Difference between golf and sailing
Published on March 14th, 2023
by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
In the absence of a professional league for sailing, the recreational sport finds a mix of pure amateurs with paid professionals on the same course. Bucky Buchanan, who competes in the Star Class alongside some of the notable sailors in the sport, sees this attribute as a positive.
“When golfers ask me why I like racing sailboats, I ask them if they in their wildest dreams could ever see themselves competing against Scottie Scheffler or Roy McElroy. Not a chance, they say, but in sailing you can compete against the best in the sport. It’s easy…just sign up for the regatta. No rankings required.”
During my sailmaking days for Shore and Sobstad Sails, I was a poor professional but I had a lot of hours in boats, and that was enough to overcome 1-star accommodations and happy hour meals to do well in regattas. I also liked to have fun, which made me an asset at night too.
But Hall of Famer Dave Ullman would observe how the idea of amateur sailors competing against the top pros becomes less intriguing after getting repeatedly beaten.
For me, the golf comparison fails because regardless of the score, you remain in the same foursome. To translate that to sailing, Tiger Woods is showered and into his second cocktail before you hit the dock. When the top pros bolt off the start line, leaving you gasping for clean air on the upwind leg, the joy of sailing can be hard to find.