Many attendees of the Sailing Leadership Forum expressed the desire for more variety in our race courses with fewer windward/leeward courses and more non-traditional regattas. Attendees emphasized the importance of growth in participation and sportsmanship, especially for youth. Regatta organizers were challenged to create more alternative courses, games and activities for different age groups.
The presentation “Running Fun Races: Non-Traditional Regatta” by Nevin Sayre (BIC Sport), Summer Green (San Diego YC), John Broderick (Lakewood YC) and Jim Quanci (Northern California Ocean Yacht Racing Association), highlighted several reasons why these types of events have value and provided many examples of these types of events and how they work.
Sayre went in-depth with US Sailing on this trending concept for creative, non-traditional sailing events.
US Sailing: What benefits are associated with unconventional courses and rules?
Sayre: Since much of racing is now homogenized into windward/leewards with little deviation, there is a whole group of sailors, including kids, seeking fun alternatives. There are also those more comfortable in a more relaxed atmosphere without so many rules and regulations.
US Sailing: Why is it so important to have more variety in our regattas?
Sayre: Variety is the spice of life. It’s fun to be challenged by different courses and different situations, particularly if it stirs up the standard pecking order. Putting sailors into different situations in a controlled manner makes better, well-rounded sailors.
US Sailing: Why is it important to run regattas that put a low emphasis on results?
Sayre: Recognizing the same podium sailors again and again, is not necessarily encouraging to other sailors, particularly kids. For instance, at the O’Pen BIC Un-Regattas, less emphasis is put on race results than fun, sportsmanship, and improvement. Kids get plenty of focus on results, structure, rules and regulations in school. No one is saying these elements should be eliminated from sailing, but it’s nice to offer alternatives that are looser and arguably more fun. And kids LOVE it!