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On 25/05/2017 at 6:55 PM, Great Red Shark said:

 Yeah,  Ocean racing for regular folks is in sustained decline. 

Is that so? Tried making a late entry for the Fastnet?

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On 6/1/2017 at 11:17 AM, P_Wop said:

Key West - dying if not dead

SORC - dead (with a possible rebound, I'd admit)

Clipper Cup/Kenwood - dead

SF BBS - on the deathbed

Etc....

However......

RORC entries in Europe for offshore races in the Channel and North Sea are hitting record numbers.  They sold out the limited 340 entries in the 2017 Fastnet in minutes.  French and Dutch inshore and offshore regattas everywhere, ditto.  Perhaps have a look over the Atlantic to see how they do it there?

 

In Aus Geelong week is on life support

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On 5/31/2017 at 3:15 PM, Meat Wad said:

There is so much more that that can be done for far less $$$$ and time.


Another reason why sailing was booted out of the Para Games. It costs too much and takes too much time to get up to speed. New people say "WTF"

True, but none of it is as cool or as fun as sailing. I've tried a lot of team and individual sports and absolutely nothing makes my soul sing like sailing does. Doesn't matter if I'm racing solo or with crew, or just out cruising.

Does it require money? Yes, but you can scale your investment to your income. Anything from old Lasers and Hobies on up to big boats and sport boats.

Does it require time? Yes, but if you love it, you'll find a way to carve out the time.

I find that some new people are put off by sailing because they perceive it as a skill that is difficult and lengthy to learn. I keep explaining to people that you can learn to sail in a day, but spend the rest of your life mastering the craft. That's the joy of it.

Sailing needs to stop pretending that it's NASCAR or the NFL. Sailing doesn't have the money and TV viewership that other professional sports have, and as such, cannot be sustained by the tiny amount of elite sailing programs that exist.  KW Rant is correct, and so is Sailman when he says it's a grassroots sport. NASCAR is not grassroots... not anymore, anyway. BTW- NASCAR is also reported to be on a major decline in viewership, so I wouldn't look there for inspiration.

Grassroots is what I like about sailboat racing. It makes it accessible.

I can understand how sailing is not appealing to watch on TV or streaming internet. It's like watching golf. Fun to do, but boring to watch. The reason that the AC is palatable to watch on TV, is because the boats are so damn fast, and any wrecks will be spectacular. Plus, the advent of the tactical overlay has made it understandable for the lay-person. As such, amateur monohull racing is just not going to provide any TV viewership or money.

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Ajax has some great points.  Sailing is something you do...not something you watch other's do.  Its a sport and an hobby and a passion all in one.  Sailing, and sailboat racing has never been cheaper in many ways.  There are hundreds of older boats out there for very little money.  You could buy a really nice J-24 or equivalent (Kirby 25, Capri 25) for 5 grand and have a blast racing it in a local PHRF fleet.  Sure you won't have the latest sails, or halyards or whatever...but neither do the vast majority of the other folks racing in PHRF fleets around the country.  

There are plenty of nice 30 foot racer/cruisers out there in the 10-15 grand range....same story as above....

But to draw folks to the sport, we have to go back to the fun, social camraderie part....get back to racing for the sake of being out there with your friends having a good time...sure try to win, and try to get better. But winning isn't everything, and the quest for it above all else is killing the sport.

I doubt it's a direct relationship, but funny that as new raceboats get ever faster and more extreme (like the Botin Fast 40+ on the FP) the more regatta participation is falling off. 

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10 minutes ago, Crash said:

There are hundreds of older boats out there for very little money.  You could buy a really nice J-24 or equivalent (Kirby 25, Capri 25) for 5 grand and have a blast racing it in a local PHRF fleet.  Sure you won't have the latest sails, or halyards or whatever...but neither do the vast majority of the other folks racing in PHRF fleets around the country.  

THIS IS ME.   and having a blast, just finished my second year of racing, last year we learned and were terrible, I just placed 2nd for the first series in our local beer cans.   I rate a 268 so I am doing it in a 1knotshitbox,  And the PHRF ratings are working, we are in the mix when we sail well and not when we dont.  

