What will sailing look like in 2021?

Published on October 1st, 2020

When The State of the Sport in 2020 was released, it was prior to knowing the depth of this pandemic, but the hope remained how the pause in competition would foster the kind of reflection which could prove helpful.

For the racing that did occur in 2020, the focus shifted toward local sailing, family crew, and simpler race formats, all of which offer a more casual atmosphere which encourages inclusion.

Time will tell whether this continues for 2021, but evidence is clear the cost to be competitive at the championship-level has impacted the recreational merit of sailing, so strong consideration should be given to event format if promoting participation is a priority.

Commenting on the topic from Germany is noted soft and hard water sailor Manfred Schreiber:


If the goal is to pull people back into leisure racing sailboats, it helps to have seen it all, and I have gone through the various cycles of competition as have many compatriots at my home club. So we are now doing what works.

Within the last three years we were able to increase the number of competitors, though we had none of the new fancy racing boats turning up. They are not here but the mixed fleet of older keelboats is increasing. What are we doing, or I should better say, what they have done, as I had only come back this season and am immensely enjoying my newly purchased 40 year old Albin Express.

First of all, there is the well-known kangaroo or pursuit start. The actual European Yardstick list covers most known boats, with the slowest boats starting first and the final results is the order of the finish. Course length is set based on wind strength, with government marks and preset courses as well as start times developed for the main wind directions.

Non spinnaker +2 points and you are able to decide for that day’s race, not the season, and the season winner gets 1 point deducted from the YS for the next season.

My own observations are showing different winners and lots of fun for everyone, and though I had always sailed with women in my crew, I especially enjoy sailing with my 12 year old daughter now, who likes this type of sailing much more other than her Optimist sailing.

In a recent evening race, I could not believe that she wanted, out of the blue, to handle the spinnaker. And well she did. Maybe reading all these articles in Scuttlebutt and getting to grips with some of the tips to bring back the fun and enjoyment for the youth is paying dividends. Hope so!

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