Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Different Strokes For Different Folks

EVK4 asks...
In the keelboat world, you have racers and cruisers. Do Laser and other dinghy people ever go out for an afternoon sail? or is it just racing racing racing?I have always assumed dinghy racing people translated their superior boathandling and trim skills to larger boats when not racing, but you haven't once written about that. Do you enjoy the sailing or the racing more?

Good question. Yes - a lot of people who own Lasers and other dinghies enjoy going out for an afternoon sail. In fact, if you look at the number of Lasers or Sunfish sold, and compare that with the number of active racers, you would have to conclude that the vast majority of such boats are used for recreational sailing. Or hardly used at all. Which is perhaps a more likely explanation. In the town where I live it seems to be a status symbol to have a Sunfish on some trestles by the side of the house. Some of them never leave the back yard all summer.

Do I go out and sail recreationally on the Laser sometimes? Yes - sometimes. And I enjoy it to an extent. But, for me, it does not compare with the challenges of competition. Maybe I'm just a type A personality.

As for big boats....Yes, I know some Laser racers that also enjoy cruising, or recreational sailing, or racing in bigger boats. I've tried them all. But, again speaking personally, I just don't get the same kick out of it. Perhaps part of the reason is also to do with my warped personality. Frankly I've never been much good at team sports - and being part of a crew on a big boat is all about teamwork. Every activity I get pleasure from are basically individual activities - Laser sailing, running, playing guitar (solo), writing. I don't recall exactly but I suspect my school report card should have had a comment "Does not play well with others."

But thanks for the question. Maybe I will try and write about some of my recreational sailing in the Laser. Or tell some of the stories about what went wrong on the few occasions when I tried big boat sailing.

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