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23 minutes ago, Crash said:

Ajax has some great points.  Sailing is something you do...not something you watch other's do.  Its a sport and an hobby and a passion all in one.  Sailing, and sailboat racing has never been cheaper in many ways.  There are hundreds of older boats out there for very little money.  You could buy a really nice J-24 or equivalent (Kirby 25, Capri 25) for 5 grand and have a blast racing it in a local PHRF fleet.  Sure you won't have the latest sails, or halyards or whatever...but neither do the vast majority of the other folks racing in PHRF fleets around the country.  

There are plenty of nice 30 foot racer/cruisers out there in the 10-15 grand range....same story as above....

But to draw folks to the sport, we have to go back to the fun, social camraderie part....get back to racing for the sake of being out there with your friends having a good time...sure try to win, and try to get better. But winning isn't everything, and the quest for it above all else is killing the sport.

I doubt it's a direct relationship, but funny that as new raceboats get ever faster and more extreme (like the Botin Fast 40+ on the FP) the more regatta participation is falling off. 

You are right, there are lots of cheap boats. That is not the issue. If you cannot get a trailerable boat you have to keep it in the water. Then it gets expensive.
An older boat is exactly what I did. I bought an 80's boat for cheap, 3 years later almost everything is new (things were breaking or broke) except the blade. I estimate with the purchases of new mast, traveler system sails, running and standing rigging, new trailer brakes, I have around 15k in it and that is with deals on some stuff because I've been around for a while. Compared to a new boat, I have a deal and it's paid for, yea no payments.
Even with all the new stuff, a good/fast boat, beer and sandwiches (good owner/skipper/driver too), it is still tough getting crew

I dry store for $85.50/month. It's a pain in the ass to launch/haul every Wednesday (summer fun)  and then weekends (if I get crew) to sail.
Keeping it in the water would be fun, at our club (another issue) it is $285/month for a 30' slip. At a Marina, the last time I checked it was $305 for a 24' slip, so I would have to pay for 2' of overhang. In the water would be cool because then you can just go hang out and have a beer on your boat while puttering around.

You cannot use old rags forever. Especially if they are used film. Once that plastic goes, gorilla tape will only hold them together for so long :)

I do not doubt your last sentence. It is hard to get excited about racing when you cannot even see your competition.
I recently withdrew from the Cal Race Weekend (this weekend) due to lack of committed crew and the lack of (none) boats in my rating band. I would have been racing in a fleet with 36 to 75 raters. I rate 135 (think like an SC27 at 138). Sport boats, the overpriced J70 have killed the C fleet at big regattas and the fleets are dismal at local events. But I still try.

 

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46 minutes ago, Caferacer59 said:

Hey Ajax, are you doing  the race to Baltimore?

Hmm... let me think on it.

Last year was a friggin' pain mission. Very little wind, extreme heat and god-awful chop from the mobo's and commercial shipping. I do like sailing into Balto, though. Very different than the other bucolic settings.

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On 5/31/2017 at 8:15 AM, KW Rant Sock said:

Maybe this will finally be what we need to address the professionalization of the sport of sailing. Both in terms of crew makeup, but also in terms of the social expectations that events like Key West have set up for us over the last decade: That somehow "Grand Prix" is desirable and that "amateur" is a dirty word. That BIG boats are somehow inherently superior to little boats. That racing teams are actually small business enterprises and that their crews are employees who are afforded certain perks. That owners should thank sailors, and not the other way around. That it's BAD to have mistakes on the water or show up to an event with season old sails. That it's acceptable...even necessary... to practice for 3 days before a 5 day event. That $50,000 for a J/70 program for a week is the norm. 

All of these norms are inherently exclusionary and discouraging to the average sailor, yet they're indicative of the kind of message that Key West sends.

There will always be a space for professionalized sailing in the arenas like the TP52 or Maxi72 classes. They are, by their nature, professional boats. But when the lifeblood of the sport is the middle manager who races his C&C 35mkiii with his friends on Tuesday nights - why on earth is it acceptable to spend 5 days hyping the TP52s while leaving the smaller boat circles in obscurity?

