The 2017 Fastnet Race ‘sold out’ in less than 5 minutes, around 20% of the time it took last time round. Perhaps the yachting authorities should take note, wonder why, and look at their own programmes.
It is no exaggeration that yacht racing is dominated by the dreaded (OK – just my opinion) windward leeward these days. Boats climb, sometimes laboriously to the top mark, hoist kites and trundle, surf or plane on pre-determined angles, gybe at just the right place, get back down to the bottom just to go through the whole process once again where they will repeat the same angles, often gybing in a place so similar that if they lost a man overboard they could just pick him up on the next lap. (Yawn)
Whatever happened to the good old (OK old fashioned) proper round the cans type racing where the next mark might be a navigation marker on a course of 120 degrees to the wind instead of the same old boring 180.
Virtually every regatta here in China seems stuck with the straight up/straight down formula which, frankly, gets a bit boring pretty quickly. I hear that many regattas globally follow exactly the same format. There is no seat of the pants decision, no need for the skipper or navigator to work things out or make decisions other than do we bear away or gybe set, never a discussion whether it should be the A2,A3 or A4 that shoots up the mast
Surely there is a good reason why regattas and events like the Fastnet, Cowes Week, the Sydney Hobart, Hamilton Island Race Week and so on are so popular. Their corners aren’t just turn round and go back the way you came, crews have to think a little more and heaven forbid, they might even needed a wider skill set – or more practice – to actually do well.
Could indeed the windward leeward be a significant reason that in many developed sailing nations participation is falling and not rising.
I am open to be criticised, disagree’d with and perhaps even vilified by the sports boat crowd for even suggesting this or are there other sailors out there who get bored by seeing the same ocean 2 or 3 times a race multiplied by 3 or 4 races a day. – Shanghai Sailor.