- by Carol Standish
Getting Started in Sailboat Racing
Adam Cort and Richard Stearns
International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, 144pp, $14.95
The tag line on the jacket reads "everything you need to know to work your
way up through the fleet." According to novice racer, Jack Somers, that's
just what Getting Started in Sailboat Racing delivers. "It's not like
reading a rule book. Not a lot of facts and figures. There's a lot of humor
and common sense." says Jack. "not to mention, great diagrams, photos and a
quiz to review each new bit of information by example."
In twelve focused chapters the authors guide you through a hypothetical race
discussing in sequence, the race course, start strategies, windward leg and
windward mark rounding, downward leg and leeward mark roundings, basic
tactics and tips, weather. The last three chapters discuss boat speed
methods and concepts including sail control, sailing on and off the wind,
how a sail works and how to make it work harder, light and heavy air and a
basic boat diagram identifying each moving part and how to use it. The last
chapter discusses the advantages and disadvantages of joining a yacht club.
The authors weigh in on the positive and also suggest joining U. S. Sailing.
There is also a glossary. Jack's favorite entry is "crash tack - a sudden,
unplanned, inefficient tack, often done to avoid a crash."
"The book gives you confidence to go on out there and mix it up," says Jack.
It covers everything unless you're going into the Olympics or America's Cup
league." Somers has been on the water since he was a kid recreationally but
also as a professional fisherman and party boat owner. He was in his 50s
when he finally saw the light and bought a Cal 22 (Summer School) and began
to learn to sail. This up coming season will be his second in Blu, a 41 year
old Graves Constellation. He's only raced her once so he is the target
reader for the authors, professional sailors Cort and Stearns. "I'll be
taking the book with me on the boat this summer to reread," he says.