Differences: Offshore racing and cruising

Published on October 4th, 2022

The letters section of Latitude 38 can be a magical mystery tour of commentary, and the October 2022 issue had a Racing versus Cruising comparison by Jimmy Peter of Malibu, CA. He has done enough of both, out of sight of land, to offer this list of differences he’s noticed:


• Hot bunking vs. my own bunk. (Why did bunky crawl in the sleeping bag with salty foulies and wet boots?)
• Watches are 3 hours on and off vs. 4.5 on and 7.5 off. Tired vs. relaxed and well-slept.
• Watches that are speed-focused vs. a watch looking out for shipping while reading a Kindle or listening to music.
• Hand-steering thousands of miles vs. autopilot. (I re- member driving downwind with a no-light horizon.)
• Trimming and tweaking sails for an extra quarter knot of speed vs. “The sails seem happy, and the boat is mostly balanced. Leave ’em alone.”
• Sail for speed vs. comfort and less rolling motion.
• Sail changes at all hours vs. “Let’s talk about a sail change or tacking for a couple days before we do anything. Maybe tomorrow.”
• Freeze-dried meals (shovel in with a spoon with hot sauce) vs. a fresh-cooked meal and needing a knife, fork, spoon and condiments.
• Mini candy bars and hard candy vs. fresh guacamole and chips for watch snacks.
• Shower every four days vs. unlimited. (When racing, we all stink at the same level, so no one notices.)
• Head for nine people vs. a head for three. ‘Nuff said.
• Racing kinda sucks, but it sure is fun.
• Cruising is kinda boring, but it sure is fun.

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