So, for you wannabe Rafiki racers, here's a story for you:
MANY years ago, a friend bought a brand new Rafiki 37 and began sailing it in SF bay
. After a couple of years, the original sails
, never very good to start with, really crapped out, so he bought some new, well designed ones from a local sailmaker
... and the boat
sailed way better!
About that time, he became aware of an annual event on the Bay, the "Colin Archer" race
. This contest was limited to double ended cruising boats of the "heavier is better" persuasion... Westsails, Hans Crustaceans and so on. At the time, I was a pretty serious racer
with my Yankee 30, so the owner shanghied me and most of my racing
crew for the event. On the day, the wind
blew as usual and with the good sails
, some good crew work
, some good tactics and some good fortune we finished first and corrected out first on handicap as well. The owner was ecstatic! What a great boat
Well, he put a lot of miles on those sails that year, and the following year he entered again, but without the full racing
crew, and possibly with some growth on the bottom. The results were predictable, and he was rather disappointed. For the next several years he continued his quest, but without renewing the sails or learning
much about racing for that matter, and never again managed a podium finish. Eventually he went off cruising, and disappeared from the local scene.
So, the moral of my story is: if you want to race
your Rafiki, and you want to do well at it you will need to do what the other racers do: good sails, good crew and good boat maintenance
. With those in your favour, you just might surprise the hell out of your local clubmembers! And you might learn some useful things about sailing your boat up to its potential... things that will stand you in good stead when cruising as well.
Cheers, and enjoy!