How to take part in a regatta for a beginner yachtsman and what you need to know
Denis Korablev
  • 08.11.2021
  • 3,655

How to take part in a regatta for a beginner yachtsman and what you need to know

Often, novice yachtsmen glance enviously towards experienced athletes taking part in regattas, and do not even consider the possibility of their own participation in such events. There is nothing for a beginner to do there, because there is so much to know and be able to do! Yes, to participate in regattas on a professional level, it takes not only serious skills and excellent preparation, but also a lot of money. But amateur regattas are available to everyone. Amateurs usually try their strength at local regattas, where the distances are short and serious preparation is not required. Some later move on to a new stage and take part in the international amateur regatta. So everything is real, everything is in your hands!

How does an amateur regatta differ from a professional one?

Preparation for a professional regatta begins long before the start: physical fitness is improved, the route is worked out in the most detailed way, the climatic situation is studied, equipment is selected, technical condition of the yacht is put on alert, etc. Regattas with the participation of professionals last several days, as they are designed for an extended distance. More than once you will have to keep watch at night, which is very difficult for the first time, we do not recommend.

Amateur races are held in a more free mode. Rivals are about the same level, you can make new acquaintances and get unforgettable impressions. There are cases when novice yachtsmen were so captured by sailing regattas that after that they underwent training and, having received the qualification of a real captain, travel under sail on their own!

The most popular amateur regattas are in Turkey (Gochek Race Week and Marmaris Rase Week), as well as in Croatia (Bavaria Cup and Hance Cup). They are held in the comfortable climate of the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas; in addition, there is a varied program on the shore; a great start for newbies!

What does a beginner yachtsman need to know to participate in a regatta?

It is necessary to inquire about the duration of the sailing regatta. Standard Amateur Regattas - charter week consists of:

  • check-in;
  • workouts (Friday to Sunday);
  • racing days (Monday - Thursday);
  • yacht checks (Friday);
  • departure (Saturday, Sunday).

Amateur regattas are often held on those rented from yacht rentals. Much depends on the weather, it happens that the organizers hold several short races a day and one or two long-distance races, which are limited to the day's transition.

Not everyone wants to go for a whole week, it's scary, and the experience is not enough, I don't want to look clumsy. There is also an intermediate option. Yacht clubs operate in almost any city where there is some body of water nearby (river, lake). They are involved in organizing local regattas, which last literally a few hours. Small boats with a team of three to five people are usually allowed to participate.

On a small boat, you need to act quickly, you have to learn on the go; in four hours of the race, you can get a huge experience, which in the walking mode cannot be mastered even in a month. Firstly, without explanation, it is clear how necessary each member of the crew is. Secondly, it is possible to invite an experienced skipper and, under his guidance, practice certain skills and gain knowledge. Thirdly, participation in a one-day race will be inexpensive compared to a week-long sea regatta. The most important thing is that now you will know for sure the answer to the question: "Do I need this?"

Clothes should be comfortable, so you need to think about your wardrobe in advance. During the race, clothing and life jackets must not hinder movement. On the water, the weather changes quickly, so prepare several sets: in case of strong winds, rain, scorching heat. Remember, you must be comfortable in any weather!

Repeat the safety precautions again, listen carefully to the instructions (this is not a simple formality). Racers will be warned of any dangers that may occur. Remember everything in as much detail as possible and strictly follow it, there are no trifles here!

If the regatta lasts more than one day, then there is a racing routine that should be followed. In the morning, at about 8 o'clock, the yachts go out to sea and go to the starting point. Do not forget to replenish your drinking water supply, and if the heat and calm forecast, it is better to take water in excess. Boats are plying, waiting for the referee ship. Do not be surprised if the wait for the start will drag on indefinitely (perhaps even for several hours); it largely depends on the judge.

When a suitable wind appears, they start. The race has begun, which means active work will take 3-5 hours. After the finish, time is given to rest, and the coastal program will start in the evening, so you won't be bored. Usually in the evening there is a burst of energy, I want to chat with friends, share my impressions. But remember to get up early again tomorrow!

Can I participate in the regatta if my team is absent?

Get acquainted with the information, ask questions and you may be invited to the crew, which simply lacks a person to participate in the competition. Do not hesitate, sometimes the captain deliberately recruits newcomers to the team, or it may turn out that half of the crew are inexperienced people; the regatta is an amateur one.

When you get into an unfamiliar crew, do not be embarrassed and tell right away what you would like to do (watch, stand at the helm, control the sails, etc.). You can honestly admit that you don't really know how to do anything yet and ask the captain to give you some role in the team.

Once you have been assigned a role, figure out and remember everything you have to do, try to practice the necessary skills to automatism. When you are not very confident in some action, inform the captain, then he will be able to take this moment into account in the race. If you suspect that you are not strong enough to complete the task, be sure to ask someone for help. In the case when you do everything as it should be, and the captain gives the opposite command, do not hesitate, immediately follow the order of the captain, as the situation at sea will change.

Regatta means team work. Each sailor in his place performs his task, being responsible for the final result. One man's miss leads to the defeat of the entire team. You can count on the help of the competitor from the next post, but keep in mind that he will only help after he has done his job. You, too, can help others if everything is great at your post.

It is impossible to foresee all situations at sea, if in doubt, ask the captain, because he is responsible for absolutely everything that happens on the yacht. It is better to ask twice about the same thing, than not to ask at all, and then do something wrong. All commands should be executed quickly, as the saying goes "with the speed of the slowest sailor." Do not worry if due to inexperience you slow down slightly, they will definitely wait for you.

Rarely, but it happens that a beginner does not develop a relationship with someone from the crew. If the contradictions are insoluble, do not lead to a conflict, talk to the captain. It is quite possible that he will find a solution: he will change his post, move to another cabin, and life will become easier. But first try to yourself: try to find common topics of conversation, keep your composure. The team must be a single organism, it is necessary to learn how to interact with the people around, even if they are from a completely different circle. Your main task: to enjoy the racing process!

What to tell your friends about?

Of course, to share vivid impressions. Perhaps friends will also be interested in sailing and soon you will have your own team. Of course, it is better to go out to the blue sea with trusted people, because the sailing team are cheerful and responsible friends for life.

Before applying to participate in an amateur regatta, find out as much as possible about the weather in the region. For sea adventures, you should not go to the Canary Islands and "throw" your team right into the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Instead of an adventure, get numerous trials, after which some will not even want to remember the sails. Why do people participate in the regatta? In order to have fun, and not overcome stress and motion sickness.

Experts 2yachts advise choosing a simpler and more comfortable route to start with. During the period of mass navigation (May - October) it is very good in the Mediterranean.

Remind your friends that the regatta is not only about competitions, there is enough time for entertainment. The Shore Program includes: parties, excursions, surfing, cycling, relaxing on the beach, sightseeing, contests, great food, new acquaintances, to name a few. The regatta coordinators develop the beach recreation program in detail, as well as the organization of the races.

Only at first glance, sailing competitions seem incomprehensible and difficult. The regattas are open for beginners and experienced amateurs, it is not only hard work, it is a unforgettable expedition, the search for like-minded people, the development of horizons. Perhaps, after participating in the regatta, rethink your life. Now you know that sailing can be just addictive!