Multi-Class Events: Why bringing classes together makes them stronger

Published on March 2nd, 2015

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
While comprising a list of accomplishments that would ultimately earn him US Sailing’s 2014 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award, Terry Hutchinson had competed in a lot of single-class events. Chief among them was the Farr 40 which last year had scheduled a circuit of class events in California.

Yacht Clubs hosted the class, providing a fully focused race committee for only their event, dockage so the teams could be together, and social functions specifically geared for the desires of the owners. Full service all the way.

But just before the final circuit event, the World Championship in San Francisco, the Farr 40 fleet participated in St. Francis Yacht Club’s prestigious Rolex Big Boat Series which was celebrating its 50th anniversary. The Farr 40 class was one of 10 fleets… a much different environment.

“It was A LOT of fun doing BBS this year with all the people and classes,” Terry recalled. “I am a huge fan of the multi-class events as it brings together all aspects of our sport. It gives sailors across the spectrum the opportunity to interact and check out different style boats and gear. Nothing but fun!”

While single-class events can be specifically tuned to the needs of one class with no compromise, multi-class events provide an energy that fuels the sport. The interaction that occurs is very positive, with people of all tastes and talents mingling. Ideas exchanged and solutions shared. All forms of boats on display for people to consider. Diverse and dynamic, multi-class events attract attention.

Few events attract attention like Charleston Race Week. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015, the event last year hosted nearly 250 boats in 16 classes. It lures local news media and involves area schools and community sailing organizations. From its humble beginnings, the event’s growth now makes it the largest keelboat regatta in North America.

As event director Randy Draftz proclaims, you really to come to race week and see it for yourself. “Multi-class events provide a critical mass that can satisfy sponsorship interests and benefit event administrators, but they also challenge race committees so you need top-notch race officers. But one thing that single-class regattas can’t touch is the post-race party. With multi-class events, the parties are always the best value.”

For the sixth year in a row, BACARDI Miami Sailing Week is bringing together competitors this week from a variety of different one-design classes to enjoy the beautiful waters of Biscayne Bay. This will be the 88th consecutive year the Star class has partnered with Bacardi, with now newer classes that have enjoyed rapid growth joining the ‘party’.

While single-class events offer a celebration of that class and its members, multi-class events provide a celebration of the sport. Party on!

Source: BACARDI Miami Sailing Week 2015, Official Program

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