Fostering Long Term Health

Published on October 18th, 2018

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
I’m a fan of the team at RCR Yachts in the Great Lakes and follow their weekly newsletters with interest. Here’s an observation they shared this week:

“We recently attended the Newport and Annapolis Boat Shows and couldn’t help but notice that the shows have very few race boats anymore. We see a lot of big cruisers and catamarans mostly. Very few new racing designs coming out. In Newport we saw the Melges IC 37 that looked pretty good and well built. The RS21 seemed like a cool boat in Annapolis. We were most pleased that our J/Boats and Beneteau brands both had new racing boats on display at both shows. J/Boats had the J/121, J/112E, J/88, and J/70. Beneteau has their new FIRST lineup (14, 18, 24, 27), and their super cool Figaro 3 with foils. RCR has always had a strong interest in racing and support it as much as possible so we are glad that the brands we represent do too when others aren’t.”

This was my observation too, but as we often talk about how many boats are in the marina versus the race course, I suspect our problem isn’t a lack of race boat options as much as it is a lack of activated race boats. But unlike one design classes, in which class members participate in helping either stimulate boats or sell them, boats more suited for handicap racing tend to rely only on brokerage firms.

I wonder how many local handicap fleets follow the one design class model of fashioning a group of like-minded people that have meetings and social events. Strong one design classes aren’t a result of the newness of the boat design. Creating connections with the people we race against helps boost participation and simmer moods on the water while fostering the long term health of a fleet. Just a thought… would love to hear yours.

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