Which factors do make us attend a race event?


Hi everyone, 

with numbers more and more declining for the major events all over the globe, I was wondering what makes people attend races? I want to do a survey on this and want to include different factors to better understand how strong these factors influence the decision to drive to an event. 

So first of all, I try to identify the most common factors and was hoping that you would give me your thoughts on this. 

So far I was thinking of the following factors

  • Distance to Travel
  • Average Wind Speed at Event Venue
  • Expected Fleet Size
  • Number of Groups (Divisions)
  • Expected Weather (Air and Sea Temperature)
  • Entry Fee
  • Sea vs. Lake Venue
  • Event Integration 
  • Event Importance (National, Continental, Worlds, Series)
  • Hotel/Accommodation Costs
Any other factors that come to your mind?

Any help is really appreciated. As I plan to send my insights to ORC to help them improve race planning, any support might help us all having better attended events in the future.


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For lack of a better term, "OA & RC reputation." I.e. are the NOR and sailing instructions well-defined for the event?

I'm not suggesting that every event, including casual beer can stuff, has to have international caliber event management. I am suggesting that the level of organization and communication from those in charge needs to match the goals of the event. This requirement is proportional to the amount of time/effort/money most of the participants will put into it. There's nothing worse than having your weekend coordinated like the Gong Show.



Super Anarchist
When someone else pays the bills and I get to sail on their boat, I'll do just about any race anywhere.

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On shore activities after the day's racing.  Appreciation of visiting boats by host club.  Well run races.  Good venue both on water and on shore

.... and of course when a good friend is running event you enter to support the friend



Will sail for food
1. Location: how close is it to me

2. Fun: how much non-racing fun is involved (more is better)

3. Quality: quality of race organization

4. Divisions: divisions that make clear distinction between race boats and cruising boats. (I have a furniture boat)

5. Value:  cost vs fun/quality.  More cost is ok if fun and quality is higher.

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Beer and burgers afterward.  Preferably a comfortable place to sit down and enjoy the company.

Another big one is persistent emails and advertisement.  Sorry to the race organizers for the extra work, but if I receive a few emails and maybe a little promotional write up it influences my impressionable little brain.  

People generally like to help too.  Ask for help setting up a tent, cooking or cleaning up.



Branford CT
All good points, I organize our club's regatta and have seen a shift in registration methods in the ECSA. Most clubs are using YachtScoring for regatta and party registration. Considering the idea of better advertisement and reminders, would using an online registration encourage more participation? We currently have registration by snail-mail and get checks mailed to us. I do not like it one bit and feel that participation is down. Thoughts?


Wet Spreaders

Super Anarchist
SF Bay
Good competition and competent RC if it's an OD buoy race. 

Good destination if its a distance race. Nice place to tie up, weather, party, food etc.

Simple logistics. There's a local race that double hands on one day and single hands the way back the second day. I have never done this race, which hurts for season points. It's frigging impossible logistically.



The distance you need to sail to get to the race venue. How early do you have to make a start.

After the race is done, can you stay overnight or a few nights in a nearby marina as a guest. Or do you have to sail back to your own berth, after a long day of racing?


Somebody Else

a person of little consequence
From most significant to least:

  1. The people I'm sailing with. Friends with good attitudes and skill.
  2. The boat I'm sailing on. Is it rigged intelligently? ergonomic? well maintained? are the sails not embarrassing?
  3. The competition. I want competent competitors who know the game. Beating up on people who race with a huge sun shade flapping in the breeze gives me no joy.
  4. The course. Some courses are just more fun to be on. Point-to-points with interesting routes and destination, W/L which are well set up in nice areas.
  5. partymusicfooddrink -- I can get that on any street corner and for cheaper so... whatever... :rolleyes:
I did a race earlier in the month which was heavy on 4 and 5 and OK on point 3. I had fun but it wasn't as memorable as the races that are heavy on point #1.


Meat Wad

Super Anarchist
Female Naked streakers running amok on the docks.


The distance you need to sail to get to the race venue. How early do you have to make a start.

After the race is done, can you stay overnight or a few nights in a nearby marina as a guest. Or do you have to sail back to your own berth, after a long day of racing?
Distance is a huge issue.

Recently, I wanted to do the Cal Race Weekend. And this is not a bash on CYC but more of a suggestion.
I registered online early ($75) and saved $25. My crew and I had been watching the entries and the PHRF class I was in only had like 2 or 3 boats on Wednesday before the race. They had so many one design classes though. My crew said they did not want to go the 50 miles to and fro to race against a fleet of 2 or 3 boats.
I withdrew, notifying the RC ahead of time only later to find out they dumped all the classes that were short into PHRF. There would have been a good sized fleet to race against. And I only got $25 out of $75 back, they kept $50.

My suggestion is to put all the boats into PHRF and when they break the threshold of 5 boats, then break them out to a Class. This would mean skippers and crew would not have to pay attention to who is in what class and whether they would be rolled into PHRF. I think the PHRF Fleet I was in was basically a local fleet with no outsiders. I would have liked to do some racing out of the Ventura area.

I did not realize that they were rolling the fleets into phrf on a specific date until I looked real closely at the NOR after I was looking at the results. But the OA should make it easier for the entrants to see true fleet sizes. Based on history, I looked back at past CRW events and found that most of the classes were dead anyway. So it makes sense for CYC to just go with phrf and then break classes out.

Oh Well.