• Sailing Fundamentals

    Our beginner level courses are designed to insure you get off to a smooth start. First, you will be placed aboard with other students of similar skill and experience levels. Learn more

  • Introduction to Racing

    We will work on boathandling, sail trim and spinnaker handling during the first part of the week and then move on to starting and boat against boat speed and tactical drills. Learn more

  • U.S. Sailing Certifications

    Learning to sail is part dream, part great instruction, and part hands-on experience. All of these come together in the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification System. Learn more

Cruising lessons from ocean racers

Great article from our partner from the World Cruising Club, Andy Schell.  For more entertaining, intelligently written articles follow Andy’s Blog at 59 North.

59 North

Newport-Bermuda Race 2014: Cruising lessons from ocean racers

350 NW of Bermuda…

‘Sleijride’ is nearly halfway back to Newport on the return delivery following the Bermuda Race last week. We’re in cruising mode again, down to four crew (from six), and enjoying single-handed watches steered by autopilot, 9 hours of rest, reading (!), and motor sailing through the calms.

Yesterday we had a very close encounter with a sperm whale that breached not 100 yards off our port bow, then proceeded to meander across the bow and dive off to starboard, showing us his big tail on the way down. Today we’re sailing fast off the wind, fair weather cumulus clouds dotting the blue sky and the hot sun baking the decks. Aside from the relentless heat, this is ocean sailing at its finest.

Participating in the Bermuda Race last week (my first), got me thinking about the differences between ocean racing and ocean cruising, and what the former can teach us about the latter. I’m primarily an ocean cruiser (though prefer the term ‘sailor’, as cruising has an air of laziness to it that doesn’t suit me), but having done two long ocean races now (Annapolis-Newport in 2013) has altered my perspective on some points. I’m admittedly no authority on the subject of ocean racing, but I’ve jotted some ideas down here, with a few anecdotes from our experiences to elaborate. Here goes…
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