Harken Derm

When Winners Don’t Sail the Last Race

Published on January 6th, 2019

Dear Curmudgeon: I was a competitor at a recent regatta, and with one race to go on the final day, we knew no one could beat us in points. Considering there were a large number of boats needing to use the one crane at the yacht club, we decided to head in and not sail the last race.

It was the first time in my life I have “not sailed the last race.” It wasn’t a macho moment; it was a decision made because we knew it was going to be a circus at the crane and we needed to completely pack up our boat to go on the road. My crew and I debated the decision, arguing the case for both sides and decided we needed the time to completely pack her up.

Later that afternoon, before the awards ceremony, several people came up to me and chastised me for being a poor sport, saying “you of all people should know better.” Another one said that competitors had the right to race against me and I denied them that opportunity.

I was pretty shocked that people were saying those things. I would never say something like that to the winner of an event. Am I wrong to feel that way? – Confused and Frustrated

Dear Confused and Frustrated: You have a sympathetic ear on this question as whenever I have been in a similar situation, I have made the same decision and not sailed. I considered that my mission was to win the regatta, and if I had achieved it with a race to spare, my job was done.

It might seem harsh, but if people aren’t happy about it, they shouldn’t have let you dominate so fully. Plus, I have seen it where people have raced that had clinched, or had nearly clinched, and others complain about how they were influencing the outcome by tacking on them, etc.

As odd as it sounds, this is arguably a lose-lose predicament so you might as well get an early start at packing up. – The Curmudgeon

Comments? Send your email to editor@sailingscuttlebutt.com

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