Cal Sailing Club members enjoy numerous opportunities to race club dinghies. The competition is friendly but not lax. Racing at CSC is an excellent way for new sailors to learn some of the finer points of sailing and for experienced sailors to hone their skills.
Sunday Morning Dinghy Racing
Races are held most every Sunday of the year, weather and tide permitting, and are open to all club members. Skippers and crew show up at 10:00 AM to start rigging boats and set race marks. The only time races might be cancelled is during stormy weather or when the estimated tide will be too low. Notices of when Sunday racing will, and will not, occur are regularly posted to the CSC's Announcement and Discussion email lists.
Any CSC Junior Skipper who passes the Racing Rules Test can drive; any CSC member may crew regardless of their rating. Occasionally, when there is interest and favorable conditions, we hold a "crew's race", where skippers and crew switch places.
Competitors typically race the same one-design dinghies. Many days JY15's, other days Quests or both boats in a mixed fleet. Boat handling and tactics reign supreme, and sometimes luck.
Races average 10 to 15 minutes but there may be more mark roundings, tactical decisions and close encounters than would occur over a longer course. Typically there are 6 to 8 races so by 1 PM when it's over, skippers and crew have experienced a physical and mental workout.
For dinghy racers, Sunday morning at CSC satisfies the desire for friendly, keen competition.
Thursday Evening JY15 Races
CSC Thursday evening JY15 racing has become very popular. Fun, not competition, is the primary objective. The only mandate is to partake in post race party, either grilling at the club (the bill's on the club) or finding a local hotspot to hang out and share tall tales of victories.
From April to October, if the weather is good and the tide's not too low, club members race our six JY15's on Thursday evenings (Thursday JY race notices are regularly posted to the CSC's Announcement and Discussion email lists). These are informal races, designed to provide maximum fun with minimum rules. Strong winds are the norm, you'll often see trapezes flying on almost every boat. They may look experienced, but on any given night maybe half the crew are trapping for the first time. Thursday nights is the place to learn high wind sailing tactics and there are great teachers racing alongside the newest sailors for a fun night of on the water. No racing ratings required and protests are not permitted. Arrive by 5 PM to help rig boats if you want to get a place on board. Races start as soon as the fleet is rigged, usually just after 6 PM. The club has loaner wetsuits, gloves, booties, trapeze harnesses, and helmets. Plan to get wet!
Like most sailboat racing, CSC dinghy races are conducted under the International Sailing Federation's Racing Rules of Sailing, or RRS. The current version of the RRS is 2017-2020.
CSC has published a handbook, available here, which includes applicable portions of the RRS, as well as Sailing Instructions written especially for CSC Sunday dinghy races.
A good way to learn the rules is to practice the online racing game by Uli and Wolfi Finckh.
The CSC Racing Skipper test is based strictly on the RRS, and is open book. A pdf copy of the test is available here and members can log into this website and take the test online by clicking on Ratings and selecting Written Test from the dropdown menu. You can also email us your answers using the link below.
For further information about Sunday dinghy racing and the Racing Skipper test, please contact the dinghy race chairs.