper!


or...
use your personal radar detector on the "skipper's" personality.
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Old 09-07-2014, 15:55   #69
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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Turner was the skipper and Conner the tactician on Mariner in the 1974 defense trials. I am still looking for some TV video I remember well where Turner was blabbing for the camera and Conner tugged on his shirt and pointed to a luffing mainsail. There was bad blood between the two after the defense, somewhat due to Connor showing up Turner multiple times.. I doubt anyone would dispute who was the better sailor, or who had the bigger wallet.
I starting to get the impression you really don't like Ted Turner for some reason. He is not my hero or anything but you cannot put down his accomplishments. No matter how much you bang your head, he was no slouch as a sailor.

You keep bringing up 1974. That was Dennis Conner's campaign, not Ted's. Ted was only the helmsman. I'm talking about 1977 when Ted Turner won the cup as owner and skipper of Courageous and as far as I know without any assistance at all from Dennis Conner.

Who's the better sailor? I never really thought about it and that had nothing at all to do with my original post. Dennis Conner was a professional sailor made a career out of the Americas Cup. He participated in one way or another at least 10 times, won or was on the winning team 4 times and was the first skipper to lose the cup. Ted ran his own campaign one time and won.

And you know, at the end of the day, the Americas Cup is about big wallets. So if you going to criticize Ted Turner because he had the money to run a successful campaign then you're will also have to put down every cup winner for the last 50 years, including Dennis Conner.
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Old 09-07-2014, 16:20   #70
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Re: How to Choose a good Skipper

However you gain them, it is the boat handling skills that are important to develop. If we hadn't known how to handle the boat, we'd have been in a world of hurt a couple of times.

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Old 09-07-2014, 18:09   #71
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Re: How to Choose a good Skipper

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Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
I've heard those arguments before rgscpat but I believe they are mostly selfserving racer's rationale.
1 If people need to race in order to go out for a days sail, then they are racers not sailors.

2 "Best" does not mean "Fast"...... Why not practice and hone your predicted navigation, or heavy weather skills? They will be far more meaningful as a cruiser.

I do agree that racing helps to yardstick light wind performance but that is also when I would have humbly turned on my engine , or decided to fish...

Sailing for me is far too personal a love affair to allow others to measure and find me wanting...or worse change me into a predatory competative sailor.

That is why I stopped spear fishing and just enjoy the view.
There are adrenalin junkie racers who fit your stereotype but there are cruisers who fit mine.

You have presumably earned your experience over 30 years and it works for you.

But I constantly meet skippers who say, "My boat won't point", "My boat is slow", "I turn on the engine below 5 knots wind speed."

These folks sometimes try club/can racing but they are always at the back of the pack, often quit the race when the windspeed drops and get frustrated.

They don't understand rig tuning, sail trimming, boat performance or anything really. They may learn this over time from the school of hard knocks but 2 seasons of racing (with an experienced racer) will teach them tons that take a lifetime to otherwise learn.

(Diversion) - My boat is small and slow. Usually at the back of the pack but we do well on handicap. There are 9 maxis in Singapore. One can race we had 5 maxis in the race and I thought, "Great! Finally a yardstick to measure us by."

Our course is about 4 miles (basically a mark 1 mile down channel and 1 mile up channel from our clubhouse) and we do 2 laps passing a "gate" at the clubhouse 4 times.

In lap one I had turned the final mark and passed the next following boat still beating. He was about 3/4 mile behind. I won't forget the look on his face - he eyeballed our sails, eyeballed his sail, eyeballed me. The look was like somehow I was cheating or the gods were only sending wind to me.

Most of those guys never came back - which was sad for me. No one asked me about how I went so fast and I am a pretty approachable guy.

Sailors are a pretty independent lot. Buy a boat and figure it out over 30 years, or get some help...

Horses for courses, I guess.
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Old 09-07-2014, 18:32   #72
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Re: How to Choose a good Skipper

Points well made Ex-Calif and I agree that everyone should experience racing to see if it fits their sailing intrests and to learn to make the most of what they have in benign weather.

It is only the racing risk takers that I have problems with, when they promote themselves as superior sailors.
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Old 09-07-2014, 21:04   #73
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Re: How to Choose a good Skipper

Life is full of risks and is all about trade-offs and balancing risk and reward.
What the better racers learn is to approach risk with a bit of intelligent calculation and not take stupid risks.

Decent racers also have a concept of leverage and risk as it applies to placement on the race course and there is even a form of "covering your bets" in terms of "covering" opponents, consolidating gains, and placing themselves in relationship to predictable wind shifts.

Fire fighters have a saying along the lines of,
"Risk a lot to save a lot, risk something to to save something, risk nothing to save nothing."

In other words, they'll take significant risks to save human life, but some junk that can't be saved isn't worth risking life or injury.
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Old 10-07-2014, 20:58   #74
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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Beyond the specific sailing skills involved, one of the things you may learn racing is an appreciation of how bloody strong most boats really are. At least in the SF area where I started, the racing schedule meant going out in fairly strong winds on a regular basis, and very strong winds now and then... days when most "cruisers" wouldn't leave the dock. Somewhat to my surprise, the boats absorbed a lot of punishment without falling apart. Most of the gear failures were due to operator error (how could that be??). It was very educational.

As cruisers we tend to baby our homes/yachts (and incidentally, ourselves), and many of us have no real idea about where limits really are. IMO, that knowledge is quite useful. One way of learning these sorts of things is by racing on OPBs, a wonderful arena where someone else spends the big bucks for equipment and for repairs when required. They sometimes supply lunch, too...

Cheers,

Jim

Actually I would disagree. Racers, especially inshore racers can afford to push a boat upto and in fact exceed its limits. Failures have little consequence, supervision and rescue is close at hand. Ocean racing tends to have expensive over specced gear that few cruisers can afford.

What good cruising and long distance passage making teaches you is to " husband resources " the key is to arrive in one piece. Pushing another 0.25 knots is irrelevant, especially if you risk gear failure or put a crew in danger.

Anyone who has sailed through any serious weather gets a fine sense of where the limits are IMHO.

I have delivered many boats where the owners were accomplished racers , some made very bad cruising ones.

Dave


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Old 10-07-2014, 22:12   #75
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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A ploy that may help with screaming skippers: just tell him that when yelled at you get nervous and tend to drop winch handles overboard! Then do it... there is no excuse for abusing volunteer crew!
Not a bad strategy, but has it's pros and cons.

I once dropped a winch handle overboard during the Bahrain open. It had several results:

1. I got yelled at then.
2. I never heard the last of it, about how that was the best winch handle ever, can't get them in the Middle East, easier to get gold plated winch handles there than working winch handles.
3. Folks started calming down a little, and handing the handles over civilly, rather than thrusting them in your chest with a yell.
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