The people sailing the ORC and Navigator Race classes this year kept the dream alive. The dream that if you have a good year in business or save up for a few years that you can take your Henderson 30, C&C 121, or J/105 down south and play in the sun with your friends. They represented the last people in the country to resist the idea that they should feel unwelcome or inferior for not owning a 250,000 30 foot sportboat with 4 professionals onboard. 

And I think that's the gist of it. It wasn't the money. At the end of the day, Key West is dead because at the very core it became unwelcoming. It was a regatta that said to the S2 9.1 owner or the Tripp 26 owner "Sure, you had One Design starts here well into the 2000s and you could come here. But why? You're not grand prix. T2Ptv won't bother putting you in their videos. Our news articles will put your achievements below the fold. Your sails are old and ratty, don't you want some new QUANTUM sails? You'll probably get yelled at by some uppity sailmaker in another fleet for getting in his way on the course. And at the end of the day, you're not in the running for any serious perpetual trophies. You'll be lucky to even make it to the awards ceremony because you'll be on Stock Island racing to put your boat on the trailer and be out the door Friday night so you can be back at your job Monday Morning!!!"

And as if to underscore my point, look at the history of Boat of the Week winners.

2017 - Quantum Racing TP52 Doug Devos (USA)

2016 Bella Mente J/V 72 Hap Fauth (USA)

2015 Calvi Network J/70 Carlo Alberini (ITA)

2014 Helly Hansen J/70 Tim Healy (USA)

2013 Full Throttle Melges 24 Brian Porter (USA)

2012 Samba Pa Ti Melges 32 John Kilroy, Jr. (USA)

2011 Blu Moon Melges 24 Franco Rossini (ITA)

2010 Samba Pa Ti Melges 32 John Kilroy, Jr. (USA)

2009 Star Melges 32 Jeff Ecklund (USA)

2008 Barking Mad Farr 40 James Richardson (USA)

2007 Giacomel Audi Racing Melges 24 Riccardo Simoneschi (ITA)

2006 Bellicosa Swan 45 Massimo Ferragamo (USA)

2005 Pegasus 525 Melges 24 Team Pegasus (USA)

2004 Mean Machine Farr 40 Peter De Ridder (NED)

2003 Zuni Bear J/105 Richard Bergmann (USA)

2002 Atalanti XI Farr 40 George Andreadis (GRE)

2001 Atalanti XI Farr 40 George Andreadis (GRE)

2000 Heartbreaker 1D35 Robert Hughes (USA)

1999 Hi Fling CM60 Irvine Laidlaw (UK)

1998 Abracadabra 1D48 Jim Andrews (USA)

1997 Windquest 1D48 Dick and Doug DeVos (USA)

1996 Bright Star N/M 46 Richard Breeden (USA)

1995 Infinity N/M 49 John Thomson, Jr. (USA)

1994 Thomas I-Punkt Mumm 36 Thomas Friese (GER)

1993 Highland Fling Swan 53 Irvine Laidlaw (UK)

1992 Gaucho Farr 44 Christian Schmiegelow (USA)

1991 Lonia Beneteau 1st41 John Matney & Clyde Stacey (USA)

1990 Babe Ruthless N/M30 Larry Harvey (USA)

1989 Diablesse Beneteau 42 Rod Sellers (USA)

1988 Brigadoon IV Frers 41 Robbie Pierce (USA

The Beneteaus, N/M30s, and Frers 41s that started the whole event get traded in for increasingly more and more grand prix teams. That a full 40% of BOTW winners went to Farr and Melges one designs alone tells you that the true heroes of the regatta in their PHRF boats were always the sideshow. Hell, there are no less than 4 repeat winners on that list. Not to detract from their accomplishments, but I find it hard to believe that John Kilroy Jr. was deserving of 2 BOTWs in 3 years. Maybe that second BOTW could have been symbolically given to <insert J/29 here>. I maintain that Key West stuck their heads in the sand right up until the end and threw everything they had behind the idea that Grand Prix is superior. If they had wanted to make a bold move to make people think, I mean REALLY made a statement, the organizers would have given BOTW to the winner of the Performance Cruising class. Or the winner of the Flying Tiger 7.5 charter class. Or even the winner of the ORC class. Because at no point in the previous 15 years had they thought "maybe we should thank these guys, maybe we should let them know that they have a chance to stand above their heroes for one night on one stage." That Terry Hutchinson or John Kosteki or Bora Gulari might stand in the crowd and clap for them for a change as they hold the big silverware. That they would be recognized for the fact that they were keeping the sport alive.

 

