One of the most important missions of every yacht club sailing safety from its members, and its is particularly important for events such as yacht club racing. Over 87 million Americans participate in recreational boating, according to Statista, with a total of 11.87 million registered recreational boating vessels in the country. With that many people involved in the boating industry, it’s clear that there will be some racing happening.
Racing is a great way to accelerate the learning curve, according to the American Sailing Association. It makes you learn about sailing quickly, and while the stress might not be for everyone, it makes for a great adrenaline rush. However, a race can be dangerous, and it’s important for yacht clubs and racers to follow these tips for yacht club race safety and pass them along to their racers.
- Pick a Good Race. Don’t start off with an ultra-competitive race. Some races are going to be more mellow than others. Choose one that’s focused on the aspect of having fun, like a benefit regatta or a barbeque race. Allow some time to prepare for the race and view it as a learning goal.
- Bring a Pro With You. Ask a racer to come along for the ride. Preferably someone who has experience. This will allow any first-timer to have a good safety net to protect them if anything happens. Nothing takes the edge off more than having a reliable friend there every step of the way. Any first-timer should feel comfortable having to lean on a friend; try to act like crew while out there.
- Do a Non-Spin Class. Just because your boat has a nice spinnaker doesn’t mean that you should try to race with it. Not every competition goes without some kind of failure. Depending on what kind of boat you have, you might not have a choice. But if you can, go spinnaker-less the first couple races.
- Learn The Basics. First things first. Any yacht club member needs to know the basic rules of the water. While you don’t need to know every aspect to enjoy boating, it’s important to know the fundamentals of racing. As long as a first-timer knows the basics, they will be able to effectively enjoy yacht club racing.
- Read The NORs. Read the Notice of Race on the website of the hosting club and examine it thoroughly. It will tell a first-timer everything they need to know for race day.
- Go to The Skipper’s Meeting. Don’t skip the meeting. An experienced boater might, but a first-timer should make sure that there’s time in their schedule for this. This way any questions can be asked and answered before hitting the water.
- Blow The Start. It’s important to watch and learn. Don’t overdo it and push too hard at the start. Make sure that the yacht is stocked with racing and safety essentials.
- Follow The Leader. The best and quickest way to learn on the water is by emulating others. By being a copycat, any first-timer can quickly get used to the ropes of racing.
Every boater should ensure that they have an insurance policy for their vessels, and each club should have a Yacht Club Insurance policy in order to ensure that members and employees are all kept safe.
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