Agree or Disagree?

Published on September 29th, 2020

In the early 1800s, the cask containing a ship’s daily supply of freshwater was called a scuttlebutt, and it was there where seafarers discussed the topics of the day. That tradition continues today….

Chicagoan sailing advocate:
“Maybe it is age-addled memory, but I recall how much fun it was to be a member at a yacht club in the 60s-80s when sailing was a family lifestyle. Fleets were made up of myriad vessel types, crewed by family and friends. Everyone thought they had a chance to win, regardless of reality.

“It is all gone now, along with the families who were the mortar between the bricks of competitive crews. No one wins these days unless they have full commitment from a competitive crew and a deep-pocket owner. Is it any wonder that our sport is flailing?

“I do not know the precise solutions, but I do know that we are doomed unless we make sailing a fun, lifetime venue for everyone. My only suggestions are to re-institute short distance port-to-port racing with divisions for professional crews and another for general racing. Family oriented après-race events would be another plus.”

Scuttlebutt editor:
“There aren’t too many areas in life where we’re not trying harder, and for sailing, it is this rising bar of competition which is impacting how many people choose to chase it. With few restrictions, handicap racing has struggled with this impact which has helped the growth of keelboat one design fleets.

Aside from managing a local fleet culture that attracts like-minded people for low cost competition, event formats do influence how people approach their racing. A two-day, seven race series with windward-leeward courses requires more practice and preparation than a fixed mark, point-to-point race day.”

Do you agree or disagree? Send comments to


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