I say were, because the party is over and the lights are on and if you look around there's nobody left. 

Hell fucking yeah.  Best thing I've ever read on the FP.

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12 hours ago, dogwatch said:

Is that so? Tried making a late entry for the Fastnet?

Sorry.  Locally,  Ocean racing is all but a faint shadow of what it once was - but then we have a very isolated scene.

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18 hours ago, Swimsailor said:

All of the above.  I've said this in other threads, but the cost to race nationally has grown to unsustained levels.  Much as what has happened in amateur bike racing, where many are dropping thousands on coaching just to hang as Cat 4's, putting in pro level time.  Sailboat racing is going through the same.  Anxious owners who go from one new class to the next thinking if they pay more and better crew, winning will enhance their enjoyment.  It doesn't  and they leave.  

None of the above?

 

Choice 3 was $$$. :lol:

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On ‎5‎/‎31‎/‎2017 at 7:15 AM, KW Rant Sock said:

 

1990 Babe Ruthless N/M30 Larry Harvey (USA)

 

You are remembering the good old days that weren't.  The Pink Torpedo was built in 1988 at a cost of over $200K.  That's more than $400K in 2017 dollars.  For a 30 footer that no one ever slept on or cruised with friends and family.

Except for The Harv, every person sailing on that boat was on the payroll.  Full pro crew.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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2 hours ago, Meat Wad said:

You are right, there are lots of cheap boats. That is not the issue. If you cannot get a trailerable boat you have to keep it in the water. Then it gets expensive.
An older boat is exactly what I did. I bought an 80's boat for cheap, 3 years later almost everything is new (things were breaking or broke) except the blade. I estimate with the purchases of new mast, traveler system sails, running and standing rigging, new trailer brakes, I have around 15k in it and that is with deals on some stuff because I've been around for a while. Compared to a new boat, I have a deal and it's paid for, yea no payments.
Even with all the new stuff, a good/fast boat, beer and sandwiches (good owner/skipper/driver too), it is still tough getting crew

I dry store for $85.50/month. It's a pain in the ass to launch/haul every Wednesday (summer fun)  and then weekends (if I get crew) to sail.
Keeping it in the water would be fun, at our club (another issue) it is $285/month for a 30' slip. At a Marina, the last time I checked it was $305 for a 24' slip, so I would have to pay for 2' of overhang. In the water would be cool because then you can just go hang out and have a beer on your boat while puttering around.

You cannot use old rags forever. Especially if they are used film. Once that plastic goes, gorilla tape will only hold them together for so long :)

I do not doubt your last sentence. It is hard to get excited about racing when you cannot even see your competition.
I recently withdrew from the Cal Race Weekend (this weekend) due to lack of committed crew and the lack of (none) boats in my rating band. I would have been racing in a fleet with 36 to 75 raters. I rate 135 (think like an SC27 at 138). Sport boats, the overpriced J70 have killed the C fleet at big regattas and the fleets are dismal at local events. But I still try.

 

Meat,

Your right, SOCAL is tougher and more expensive.  I moved out here (Thousand Oaks area) 3 years ago from Norfolk VA.  I'd guess on average its about 2x more expensive to slip a 24' boat out here than a 30 ' boat in VA...One reason I don't have one right now...There are gonna be areas like here, Annapolis MD, Newport RI, San Francisco, etc that are tougher.  There's a ton of other places where the cost is much more reasonable, and the fleets not nearly so "stratified"...not that it helps you much :rolleyes:

Crash

 

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So is Whidbey Island Race Week (WIRW) in Washington state the last true race "week" left in the US of eh? Six days of live music and parties, five days of great racing (usually). Good times!

