Why we do what we do
Published on October 27th, 2023
The approach of winter in North America offers the opportunity to reflect, which is what Don Finkle with RCR Yachts offers in this report:
I was recently chatting with another racer friend and we agreed on why we like racing so much. It is the one time when we can truly forget about work. Sailing is genuinely therapeutic that way, it clears the mind for at least a bit.
Another benefit of racing is because it is a scheduled use of time. If it is on the calendar, you will most likely go out, even if the weather is not ideal. You end up using your boat more, as opposed to when you get around to it.
Also, there is the camaraderie that goes along with it, not only among the crew but with the competitors as well. Those who are truly fortunate are able to involve the family, even if they sail on different boats (which is sometimes better!). While the boat is put away now, we are already looking forward to next year.
We are all starved for time and this is not going to change. The challenge is how to spend your valuable time, and the more enjoyable and satisfying the racing, the more you will make time to do it. Sailors who tend to stick with it are those who align their priorities and interests with the type of racing that best suits them.
The key is being realistic about how much time, effort, and money you can devote to it. Then aligning those things, along with your own capabilities, with what is available to you.
Most of all, why are you racing in the first place? If you are only going to be satisfied with winning, you had better be serious about the commitment and also be prepared for a lot of disappointment along the way. Only one boat wins each race.
However, there are many other reasons why racing is a worthwhile pursuit. It gets you out on the water to enjoy the sensation of sailing itself. The more I sail, the more I enjoy just being out there; sailing is a feeling like no other.
You learn new skills and expand your knowledge and build confidence. You meet new people, you share stories. The social scene is an important part of sailboat racing, for many it is the most satisfying part.
If you are at least somewhat competitive, you can satisfy your need to compete with others. Most of all, those who have fun while racing have learned to enjoy the whole package, not just the trophies. There is nothing wrong with wanting to win, and trying hard to get there, but don’t lose sight of the big picture. Those who come in after any race, maybe soaking wet, and had fun regardless of the result are the real winners.
Tips for the 2024 Season: First, plan the events you wish to do. Second, line up your crew. Doing both of these things now are the most important plans you can make.