Don’t Hate The Player, Hate The Game

Published on March 27th, 2016

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
If you wind back the time clock, back to when regattas were big, the keelboat scene had boats designed for racing in the IOR fleets and a variety of production cruiser/racer boats in the PHRF fleets. It was a logical divide… until the IOR group pushed too hard and the rule imploded.

The gradual push to improve overall boat performance impacted the furniture fleet, of which many were not willing to pay the escalating cost for better equipment. The new boat designs got all the attention, which did little to encourage the older production boats from participating. When all these boats were grouped together, attrition began.

So when we talk about why the sport has shrunk, we need to look back to how we evolved. But unlike many species that become extinct, the boats that used to race have not disappeared. While rust may never sleep, fiberglass boats live on.

So if there is interest in building back the sport, rapper Ice-T got it right when he sang, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

Sure, people screwed up the sport by raising the cost to compete, but no handicap or rating rule works when dissimilar boats are grouped. None! Not the old ones, not the new ones. But since we are so eager to support people who are spending money into the sport, this came at the expense of the core audience. So if the sport does want to grow, we need to fix the game.

Annapolis Yacht Club is making an attempt to fix the game. Here is their announcement:

In an effort to extend the appeal of its racing events to a broader spectrum of sailors, the Annapolis Yacht Club’s 80th Annual Regatta, scheduled for June 11, 2016, will feature Cruising Spinnaker, Cruising Non-Spinnaker, Shorthanded Spinnaker, and Shorthanded Non-Spinnaker starts. Boats participating in these starts will sail a government mark course with a fixed course published in advance. The planned course will range between 10 and 20 nautical miles.

These starts are designed to be attractive to club sailors who are not frequent racers. All AYC Annual Regatta starts will happen at the same place and the post-race competitor’s party and trophy presentation will take place at the Annapolis Yacht Club, Jr. Sailing Annex.

However, a pre-requisite for participation is a PHRF rating for each boat. The process of obtaining a PHRF rating will be greatly simplified and accelerated via a Workshop set for Saturday, April 2, at the Dock Street Clubhouse. The Workshop will be led by a group of sailors who will work with each boat owner to complete their PHRF rating application at the event.

For additional information, contact AYC Regatta Manager, Linda Ambrose: (410) 858-4964 or

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