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39 minutes ago, Varan said:

So is Whidbey Island Race Week (WIRW) in Washington state the last true race "week" left in the US of eh? Six days of live music and parties, five days of great racing (usually). Good times!

No, Blocke Ilande Race Weeke is stille gonig strongue.

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On 5/31/2017 at 9:17 PM, P_Wop said:

Key West - dying if not dead

SORC - dead (with a possible rebound, I'd admit)

Clipper Cup/Kenwood - dead

SF BBS - on the deathbed

Etc....

However......

RORC entries in Europe for offshore races in the Channel and North Sea are hitting record numbers.  They sold out the limited 340 entries in the 2017 Fastnet in minutes.  French and Dutch inshore and offshore regattas everywhere, ditto.  Perhaps have a look over the Atlantic to see how they do it there?

 

Another reason to consider fleeing Herr Trumps NEW America!!

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7 hours ago, AlR said:

You are remembering the good old days that weren't.  The Pink Torpedo was built in 1988 at a cost of over $200K.  That's more than $400K in 2017 dollars.  For a 30 footer that no one ever slept on or cruised with friends and family.

Except for The Harv, every person sailing on that boat was on the payroll.  Full pro crew.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

there were plenty of $$ spent in MORC then...The Harv was at the top, so what, every class has that. He, and his mates, were good to compete against. I would take that over slugging it out in a OD J70 class where are the boats are the "same" and no "paid" crew. Right?, it's just more of the same. Stop bitching about it, decide what works for you and go do it. Don't chase pickle dishes as a first priority. Indeed you must want to do well but FFS please just sail with your good mates on the boats you want to sail, in the class you want to sail in and have a great time. That's FIRST PLACE in my land.

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Just my two cents but you guys may want to think about things from a different perspective.  I am no racer, just some guy with a Seawind 1000 who spends time in BKH and once in a while drives, or more realistically takes the bus, to Key West.  Why do I take the bus instead of driving?  Parking is a pain in the buttissmo if you can find a space and feed the meter.  Prices are absurd and often the folks you are paying act like you are bothering them.  Not to mention the snowbirds who act like everyone is bothering them.  I first went to the Keys in 1954 when my Dad moved to Miami.  In the 1967 he moved to Marathon and I remember my folks having me drive my little sister to Key West to see the dentist because even back then they hated driving there.

 

While I have no doubt it is possible to have fun partying in Key West it is not as easy as it use to be.  Part of the problem is that while getting a boat to the start line in the Key West race does cost big bucks so does everything else in Key West.  In fact racing does not add as much to the local economy as a lot of other stuff; not to mention racing may hinder the ability of some business in Key West to make money.  These funny sailboats take up dock space and the race course is off limits to the locals who may want to fish, dive, or bother normal folks by speeding around on jet skis.  Between 2000 and 2010 the Monroe County dropped by over 6,000 peeps, around -8.2%.  While there has been something of a rebound the estimated 2015 population (census data) has not reached the 2000 level.  Monroe County has the highest percent of folks on welfare of any county in Florida.  On the other hand there are also a lot of extremely rich folks in Monroe County with some of the most expensive houses I have ever seen.

 

I love the Keys.  The sailing is great and in season it has some of the best weather I have ever seen.  But I know lots of folks who bring their boats down for the season and avoid going ashore when events like boat races are happening.  Bottom line is I could not think of a worse place to hold a race; well maybe I could if I tried.  The locals don't like the extra traffic from outsiders and the snowbirds don't either.  A bigger city like Miami, Tampa, or maybe a place like Clearwater with a 72 foot bridge height and easy access to the Gulf would be a better choice IMHO.

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2 hours ago, TBone said:

Quite, every other year by STC.

Perhaps bi-annual KWRW is viable.

Block Island is around 19 miles from Newport, and less than 50 from many other cheaper areas to launch and store boats. Even though the island is expensive, access is easy. HUGE difference from KW

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In summary:

1.  Tougher to enter our sport due to cost and time involved - but it doesn't have to be (that's where yacht clubs, YRA's and US sailing can help.   Have to be creative and willing to pilot/try new ideas like those shared above)

2.  Tougher for the non-sailor to relate to sailing and thus be attracted to it (only see the top end of the sport on TV, and then think how hard it must be to do, when it really isn't, if they are made aware of what most sailing looks like.  That's where TV and industry professionals can help:  AC TV segments on local sailing, how to get involved,  sailmakers sponsor entry- level events, and present an achievable sailing experience and sell beginners on the idea that they can eventually sail high-profile events.)

3.  Tougher for the good local sailor to get to major regional/national events - (again, yacht clubs, YRA's US Sailing can help - scheduling, venues, organizing national ladder events better to draw wider participation).

 

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 5/27/2017 at 2:54 PM, BillDBastard said:

Oh boy. Poste mortems are always fun. Complaining about STC "not listening to us" is both childish and futile. STC stepped up and gave it a good shot. Tip of the hat for that and a tip of the hat for shooting it in the head, 'cause it was already dead.

Bottom line is this, IT IS THE ECONOMY STUPID!  (note, the follow is not a political statement, it is simply pointing to reality, so can the "take it to PA bullshit")

All amateur sports are dying. They are dying because of a lack of time in people's lives to set the time aside for a round of golf or a few sets of tennis, none the less to take a  month to prep boat, crew and get it all to the venue and back. People are too busy just trying to earn a damn living and disposable income scarce. It is the economy. It is the burden of over-bearing and over taxing governments. It is "The Great Society" that has us all being the slaves to our overlord masters of the political elite class.  Our society has evolved to the point where freedom can no longer be afforded to the average person and activities such as sailing are just a casualty.

From The Hunt for Red October.

Andrei Bonovia:
[to Captain Tupolev] You arrogant ass! You've killed us!

Seems fitting.

Bullshit.  people are working their asses off to fill their McMansions with shit made in China.  Every bedroom has a large screen TV.  Idiots are spending big money on big 4WD SUVs in areas that never see snow.  People nowadays have their priorities all fucked up.  

Don't bitch about taxes either, in Europe you take home about 50% of what you make, sales taxes range from 18-23% on everything.  In spite of that, real poverty is rare, most people live a pretty decent lifestyle.  It is a matter of priorities.  

Unfortunately the conspicuous consumption disease is slowly coming here too.

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5 hours ago, soak_ed said:

Bullshit.  people are working their asses off to fill their McMansions with shit made in China.  Every bedroom has a large screen TV.  Idiots are spending big money on big 4WD SUVs in areas that never see snow.  People nowadays have their priorities all fucked up.  

Don't bitch about taxes either, in Europe you take home about 50% of what you make, sales taxes range from 18-23% on everything.  In spite of that, real poverty is rare, most people live a pretty decent lifestyle.  It is a matter of priorities.  

Unfortunately the conspicuous consumption disease is slowly coming here too.

Agree, but bitching about tax here in CA, 50% in Europe maybe worth later but not in here.

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I remember a buddy of mine who was skippering a very tricked out Concordia built Racer/Cruiser (52'?) with the emphasis on the Racer part. The interior was all carbon fiber modules and could be taken out for regattas. A container traveled with the boat to the major regattas and there were a good number of rock stars that would show up for the racing. We ended up in the same class as Titan and a Farr 40 and it was surprising how close in speed the three very different boats were upwind. The owner thought the Farr 40 was pretty cool and since he hadn't really done much 'cruising' on the Concordia in that mode, he told his skipper to sell the big boat and look for a Farr 40. The skipper tried to tell his boss that the Farr 40 class was 'owner driver' and could only have a limited number of pros on board. The owner just said "I don't care, just make sure we have the best 'amatures' that money can buy!"

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