years ago I went into it with a somewhat different attitude than a lot of other people.
I simply hopped into it and raced it the way it was.
A lot of guys would empty their entire boat into their pickup for the race to save weight. It was bare bones to the point where they didn't even carry ice to chill their beverages.
For me that sounded ridiculous.
I did race under the handicap system which kind of (theoretically) evened things out a bit.
Hull speed on a sailboat can easily be calculated. It is a formula of the square root of the waterline X 1.34.
This means that bigger boats simply go faster. My 18.08 waterline calculated out to a hull speed of 5.7 knots. It is supposedly how fast the little boat could go. It doesn't matter how much wind there is.
I also had a couple of other handicaps like the fact that I didn't retract my outboard and that created drag.
Because of these factors and a few others I didn't really have much of a chance at line honors. I also didn't have much of a chance winning under the handicap system, either.
Still, all in all I entered and raced her as she was. I didn't strip her down or play the silly little games some of the others did.
Truth is there wasn't any real prize other than bragging rights.
The racing circuit I was in was nothing more or less than an chance to go out in my boat and sail my heart out.
I remember one start I made. It was a real circus. It was a case of a much bigger boat trying to intimidate me into giving up the right-of-way which I had.
We were slowly getting closer and closer and one boat had to give way. He was supposed to but thought he could intimidate me with his size.
The guy sailing with me had extensive racing experience and quietly told me to hold course and speed.
When we were about five or six feet apart he looked at the skipper of the bigger boat, took a pull out of his beer and threw the can into the salon. He looked at the skipper and calmly spoke.
"You DO realize that Piccolo has a minimum wage job. He lives on the boat because he can't afford a place to live and doesn't have a dime's worth of insurance."
While I didn't live aboard and had a better job than that I didn't have insurance. Still, he didn't know that. He promptly panicked, threw off his Genoa sheet and turned to starboard. I simply whistled on past him. He wound up going past the starting buoy on the wrong side and had to go around it again and lost a lot of time.
After the race he protested. When they heard my side of the story they actually broke up laughing.
The truth of the matter is that I generally came in last place after all was said and done. I could live with that because I was running a cruiser in a racer world.
They also didn't give me any disrespect, either. That's is because they knew I had more offshore racing experience than many of the others. I had cruised the little boat extensively.
Most of the racers there were pretty much racers that had careers and were chasing the brass ring. They had no time to cruise. For them it was a dream. For me it was a reality simply because I was not tied down to a career.
Most of the people in the circuit knew this and respected it.
The truth is I raced for the same reason a guy with a game leg enters a foot race he has no chance of winning. He enters it simply for the joy of running and improving himself.
I entered the racing circuit simply because it was a chance to sail my ass off in an organized setting against better racers than me. It was an opportunity for self-improvement.
I suppose it is the same reason I shot competition for so many seasons. I simply wanted to get better at it.
I learned that in order to improve myself I had to shoot against people that were better than I was in an organized situation. It worked. I got a lot better after a while.
One of the biggest things that people have to get over is that there is nothing embarrassing with entering a contest that they are not going to win. I figure that it is a bigger personal embarrassment not entering and using the experience to improve one's self with.
To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this:
http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY